The Cats have one last chance to prove they deserve a chance to defend last year's National Championship as they head to Tempe to take on ASU. The Wildcats (29-20, 10-14 PAC-12) are currently 86th in the RPI, with the Sun Devils (33-15-1, 14-10 PAC-12) checking in at 17. A series win would be huge for the Cats for so many reasons outside of the fact that whoever wins this series wins the Territorial Cup Series for the 2012-13 academic year.
The last five games between the two teams have been decided by a total of 7 runs, with UA going 3-2 in those games. Arizona's been decent in close games this year, going 14-8 in games decided by two runs or fewer. Anyways, all three games should be close games, coming down to the 8th and 9th inning and which bullpen can outlast the other.
Kevin Newman is Arizona's best hitter on the road this year, batting .351. The Cats are only 4-10 on the road this year though. Riley Moore figures to be a key factor in UA's success at Packard Stadium as he comes in with a .435 batting average vs. the Sun Devils in seven career games.
In conference games, Joseph Maggi leads the PAC-12 with a .463 on-base percentage, and is also batting .333 in those games.
The pitching rotation is changing yet again this weekend as well, as Konner Wade will go Friday and James Farris Saturday. Wade has not been good the last couple of weeks, and Farris has not been all that great either so it'll be interesting to see what the different amount of rest days will do to them.
Also, if you're planning on keeping an eye on the games or actually going to Tempe, be prepared for the games to go late into the evening. The first two games between UA and ASU this year averaged nearly four hours each.
Friday 6:30 PM : Konner Wade (4-6, 4.38 ERA) vs. Trevor Williams (5-5, 3.59 ERA)
Saturday 6:30 PM : James Farris (4-5, 4.20 ERA) vs. Ryan Kellogg (10-0. 3.36 ERA)
Sunday 12:30 PM : Tyler Crawford (5-2, 4.02 ERA) vs. Zak Miller (4-0, 4.28 ERA)
Ryan Kellogg was named as a Dick Howser Trophy semifinalist along with Brandon Dixon this week. Zak Miller started the two Tuesday games played in Tucson earlier this year.
Softball heads to College Station, TX for regional action this weekend. They go in as the 3 seed, facing Baylor on Friday at 2:30 PM on ESPN2. Texas A&M will face Penn at 5 PM. All of the games from the Texas A&M regional will be shown on ESPN2, and you can find the full bracket with game times here.
This is the 27th straight year that the Cats have made the tournament. They needed a big couple of weekends to finish out the year, taking two-of-three from ASU and Stanford to lock up that tournament berth this year. This year is the first time ever that Arizona has been unranked in the major softball polls. They went 32-24 this year, but just 9-15 in conference play.
Arizona is 14-4 all-time against Baylor, and 25-12 against the Aggies. The most interesting thing about Arizona's draw is that if they make it out of the regional, and No. 1 Oklahoma wins their regional, the Wildcats and Sooners will face each other in the Super Regional Round for the third straight year.