TUCSON, Ariz. — The Arizona Wildcats (5-3) and North Dakota State Bison (1-8) are set for a three-game series at Hi Corbett Field this weekend. Game one on Friday night is scheduled for a 6:00 p.m. MST first pitch, with Saturday and Sunday slated for 1:00 p.m. MST and 10:00 a.m. MST, respectively.
These are the final three games of a seven-game homestand for Arizona, who have split the first four contests against West Virginia and Cal Baptist. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting ArizonaWildcats.com/BSB.
The Wildcats three-games against the Bison will be the team’s final weekend tuneup before Pac-12 play starts. Arizona holds a 10-1 all-time edge over the Bison, with their most recent meeting being a sweep in Tucson in 2018.
For more, a complete weekend preview is below.
|Date||Opponent||Time (MST)||Arizona Pitcher||Opponent Pitcher|
|Friday, March 3||North Dakota St.||6:00 PM||RHP TJ Nichols (1-0, 3.86)||RHP Cade Feeney (0-2, 9.00)|
|Saturday, March 4||North Dakota St.||1:00 PM||RHP Anthony Susac (0-2, 6.10)||LHP Max Loven (0-1, 11.42)|
|Sunday, March 5||North Dakota St.||10:00 AM||LHP Bradon Zastrow (1-0, 4.50)||RHP Tristen Roehrich (0-2, 4.66)|
- The Arizona Wildcats host the North Dakota State Bison for a three-game series this weeked at Hi Corbett Field. All three games will be live streamed at ArizonaWildcats.com with Jeff Bowe (PxP) on the call.
- Arizona leads the all-time series with North Dakota State, 10-1. The Wildcats only loss to the Bison came in 2012, an 8-2 final score in Arizona’s second ever home game at Hi Corbett Field.
- The Wildcats swept their most recent series with the Bison, a three-game series in Tucson in 2018. Arizona took game on 13-3, game two 9-4, and the finale 11-2.
- The Wildcats have committed just four errors in their first seven games of the year, leading to a .986 fielding percentage that is t-2nd in the Pac-12 behind only UCLA (.989) and tied with Washington (.988).
- Thirty six (36) of the Wildcats 88 hits this season have gone for extra bases — 26 doubles, three triples, and seven home runs. Arizona ranks 1st in the conference in doubles and t-2nd in extra base hits.
- Arizona has turned eight double plays this season, tied for the most in the conference and t-11th nationally. Their 57 twin killings last season led the Pac-12 and ranked 4th nationally.
- Junior OF Chase Davis was unanimously selected as a Preseason All-American by Collegiate Baseball (2nd Team), Perfect Game (2nd Team), Baseball America (3rd Team), D1Baseball (3rd Team), and the NCBWA (3rd Team). He was also named to the Pac-12 Preseason All-Conference team and the Golden Spikes Award Preseason Watch List.
SOME SERIES THEMES: The Arizona Wildcats (5-3) play host to the North Dakota State Bison (1-8) for a three-game series at Hi Corbett Field this weekend…All three games will be available via live stream at ArizonaWildcats.com with Jeff Bowe (play-by-play) on the call…The Wildcats lead the all-time series with the Bison, 10-1…Arizona’s only loss to North Dakota State came in 2012, an 8-2 decision on opening weekend; it was the Wildcats second game at Hi Corbett Field since making the ballpark their permanent home…Arizona swept the most recent series against North Dakota State in 2018 in Tucson, taking game one 13-3, game two 9-4, and the finale 11-2…The Wildcats have won back-to-back games after dropping their first two home contests of the season to West Virginia…Arizona scored 31 runs over those two victories after having scored a combined 25 runs in their first six games of the year…The Bison enter the weekend on a five-game skid after earning their first win of the year on Feb. 19 at Sacramento State…Junior outfielder Chase Davis has picked up a multitude of honors and was unanimously tabbed as a Preseason All-American by Collegiate Baseball (Second Team), Perfect Game (Second Team), Baseball America (Third Team), D1Baseball (Third Team), and the NCBWA (Third Team)…Davis was also picked as one of 55 players on the Golden Spikes Award Preseason Watch List…The Wildcats enter week three unranked according to D1Baseball, but are receiving votes in both the NCBWA poll and the USA Today Coaches Poll.
STREAKONOMICS: Catcher Tommy Splaine currently leads the team with an active four-game hit streak; he has hit safely in every game he has played in this year, batting .400 (6-for-15). Infielders Kiko Romero and Nik McClaughry, along with outfielder Chase Davis, have reached base safely in all eight of the Wildcats games this year. Going back to last season, Davis has now reached base safely in 22 consecutive games, the longest streak of his career.
CATS COACHES: The Wildcats are led into the 2023 season by second-year head coach Chip Hale — he was hired by Arizona Vice President and Director of Athletics Dave Heeke on July 5, 2021. Hale, the Wildcats all-time leader in games played, hits, and total bases during his time in Tucson from 1984-87, brought nearly two decades of professional coaching experience to Arizona. During his collegiate career Hale helped steer the 1986 Arizona Wildcats to their third NCAA National Championship. His professional coaching career was highlighted by a stint as the manager for the Arizona Diamondbacks (2015-16) and a World Series championship with the Washington Nationals in 2019. Hale is once again assisted by associate head coach Dave Lawn, in his eighth season with the Wildcats, and second-year assistant coaches Trip Couch and Toby DeMello. Lawn has made four College World Series appearances with three different Pac-12 programs, sent 24 players to the Major Leagues, and won five conference championships. Couch, one of the nation’s top recruiting coordinators, joined the Wildcats in the same role after splitting the last 11 years between Houston and South Carolina. Across his decades of collegiate coaching experience, Couch has made 12 NCAA postseason appearances, developed 13 All-Americans, and directly coached 39 MLB Draft selections. DeMello, the Wildcats volunteer assistant, will continue to work with Arizona’s hitters and catchers after serving in a similar role at Sacramento State, where he helped guide the Hornets to an NCAA Regional appearance in 2019. Arizona’s staff is rounded out by director of baseball operations Will Gaines and director of player development Tyler Coolbaugh, both of whom are in their second seasons with the program.
