No. 24 Arizona Wraps Weekend vs. Air Force on Sunday
TUCSON, Ariz. — The No. 24 Arizona Wildcats (11-4) wrap up their home weekend with a 2:00 p.m. MST first pitch against Air Force (6-5) on Sunday afternoon at Hi Corbett Field.
The Wildcats recently swept their way through the Frisco College Baseball Classic in Frisco, Texas. Arizona went 4-0 against Oklahoma, Dallas Baptist, and Missouri to become the first two-time Frisco Classic champions.
Arizona's offense exploded over their four games in Frisco, and now leads the Pac-12 Conference in nearly every statistical category. The Wildcats will look to ride that offense to four more wins this weekend before entering Pac-12 Conference play.
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A complete weekend preview is below.
|Date / Opponent||Time (MST) / Result||Arizona Pitcher||Opponent Pitcher|
|March 11 / Wichita State||W, 8-5||-||-|
|March 12 / Wichita State||L, 9-10||-||-|
|March 13 / Air Force||L, 2-5||-||-|
|March 14 / Air Force||2:00 PM||RHP TJ Nichols (3-0, 3.24)||RHP Zach Argo (0-2, 7.59)|
- The Arizona Wildcats return home to Hi Corbett Field for three games against Wichita State and one game against Air Force. Arizona is 2-4 all-time against the Shockers and 13-1 all-time against the Falcons.
- The Wildcats are currently riding a nine-game win streak, dating back to the second week of the season. It is tied for the eighth-longest currently active win streak in Division I. The longest win streak of the Jay Johnson era at Arizona is 13 games, spanning the end of the 2019 season and beginning of 2020.
- Over the last 41 games Arizona has played, dating back to 2019, the Wildcats have gone 33-8 (.805) and won nine series.
- After sweeping the Frisco College Baseball Classic last weekend, five Arizona players were selected to the All-Tournament Team: Jacob Blas, Jacob Berry, Blake Paugh, Ryan Holgate, and tournament MVP Branden Boissiere.
- Arizona has scored at least one run in 121 straight games. They have not suffered a shutout loss since falling 1-0 at Washington on March 17, 2018. Their 121-game scoring streak is the longest active scoring streak in the Pac-12.
- Arizona's 173 wins since 2016 are the third-most in the Pac-12 Conference, behind only Oregon State (197) and Stanford (176). Head coach Jay Johnson's .638 winning percentage at Arizona is the second-best mark by a Wildcats head coach in the modern era (1950-current).
SOME SERIES THEMES: The Arizona Wildcats return home to Hi Corbett Field after sweeping the Frisco College Baseball Classic last weekend in Frisco, Texas...Arizona will host Wichita State for three games and Air Force for one game this week...The Wildcats have an all-time record of 2-4 against the Shockers, with their most recent meeting coming in 2011; they went 0-2 in a road series at Wichita State in 2011 on scores of 5-6 and 3-8...Arizona boasts an all-time record of 13-1 against the Falcons, with the latest meeting between the two programs being in 2014; they swept a two-game series from Air Force in Tucson in 2014 on scores of 14-2 and 10-2...The Wildcats have won nine straight games, dating back to their series finale against Ball State on opening weekend...Arizona's nine-game win streak is tied for the eighth-longest active win streak in Division I...The longest win streak during the Jay Johnson era at Arizona is 13 games, spanning the final 10 games of the 2019 season and the first three games of the shortened 2020 season...Arizona enters the weekend fresh off a sweep of the Frisco College Baseball Classic last weekend in Frisco, Texas...After beating Oklahoma twice, Dallas Baptist once, and Mizzouri once by a combined score of 55-26 the Wildcats had five players named to the All-Tournament team: Jacob Blas, Jacob Berry, Blake Paugh, Ryan Holgate, and tournament MVP Branden Boissiere...Arizona is once again ranked in all five major nationals polls, tabbed at No. 13 by Collegiate Baseball, No. 16 by Baseball America, No. 17 by the NCBWA and USA Today Coaches Poll, and No. 24 by D1Baseball...The Wildcats offense is again leading the Pac-12 in nearly every offensive statistic, ranking first in the conference currently in batting average (.336), on-base percentage (.464), slugging percentage (.512), runs (116), hits (143), doubles (28), triples (7), RBI (104), total bases (218), extra-base hits (46), and walks...Wichita State is led by second-year head coach Eric Wedge, and enters the weekend with a record of 6-3...Air Force is skipped by 11th-year head coach Mike Kazlausky and journeys to Tucson with a season record of 4-5 after sweeping Army last weekend.
STREAKONOMICS: Outfielder Ryan Holgate is the only Arizona player to have hit safely in all 12 games so far this season. Holgate has collected multiple hits in nine of those 12 games and driven in multiple RBI seven times. Dating back to the 2020 season, Holgate's hit streak is up to 15 games. Branden Boissiere sports a 10-game hit streak after opening the year 0-for-6 over the first two games. Since then, Boissiere has gone 23-for-40 (.575) at the plate with 19 runs scored and 13 RBI. Four Wildcats — Ryan Holgate, Jacob Blas, Branden Boissiere, and Kobe Kato — have reached base safely in all 12 of Arizona's games this season. Reaching back to the 2019 season, Holgate's on-base streak is currently at 33 games — he has reached base safely in every game he has played in since May 13, 2019. Boissiere's on-base streak currently stands at 20 games, dating back to the 2020 season.
