Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Arizona Baseball Set For Opening Day
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: February 14, 2013
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Feb. 14, 2013

2013 Arizona Baseball
Feb. 15-17, 2013  |  Tucson, Ariz. |  Hi Corbett Field
Coppin State (0-0, 0-0 MEAC) @ No. 24 Arizona (0-0, 0-0 Pac-12)

Friday, Feb. 15  •  6 p.m. (MST)  •  Hi Corbett Field  •  UA Radio: 1290 AM
RHP Darryl Martinez (0-0, 0.00) vs. RHP Konner Wade (0-0, 0.00)

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Saturday, Feb. 16  •  2 p.m. (MST)  •   Hi Corbett Field
RHP Yahya Muhammad (0-0, 0.00) vs. RHP James Farris (0-0, 0.00)

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Sunday, Feb. 17  •  Noon (MST)  •  Hi Corbett Field
LHP Anderson Burgess (0-0, 0.00) vs. RHP Stephen Manthei (0-0, 0.00)

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Some Series Themes Quick Links
For the first time in 26 seasons, Arizona's opens a year as the reigning national champion. And for their efforts, the Wildcats will have a bull's-eye on them all season long ... First to set their sights on the Wildcats will be Coppin State, a club that went 1-53 a year ago, including 0-27 on the road ... Surely as drastic contrast between motivations as one could imagine for a season-opener, with the Eagles approaching the series with nothing to lose ... Meanwhile, Arizona has plenty of questions to answer early in the season, notably on offense as five regulars must be replaced from a squad that led the nation in hits last season ... The Wildcats will break in a new leadoff hitter, a pair of new infielders, and Johnny Field will assume full-time duties in center field for the first time in his career ... Freshmen Kevin Newman (SS), Cody Ramer (INF/OF), Scott Kingery (INF) and Ryan Koziol (1B), along with JC transfer Sam Parris (1B) vie for spots in the lineup at open positions at first base, shortstop and the corner outfield positions, as well as designated hitter ... The Cats hope a presumed strength - pitching - holds strong on Opening Weekend. Veteran weekend starters Konner Wade and James Farris move from the Saturday-Sunday rotation spots to the Friday-Saturday roles, respectively ... Opening Weekend kicks off with special national championship recognition and postgame fireworks show on Friday night ... Let's play ball! Baseball America Rankings
Game Notes (PDF)
2012 Season Statistics (PDF)
2012 Media Guide
Pac-12 Standings
Coppin State vs. Arizona Statistical Comparison (2012 Stats) Arizona Statistical Leaders (2012)
Coppin State Stat Arizona Stat Player
1-53 (0-24 MEAC) Record 48-17 (20-10 Pac-12) Avg. Johnny Field (.370)
.209 Avg. .329 Hits Alex Mejia (97)
148 Runs 478 Runs Johnny Field (72)
334 Hits 756 RBI Robert Refsnyder (66)
54 2B 132 2B Seth Mejias-Brean (22)
5 3B 35 HR Robert Refsnyder (8)
0 HR 23 OB% Johnny Field (.476)
33-52 SB-ATT 85-123 SLG% Robert Refsnyder (.562)
.308 OB% .400 SB Joey Rickard (18)
.248 SLG% .447 ERA Kurt Heyer (2.24)
9.23 ERA 3.70 IP Kurt Heyer (153.0)
212  K's 443 K's  Kurt Heyer (113)
Arizona Baseball Game Notes:

Leading Off...
- Arizona led the nation with 756 hits and ranked No. 4 with a .329 team batting average last season.
- The Wildcats have collected an extra base hit in 47-straight games.
- Arizona will play 23 games in a span of 31 days to open the season, with 21 of those contests being play at Hi Corbett Field.
- The Wildcats have won 18-straight season-opening weekend series. UA is 45-10 on the first weekend during this span.
- Arizona carries an 11-game winning streak into the 2013 season, its longest since winning 15 in a row in March of 2010.
- The Wildcats have finished the season with a .300 or better batting average for 10-consecutive seasons. The .329 clip a season ago was the best for a UA club since the 2000 club hit .331.
- Arizona was 47-0 when leading or tied after 8 innings in 2012.
- Wildcat pitchers have allowed fewer than 200 strikeouts in a season three times since 1969, with two of the years being 2011 (180) and 2012 (168).
- Arizona went 30-10 in its first full season at Hi Corbett.

