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3 Arizona baseball players enter NCAA transfer portal

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Tony Bullard
Arizona Athletics

Arizona had a long flight back from Miami earlier this week after its NCAA Tournament run came to an end, and a few Wildcats appear to have used the time on that cross-country journey to assess their career paths.

Three players who were part of the UA postseason roster have entered the transfer portal, joining four others who had already been in there. Third baseman Tony Bullard, right-handed pitcher Chandler Murphy and lefty Javyn Pimental have all made themselves available to join other teams, though in the case of at least one of them the move figures to be a backup plan.

Bullard is likely to be selected in next month’s MLB Draft, but if he goes undrafted or doesn’t come to terms with the team that picked him he has another year of college eligibility remaining. In order to be able to play in 2023, though, baseball players have to be in the portal by July 1.

A shoulder injury sidelined Bullard the first 10 games of this past season and limited him to only DH duties until late March. He ended up starting 44 games but hit just .247 with five home runs and 22 RBI after batting .298 with seven homers and RBI in 47 games (39 starts) in 2021.

Bullard had four hits in the Coral Gables Regional, including a 2-run double in the opener against Ole Miss and a solo homer in the eighth inning of Arizona’s comeback win over Miami to reach the regional final.

Also draft-eligible is Murphy, though the forearm injury that plagued him all year may have tanked his draft stock. He missed the fall and didn’t make his spring debut until mid-March but never looked right in going 1-2 with a 9.73 ERA over 28.2 innings split between starts and relief appearances.

Murphy—who started the season-ending loss to Ole Miss—was a key part of Arizona’s run to the College World Series in 2021, going 7-0 with a 4.29 ERA, and as a true freshman in the COVID-shortened 2020 season he was 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA in four starts.

Pimental had worked himself into a key role out of the bullpen by the end of the season, the redshirt freshman appearing in four of Arizona’s eight conference and NCAA tourney games. For the year he was 1-1 with a 3.90 ERA in 22 appearances, striking out 22 in 30 innings.

Previously in the portal were outfielder Matty Clark, infielder Luis Tuero, utility man Jacob Shaver and righty Mason Millett. Tuero is the only one who played in 2021, appearing in two games with one at-bat.