FANTASTIC IN FRISCO: Following the Wildcats 4-0 sweep of the field at the Frisco College Baseball Classic last weekend, five Arizona players were named to the All-Tournament team: Jacob Blas (INF), Jacob Berry (INF), Blake Paugh (OF), Ryan Holgate (DH), and Branden Boissiere (MVP) all earned the honors. These five Wildcats combined to hit .429 (36x84) with 34 runs scored, 31 RBI, and 14 extra-base hits over the course of the tournament. Boissiere, the 2021 Frisco Classic MVP, hit .529 (9x17) with eight runs, one double, one home run, and five RBI.
WHO'S THE BOSS: Arizona first baseman Branden Boissiere has done nothing but hit since arriving on campus in Tucson. Over 66 career games (51 starts), Boissiere has posted a .370 career batting average and paired it with a career .531 slugging percentage and .449 on-base percentage. Through 12 games this year he is hitting at a blistering pace, currently batting .500 (23x46) to lead the Pac-12 Conference and rank third in the nation (among players with at least 10 games played). Boissiere also currently leads all Pac-12 players in runs (21), hits (23), and OBP (.586) and ranks among the conference's top five players in RBI (T-5th, 15) and SLG (4th, .783).
RUNNING WILD: Arizona has scored at least one run in 121 straight games — they have not suffered a shutout loss since falling 1-0 at Washington on March 17, 2018. The Wildcats 121-game scoring streak is the longest active streak in the Pac-12 and 25 more games than the next closest team, UCLA (96 games). Over the course of their 121-game scoring stretch, Arizona has been held to three runs or fewer just 18 times. On the flip side, during the streak they have scored five or more runs 59 times. Arizona and UCLA are the only two programs in the Pac-12 Conference with scoring streaks longer than 50 games. UCLA was last shut out by a pitching staff coached by current Arizona associate head coach Nate Yeskie.
POLL POSITION: The Wildcats enter their fourth week of play ranked in all five major national polls. Arizona is currently ranked No. 13 by Collegiate Baseball, No. 16 by Baseball America, No. 17 by the NCBWA and USA Today Coaches Poll, and No. 24 by D1Baseball. The Cats reentered the D1Baseball Top 25 after sweeping the Frisco College Baseball Classic last weekend. Arizona opened the season ranked by every major poll, and earned a preseason ranking from Collegiate Baseball for the fifth year in a row. The only Pac-12 Conference programs currently ranked in the D1Baseball poll are UCLA at No. 6, Oregon State at No. 16, and Arizona at No. 24.
THE OUTSIDERS: Under head coach Jay Johnson, the Wildcats have dominated non-conference opponents to the tune of a sparkling 112-40 (.737) record, giving them the second-best non-conference winning percentage in the Pac-12 behind only Oregon State (.774). Their mark is even better at home, with a non-conference mark of 66-15 (.815) at Hi Corbett Field. Arizona's last non-conference series loss came at Houston in February 2019 — the Wildcats went 1-2 against the Cougars in Houston. In the weeks leading up to Arizona's first Pac-12 Conference series each year under coach Johnson, the Wildcats have combined to go 65-26 (.714).
NEW GUYS GOT GAME: Arizona Baseball checked in at No. 4 in D1Baseball's Newcomer Rankings released in January, giving the Wildcats the best incoming class of student-athletes on the West Coast. The prep portion of the class is highlighted by outfielder Chase Davis (No. 34), catcher Daniel Susac (No. 41), and right-handed pitcher/infielder T.J. Nichols (No. 89), three outstanding high school products who ranked among the top 100 players in last spring's Prep Baseball Report Top 500. They are joined by a trio of outstanding transfers in outfielder Tanner O'Tremba (Texas Tech), right-handed pitcher Austin Smith (Southwestern), and right-handed pitcher Chase Silseth (Southern Nevada). Four additional Arizona newcomers from the high school ranks landed among the PBR Top 500 last spring: Outfielder/right-handed pitcher Kyle Casper (No. 211), third baseman/first baseman Jacob Berry (No. 214), first baseman/left-handed pitcher TJ Curd (No. 272), and right-handed pitcher Ryan Kysar (No. 484).
HOME SWEET HOME: Since 2016, the Jay Johnson-led Wildcats have routinely defended their home, Hi Corbett Field, to the tune of a 107-35 (.754) record. During that stretch, spanning five seasons, they have never lost more than 10 home games in a single campaign. Arizona's home winning percentage of .754 is the second-best mark in the Pac-12 Conference since 2016, behind only Oregon State (.777). Both the Arizona hitters and pitchers have taken advantage of the friendly confines of Hi C over the last five years: From 2016-20 the offense combined to hit .326 with an average of 8.8 runs per game at home (road: .274 AVG and 6.0 R/G), while the pitching staff posted a 3.81 ERA at home (road: 4.83 ERA).
ON THE OFFENSIVE: Through three weeks of play, the Wildcats offense is again showing signs of being one of the most explosive run-scoring threats in the nation. Arizona currently either leads or ranks among the top three teams in the Pac-12 in nearly every statistical category and is averaging 9.7 runs per game. There are numerous carryovers in the Wildcats lineup from the 2019 team that averaged 9.8 runs per game and five returning regular starters from the 2020 squad that all were hitting above .300 before the season was cut short. Branden Boissiere (.500), Ryan Holgate (.412), and Jacob Berry (.412) all currently rank among the top 10 players in the Pac-12 Conference in batting average, with Boissiere's .500 mark leading the league.
EN FUEGO: Dating back to May 3, 2019, the Arizona Wildcats have posted a record of 33-8 (.805). During that stretch, they have not lost a single series/weekend they have played. Arizona's offense, while always a team strength, has been particulary dominant over that stretch, hitting .338 and averaging 10.3 runs per game.