Arizona Head Coach Andy Lopez:The Wildcats are coached by Andy Lopez, who is now in his 12th season with a 403-246-1 record at the school. A three-time national coach of the year, including in 2012, Andy Lopez has reestablished Arizona as one of the nation's elite baseball programs, guiding the school to the 2012 NCAA National Championship, two College World Series appearances, and eight postseason berths in the last 10 seasons. Last year, Lopez became just the second NCAA Division I head coach to win a title at two schools (Arizona, Pepperdine). He is one of just three coaches to lead three different schools (Pepperdine, Florida and Arizona) to the College World Series. Further, he is one of just four coaches to take two schools to Omaha on multiple occasions (Arizona, Florida). Under Lopez, the Wildcats have won at least 30 games in six straight years and in 10 of Lopez's 11 seasons at the school, and have won 40 games in three of the last six seasons. Overall, Lopez owns a career record of 1,090-664-7 in 30 years as a head coach, including stints at Cal State Dominguez Hills (1983-88), Pepperdine (1989-94), Florida (1995-2001) and Arizona (2002-present). Lopez led Pepperdine, Florida (twice) and Arizona (twice) to College World Series appearances. His total victories are 12th-most among active coaches and he is just one of 50 individuals to reach 1,000 career victories.

2012 Season in Brief: Arizona, the Pac-12 Co-Champion, captured its fourth national championship (also 1986, 1980 and 1976) by sweeping through the postseason (10-0), including five games at the College World Series where it never trailed in a game ... The Wildcats became the 14th different team and ninth different school to win a national title without losing a game in the NCAA Tournament ... With a 48-17 final overall record, the Wildcats captured their most victories in a season since 1986 (49) ... The Wildcats led all Division I NCAA teams with 756 hits on the season and ranked fourth in batting average (.329) ... Arizona led the Pac-12 in most offensive statistical categories, including batting average (.329), slugging (.447), on base percentage (.400) and runs scored (478) ... UA pitchers racked up a conference-best 16 complete games, a total more than the entire SEC combined ... Arizona placed six players (DH Bobby Brown, OF Johnny Field, RHP Kurt Heyer, SS Alex Mejia, 3B Seth Mejias-Brean and OF Robert Refsnyder) on the All-Conference team, with Mejia earning both Pac-12 Player of the Year and Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year honors ... Head coach Andy Lopez was named the Pac-12 Coach of the Year and the National Coach of the Year ... Five Wildcats (Heyer, Mejia, Mejias-Brean, Refsnyder and Joey Rickard) were selected in the first nine rounds of the MLB draft last June ... Heyer tossed the third-most innings in school single-season history (153.0) and finished as the national leader in victories with 13.

Home At Hi Corbett: Arizona's decision to move its home venue off campus to historic Hi Corbett Field paid dividends in its first season, none bigger than the final weekend of the regular season when 14,055 fans turned out to cheer the Wildcats to a conference championship over three days against rival Arizona State. The Friday crowd on May 25 drew 5,451 fans, while Saturday saw a season-high 5,677 pass through the gates. It was Arizona's largest home crowd since May 25, 1980, when 7,002 fans watched Arizona defeat Gonzaga by a score of 8-5 at Wildcat Field (before it was named Sancet Field) in the championship game of the Tucson Regional en route to the school's second national championship. In 2012, Arizona drew 86,132 fans to its 35 regular season home games for an average of 2,460 per game. That average is the third-best in single season history at the school, behind the 1980 (3,256) and 1981 clubs (2,777). For comparison's sake, UA drew 36,412 fans at 33 home games (1,103 per game) a season ago on campus. With the NCAA Regional/Super Regional games added in, the Wildcats drew 105,131 fans through the gates at home games (2,628 per game). Arizona finished with a record of 30-10 at Hi Corbett Field in 2012, the most home victories in a single season since the 1986 national title team went 31-8. It was the 10th time in program history the Wildcats won at least 30 home games.

