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Arizona Wildcats baseball all-decade team

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Bobby Dalbec
Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

To commemorate the end of the decade, we will be compiling an all-decade (2010-19) team for each of the major Arizona programs. Next up: baseball.

The 2010s was a decade of ups and downs for the Arizona Wildcats baseball team, to the extreme in both directions.

Between the years 2010-19 the program claimed its fourth College World Series title (2012) and made the championship series in the 2016 CWS, but also failed to make the postseason five times including the last two seasons.

Andy Lopez guided the program for the first half of the decade, stepping down after the 2015 campaign, with Jay Johnson catching lightning in a bottle in his first year in 2016 after being hired away from Nevada. Overall it was a solid 10 years of Arizona baseball, and below are the players who stood out most in that time span.

Our all-decade team is comprised of one player for each position, including three for the outfield, as well as a designated hitter and five pitching slots. Several Wildcats could have landed on the list in various places, so to maximize the overall strength of the team some players aren’t at the position they may have been best known for while in Tucson.

Catcher

Austin Wells (2019-present)

Wells has only been at Arizona for one season but that was more than enough to land this spot. He was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year in 2019 after hitting .353 with freshman school records in runs scored (73) and on-base percentage (.462).

First base

JJ Matijevic (2015-17)

Matijevic won the 2017 Pac-12 batting title as a junior, hitting .383, while also leading the league in hits, doubles, RBI, total bases and slugging. His 30 doubles tied Dave Stegman’s single-season school record from 1976.

Second base

Scott Kingery (2013-15)

Kingery spent his first two seasons in the outfield but was best known for his play at second base, where he starred in 2015 by leading the Pac-12 with a .392 batting average.

Shortstop

Kevin Newman (2013-15)

Arizona’s only first-round draft pick of the decade, Newman hit .370 as a junior in 2015 and .337 for his career. His 46 stolen bases are two fewer than the number of strikeouts he had in 674 college at-bats.

Third baseman

Nick Quintana (2017-19)

Quintana was Arizona’s top slugger of the 2010s, hitting 35 home runs to rank fourth in school history while his 77 RBI as a junior in 2019 were ninth-most for a Wildcat. His 15 homers in ‘19 were tied for the most in a season in the 2010s.

Outfield

Johnny Field (2011-13)

A .343 career hitter, Field started 166 games including all 65 during the 2012 national championship season. He hit .370 that year overall and had only eight errors for his career, playing mostly in the outfield but also handling some infield duties.

Zach Gibbons (2013-16)

Gibbons had 107 hits as a senior in 2016, second-most in school history, and finished with 291 to rank fourth all-time. He also ranked second in Arizona history in games played (231) and at-bats (860), trailing only Chip Hale in both categories.

Robert Refsnyder (2010-12)

Refsnyder played 171 games, fifth-most in school history, and as a junior in 2012 hit .364 with 66 RBI on the NCAA title team. He was the College World Series’ Most Outstanding Player after going 10 for 21 with five RBI in Omaha.

Designated hitter

Bobby Dalbec (2014-16)

Dalbec was worthy of all-decade spots at third base and pitcher for his multi-use excellence from 2014-16, particularly during Arizona’s run to the CWS championship series in 2016. That season he went 11-6 with a 2.50 ERA and a team-best seven saves while also hitting seven home runs. He finished his career with 24 homers, including a Pac-12 leading 15 as a sophomore in 2015.

Pitcher

Nathan Bannister (2013-16)

Went 12-2 with a 2.59 ERA as a senior for Arizona’s 2016 national runner-up team, holding opponents to a .202 batting average. His 142.1 innings pitched that year are 10th-most in school history.

JC Cloney (2015-16)

Went 15-6 in two seasons after transferring from a junior college, going 8-4 with a 2.45 ERA on the 2016 team that reached the College World Series championship series. Went 2-0 with 16 scoreless innings pitched at CWS.

Kurt Heyer (2010-12)

Ranks fourth in school history with 356 strikeouts, with 134 coming as a sophomore and 113 as a junior when he went 13-2 with a 2.24 ERA for the 2012 NCAA championship team. His 28 wins are tied for eighth-most at Arizona.

Mathew Troupe (2012-15)

Troupe was on pace to become Arizona’s career saves leader after registering 15 in 2012-13, while also winning twice during the 2012 College World Series. Tommy John surgery in 2014 derailed his career, limiting him to four appearances over the next two seasons, yet he’s still tied for third on the career saves list and went 12-1 overall.

Konner Wade (2011-13)

Wade went 19-9 in three seasons, setting a freshman ERA record (3.21) in 2011, then went 11-3 in 2012 on Wildcats’ NCAA championship team with two victories at the College World Series.