Wildcats Go for Sweep of ASU on Saturday
TUCSON, Ariz. — The No. 22 Arizona Wildcats (18-7, 5-3) and Arizona State Sun Devils (15-7, 4-4) conclude their three-game series on Saturday night at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
The Wildcats go for the series sweep on Saturday after taking game on 10-5 and game two 7-6. The series finale on Saturday is set for 7:00 p.m. MST on the Pac-12 Networks.
Arizona enters the important in-state rivalry series fresh off a 2-1 series victory over the then-No. 16 ranked Oregon Ducks last weekend. The Wildcats red hot offense has once again led the charge for Arizona, averaging 9.2 runs per game and leading the Pac-12 in nearly every statistical category.
Catcher Daniel Susac, who hit four home runs and posted a .556 batting average last week, was recently named the Pac-12 Player of the Week ahead of the series in Phoenix.
A complete weekend preview is below.
|Date||Time (MST) / Result||Arizona Pitcher||Arizona State Pitcher|
|Thursday, April 1||W, 10-5||-||-|
|Friday, April 2||W, 7-6||-||-|
|Saturday, April 3||7:00 PM||RHP TJ Nichols (3-1, 5.60)||LHP Justin Fall (3-1, 2.16)|
- The Wildcats head north for a three-game road series against their in-state rivals, the Arizona State Sun Devils. The full series will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks, with Dominic Cotroneo (PxP) on the call.
- Arizona leads the all-time series with Arizona State 253-222-1, with games dating back to 1907. In their last meeting, the Sun Devils swept the four-game season-series in 2019, with games split between Phoenix (3-0) and Tucson (1-0). Under head coach Jay Johnson the Wildcats have won the season-series against ASU twice, in 2018 (3-1) and 2017 (4-1).
- Arizona has scored at least one run in 132 straight games. They have not suffered a shutout loss since falling 1-0 at Washington on March 17, 2018. Their 132-game scoring streak is the longest active scoring streak in the Pac-12.
- Wildcats catcher Daniel Susac was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week on Tuesday. In four games last week he hit .556 with 6 runs, 3 doubles, 4 home runs, 10 RBI, and a 1.389 slugging percentage. It was the second Pac-12 POTW honor for an Arizona Player this year, with Branden Boissiere earning the nod on March 2.
- As of games played March 30, the Arizona offense leads all Division I programs with 212 runs scored and ranks Top 10 in the nation in triples (T-1st, 12), hits (2nd, 258), on-base percentage (2nd, .438), scoring (3rd, 9.2), walks (4th, 144), batting average (6th, .318), and slugging percentage (10th, .501).
SOME SERIES THEMES: The Arizona Wildcats head north up I-10 for a three-game road series against their in-state rivals, the Arizona State Sun Devils...The full series will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks with Dominic Cotroneo (PxP) on the call...The Wildcats and Sun Devils have not played each other since 2019, as inclement weather and the COVID-19 pandemic both prevented the playing of their scheduled games... Arizona leads the all-time series with Arizona State 253-222-1, with games dating back to 1907...In their last meeting, the Sun Devils swept the four-game season-series in 2019, with games split between Phoenix (3-0) and Tucson (1-0)...Under head coach Jay Johnson the Wildcats have won the season-series against ASU twice, in 2018 (3-1) and 2017 (4-1)...Arizona recently took two-of-three games from then-No. 16 Oregon at Hi Corbett Field last weekend...Over their last 52 games, dating back to the final stretch of the 2019 season, Arizona has posted a record of 39-13 (.750) and earned 10 series victories...The Wildcats enter the weekend ranked in all five major national polls; they currently check in at No. 16 by Baseball America, No. 19 by the NCBWA and Collegiate Baseball, No. 21 by the USA Today Coaches Poll, and No. 22 by D1Baseball...Six regular members of the Arizona starting lineup are currently hitting above the .300 mark, with three hitting over .330: Jacob Berry (.449), Branden Boissiere (.378), Ryan Holgate (.337), Daniel Susac (.313), Kobe Kato (.312), and Donta' Williams (.310) are all excelling at the plate through 23 games...Arizona State is led by seventh-year head coach Tracy Smith, who has been at the head of the program since June 2014...Through the 2020 season, Smith had led the Sun Devils to an overall record of 169-133...The Sun Devils currently ride a three-game win streak after sweeping Washington State last weekend on scores of 10-0, 5-4, and 9-0.
STREAKONOMICS: Standout freshman third baseman/designated hitter Jacob Berry currently rides an eight-game hit streak, the longest active streak on the team. Over the course of his streak, Berry is hitting .545 (18x33) with nine runs scored, five doubles, one triple, three home runs, and 13 RBI. Berry's hit streak dates back to March 14 and spans both of the Wildcats first two Pac-12 Conference series against No. 11 UCLA and No. 16 Oregon. The next-longest streak on the team belongs to Blake Paugh, who carries a six-game streak into the weekend. Paugh and fellow outfielder Donta' Williams lead the team with active nine-game on base streaks. Berry is close behind, having reached base safely in eight straight contests.