A Championship Formula: Ask any coach and the simple way to define a good baseball team is one that pitches well, fields cleanly and finds timely hitting. In 2012, especially down the stretch, few teams were more balanced than the Arizona Wildcats. In their final 20 games (18-2 record), the Wildcats batted .321, registered a 2.61 ERA and committed just 13 errors (40 by opponents) with a .983 fielding percentage. Offensively, the club outscored opponents 47-12 in two-out RBI, batted .367 with runners in scoring position and limited foes to a .233 clip in such situations. The numbers were more impressive in a perfect 10-0 mark in the postseason. The Wildcats batted .353, turned in a 1.91 ERA and committed just nine errors (21 by opponents) with a .978 fielding percentage. The team outscored its postseason competition a cumulative 88-28, including 29-7 in two-out RBI. Arizona hitters batted .469 with runners in scoring position, while pitchers limited the opposition to a lowly .200 clip in such situations. It all added up to four championships: a Pac-12 co-championship, a Tucson Regional Championship, a Tucson Super Regional Championship and a national championship.

For Openers: After opening the 2012 season with a 3-1 win in the season-opener and eventual two-out-of-three series victory against North Dakota State last year, the Wildcats have won 18-straight opening weekend series dating back to 1995 and have gone 45-10 on the first weekend of the year during this span ... Dating back 1994, Arizona is 17-2 on Opening Day with the lone losses coming to BYU in 2003 and at Georgia in 2008 ... Under 12th-year head coach Andy Lopez, UA is 28-5 all-time on opening weekend and has won nine-of-11 season-opening games.

Buckle Up: Once Arizona begins its season on Friday, the Wildcats will play 23 games in a span of 31 days. Of those, 21 contests will be at Hi Corbett Field, with a mid-week trip to Long Beach State next week (Feb. 19-20) the only scheduled road games. The Wildcats, who opened the 2011 season with 25-straight home games and the 2012 slate with 23-of-25 at home, play 38 of their 55 regular season games at Hi Corbett Field in 2013.

A Culmination: For Andy Lopez, the 2012 Pac-12 and National Coach of the Year, Arizona's national championship season was the culmination of a full decade of building a program in Tucson. One of the most accomplished and storied programs in the nation, the Wildcats had appeared in an NCAA Regional just one time (1999) in the previous eight seasons (1994 through 2001) before Lopez was hired to take over for his first season in 2002. After a year to get his first full recruiting class in place, Lopez has now led the Wildcats to the postseason in eight of the last 10 seasons, missing only in 2006 and 2009. His teams have won three Regional titles, something the school had not done since the 1986 championship season, leading to the program's first three NCAA Super Regional appearances. With two Super Regional titles (Long Beach in 2004 and Tucson in 2012), Arizona has made two trips to the College World Series after missing out for 18 seasons before the 2004 trip.

Carry Over: Thanks to winning the final 11 games last season, including a perfect 10-0 run in the postseason, Arizona enters the 2013 campaign with an 11-game winning streak. That is the longest win streak for the Wildcats since 2010, when the then-freshmen class of Kurt Heyer, Alex Mejia, Seth Mejias-Brean, Robert Refsnyder and Joey Rickard helped lead a 15-game winning streak from March 7 through March 27. The longest win streak in coach Andy Lopez's 11 seasons at the school is a 16-game streak turned in by the 2007 club (March 11 through April 14). The longest streak in program history was a 25-game unbeaten stretch to open the 1956 season (March 5 through April 6).

Carry Over Part II: Arizona has won four national championships in program history, but what has it meant for the following season in the past? Prior to 2012, the Wildcats last claimed a title in 1986. They followed that up by winning their first nine games of the 1987 season en route to a 34-26 overall record that included a berth in the NCAA West Regional in Tempe, Ariz. The previous two title seasons were followed up by missing the postseason the next year. The 1980 championship season was followed by four wins to open 1981 and a 30-22 record. The 1976 champs were followed by an 0-2 start in 1977 that led to a 38-25 overall record.

