FOLLOW @JAVIERJMORALES ON TWITTER!
Arizona (44-21) starts its 17th College World Series appearance Saturday when the Wildcats play Miami at 5 p.m., Tucson time, at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb. The Wildcats and Miami (50-12) are on the same side of the bracket as Oklahoma State and UC Santa Barbara. The winners and losers play Monday.
Arizona’s record in the CWS is 38-27 record. The Wildcats are making their first appearance in Omaha since winning their fourth national championship in 2012. In addition to titles in 1976, 1980 and 1986, the Wildcats finished runner-up on three previous occasions (1956, 1959 and 1963). Arizona’s four championships are tied for fifth-most in NCAA history. Arizona’s 38 victories at the CWS are tied with Oklahoma State for sixth most in NCAA history. The Wildcats are 21-9 over their last seven CWS appearances, including a five-game win in their 2012 national title run.
The following is a baseball-card view of first-year coach Jay Johnson and some of the Arizona standouts.
Information on cards provided from material released by the Arizona media relations department.
JAY JOHNSON, HEAD COACH
NO. 3 BOBBY DALBEC
NO. 12 CESAR SALAZAR
NO. 13 CODY RAMER
NO. 21 RYAN AGUILAR
NO. 22 KEVIN GINKEL
NO. 23 ZACH GIBBONS
NO. 27 JC CLONEY
NO. 35 NATHAN BANNISTER
NO. 47 CAMERON MING
LOUIS BOYD, SHORTSTOP, JR.
Regular starting shortstop, who usually bats in No. 9 spot in lineup … Appeared in 57 games this season, with 51 starts. … Batting .286 (6-21) in the postseason with a team-high four doubles. … Leads the team with 13 sacrifice bunts. … Has only one error in the postseason and 11 all season. … Batting .486 (18-37) when he leads off an inning.
JJ MATIJEVIC, DESIGNATED HITTER, SOPH.
Batting .292 with 41 runs scored, 16 doubles, four home runs and 36 RBI this season. … His 16 doubles are tied for second most on the team. … Four of his seven postseason hits have gone for extra bases. … One of four players with more than 100 total bases (101).
ALFONSO RIVAS, LEFT FIELDER, FR.
Delivered game-tying hit in 9th inning of 6-5 11-inning win over Mississippi State in Starkville Super Regional Clincher. … Has played in all seven postseason games with six starts. … Has three multiple-hit games in his last seven starts. … Has drawn seven walks in his last nine games after drawing eight in his first 41.
JARED OLIVA, CENTER FIELDER, SOPH.
Has started all seven postseason games with six hits and two sacrifice bunts. … Seven triples ranks second on the team. … Leads the team with 13 stolen bases. … Former walk-on, who redshirted 2014 season. … Has 14 2-out RBI, which is tied for second-most on the team with Cody Ramer.
ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.