Arizona Baseball

Arizona Wildcats’ softball and baseball teams flirting with best season for both in one year

The diamonds at Arizona are brilliant, a rare sight to behold.

Arizona’s baseball team (22-7) is on pace to win 42 games, which would give the Wildcats a 42-14 regular-season record.

If that comes true, it would mark only the second time in the last 30 years that Wildcats would achieve back-to-back 40-win seasons. Jay Johnson’s team finished 49-24 last year with 11 of those wins coming in the postseason before it finished runner-up in the College World Series.

The previous time Arizona won at least 40 games in consecutive years was in 2007 and 2008 when the Wildcats won 42 games each of those years under Andy Lopez. Before that? Jerry Kindall’s teams in 1985 (47-22) and 1986 (49-19). The 1986 team won the College World Series.

The softball team is 38-1 with only 16 games left, so the percentages indicate

Arizona’s softball team celebrates yet another victory last night against Stanford (Arizona athletic department photo)

Mike Candrea’s team will finish 54-1. Only one loss would be an Arizona record.

The 1994 team with Laura Espinoza (30 home runs), Leah Bratz, Jenny Dalton, Amy Chellevold and Susie Parra (33-1 pitching record) holds the Wildcats’ record with only three losses. It was 38-1 before losing its second game.

Four times the softball team has lost five games or less and it won the title three of those years (1994 — 64-3, 1997 — 61-5 and 2001 — 65-4). The other time if finished runner-up in 1998 with a 67-4 record.

With the baseball and softball teams on pace to win a combined 96 games in the regular season that begs the question: What’s the best record combined for both teams in their history?

In 1998, the combined for a 100-27 record, including the postseason. They had 97 regular-season victories.

The softball team was 67-4 with three wins in the postseason and the baseball team under Jerry Stitt was 33-23 without qualifying for the playoffs.

If Arizona’s softball team continues its torrid pace and the baseball team performs slightly better than a 42-14 record in the regular season, this will be the best product the Wildcats’ programs have produced at the same time.

Arizona coach Jay Johnson is coaching the Wildcats toward another 40-win season (Arizona athletic department photo)

Last night, each dominated the opposition.

Arizona’s softball team mercy-ruled Stanford in a 20-1 win at Hillenbrand Stadium. The Wildcats hit a season-high seven home runs. They had five home runs in the first inning, setting a new school record; the seven homers were one off the school record. Arizona’s 63 home runs, 20 more than any other team in the Pac-12.

Jessie Harper hit two home runs in the first inning, the second time she has achieved that feat in an inning this year. Harper took the Pac-12-lead in home runs (14) from teammate Katiyana Mauga, who also homered against the Cardinal for her 13th on the year.

Arizona’s baseball team used a 12-run sixth inning at Bailey-Brayton Field in Pullman, Wash., to hammer its way past Washington State 19-5.

Arizona pounded out 21 hits, had six players register multiple-hit games and finished with 10 extra-base hits, marking the seventh time this season the Wildcats have scored more than 15 runs in a game.

Alfonso Rivas reached base all five times he came to bat, going 3 for 3 with a home run, three RBI, four runs scored, a walk and a hit by pitch. JJ Matijevic finished 4 for 4 with a home run, two doubles and six RBI and No. 3 hitter Jared Oliva also had a four-hit night, going 4 for 6 with two runs scored, two doubles and four runs scored.

Arizona’s softball team plays Stanford today at 3 p.m. at Hillenbrand. The baseball team takes on Washington State at 2 p.m. in Pullman.

FOLLOW @JAVIERJMORALES ON TWITTER! 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, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports,, 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.

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