Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Baseball's Road to Omaha Starts in Kansas
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: May 28, 2007
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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TUCSON, Ariz. - Arizona's "Road to Omaha" will begin with a trip east to the Wichita Regional. The No. 2-seeded Wildcats, who finished the regular season 40-15 overall and in second place in the Pac-10 with a 15-9 league mark, will face No. 3 seed Oral Roberts in the opening round. No. 1 seed and host school Wichita State and No. 4-seeded  New Orleans round out the four-team regional. Arizona's opening round game against ORU on Friday, June 1 is scheduled for 11 a.m. Tucson time (1 p.m. CDT). The game will be broadcast live in Tucson on 1290 AM.

A Quick Look at Arizona: The Wildcats wrapped up the 2007 regular season with a 40-15 overall record and a 15-9 Pac-10 mark, good enough for second place in the conference standings ... The 2007 Wildcats became the first UA team since the 1989 club to win 40 games in a season (45-18-1 in ’89) ... From March 11 to April 14, Arizona won 16-straight games to put them on the national radar ... The Wildcats have a relatively young roster, boasting 26 freshmen and sophomores ... UA regularly starts one senior, two juniors, four sophomores and two true freshmen in the field ... The Wildcats' pitching staff has rebounded from having the worst ERA in the Pacific-10 last season (5.41) to the second-best conference ERA this season (3.87) ... Staff ace Preston Guilmet is 11-2 with a 1.78 ERA and 133 strikeouts in 126 innings pitched ... True frosh closer Jason Stoffel (5-0, 3 saves, 2.11 ERA) has allowed just one earned run in his last 15 appearances  

Arizona’s Regional History: The 2007 regional invitation marks Arizona’s return to the postseason after a one-year absence ... In six seasons under head coach Andy Lopez the Wildcats have participated in four regionals (2003-05, 2007) ... The 2007 postseason marks the 33rd time UA has advanced to play past the regular season ... The 33 postseason invitations are the second-most in the Pac-10 conference, trailing only 12-time national champion USC’s 40 ... The Wildcats are 53-37 (.589) in regional play since 1950 and have taken home 15 regional championships in school history, with the most recent coming in 2004 at the South Bend (Ind.) Regional.


Postseason Success: The Arizona baseball program has a long and storied history in the NCAA postseason. Excluding this year, the Wildcats have made 32 postseason appearances, won 15 regional titles, one super regional title, made 15 appearances in the College World Series, won three national titles and finished runner-up at the CWS three other times.


Postseason Experience: The Wildcats’ roster, dotted with 26 freshmen and sophomores, does not have a lot of NCAA postseason experience. Seniors Brad Mills and Bill Rhinehart have appeared in two postseasons, including UA’s 2004 CWS run as true freshmen. After those two, junior left-hander David Coulon is the only other UA player on the roster to have had a taste of postseason action (2005).


Lopez in the Postseason: Including this season, Arizona head coach Andy Lopez has guided 12 teams to the NCAA postseason tournament in 19 years on the Division I level, including four at Arizona, and four teams to Omaha and the College World Series. He also led Cal State Dominguez Hills to two Division II playoff berths, including a trip to the D-II World Series in 1987.

Lopez is one of just nine active coaches on the Division I level with a national title to his credit and one only three coaches in the history of college baseball to lead three different schools to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb. He has a 33-25 postseason record on the Division I level and a 38-30 career mark on both the D-I and D-II levels.


Regional Road Warriors: 2007 will mark the 20th time Arizona has left Tucson for the regional round of the NCAA postseason. Of the 19 previous road trips, the Wildcats have returned with the regional title seven times ... Two of Arizona’s three national championship runs in baseball have started on the road, with the 1976 team (at Edinburg, Texas) and the 1986 club (at Austin, Texas) both leaving the Old Pueblo en route to the CWS title. Only UA’s 1980 national championship team started its postseason trip to Omaha in Tucson.


Offensive Numbers: The Wildcats are batting .311 as a team and averaging 7.5 runs, 10.7 hits and 6.8 RBI per game this season ... Led by senior Bill Rhinehart’s team-high .362 average, UA has seven regular starters hitting .300 or better for the year ... C.J. Ziegler (13), Bill Rhinehart (11) and Brad Glenn (10) have all hit double digit homers this season to mark the first trio of Arizona players with 10 or more bombs in a year since 2003.


Pitching Numbers: The Arizona pitching staff is 40-15 with 13 saves ... The Wildcats have a 3.87 team ERA in 491 innings pitched ... Opponents are batting just .258 against the Wildcats this season and have only 110 extra base hits, including just 19 home runs ... The opposition is averaging only 4.6 runs, 8.8 hits and 4.1 RBI per game this season ... With 492 strikeouts against 194 walks, UA has a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 2.5 ... Lead by a team-high five CGs by ace Preston Guilmet, UA hurlers have gone the distance six times this season and have shutout an opponent four times


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