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No. 18 Wildcats, Trojans Continue Series on Saturday

Apr 22, 2021

TUCSON, Ariz. — The No. 18 Arizona Wildcats (24-11, 9-6) continue their extended homestand with a three-game Pac-12 series against the USC Trojans (18-13, 6-6) this weekend at Hi Corbett Field.

The Wildcats kicked off the eight-game home stretch with an 11-4 victory over New Mexico State on Tuesday and are looking to carry that momentum into a fifth consecutive Pac-12 series win this weekend.

Arizona is just one game out of first place in the Pac-12 race at the halfway point in the conference schedule. The Wildcats dangerous offense and recently emergent bullpen aim to carry the club to a strong second-half performance.

A complete weekend preview is below.

Date Time (MST) / Result Arizona Pitcher USC Pitcher
Friday, April 23 W, 8-5 - -
Saturday, April 24 6:00 PM LHP Garrett Irvin (3-1, 3.76) RHP Chandler Champlain (2-3, 5.75)
Sunday, April 26 1:00 PM TBA LHP Alex Cornwell (4-3, 5.10)

Leading Off...

  • No. 18 Arizona welcomes the USC Trojans to Hi Corbett Field for a three-game conference series this weekend. The Wildcats are playing for their fifth consecutive Pac-12 series win. All three games will be broadcast on Wildcats Radio 1290 AM and available to watch online via Arizona Live Stream.
  • The Wildcats trail in the all-time series against the Trojans, 115-122-1, with games dating back to 1921. In their most recent meeting, Arizona swept a two-game series with USC at Hi Corbett in 2019 on final scores of 12-4 and 8-5. Arizona has won their series against USC every year since 2017 and has not lost a home series to the Trojans since 2015 (0-3).
  • Arizona has scored at least one run in 144 straight games. They have not suffered a shutout loss since falling 1-0 at Washington on March 17, 2017. Their 144-game scoring streak is the longest active scoring streak in the Pac-12.
  • The Wildcats lead the Pac-12 and rank third nationally with 299 runs scored this year. The next closest Pac-12 program, UCLA, has scored 45 fewer runs. Arizona's scoring average of 8.5 runs per game is the fifth-best mark in Division I.
  • Arizona's pitching staff currently ranks second in the Pac-12 with 333 strikeouts. The Wildcats have posted a K/9 rate of 9.93 under associate head coach Nate Yeskie after logging a 7.52 K/9 rate in 2019.
  • The top four players in RBI in the Pac-12 are all Wildcats: Jacob Berry (40), Ryan Holgate (38), Daniel Susac (36), and Branden Boissiere (33).

SOME SERIES THEMES: The Arizona Wildcats continue their eight-game homestand with a three-game Pac-12 conference set against the USC Trojans this weekend...All three games will be broadcast live on Wildcats Radio 1290 AM with Brian Jeffries on the call and available to watch online via Arizona Live Stream...The Wildcats trail in the all-time series with the Trojans, 115-122-1, with games dating back to 1921...In the two program's most recent meeting, Arizona swept a two game series in Tucson in 2019 on final scores of 12-4 and 8-5...The third game of the series was canceled due to inclement weather...The Wildcats have won their annual series against the Trojans every year since 2017 and have not lost a home series to USC since 2015 (0-3)...Over their last 64 games, a stretch that dates back to 2019 and accounts for more than a typical full season's worth of games, Arizona has posted a record of 47-17 (.734) and earned 13 series victories...The Wildcats have won four consecutive Pac-12 series, taking two of three games from No. 16 Oregon, Arizona State, California, and Washington State in the last month...Arizona enters the weekend ranked in all five major national polls, checking in at No. 13 from Baseball America, No. 16 from Collegiate Baseball, No. 17 from the NCBWA and the USA Today Coaches Poll, and No. 18 from D1Baseball...Wildcat infielders Branden Boissiere and Jacob Berry were both recently selected to the Golden Spikes Award Midseason Watch List; the Golden Spikes Award is presented annually to the nation's top amateur baseball player...Berry was also tabbed to the Bobby Bragan Collegiate Slugger Award midseason watch list this week...The top four players in the Pac-12 in RBI are all Wildcats: Berry (40), Ryan Holgate (38), Daniel Susac (36), and Boissiere (33) pace the conference and have combined for more RBI than three Pac-12 programs have as a team...USC is led by second-year head coach Jason Gill, who took over the Trojans program in June 2019...During his time in Los Angeles, Gill has steered USC to an overall record of 28-18 with a Pac-12 mark of 6-6...The Trojans dropped their latest conference series, 1-2, at home against Oregon...They turned around and defeated Loyola Marymount 8-1 in a midweek tilt on Tuesday evening.

