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Arizona Looking for Fourth Straight Pac-12 Series Win on the Palouse

Apr 15, 2021

PULLMAN, Wash. — The No. 16 Arizona Wildcats (21-10, 7-5) look to continue their winning ways on the Palouse this weekend. The Cats seek their fourth consecutive Pac-12 series victory as they visit the Washington State Cougars (16-12, 4-8) for a three-game set.

Dating back to the final stretch of the 2019 season, the Jay Johnson led Wildcats have won six of their last seven Pac-12 series, including a road sweep over this weekend's opponents. Arizona will turn to their potent offense and a bullpen that has been dominant in April to secure another conference series win.

A complete weekend preview is below.
 

Date Time (MST) / Result Arizona Pitcher Washington State Pitcher
Friday, April 16 3:05 PM RHP Chase Silseth (5-0, 4.37) RHP Brandon White (4-2, 5.73)
Saturday, April 17 2:05 PM LHP Garrett Irvin (2-1, 3.12) RHP Zane Mills (3-2, 3.02)
Sunday, April 18 1:05 PM RHP TJ Nichols (3-3, 6.38) TBA

Leading Off...

  • The Wildcats venture to the Palouse for a three-game road series at Washington State this weekend. Arizona is looking for a fourth straight Pac-12 Conference series win. All three games will be broadcast on Wildcats Radio 1290 AM and available online via WSU Live Stream.
  • Arizona leads the all-time series with Washington State, 46-25, with games dating back to 1975. In their last meeting in 2019, the Wildcats swept a three-game series in Pullman on final scores of 21-4, 10-4, and 15-7.
  • The Wildcats have scored at least one run in 140 straight games. They have not suffered a shutout loss since falling 1-0 at Washington on March 17, 2017. Their 140-game scoring streak is the longest active scoring streak in the Pac-12.
  • Arizona infielders Branden Boissiere and Jacob Berry were both named to the Golden Spikes Award Midseason Watch List on Wednesday. The Golden Spikes Award is presented annually to the nation's top amateur baseball player. They are the first Wildcats on the Midseason Watch List since JJ Matijevic in 2017.
  • The Wildcats lead the Pac-12 Conference and rank fifth nationally with 259 runs scored this season. The next closest Pac-12 program, WSU, has scored 63 fewer runs than Arizona.
  • Arizona's defense has shown marked improvement in recent weeks. Since March 21 at UCLA the Wildcats have committed more than one error in a game just once (4, April 2 at ASU), played error-free ball five times, and logged a .977 fielding percentage.

SOME SERIES THEMES: The Arizona Wildcats (21-10, 7-5) ventured to the Palouse for a three-game weekend series against the Washington State Cougars (16-12, 4-8)...All three games will be broadcast on Wildcats Radio 1290 AM and the TuneIn app...The series will also be available to view online via WSU Live Stream...Arizona leads the all-time series against Washington State, 46-25, with games dating back to 1975...In their most recent meeting on the final weekend of the 2019 season the Wildcats swept a three-game series in Pullman on final scores of 21-4, 10-4, and 15-7...Arizona has won their series against Washington State every season under head coach Jay Johnson, and have not lost a series to the Cougars since 2014...The Wildcats lead the Cougars 9-3 over the last five years and 17-9 over the last decade...Over their last 60 games, a stretch that dates back to 2019 and accounts for more than a typical full season's worth of contests, Arizona has posted a record of 44-16 (.733) and earned 12 series victories...The Wildcats have won three straight Pac-12 Conference series, taking two of three games from Oregon, Arizona State, and California in recent weeks...Arizona enters the weekend ranked by all five major national polls, checking in at No. 13 by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball, No. 16 by D1Baseball, and No. 17 by the NCBWA and USA Today Coaches Poll...Wildcat infielders Branden Boissiere and Jacob Berry were both selected to the Golden Spikes Award Midseason Watch List on Wednesday; the Golden Spikes Award is presented annually to the nation's top amateur baseball player...As of games played on April 14, the Arizona offense ranks among the Top 15 offenses in the country in hits (1st, 349), triples (2nd, 15), on-base percentage (3rd, .430), batting average (5th, .318), runs (5th, 259), scoring (8th, 8.4), walks (8th, 177), doubles (12th, 66), and slugging percentage (12th, .485)...Washington State is led by second-year head coach Brian Green, who has steered the Cougars to an overall record of 25-19 and a Pac-12 mark of 4-8 during his time in Pullman...The Cougars won a Pac-12 road series at Utah last weekend, 2-1, and dropped their midweek contest against Gonzaga on Tuesday evening.

