Arizona Hosts Ole Miss for Super Regional Showdown
TUCSON, Ariz. — The Arizona Wildcats (43-15) are set to host the Ole Miss Rebels (44-20) in the Super Regional round of the 2021 NCAA Baseball Championship this weekend at Hi Corbett Field. Seats are still available for every game in the best-of-three series and can be purchased HERE with options for All-Session passes and Single-Session tickets.
The Pac-12 vs. SEC battle promises to be one of the best matchups of the Super Regional round, with two historic college baseball powerhouses going head-to-head. No. 5 Arizona and No. 13 Ole Miss both feature dangerous offensive attacks and deep, talented pitching staffs that make this Top 15 series can't miss.
The winner of this weekend's three-game series will punch their ticket to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.
For more, a complete weekend preview is below.
|Date||Opponent||Time (MST) / TV||Arizona Pitcher||Ole Miss Pitcher|
|Friday, June 11||Ole Miss||6:00 PM / ESPNU||TBA||TBA|
|Saturday, June 12||Ole Miss||7:00 PM / ESPN2||TBA||TBA|
|Sunday, June 13||Ole Miss||6:00 PM / ESPN2||TBA||TBA|
- The Wildcats swept their way through the Tucson NCAA Regional last weekend at Hi Corbett Field, logging a 12-6 win over Grand Canyon, and a pair of victories (4-0, 5-2) over UC Santa Barbara for their 20th NCAA Regional/District championship.
- Arizona has now reached the Super Regional round of the postseason twice under head coach Jay Johnson. They are the only Pac-12 program to advance to Super Regionals multiple times since 2016.
- The Wildcats and Rebels have faced off once before in the postseason, with Arizona knocking Ole Miss out of the 1956 College World Series on a final score of 7-3.
- Arizona has scored at least one run in 167 straight games. They have not suffered a shutout loss since falling 1-0 at Washington on March 17, 2017. Their 167-game scoring streak is the longest active scoring streak in the Pac-12.
- True freshmen Jacob Berry (15) and Daniel Susac (12) have combined for 27 home runs this year. They are the first pair of Arizona freshmen to both hit double-digit home runs in program history.
- Arizona finished the regular season with an overall record of 40-15 and a Pac-12 mark of 21-9. The Wildcats compiled 40 regular season wins for the 13th time in program history while their 21 Pac-12 victories were the second-most conference wins in program history.
SOME SERIES THEMES: The Arizona Wildcats and Hi Corbett Field host the Tucson NCAA Super Regional this weekend with the Ole Miss Rebels coming into town for the second round of the 2021 NCAA Baseball Championship...All three games this weekend will be televised on either ESPN2 or ESPNU with Roxy Bernstein and Wes Clements on the call...The entire series will also be broadcast live on Wildcats Radio 1290 AM with Brian Jeffries calling all of the action...Arizona is currently competing in their 40th NCAA Baseball Championship, tied for the sixth-most postseason appearances among all Division I programs (also: Cal State Fullerton, Arizona State)...The Wildcats finished the regular season with an overall record of 40-15 and a Pac-12 mark of 21-9...Arizona compiled 40 regular season wins for the 13th time in program history, while their 21 Pac-12 victories were the second-most conference wins in program history...Since the final stretch of the 2019 season, which ended on a 10-game win streak, Arizona has rolled to the tune of an impressive 63-20 (.759) record with 18 winning weekends...The Wildcats entered postseason play last weekend ranked in all five major national polls as a unanimous Top 10 program...Arizona was ranked No. 5 by D1Baseball, the NCBWA, and the USA Today Coaches Poll and No. 6 by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball...The NCBWA and Collegiate Baseball updated their polls following the NCAA Regional round, though Arizona saw no movement in either ranking...Arizona's offense continues it's years-long trend of dominating the Pac-12 — the Wildcats wrapped up the regular season leading the conference in runs, hits, doubles, triples, RBI, walks, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, total bases, and extra-base hits while placing tied for third on the circuit in home runs...Their dominance extends beyond the Pac-12; Arizona is currently fifth in the nation in scoring with an average of 8.6 runs per game while their 498 runs rank second in Division I and lead all Power 5 programs...Nine Wildcats earned a dozen Pac-12 postseason honors last week, including Pac-12 Coach of the Year Jay Johnson and Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Daniel Susac.
- Arizona is participating in their 40th NCAA Tournament in 2021, tied for the sixth most in Division I history with Cal State Fullerton and Arizona State.
- The Wildcats sport an all-time winning record of 7-3 (.700) in the Super Regional round of the NCAA Baseball Championship, with three Super Regional championships (last: 2016).
- Since 2016, Arizona is the only Pac-12 program to advance to the NCAA Super Regional round multiple times.
- Since the NCAA Baseball Championship format change in 1999, Arizona has advanced to five Super Regional competitions, including one hosted at Hi Corbett Field in Tucson in 2012.
