Over the last three years, the Arizona Wildcats have only managed to put together a 36-54 Pac-12 record.
The quest to buck that trend starts Friday night in Seattle as they take on the Washington Huskies for a three-game set. You will be able to stream all three games here.
Here are the probable pitchers and game times:
Friday (5 PM PT): LHP JC Cloney (2-0, 2.54 ERA) vs. RHP Noah Bremmer (2-0, 0.64 ERA)
Saturday (2 PM PT): RHP Nathan Bannister (3-0, 2.10 ERA) vs. RHP Joe DeMers (2-0, 5.66 ERA)
Sunday (1 PM PT): TBA vs. RHP Spencer Jones (1-1, 2.75 ERA
Washington enters the series with an 8-5 overall record, while the Wildcats have won seven-straight to get to 12-4. The Huskies have won four of their last five, taking series from Santa Clara and Pacific. According to Warren Nolan, UW's strength of schedule is just 290th in the nation, putting them 152nd overall in the RPI. By comparison, Arizona's schedule is the 30th-strongest to this point, and are 16th in the RPI.
"I feel like our non-conference schedule has prepared us well for (Noah Bremmer)," Jay Johnson said of facing one of the Pac-12's best Friday night starters. "I think we'll be ready to face that type of pitcher."
The Huskies' pitching has been fairly solid this year. Their ERA is 67th in the country, and their WHIP is 37th. One thing that they've really done well is throw strikes, as the 2.41 BB/9IP they allow is the 7th-best mark in the country. Arizona draws a lot of walks, the most in the conference to this point, so that'll be interesting to see if something will give in that area.
Both Washington and Arizona hit the ball really well. The Huskies are batting .313 as a team, while the Wildcats are hitting .302 collectively. Only Oregon State (.335) is hitting at a better clip in the Pac-12 than these two teams. Three regular UW starters are hitting above .350 (Josh Cushing, MJ Hubbs and Jack Meggs). Cushing is the main guy to stop, as he's swatted three home runs, and has nearly double the RBI that any other player on the team has (16).
Meggs is the coach's son. Lindsay Meggs was the head coach at Chico State from 1994-2006, before eventually moving to Indiana State, and then Washington prior to the 2010 season.
"Lindsay Meggs is a terrific coach," Johnson told me on Tuesday. "All the way back to when he was at Chico State and winning National Championships there. I have a lot of respect for him and their staff."
With Meggs having coached at Chico State, this won't be the first time that Jay Johnson has gone head-to-head with the UW coach.
"Point Loma-Chico State 2004," Johnson joked. "I actually told the team we were working on something today (Tuesday) that worked in that game, and I brought it up. They have no idea what I'm talking about but that's okay."
Based on my research of Point Loma Nazarene's 2004 schedule, they beat Chico State 2-1 in their only meeting that year. So, advantage Arizona in this one?