SUSAC NAMED PAC-12 PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Arizona Baseball catcher Daniel Susac, fresh off a standout week that included two multi-home run performances, was selected as the Pac-12 Player of the Week on Tuesday. Across four games, Susac posted a .556 (10-for-18) batting average with six runs scored, three doubles, four home runs, 10 RBI, an astounding 1.389 slugging percentage, and a .556 on-base percentage. His outstanding performances at the plate helped lead Arizona to a 3-1 record last week that included a pair of wins over No. 16 Oregon over the weekend. This is the first Pac-12 Player of the Week honor of Susac's career, and the second Pac-12 weekly honor bestowed upon an Arizona player this year. First baseman Branden Boissiere was previously tabbed as the conference's Player of the Week on March 2. In addition to his conference honors, Susac was also picked as the Perfect Game/Rawlings National Player of the Week. After completing his tear through the week, Susac ranked among the top 10 players in the Pac-12 in doubles (T-2nd, 9), extra-base hits (T-2nd, 14), RBI (T-3rd), home runs (T-6th, 5), total bases (7th, 49), and slugging percentage (9th, .613). Offense isn't the only phase of the game in which Susac excelled last week, as he posted a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage on 34 chances while starting all four games at catcher.
OOPS, ALL BERRYS: True freshman third baseman/designated hitter Jacob Berry has put together an eye-popping beginning to his collegiate career. He currently leads the team in batting average (.449), slugging percentage (.846), on-base percentage (.550), home runs (6), and RBI (31). Berry's .449 batting average currently ranks No. 19 in the nation and leads all Division I freshmen who have played in at least 15 games this year. Additionally, his current .846 slugging percentage leads all freshmen nationwide, regardless of number of games played, and ranks No. 11 among all Division I players. Berry also stands out among his Pac-12 Conference peers, as he is currently among the top three players on the circuit in slugging percentage (1st, .846), RBI (1st, 31), total bases (1st, 66), extra-base hits (1st, 17), batting average (1st, .449), on-base percentage (2nd, .550), runs (3rd, 24), doubles (T-2nd, 9), and home runs (T-4th, 6). The switch-hitter has done it from both sides of the plate, too — he is currently hitting .456 as a lefty and .429 as a righty. While hitting right-handed this year, Berry has collected nine hits, five of which are home runs.
RUNNING WILD: Arizona has scored at least one run in 132 straight games — they have not suffered a shutout loss since falling 1-0 at Washington on March 17, 2018. The Wildcats 132-game scoring streak is the longest active streak in the Pac-12 and 26 more games than the next closest team, UCLA (106 games). Over the course of their 132-game scoring stretch, Arizona has been held to three runs or fewer just 21 times. On the flip side, during the streak they have scored five or more runs 67 times. Arizona, UCLA, and Oregon are the only three 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.
WHO'S THE BOSS: Arizona first baseman Branden Boissiere has done nothing but hit since arriving on campus in Tucson. Over 74 career games (59 starts), Boissiere has posted a .349 career batting average and paired it with a career .506 slugging percentage and .440 on-base percentage. Through 23 games this year he is hitting at a blistering pace, currently batting .378 (34x90) to rank eighth in the Pac-12 Conference. Boissiere is tied with teammate Donta' Williams for first among all Division I players with 33 runs scored and is tied for second in the Pac-12 with 34 hits. He also ranks among the conference's top 10 players in OBP (3rd, .496), walks (2nd, 20), RBI (T-3rd, 24), and home runs (T-8th, 4). Boissiere has logged 11 multi-hit games this year, tied for first on the team with Ryan Holgate and Jacob Berry — he has five two-hit games, five three-hit games, and one career-high four-hit performance.
POLL POSITION: The Wildcats enter their seventh week of play ranked in all five major national polls. Arizona is currently ranked No. 16 by Baseball America, No. 19 by the NCBWA and Collegiate Baseball, No. 21 by the USA Today Coaches Poll, and No. 22 by D1Baseball. 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 other Pac-12 Conference programs currently ranked in the D1Baseball poll are UCLA at No. 10, Oregon at No. 20, and Oregon State at No. 21.
CATS COACHES: Head coach Jay Johnson remains at Hi Corbett Field for his sixth season leading the Wildcats. During his time in Tucson, Johnson has steered Arizona Baseball to an impressive 177-102 (.634) overall record and a 63-61 (.508) mark in Pac-12 Conference play. The 177 wins compiled by coach Johnson and the Wildcats since 2016 are the third-most in the Pac-12 over that stretch, behind only Oregon State (200) and Stanford (181). Coach Johnson is joined by second-year associate head coach Nate Yeskie, sixth year assistant coach Dave Lawn, and sixth-year volunteer assistant coach Marc Wanaka. The Arizona coaching staff's credentials are impeccable, with coaches Johnson, Yeskie, and Lawn having combined to develop 15 conference Pitchers of the Year, 12 Players of the Year, 11 Freshmen of the Year, and four Defensive Players of the Year. That same group has combined to steer their team to 20 NCAA Regional appearances, eight NCAA Super Regional berths, and six trips to the College World Series. In addition to their unparalleled success at the collegiate level, Arizona's coaches have steered a staggering number of their players into the professional ranks. Coaches Johnson and Yeskie have combined to produce 58 Major League Baseball Draft picks, 31 of which were taken in the first ten rounds, while coach Lawn alone has developed 22 players who have gone on to make it to MLB.