- Under head coach Jay Johnson, the Wildcats have made the NCAA Tournament in 3-of-5 full seasons (not including COVID-shortened 2020 campaign).
- Arizona's postseason record under coach Johnson is 15-6 (.714). The Cats have gone 8-3 in NCAA Regionals, 2-0 in NCAA Super Regionals, and 5-3 at the College World Series under coach Johnson's direction.
- Outfielder Tanner O'Tremba was the only current Wildcat with NCAA Tournament experience headed into last weekend's Tucson Regional. The sophomore made five postseason appearances with Texas Tech in 2019, including a start against Michigan in the College World Series.
STREAKONOMICS: Arizona's longest active hit streak belongs to Tony Bullard, arguably one of the hottest hitters in college baseball at the moment. During the course of his current six-game hit streak, Bullard has posted a .542 batting average with seven runs scored, two doubles, one triple, four home runs, 11 RBI, a 1.208 slugging percentage, and a .560 on-base percentage. Included in his six-game hit streak are four multi-hit games and three multi-RBI performances. The longest posted by an Arizona player this season was a 17-game hit streak by Jacob Berry from March 14 - April 16, during which he hit .435 (30x69) with 11 runs, 10 XBH, and 17 RBI. Donta' Williams has reached base safely in 44 consecutive games, the longest on-base streak of his career and the second longest streak of the StatCrew era. During his streak, dating back to March 13 versus Air Force, Williams has posted a .519 on-base percentage to go alongside a .358 (57x159) batting average, 56 runs, 34 RBI, 20 extra-base hits, 39 walks, and 15 HBP.
PAC-12 POSTSEASON AWARDS: Nine Arizona Wildcats were honored with twelve Pac-12 postseason awards last week, highlighted by the selection of Daniel Susac as Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and head coach Jay Johnson as Pac-12 Coach of the Year. In addition to Arizona's two major award winners, Chase Silseth, Donta Williams, Susac, Jacob Berry, and Branden Boissiere were selected to the Pac-12 All-Conference team. Williams and Susac were also tabbed to the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team. Finally, Ryan Holgate, Vince Vannelle, and Kobe Kato all earned Pac-12 All-Conference Honorable Mention recognition.
PAC-12 CHAMPIONS: Two weeks ago, by way of an Oregon loss to California in the second game of their final series, the Arizona Wildcats secured the 2021 Pac-12 Championship outright. Arizona finished the conference slate with a record of 21-9 and a win percentage of .700 to earn their first outright Pac-10/12 Championship since 1992. The outright championship for Arizona was the program's first since division play ended in 1999. With the outright conference title in hand, the Wildcats have now won 10 league titles in program history, five of which have been Pac-10/12 Championships. Arizona's 21 conference wins this season are the second-most in program history, behind only the 1989 squad's 23 Pac-10 victories.
RECORD WRECKERS: Freshman catcher Daniel Susac spent the Wildcats 30 Pac-12 contests dominating the circuit, and in turn has thoroughly rewritten many of the Wildcats freshman conference records. During Pac-12 play, Susac hit .363 (45x124) with 28 runs, 12 doubles, one triple, eight home runs, 34 RBI, a .669 slugging percentage, and a .397 on-base percentage. In those 30 games, Susac picked up multiple hits in 12 of them and drove in multiple RBI seven times. He also reached base safely in each of the Wildcats final 18 conference contests. When it was all said and done, Susac broke or tied eight Arizona freshman conference records, leaving his mark on the program for years to come. Fellow freshman Jacob Berry tied with Susac in hits and home runs during conference play to also broke and tie those records, respectively. Additionally, Berry has already set overall Arizona freshman records with 37 extra-base hits (Shelley Duncan, 33, 1999) and 152 total bases (Shelley Duncan, 135, 1999) and looks to expand his records in the postseason.
BABY BOMBERS: True freshmen Jacob Berry (15) and Daniel Susac (12) have combined to hit 27 home runs this year. They are the first pair of Arizona freshmen to both hit double digit home runs in a single season in program history. On top of that, Berry and Susac are the most prolific true freshman power duo in the nation this season. Just one other school in the country (Texas Tech) has two players classified as freshmen each with 12+ home runs, but both of their players are not first-year freshmen. Susac and Berry's eight home runs in Pac-12 play tied Shelley Duncan's conference freshman HR record set in 1999.
RUNNING WILD: Arizona has scored at least one run in 167 straight games — they have not suffered a shutout loss since falling 1-0 at Washington on March 17, 2018. The Wildcats 167-game scoring streak is the longest active streak in the Pac-12 and 26 more games than the next closest team, UCLA (141 games). Over the course of their 167-game scoring stretch, Arizona has been held to three runs or fewer just 26 times. On the flip side, during the streak they have scored five or more runs 90 times. Arizona and UCLA are the only two programs in the Pac-12 Conference with scoring streaks longer than 100 games. UCLA was last shut out by a pitching staff coached by current Arizona associate head coach Nate Yeskie.
