The ping of the bat returns to Hi Corbett Field, as Jay Johnson and Arizona Baseball open up the 2021 season with a four-game set against the Ball State Cardinals of the MAC.
Happy Opening Day! The day is finally here as the No. 10 Arizona Baseball is back on the diamond as Ball State comes to Tucson, officially welcoming back baseball in the desert.
Coming in, the Wildcats are looking at a bit of a unique change to the 2021 season, with the exception of the single series games against New Mexico State, and the Dixie State series to end the season. However, all other non-conference series consists of four-game sets at Hi Corbett.
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Previewing the first series of the Arizona Baseball season against Ball State
The Cardinals come to Tucson after being tabbed 3rd in the MAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll and have received three 1st place votes in what looks to be a pretty competitive Group of Five conference. Ball State comes into 2021 ranked No. 39 in College Baseball Magazine’s Fabulous 40 preseason poll.
Expect to see quality pitching from Ball State, as Sunday starter John Baker is once again tabbed as the Preseason favorite for MAC Pitcher of the Year. The senior comes into the 2021 season with a career mark of 18-11 with a 3.27 ERA during his Ball State career.
Also, Noah Navarro looks to lead the offense as he comes into the season after a 2020 campaign that saw him hit .377 with seven stolen bases for the Cardinals.
Susac and Berry Impress Early
Due to the unprecedented nature of 2020 and the whole baseball landscape, a pair of Wildcat freshmen who potentially would not have even be Wildcats if not for the shortening of the MLB Draft have impressed early on.
With Coach Jay Johnson stating during the press conference that he sees Berry working largely out of the third base and DH roles, I would expect to see him get some regular play immediately.
Susac could also battle for the lead Catching role as he is looking to continue his vertical trajectory in development. Armed with one of the top incoming classes in the nation, Johnson has apparently already found two potential star Wildcats.
2/19 – BSU RHP Ty Weatherly (0-0 0.00) vs. UA RHP Chase Silseth (0-0 0.00) 6:00 PM MST
2/20 – BSU RHP Chayce McDermott (0-0 0.00 vs. UA RHP Chandler Murphy (0-0 0.00) 6:00 PM MST
2/21 – BSU RHP John Baker (0-0 0.00) vs. UA LHP Garrett Irvin (0-0 0.00)1:00 PM MST
2/22 – BSU LHP Luke Jaksich (0-0 0.00) vs. UA TBA 10:00 AM MST
How To Follow Along:
Live Stats: Stats also through ArizonaWildcats.com
Baseball America early season prediction has Wildcats hosting a regional
With preseason predictions in full swing, Baseball America posted their annual Preseason Projected Field of 64 and was very favorable to the Wildcats. They tabbed Arizona as their expected 15 overall seed, which would have them hosting one of the regionals at Hi Corbett Field.
The Wildcats were one of two Pac-12 teams Baseball America had hosting a regional, with No. 2 UCLA being the other team. Rival Arizona State was tabbed as the third and final Pac-12 team selected, and they were slotted as the No. 2 seed in the Virginia regional.
Teams that Baseball America selected for the Tucson Regional were: UC Santa Barbara, San Diego State, and Sacramento State.
Overall, we are excited for the return of baseball and can’t wait to follow the action inside Hi Corbett! Bear Down and Play Ball!