DOUBLE TROUBLE: Arizona finished the 2022 season having turned an astounding 57 double plays, the best mark in the Pac-12 and the fourth best mark among all 293 Division I programs. The Wildcats return both of their middle infielders from last season: shortstop Nik McClaughry and Garen Caulfield. McClaughry led the Pac-12 last season with 189 defensive assists and played a role in 40 of Arizona’s 57 double plays; Caulfield was close behind, having played a part in 39-of-57 twin killings. Currently the Wildcats are tied for the conference lead and tied for 11th nationally with nine double plays turned in eight games.
EXTRA EXTRA, READ ALL ABOUT IT: Through eight games, the Arizona offense has combined to swat 36 extra-base hits, the second-best mark in the Pac-12. The Wildcats are currently averaging 4.5 extra-base hits per game. Arizona has taken advantage of the large dimensions at Hi Corbett Field since moving there in 2012 — in the decade-plus since the move off campus the Wildcats hold the Pac-12 lead with 1,919 extra-base hits (second: Stanford, 1,828). During that stretch Arizona has paced the conference in doubles six times and triples six times.
FIRST ANNUAL PAC-12 PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM: Arizona Baseball outfielder Chase Davis, infielder Nik McClaughry, and right-handed pitchers Trevor Long and TJ Nichols all earned spots on the first-ever Pac-12 Preseason All-Conference team as announced by the league in early February. The Preseason All-Conference team, in its first year in existence, is voted on by the conference’s head coaches. The Wildcats four players honored is tied for the third most in the conference — Stanford leads the way with seven players on the team, followed by UCLA with six, while Arizona and Oregon are next with four each. The Pac-12 also released their annual Preseason Coaches Poll with the Wildcats selected to finish fourth in the conference standings. The top five ranked teams in the 2023 poll all competed in the 2022 NCAA Tournament — the complete 2023 Preseason Coaches Poll can be found on page three.
1986 CALLED, THEY WANT THEIR UNIFORMS BACK: Arizona Baseball has added a fifth option to their uniform set for the 2023 season, an all-white option modeled after the uniforms worn by the 1986 National Championship squad. The all-white uniforms feature a classic block letter Arizona script across the chest, eye-catching red numbers on the front, and — for the first time in program history — player names on the back. Arizona Baseball head coach Chip Hale donned nearly identical uniforms as a key member of the 1986 National Championship team and took a lead role in designing the new white uniforms for 2023. The Wildcats icy white look will be incorporated into their already-iconic uniform set that includes red, blue, pinstripe, and gray uniforms.
HOME SWEET HOME: Since Arizona Baseball moved to Hi Corbett Field for the 2012 season, the Wildcats have enjoyed a tremendous home field advantage. Over those 11+ seasons, Arizona has posted a record of 251-108, winning games at a .699 clip. Their home winning percentage over that stretch is the second best mark in the conference.
STATE 48: The Wildcats 2023 roster features 10 players hailing from the state of Arizona. Other states represented on Arizona’s roster include California (15), Illinois (5), New Mexico (2), Minnesota (2), Texas (1), Virginia (1), and Colorado (1). The Wildcats 10 Arizonans represent over 27% of the roster. Among the 10 Arizona natives on the roster, four current Wildcats also played their high school baseball in Tucson: George Arias Jr. (Tucson HS), Chris Barraza (Sahuarita HS), Mason White (Salpointe Catholic HS), and Kiko Romero (Canyon Del Oro HS).
ALFA ROMERO: Junior outfielder Kiko Romero, a transfer from Central Arizona College, is expected to play a large role for the Wildcats in 2023 after three seasons with the Vaqueros. He returns to Tucson, where he played his high school ball, after leading Central Arizona to an NJCAA World Series Championship in 2022. As a sophomore last year he hit 366 with 95 runs scored, 22 doubles, five triples, 25 home runs, and 84 RBI. His six-home run performance, tied for a tournament record, at the NJCAA World Series earned him tournament MVP and Outstanding Hitter honors. Romero prepped at Canyon Del Oro HS in Tucson where he was a three-year letterwinner in baseball and a one-time letterwinner in golf.
EXTRA EDITION: The Wildcats finished the 2022 season with 222 extra-base hits, the third-best mark in the Pac-12 behind only Oregon State (223) and Stanford (273). Of those 222 extra-base knocks, 119 (53.6%) return to the roster in 2023. Junior outfielder Chase Davis, who led the team and tied for third in the conference with 18 home runs last year, paced Wildcat returners with 32 extra-base hits last year. Arizona’s 53.6% return rate on extra-base hits from last season ranks fifth-best in the Pac-12, while their raw total of 119 returning XBH ranks second.