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Arizona Baseball: Previewing Easter series against the Utah Utes

Baseball returns home after getting swept in Oregon by the Ducks last weekend

Brandon Dixon, Mathew Troupe and company look to rebound this weekend at home against the Utah Utes
Brandon Dixon, Mathew Troupe and company look to rebound this weekend at home against the Utah Utes

Arizona (15-11, 0-6 PAC-12) welcomes the Utah Utes (12-10, 2-4 PAC-12) to Tucson this weekend for a Thursday, Friday, Saturday series before Easter Sunday. And while all of the focus in Tucson is on the basketball team, the baseball team finds itself in a must-win situation this weekend.

Here are some key points:

  • Arizona is 50-6 all-time against the Utes, including winning 2-of-3 in Salt Lake City last year.
  • Utah head coach Bill Kinneberg played for Arizona for two years including making a pitching appearance in the 1979 College World Series. He was also the associate head coach at Arizona from 1996-2001.
  • Utah has just two hitters batting over .300 (Kody Davis and AJ Young). Arizona has six (Brandon Dixon .408, Zach Gibbons .378, Kevin Newman .357, Jordan Berger .357, Trent Gilbert .343 and Johnny Field .340)
  • The Wildcats' current 6-game losing streak is tied for the longest for Arizona under head coach Andy Lopez. It also happened in 2003, 2006, and 2008.
  • That 2008 streak came after Arizona started the year 13-3 (15-5 this year). Later that year they went on to win 13 straight.
  • The Wildcats still have a .308 team batting average this year, but are hitting just .240 over the last six games, including going just 14-for-56 with runners in scoring position.
  • Arizona is 0-3 in one-run conference games this year. They were 6-3 last year.
  • Aggressive base running: Arizona has stolen a base in 23 of 26 games, and has attempted a stolen base in every game. Brandon Dixon is currently third in the nation with 20 steals on 21 attempts.
  • The single-season stolen base record is surprisingly not held by Kenny Lofton, but by Tommy Hinzo, who swiped 45 bags in the 1986 National Championship season.

Probable Starters:

Thursday at 6 PM: Utah RHP Mitch Watrous (1-1. 4.08 ERA) vs. Arizona RHP Konner Wade (2-2, 4.14 ERA)

Friday at 6 PM: Utah RHP Joe Pond (2-2, 5.23 ERA) vs. Arizona RHP James Farris (3-3, 3.83 ERA)

Saturday at Noon: Utah RHP Dalton Carroll (2-1, 4.44 ERA) vs. Arizona LHP Cody Moffett (2-2, 3.96 ERA)

PAC-12 Standings:

School Conference Record Overall Record
Oregon State 5-1 21-2
UCLA 5-1 17-4
Oregon 5-1 19-6
Cal 4-2 15-10
Washington State 2-1 15-8
Arizona State 2-4 13-7
Utah 2-4 12-10
USC 2-4 9-15
Washington 2-4 6-16
Stanford 1-2 11-8
Arizona 0-6 15-11

PAC-12 Schedule:

No. 23/24/NR Stanford at Washington State

Washington at No. 8/9/10/12 Oregon

No. 2/3 Oregon State at San Diego

USC at Cal

No. 7/8 UCLA at Arizona State