STREAKONOMICS: The longest currently active hit streak on the team belongs to true freshman Jacob Berry, who has hit safely in 16 straight games dating back to March 14. Over that stretch, Berry has posted a .439 (29x66) batting average with 11 runs scored, five doubles, one triple, three home runs, and 17 RBI. Berry's 16-game streak is the longest on the team this year, two games longer Ryan Holgate's 14-game streak to open the season. Holgate (11 games), Branden Boissiere (8 games), and Jacob Blas (7 games) all also sport extended hit streaks. The two longest currently active on-base streaks belong to Donta' Williams and Berry, who have reached base safely in 17 and 16 straight games, respectively. Holgate (11 games), Boissiere (8 games), and Blas (7 games) also currently boast extended on-base streaks.

BOISSIERE, BERRY EARN NATIONAL RECOGNITION: Arizona Baseball infielders Branden Boissiere and Jacob Berry have both been named to the Golden Spikes Award Midseason Watch List, USA Baseball announced on Wednesday. The Golden Spikes Award, the highest honor in college baseball, is given annually to the nation's top amateur baseball player. Notable former winners of the award include Kris Bryant, Stephen Strasburg, Buster Posey, and many more. Arizona is one of just four schools in the country with multiple players on this year's midseason watch list. Boissiere and Berry are the sixth and seventh Wildcats all-time to earn a place on the award's midseason watch list, and the first since infielder JJ Matijevic earned the honor in 2017. Berry, a true freshman, leads the team in batting average (.414), home runs (6), RBI (35), slugging percentage (.694), and on-base percentage (.511). His .414 batting average is the best mark among all Division I freshmen, he leads the Pac-12 Conference in RBI, and is among the Top 10 players on the circuit in nearly every offensive statistical category. He is currently in the middle of a team-best 16-game hit streak and has logged 14 multi-hit performances. Boissiere, a sophomore, is currently batting .382 with 39 runs, 10 extra-base hits, 30 RBI, a .553 slugging percentage, a .483 on-base percentage, and more walks (24) than strikeouts (21). His 39 runs scored are tied for the second most in the nation and his 47 base hits lead the Pac-12. In addition to his prowess at the plate, Boissiere has posted a sterling .992 fielding percentage as the Wildcats everyday first baseman.

THE 'PEN IS MIGHTIER: The Wildcats bullpen has been on a tear recently, combining to allow just eight earned runs across 38.0 innings of work in the last eight games. During that stretch, Arizona relievers allowed just 23 hits (19 singles) and issued just 10 walks while striking out 39. Quinn Flanagan (3 games), Randy Abshier (3 games), Austin Smith (2 games), and Dawson Netz (2 games) have all made multiple appearances over the stretch without allowing a single run to score. That group has combined to allow just six hits while striking out 13 since the calendar turned to April. The Wildcats have enjoyed a distinct bullpen advantage this year, posting a 4.51 ERA (67ERx133.2IP) while opponent bullpens have logged an 7.99 ERA (134ERx151.0IP).

RUNNING WILD: Arizona has scored at least one run in 140 straight games — they have not suffered a shutout loss since falling 1-0 at Washington on March 17, 2018. The Wildcats 140-game scoring streak is the longest active streak in the Pac-12 and 27 more games than the next closest team, UCLA (113 games). Over the course of their 140-game scoring stretch, Arizona has been held to three runs or fewer just 23 times. On the flip side, during the streak they have scored five or more runs 71 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.

MILESTONE MEN: Several Wildcats are quickly approaching or have recently reached significant career milestones:

  • Jacob Blas (106), Ryan Holgate (106), and Branden Boissiere (102) all recently picked up their 100th career base hits. 
  • Donta' Williams has been hit by pitch 37 times in his career, 5th most all-time in program history. He is two HBP shy of tying Jason Donald (1995-98) for fourth all-time.
  • Vince Vannelle has eight career saves and is one save shy of moving into a tie for 9th on the Wildcats all-time saves leaderboard.
  • Quinn Flanagan is one win shy of 10 career wins at Arizona.

POLL POSITION: The Wildcats enter their ninth week of play ranked in all five major national polls. Arizona is currently ranked No. 13 by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball, No. 16 by D1Baseball, and No. 17 by the NCBWA and USA Today Coaches Poll. 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 Oregon at No. 15 and Stanford at No. 20.