TUCSON, Ariz. ?- The Arizona baseball team will open the 2005 postseason in the Fullerton Regional in Fullerton, Calif., as a No.2 seed against No. 3-seeded Missouri. Defending national champions Cal State Fullerton and No. 4 seed Harvard are the two other schools in the regional.
The Wildcats are making their third straight regional appearance under head coach Andy Lopez and the 32nd overall in school history.
Arizona finished the 2005 regular season with a 37-19 record and was second in the Pac-10 Conference with a 17-7 league record. Boasting one of the top offenses in the nation, UA batted a Pac-10-best .332 as a team in 2005 and averaged 8.6 runs, 12.1 hits, 2.6 doubles and 1.1 home runs per game during the regular season.
The Wildcats and Tigers have met twice in baseball, both times in the postseason. Arizona is 2-0 all-time against Missouri, winning a 1963 College World Series contest 6-4 and a 1976 regional game 10-1 in Edinburg, Texas.
A Quick Look at Arizona: Arizona finished the 2005 regular season with a 37-19 overall record ... The Wildcats have already posted the most wins for a UA team in a single season since the 1989 team went 45-18-1 ... Arizona finished second in the Pac-10 conference with a 17-7 league record. The Wildcats trailed only conference champion Oregon State (19-5) ... Arizona won seven of its eight conference three-game series in 2005, matching the effort of conference champion Oregon State ... The Wildcats went 20-12 out of the Pac-10 this season and won five of the their eight non-conference three-game series ... Arizona faced six teams ranked in the Sports Weekly/USA Today Coaches Poll during the regular season and went 11-8 against them ...
Arizona’s Regional History: The 2005 regional invitation marks the third consecutive season that Arizona has advanced to play in the postseason ... The last time UA made three straight trips to the NCAA’s was 1985-87 ... The 2005 postseason marks the 32nd time Arizona has advanced to play past the regular season, the second-most in Pac-10 history behind 12-time national champion USC’s 40 ... The Wildcats are 51-35 (.593) in regional play since 1950 and have taken home 15 regional championships in school history, including the South Bend title last season.
Regional Road Warriors: 2005 will mark the 19th time Arizona has left Tucson for the regional round of the NCAA’s. Of the 18 previous regional road trips, Arizona has returned with the regional title seven times ... Two of Arizona’s three national championship runs were started with a regional road trip (1976 ?- Edinburg, Texas; 1986 ?- Austin, Texas), only the 1980 national championship team started its title run in Tucson.
Postseason Success: The Arizona baseball program has a long and storied history in the NCAA postseason. The Wildcats have made 31 postseason appearances previous to this season, have won 15 regional titles, one super regional title, made 15 appearances at the College World Series, won three national titles (1976, 1980, 1986) and finished runner-up three other times (1956, 1959, 1963). Heading into the postseason this year, Arizona is tied for seventh in CWS appearances (15), seventh in CWS wins (33), eighth in CWS games played (60) and tied for seventh in titles won (3). Arizona is 86-63 (.577) all-time in the postseason.
Postseason Experience: The Arizona roster is dotted with players that have played meaningful postseason games. Seven of the nine starters in the field (including DH) have played nine or more postseason games in their careers at UA. Catcher Nick Hundley (11 postseason games), first baseman Jordan Brown (10), second baseman Brad Boyer (11), shortstop Jason Donald (9), left fielder Trevor Crowe (10), right fielder Jeff Van Houten (11) and DH Derek Decater (10) have all contributed to Arizona’s three straight postseason appearances.
On the mound, John Meloan, Kevin Guyette and Sean Rierson have all started at least one postseason game and closer Mark Melancon is a very impressive 2-0 with two saves and a 0.00 in five postseason appearances.