THE BIG FOUR-OH: With two wins over Dixie State the final weekend of the regular season, Arizona reached 40 regular season wins for the first time since going 40-15 in 2007 and for just the 13th time in program history. In those 12 previous 40+ win regular seasons, twice the Wildcats went on to win the College World Series (1976, 1986). Andy Lopez posted one 40+ win season (2007), Frank Sancet notched four (1956, 1961, 1962, 1970), and Jerry Kindall accomplished the feat seven times (1974, 1975, 1976, 1978, 1985, 1986, 1989).
THE 'PEN IS MIGHTIER: The Arizona bullpen has made significant strides since the calendar turned over to April 1 — in 35 games since then, the Wildcats pen has gone 15-3 with a 2.94 ERA (53ERx162.0IP) while allowing opposing batters to hit just .220. In the 23 games prior to April 1, Arizona's bullpen had logged a 5.55 ERA (59ERx95.2IP) and allowed opposing batters to hit .265. Five key pieces of the Wildcats bullpen turnaround have been Gil Luna, Quinn Flanagan, Dawson Netz, TJ Nichols, and Chandler Murphy, who have combined to make 52 relief appearances and log a 1.48 ERA (16ERx97.0IP) and an 11.23 K/9 since April 1.
MILESTONE MEN: Several Wildcats are quickly approaching or have recently reached significant statistical milestones:
- C, DANIEL SUSAC
- 20 doubles: One double shy of tying Arizona freshman record (Jett Bandy, 21, 2009)
- DH, JACOB BERRY
- 36 XBH: Breaks Arizona freshman record (Shelley Duncan, 33, 1999)
- 80 hits: Three hits shy of tying Arizona freshman record (Brad Boyer, 83, 2003)
- 64 RBI: Four RBI shy of tying Arizona freshman record (Shelley Duncan, 68, 1999)
- .679 SLG: Currently on pace to break Arizona freshman record (Shelley Duncan, .640, 1999)
- OF, DONTA' WILLIAMS
- 40 career hit by pitch: 4th most all-time in program history. Two HBP shy of tying Brad Glenn (2006-09) for 3rd all-time
- RHP, VINCE VANNELLE
- 12 career saves: 8th all-time on Arizona's career saves leaderboard. One save shy of moving into a tie for 6th all-time with Joe Estes (1983-86) and Carlos Rico (1991-92)
- Eight saves in 2021: Tied for 7th most in a single season in program history. One more save would move him into a tie for 6th all-time
ON THE OFFENSIVE: Over the course of the season, the Wildcats offense once again proved to be 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 8.6 runs per game, the fifth-best mark in the nation. 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. Jacob Berry (.357), Branden Boissiere (.355), Ryan Holgate (.353), Kobe Kato (.351), Donta' Williams (.338), Daniel Susac (.338), and Nik McClaughry (.336) all currently rank among the top 15 players in the Pac-12 Conference in batting average.
CAST AWAY: Arizona's bullpen has excelled at stranding inherited baserunners this year — as a group they have combined to inherit 192 baserunners and allowed only 65 of them (33.9%) to come around and score. Three relievers — senior right-hander Preston Price, freshman righty Dawson Netz, and freshman southpaw Riley Cooper — have been particularly adept at leaving baserunners longing. Price has inherited 24 baserunners and only allowed four (16.6%) of them to score. Price has inherited at least one baserunner in 11-of-14 appearances this year and has been saddled with multiple inherited runners in 8-of-14 outings. Three times this season — Feb. 19 vs. Ball State, 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 32 inherited runners leads the team and only seven (21.9%) of them have scored. Netz has picked up 22 inherited baserunners through his 22 appearances and allowed just six (27.3%) of them to score.
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).
PITCH PERFECT: Arizona's pitching staff has worked their way into the program record books this year, logging near historic marks in both saves and strikeouts. The Wildcats pitchers have fanned 545 opposing batters this year, the third-best mark in school history and second-best in the Pac-12 this season. They need nine more strikeouts to tie the 2005 squad for second all-time and 27 more to match the 2008 team for first place. The Cats staff is even closer to first place in saves, where they have 17, the second-most in program history and just one behind the 2016 team's high-water mark of 18. Vince Vannelle (8), Quinn Flanagan (4), Preston Price (3), Gil Luna (1), and Randy Abshier (1) have all contributed to the effort with saves. Vannelle's eight saves this year are the seventh-most in school history.
CATS COACHES: Head coach Jay Johnson is again calling Hi Corbett Field home for his sixth season leading the Wildcats in 2021. During his time in Tucson, Johnson has steered Arizona Baseball to an impressive 206-111 (.650) overall record and an 82-67 (.550) mark in Pac-12 Conference play. The 206 wins compiled by coach Johnson and the Wildcats since 2016 are the second-most in the Pac-12 over that stretch, behind only Oregon State (224). Coach Johnson is assisted 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, 12 Freshmen of the Year, and four Defensive Players of the Year. That same group has combined to steer their team to 21 NCAA Regional appearances, nine 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.