"K"onner Wade: Junior right-hander Konner Wade takes over the Friday night starting spot after a strong season as the Saturday guy behind Kurt Heyer. Last season, Wade finished the season with an 11-3 record and six complete games to go with a 3.96 earned run average, 105 strikeouts and 37 walks in 136.1 innings pitched. The Scottsdale, Ariz., native finished the season on a spectacular postseason run, notching a perfect 4-0 record to go with a 1.29 earned run average while striking out 14 and walking just three in 35.0 innings over four starts in NCAA play. He tossed three complete games in those four starts, including two at the College World Series to earn recognition on the CWS All-Tournament team. Wade, a 2013 Louisville Slugger Preseason All-American (2nd Team), enters his junior campaign with a 14-3 career record in 38 games pitching, including 27 starts. He has a 3.73 earned run average, 133 strikeouts, 56 walks and has limited opponents to a .241 average in his 198.0 total innings.

Steady Farris: As a sophomore, James Farris quietly put together a steady season as the team's Sunday starter. The Gilbert, Ariz., native started in 17 games, posting a 7-3 record with a 3.97 earned run average. He struck out 73 and walked just 20 in 106.2 innings pitched, registering the second-lowest walks per nine innings mark (1.69) on the club. In 2013, Farris will move into the No. 2 and pitch on Saturdays. The right-hander looks to build off two strong postseason starts, where he went 1-0 with a 1.62 earned run average and 11 strikeouts against three walks in 16.2 innings. In his first postseason start, Farris tossed a complete game against Louisville to capture the Tucson Regional championship. Two weeks later, Farris earned the start in the second championship game against South Carolina (June 25) where he went toe-to-toe with Michael Roth, pitching into the eighth inning with just one run allowed. He scattered two hits and two walks to go with four strikeouts in the 7.2-inning, no-decision effort before the Wildcats scored three times in the top of the ninth to win the national championship.

The Sunday Man(thei): Look for Stephen Manthei (pronounced: man-thee), a reliever much of his career, to earn the start this Sunday. A redshirt junior, Manthei posted a 6-4 record and a 4.29 earned run average with two saves in 23 appearances last season as the team's primary setup man. His .241 opponent batting average last season was second-lowest on the club, and he struck out 25 in 35.2 innings of work. Manthei has made one start in his career, which came in his freshman season on March 2, 2010. In that game against UNLV, which was just his second career appearance, Manthei did not record an out and gave up five runs - four earned - in a no-decision. Manthei now has a 8-6 career record with a 4.42 earned run average over 73.1 innings pitched in 52 total games.

Troupe Time: Sophomore Mathew Troupe will open the season as Arizona's closer. As a freshman, Troupe assumed the closer duties much of the season, finishing with a 6-1 record, a 3.47 earned run average and a team-leading six saves. With 44 strikeouts and only 19 walks in 36.1 innings, Troupe led the club with 10.9 strikeouts per nine innings pitched. He saved some of his best pitching for late in the season, as he allowed just one earned run over final 13.2 innings pitched (0.66 ERA), including no earned runs allowed in 4.2 innings pitched over three postseason appearances. Troupe earned two victories at the College World Series, include the season finale when he threw 1.1 innings with no runs allowed and two strikeouts to earn the win in 4-1 victory over South Carolina in second game of championship series to clinch national title (June 25).

Field Back For An Encore: Junior Johnny Field returns after winning the Pac-12 batting crown, being named to the Pac-12 All-Conference team as an outfielder as well as the Pac-12 All-Academic second team. Field was twice named the Pac-12 Player of the Week in 2012, when he played in all 65 games during season, starting 61 in left field and the other four in center field. Including postseason games, Field led all Pac-12 players in average (.370), on base percentage (.476), runs scored (72) and walks (43). He finished tied for first with seven triples and ranked second with 95 hits, and led UA club with 10 outfield assists. Additionally, he batted a team-best .419 with 44 runs, 29 RBI and 22 extra base hits over the final 37 games. Field hit safely in 27 of final 29 games, including a .326 average with 13 runs scored, 13 RBI and six extra base hits in 10 postseason games. He enters 2013 as a Louisville Slugger Preseason All-American (2nd team) and a Baseball America Preseason All-American (3rd team).

A New Field: Junior Johnny Field, the reigning Pac-12 batting champion and a Baseball America Preseason All-American, will shift over from left field to center field this season. The Las Vegas, Nev., native started 61 of the team's 65 games a season ago in left field, but did start four games in center in the month of April filling in four three-year starter Joey Rickard, who was nursing a knee injury. Rickard, a ninth-round draft selection by the Tampa Bay Rays last June, started 177 games in center since the start of 2010. His successor, Field, will also likely fill a new role in the Wildcats' batting order. Last season, Field batted in the No. 2 hole 39 times, the cleanup spot on 22 occasions and leadoff four times. However, he has never hit in the No. 3 hole during his career, where he is likely to be penciled in to open the season.

