With the Arizona Wildcats playing in Hawaii so late at night on Friday and Saturday, we're not going to go with game recaps, and instead look at the good and bad things that impact the Wildcats' chances at hosting a Regional next weekend.
Regional sites will be announced at 5:30 PM PT on Sunday on the official NCAA Baseball Twitter feed. Arizona will likely be playing during this announcement, so the first two games of this series are much more important than that final game.
- The biggest positive is actually winning games, and the Wildcats did this by the score of 11-2. JC Cloney threw six shutout innings. He only needed 64 pitches to go that far, and then was pulled with an 11-0 lead. It's nice to be able to save his arm a bit.
- Heading into the weekend, only UC-Santa Barbara had a better RPI than Arizona among West Coast teams. Fortunately for the Wildcats, UCSB did not submit a bid to host a Regional this year, taking the Gauchos out of the picture.
In addition to FAU not placing a regional hosting bid, UCSB is also not bidding. No available MiLB park, and too costly to bring in lights.— Jim Shonerd (@jimshonerdBA) May 23, 2016
Both FAU and UCSB could be considered one-seeds that would travel to another location for the first weekend of their NCAA Tournament schedules.
- Long Beach State beat Cal State Fullerton 2-1, evening that series at one game apiece. I felt that if CSF had swept LBSU, the Titans could squeeze a Fullerton Regional out of this season. I don't see that happening now.
- Washington beat Utah 5-4. This means the Huskies will only need to win one of the final two against the Utes to secure the Pac-12's auto-bid. Unlike Utah, UW was actually good in non-conference play, so a Seattle Regional is certainly in play if they win the conference outright.
- ASU beat USC 3-2. It feels like a Tempe Regional happening with ASU as the two-seed is starting to become a national consensus. This win certainly furthers that assumption, and definitely makes a Tucson Regional less likely since ASU is now tied with Arizona with 16 conference wins, and owns the season series advantage. It also moved the Sun Devils within four spots of the Wildcats in the RPI (29th and 33rd).
- Gonzaga beat Pepperdine 5-4 in the West Coast Conference Tournament. The baseball Zags are now above Arizona in the RPI (28th). The WCC tournament was not kind to Arizona at all, since BYU went two-and-'cue, hurting their record and RPI, which in turn hurts the Wildcats.
All in all, Friday was not a great day for the chances of a Tucson Regional. I would expect Arizona to travel to an SEC or ACC school as a two-seed at this point. There are still two-ish days of high-level baseball across the country to change that though.