The move to Hi-Corbett Field this year has re-energized the baseball community in Tuson, partly due to the fact that Arizona fans can now watch with a cold one in hand. The best part, however, is the entertainment on the field: the Wildcats are fun to watch.
They are really fun to watch.
Arizona (21-7, 7-2) is ranked 5th in the nation and tied for 1st place in the Pac-12 with UCLA. They have only lost one series (0-2 against New Mexico State) and tied only one series (1-1 against Rice). They win so often that I have not yet attended a game that they have lost (knock on wood).
Last week, Arizona shocked baseball nation by beating then #2 Stanford not one, not two, but three times, the first of which required a 4 run comeback in the bottom of the 9th. Stanford is the 4th victim of getting swept under Arizona’s powerful broom.
And it’s not by accident. The Wildcats’ pitching is good all around, which is very rare in college baseball–even a good college baseball team almost always has at least one or two weak links in the pitching lineup. Arizona’s top 3 starting pitchers (Kurt Heyer, Konner Wade, James Farris) are 12-2 and have struck out 132 batters in 21 games. Their combined ERA is only 3.04 (Remember, this is college baseball where there are metal bats). Kurt Heyer is exceptionally good, posting an ERA of 2.12. Arizona leads the Pac-12 in strikeouts.
To make matters worse for opponents, Arizona’s bats aren’t any weaker. The Wildcats have scored 196 runs in 28 games, or an average of 7 runs a game compared to their opponents’ 4.5. Their top 5 hitters (Mejias-Brean, Mejia, Refnsyder, Rickard, Maggi) have a combined batting average of .372–when the top of the order is up for the inning, a run scored is almost guarenteed. No one in the entire lineup bats below .265, and the team’s on base percentage is an impressive 40%. Arizona has the best offense in the Pac-12, and it’s not even really that close.
At this rate, Arizona is on pace to host a regional during playoffs and, if they keep it up, a deep run into the NCAA playoffs.