Back For Moore: A Baseball America Freshman All-American last season, Riley Moore enters his second season as the Wildcats' starting catcher. As a freshman, Moore played in 64 games and made 62 starts behind the plate, catching 561 of the 586 (96 percent) innings pitched by Wildcat hurlers in 2012. The Santa Barbara, Calif., native hit.301 with 10 doubles, two triples and a home run to go with 40 runs scored and 38 runs batted in on the season. A switch-hitter much of the season, Moore spent the final six weeks of season hitting solely from his more natural left side to help team win 18 of its final 20 games. He had the fourth-highest batting average on the team (.347) and scored 16 runs during that stretch. Then in 10 postseason games, Moore had the second-highest batting average on the club (.389), including a career-high four hits on June 3 against Louisville in the Tucson Regional Championship game at Hi Corbett Field. He continued his torrid hitting at the College World Series, batting .412 (7-for-17), which was second-best among Wildcat hitters and fifth-highest among all players to earn a spot on the CWS All-Tournament team. Moore is a 2013 Louisville Slugger Preseason All-American (3rd team).

Where's Joe? Just a sophomore, Joseph Maggi is proving to be a baseball factotum - meant in the best way possible. He wrestled his way into the starting lineup as a true freshman and went on to hit .326 for the year. The Phoenix, Ariz., native first found his way into the designated hitter role, where he started 14 games, before playing first base for 27 starts. A natural outfielder, Maggi also made four starts in left field when Johnny Field moved over to center field in April. This year, Maggi figures to assume one of the corner outfield spots for much of the season. Either way, one season into his career, Maggi has already shown he can handle a variety of responsibilities, so expect to see him wherever the team needs him most.

Across the Diamond: Junior Brandon Dixon, a 38-game starter at first base last season, will begin the season as the starting third baseman following the departure of Seth Mejias-Brean. A Louisville Slugger third team All-American last season, Mejias-Brean started all 65 games at the hot corner in 2012 before being drafted in the eighth round by the Cincinnati Reds. Mejias-Brean started all but eight games at third base in his career from 2010-2012. One of those eight missed starts was made by Dixon in 2011. Last season, Dixon hit .245 with nine doubles and 30 runs scored as he played in 62 games, often finishing games as a sure-handed defensive replacement at first base even if he did not start. He showed improvement at the plate late in the season, hitting .303 with seven runs scored and nine RBI over 10 postseason games. Included was his first career home run against Louisville (June 3) in the Tucson Regional and drove in the game-winning run in top of the ninth inning on an RBI double in national championship-clinching victory over South Carolina (June 25).

Three Amigos: Last year, Arizona's offense was highlighted by four notable juniors, a sophomore sensation and a steady fifth-year year senior at designated hitter. So it's easy to overlook the three freshmen (now sophomores) that rounded out the bottom third of the batting order. Together, catcher Riley Moore, second baseman Trent Gilbert and first baseman Joseph Maggi (also played DH and OF) started 171 games and had 598 at bats. Combined, the trio hit .296, while scoring 93 runs and collecting 99 runs batted in. They were walked or hit by a pitch an additional 75 times, and accounted for 29 sacrifice bunts on the year. In 10 postseason games, each hit over .300, led by Moore's .389 clip, which was second-best on the club in NCAA action during the month of June. Together, they hit .337, scored 18 runs, and combined for 11 of the team's 19 sacrifice bunts during postseason competition.

