The Arizona Wildcats were kept out of the NCAA baseball tournament the last two seasons because of, among other reasons, a fairly poor performance against nonconference opponents. The slate put together for 2020 gives them a chance to fix the mistakes of the past and hopefully return to the postseason for the first time since 2017.
Arizona’s 56-game schedule was released on Thursday, with 32 games scheduled for Hi Corbett Field. The Wildcats begin play Feb. 14 at home against Albany for a three-game series, during which they’ll try to extend the 10-game win streak they ended the 2019 campaign on.
The nonconference slate features 10 games against teams who finished last year in the top 100 of the RPI rankings, including NCAA tournament entrants Central Michigan and Nebraska. Nebraska is one of four Big Ten teams on the schedule, with the Wildcats facing the Cornhuskers and Iowa at the Tony Gwynn Legacy Tournament Feb. 21-23 in San Diego.
Just prior to that Arizona will have a one-off game Feb. 17 in Tempe against Minnesota, and in May its final nonconference series will be at home against Penn State.
Arizona’s other non-league opponents include Houston (March 6-8 at Hi Corbett), Texas (March 3 in Austin) and a variety of mid-week matchups with teams throughout the West.
Pac-12 play begins March 13 at home against Oregon State, giving new pitching coach Nate Yeskie a chance to face his former school right out of the gate. Arizona also hosts Stanford (April 3-5), Washington State (April 9-11), ASU (April 24-26) and UCLA (May 8-10) while playing three-game sets at Washington and USC in March, Oregon in April and finishing with trips to Cal and Utah in May.
All told, Arizona’s 2020 schedule features seven NCAA tourney qualifiers from last season, two of which reached the Super Regionals.