As conference tournament across the Midwest and Southeast were going through delay after delay last week, the inaugural Pac-12 tourney went off without a weather hitch. That’s the desert in late May for you.
It will be a completely different story this weekend when Arizona plays in the NCAA Tournament. Gone will be the hot, dry conditions of Tucson and Scottsdale, replaced instead by the sticky, stormy climate of south Florida for the Coral Gables Regional,
“Typical Miami weather,” Arizona coach Chip Hale said Monday. “We’re gonna have to deal with some rain showers during games, maybe some delays and stuff like that. That’ll be a little different for us. We haven’t seen that for a while.”
It could be more than just “showers.” The National Hurricane Center is forecasting the potential for a tropical depression or tropical storm to form in the Gulf of Mexico and head toward Florida this weekend. It may include the remnants of Hurricane Agatha, which on Monday became the second-strongest hurricane to hit the Pacific coast of Mexico since 1949.
2 PM EDT Tuesday May 31: A low pressure area is forecast to form near the Yucatan Peninsula in a couple of days. There is a high chance of this system becoming a tropical depression as it moves northeastward over the northwestern Caribbean Sea and southeastern Gulf of Mexico. pic.twitter.com/hCjC8gEn97— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) May 31, 2022
Hurricane season officially begins Wednesday, and if this activity develops into an official named storm it would be called Alex, the first of the Atlantic season. Fitting for a regional set to be played at Alex Rodriguez Park.
Inclement weather is a mainstay in Florida, yet Miami—which as the No. 6 national seed is hosting this regional—didn’t have any of its 36 home games this season postponed. Some games had delays, but all were completed. Apparently the drainage under the natural grass surface is top-notch.
“It’s kind of cool, it’ll rain for three hours and you’ll play 30 minutes later,” said UA catcher Daniel Susac, who played in similar conditions last summer with Team USA on a tour through parks in the Appalachian League. “I think if it rained for three hours here we’d be out for like three days. I think those fields are built to take it, so when you see the weather forecast, it says thunderstorms, they don’t really panic about it.”
Likely in anticipation of weather delays, the start times for Friday’s first two games are seven hours apart. Miami and Canisius are scheduled to get underway at 12 p.m. ET (9 a.m. PT), with Arizona and Ole Miss set for a 7 p.m. ET (4 p.m. ET) first pitch.
Regardless of whether the weather causes interruptions to play, the humidity will be ever present. Friday’s forecast calls for a high of 82, a low of 76 and 82 percent humidity.
“I never had a problem with humidity,” Susac said. “The only thing is, my batting gloves will get a little wet, but you just put some pine tar on them.”
Left-handed pitcher Garrett Irvin, who will get the start for Arizona, said after the intense heat of last week in Scottsdale he’s actually welcoming something different.
“I think it’ll make you sweat more, but it’s not like Scottsdale where, obviously it’s dry heat, so I just feel hot and I’m sweating a lot,” he said. “There it’s kind of, you’re just sweating a lot. Besides the rain, I think it’s still like 75, 80. So it’ll be It’ll be good if the if the rain clears up.”