New to the Nine: Several freshmen are likely to contend for starting spots on opening weekend. Kevin Newman, a Poway, Calif., product, figures to be the team's starting shortstop and is a candidate to hit either leadoff or in the No. 9 hole to help turn the lineup over. At first base, Orland Park, Ill., native Ryan Koziol is competing with junior college transfer Sam Parris (Edmonds CC, Wash.) for the starting nod, a competition likely to continue into the season. Meanwhile, Simi Valley, Calif., native Cody Ramer and Phoenix, Ariz., native Scott Kingery will likely find places in the lineup early in the season. Ramer can play second, third or one of the corner outfield spots, and is a candidate to be the team's leadoff hitter. Kingery pencils in as the backup shortstop behind Newman, and can also play third or one of the corner positions in the outfield. Whichever players don't crack the defense will contend for the designated hitter position. On the mound, Nathan Bannister, Cody Moffett and Tyger Talley have shown consistency in preseason practice. Their contributions, along with others, will be necessary as UA opens up with 23 games in 31 days to open the season.

Closing the Deal: Arizona utilized a closer-by-committee setup in the second half of the season, with Mathew Troupe, Tyler Crawford and Stephen Manthei combining for 10 saves on the season. The trio did a steady job much of the season, but, along with some other relievers, drew some criticism as one of the weaknesses of the team. So chew on this: perhaps no statistic can be more telling of Arizona's ability to close out games than the fact the Wildcats were 47-0 when holding a lead or being tied after eight innings of play. Just as impressive, the Wildcats were 39-1 when leading after seven innings (46-5 tied or trailing after seven), and they posted a 46-6 record when leading or tied after six innings play. It's been a staple of Andy Lopez's teams over the years. In fact, the Wildcats are 302-29-1 (.910) in the last 332 games when they have a lead after the sixth inning. That covers the last 10 full seasons of Lopez's teams that have won at a 91-percent clip in such games.

Extra! Extra! Andy Lopez has called last year's offensive lineup "special", and for good reason. The Wildcats finished the season as the national leader in hits (756). Of those, 190 were extra base hits (132 doubles, 35 triples and 23 homers), which produced a .447 slugging percentage - good enough to lead the Pac-12 and rank No. 15 in the nation. Perhaps most impressive, however, is the fact Arizona rapped out an extra base hit in 64 of the 65 games last season, failing to do so only against Washington State on March 16. Otherwise, the Wildcats have tallied an extra base hit in 47-consecutive games. Johnny Field is the returning leader, with 18 doubles, seven triples and three homers last season.

Throwing Strikes: Arizona loses only one key pitching contributor, albeit a big one in Kurt Heyer, from last year's club. The Wildcats hope to continue their ability to throw strikes and limit free passes. In 2012, UA hurlers issued only 2.58 walks per nine innings pitched, a figure that was second and the Pac-12 and ranked No. 14 nationally. The Wildcats also had an impressive 2.64 strikeout to walk ratio, a mark also ranked second in the conference and good enough for No. 21 nationally. There have been only three seasons since 1969 when UA pitchers issued fewer than 200 walks in a season, and two of those years have been in 2011 (180) and 2012 (168).

.300 Club: Arizona led the Pac-12 and ranked No. 4 in the nation in 2012 with a .329 team batting average, their highest-single season mark in the Andy Lopez tenure, and the highest for the school since 2000 (.331). Under Lopez, the Wildcats have now hit .300 or better in a season for 10-consecutive years. Only his first club, in 2002 (.289), failed to reach the .300 mark. Otherwise his teams have posted averages of .320 (2011), .321 (2010), .314 (2009), .301 (2008), .306 (2007), .305 (2006), .328 (2005), .305 (2004) and .329 (2003) over the last 10 seasons.

Tough to Strikeout: One thing the Wildcat hitters hope to continue in 2013 is be a tough team strike out. In 2012, Arizona struck out the second-fewest times per game of any conference team (4.89 per game). Interestingly, that number has been going down each of the last four seasons. In 2009, UA struck out 7.05 times per game, then dropped to 5.81 in 2010 and 4.9 in 2011. The toughest players to strikeout returning this season are Joseph Maggi (once every 10.29 at bats) and Johnny Field (once every 9.18 at bats). They combined for only 42 strikeouts in 401 at bats.

Up Next: Arizona takes its lone non-conference road trip of the season to Long Beach State for a two-game mid-week series. The Wildcats take on the Dirtbags beginning on Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 6:30 p.m. (PST) at Blair Field. The teams conclude the brief series on Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 3:30 p.m. (PST). Thereafter, Arizona returns home for the next 18 games, beginning with a three-game set against San Jose State Feb. 22-24 at Hi Corbett Field.

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