Arizona Baseball

No. 22 Arizona baseball to start season against Ball State

Information from Arizona’s media relations department contributed to this report:

The No. 22 Arizona Wildcats are scheduled to start their 2021 season with a four-game series against Ball State starting Friday at Hi Corbett Field in the first meeting between the programs.

No fans will be allowed due to COVID-19 protocol. The games can be heard on KCUB (1290-AM) with Brian Jeffries calling the action and they will also be streamed live at

Friday and Saturday games are at 6 p.m., Sunday’s game is at 1 p.m. and Monday’s matchup is at 10 a.m.

Donta’ Williams is one of the Pac-12’s top defensive center fielders (Arizona Athletics photo)

Arizona head coach Jay Johnson is entering his sixth season leading the Wildcats. Since 2016, Johnson has coached Arizona to a record of 163-96 (.629 winning percentage), giving him the second-best winning percentage of any head coach in the Wildcats modern era (1950-current).

Arizona is ranked in every major national preseason poll. Arizona is rated No. 10 by Collegiate Baseball, No. 11 by Perfect Game, and No. 15 by Baseball America. They also are in the Top 25 polls in the USA Today Coaches Poll (No. 19) and D1Baseball (No. 22).

The Wildcats have won 12 consecutive season openers and 17 straight home openers. Arizona’s last Opening Night loss was a 9-7 decision on the road at Georgia in 2008. Their last home opener loss was a 6-3 defeat at the hands of BYU in 2003.

Arizona has outscored its opponents by a combined score of 36-11 in openers under Johnson.

Dating back to the 2019 season, Arizona is 23-6 over its last 29 games. They have won seven series over that stretch.

The Wildcats’ 163 wins since 2016 are the third-most in the Pac-12, behind only Oregon State (187) and Stanford (169).

Here is an Arizona graphic showing the Wildcats’ potential lineup and rotation against Ball State:

Outfielder Donta’ Williams, one of the elite defensive center fielders in college baseball and a consistent leadoff hitter, returns to the Wildcats for his fourth season. Through three seasons with the Wildcats, Williams has combined to hit .275 with 100 runs, 16 doubles, nine triples, three home runs, 59 RBI and 68 walks against just 81 strikeouts. In the field, Williams has posted a career .987 fielding percentage, committing just three errors in 114 games.

More Arizona players to watch:

C Daniel Susac
• Baseball America Preseason Newcomer of the
3B/1B Jacob Berry
• D1Baseball Preseason Freshman of the Year
OF Ryan Holgate
• Perfect Game Preseason All-Pac-12
RHP Vince Vannelle
• Perfect Game Preseason All-Pac-12

Vannelle, a senior right-hander, will be one of the Arizona pitching staff’s most important pieces in 2021. The Dublin, Ohio, native has posted two strong seasons for the Wildcats since transferring from Florida Southwestern. Vannelle has a career 2.90 ERA with Arizona to go with four saves and a 3-2 record. During five appearances in 2020, Vannelle posted a 1.35 ERA, two saves, and a 13.5 K/9 rate while holding opposing hitters to a .152 batting average.

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