STREAKONOMICS: No Arizona player currently sports a hit streak longer than three games. Ryan Holgate, Branden Boissiere, Kobe Kato, Nik McClaughry, Daniel Susac, and Tony Bullard all boast active three-game hit streaks. The Wildcats longest hit streak this year came from Jacob Berry, who hit safely in 17 straight games from March 14 - April 16. Outfielder Donta' Williams currently leads the team with an active 21-game on-base streak that dates back to March 13. Over the course of that streak, Williams has posted a .282 (20x71) batting average and a .485 on-base percentage. The longest on-base streak of Williams' career is 24 games, accomplished twice. Ryan Holgate (15 games) and Branden Boissiere (12 games) both also sport extended on-base streaks.

BERRY NAMED TO SLUGGER WATCH LIST: Arizona Baseball breakout star Jacob Berry has been added to the midseason watch list for the Bobby Bragan Collegiate Slugger Award, the foundation announced on Wednesday. The award, which was created by the Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation in 2017, is presented annually based on performance at the plate, academics, and personal integrity. Berry was one of nine players added to the midseason watch list, which now stands at 58 players. Finalists for this year's award will be announced in May, with a winner being crowned in June. Through 34 games, the true freshman has hit .403 with 32 runs scored, 12 doubles, two triples, nine home runs, and 40 RBI to go alongside an astounding .736 slugging percentage and .497 on-base percentage. He currently leads the team in hits, home runs, RBI, slugging percentage, and on-base percentage and ranks among the top 10 players in the Pac-12 in nearly every statistical category.

CAST AWAY: Arizona's bullpen has excelled at stranding inherited baserunners this year — as a group they have combined to inherit 120 baserunners and allowed only 45 of them (37.5%) to come around and score. Two relievers — senior right-hander Preston Price and freshman southpaw Riley Cooper — have been particularly adept at leaving baserunners longing. Price has inherited a team-leading 22 baserunners and only allowed three (13.6%) of them to score. Price has inherited at least one baserunner in 10-of-12 appearances this year and has been saddled with multiple inherited runners in 7-of-12 outings. Twice this season — March 5 vs. Oklahoma and March 26 vs. Oregon — Price has inherited a bases-loaded situation and did not allow a single run to score. Cooper's 18 inherited runners are second-most on the team and only four (22.2%) of them have scored.

RUNNING WILD: Arizona has scored at least one run in 144 straight games — they have not suffered a shutout loss since falling 1-0 at Washington on March 17, 2018. The Wildcats 144-game scoring streak is the longest active streak in the Pac-12 and 27 more games than the next closest team, UCLA (117 games). Over the course of their 144-game scoring stretch, Arizona has been held to three runs or fewer just 24 times. On the flip side, during the streak they have scored five or more runs 74 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.

BABY BOMBERS: True freshmen Jacob Berry (9) and Daniel Susac (7) have combined to hit 16 home runs this year, making them the most prolific true freshman power duo in the nation this season. Three other schools in the country (Texas Tech, UT Martin, Rutgers) have two players classified as freshmen each with 7+ home runs, but none of those other duos consist of two first-year freshmen. Berry's nine home runs this season are the third-most in Division I among true freshmen.

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

  • Jacob Blas (106), Ryan Holgate (112), and Branden Boissiere (109) all recently picked up their 100th career base hits. 
  • Donta' Williams has been hit by pitch 38 times in his career, 5th most all-time in program history. He is one HBP shy of tying Jason Donald (1995-98) for fourth all-time.
  • Donta' Williams (87) and Ryan Holgate (83) are both fewer than 20 RBI shy of collecting 100 career RBI.
  • Vince Vannelle has nine career saves and is now tied for 9th all-time on Arizona's career saves leaderboard. He is one save shy of moving into a tie for 8th all-time with Tyler Lawton (1979-82).
  • Quinn Flanagan is one win shy of 10 career wins at Arizona.

LEADOFF LEGENDS: As a team, the Wildcats have combined to reach base in nearly half of their at-bats leading off an inning. In 302 chances this year, Arizona batters have reached base 138 times (.457). In leadoff situations the offense has combined to hit .310 (76x245) with a .440 on-base percentage, 44 walks, and 21 extra-base hits. First baseman Branden Boissiere has reached base in 22-of-35 (.629) opportunities as a leadoff batter and hits .481 (13x27) in those scenarios. Second baseman Kobe Kato has reached safely as a leadoff batter 16-of-27 times (.593) and is hitting a team-best .522 when opening an inning.