Arizona Baseball

Arizona’s Johnson Pac-12 Coach of the Year, Susac Freshman of the Year

Information from the Arizona media relations department contributed to this report:

Banner day for Arizona baseball as nine Wildcats were honored with 12 postseason awards in the Pac-12 on Thursday afternoon, highlighted by the selection of Daniel Susac as Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and head coach Jay Johnson as Pac-12 Coach of the Year.

In addition to Arizona’s two major award winners, Chase Silseth, Donta Williams, Susac, Jacob Berry, and Branden Boissiere were selected to the Pac-12 All-Conference team. Williams and Susac were also tabbed to the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team.

Ryan Holgate, Vince Vannelle, and Kobe Kato all earned All-Pac-12 honorable mention recognition.

Coach of the Year:

·         Jay Johnson

Freshman of the Year:

·         Daniel Susac

Pac-12 All-Conference Team:

·         Chase Silseth

·         Donta Williams

·         Daniel Susac

·         Jacob Berry

·         Branden Boissiere

Pac-12 All-Defensive Team:

·         Daniel Susac

·         Donta Williams

Pac-12 All-Conference Honorable Mention:

·         Ryan Holgate

·         Vince Vannelle

·         Kobe Kato

Arizona’s Jay Johnson is the school’s first Pac-12 Coach of the Year since Andy Lopez nine years ago (Arizona Athletics photo)

This marks Arizona’s second consecutive Pac-12 Freshman of the Year winner, after Austin Wells earned the honor in 2019, and the Wildcats’ first Pac-12 Coach of the Year honor since Andy Lopez in 2012. For the third time under coach Johnson, and the first time since 2017, Arizona placed five players on the Pac-12 All-Conference team.

This is just the second time the program has featured multiple Pac-12 All-Defensive Team honorees.

Johnson, in his sixth season with the Wildcats, led Arizona to an outright Pac-12 championship with his team going 40-15 overall record and a 21-9 in conference play.

The Wildcats reached 40 regular season wins for just the 13th time in program history and logged the second-most conference victories ever at Arizona.

Johnson, a coach known for his prolific offenses, again produced one of the most dangerous lineups in the nation. The Wildcats finished the regular season leading the Pac-12 in nearly every statistical category and ranked fourth in the nation with an average of 8.7 runs per game.

Susac, a native of Roseville, Calif., rewrote large portions of the Arizona record books in his freshman year. In 53 regular season games, he hit .344 with 45 runs, 20 doubles, one triple, 12 home runs, 59 RBIs, a .618 slugging percentage, and a .396 on-base percentage.

As the Wildcats’ everyday starting catcher, Susac posted a .996 fielding percentage and threw out 8-of-24 attempted base stealers. At the conclusion of the Pac-12 schedule, Susac set Arizona freshman conference records with 45 hits, 12 doubles, 21 extra-base hits, 83 total bases, and a .669 slugging percentage while tying Arizona freshman conference records with eight home runs and 34 RBIs.

Last month, Susac was tabbed as a semifinalist for the Buster Posey National Collegiate Catcher of the Year Award. He is the first Arizona catcher to earn Pac-12 All-Defensive Team honors.

All five of the Wildcats’ all-conference selections are first-time recipients of the award.

Silseth, Arizona’s Opening Night starter and game-one ace all season, led the team and ranked second in the Pac-12 with eight wins while also pacing the club and ranking third in the conference with 89 strikeouts. He limited opposing hitters to a .269 batting average and logged five quality starts during his first season in Tucson. Silseth earned Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week honors on May 3 after working 7.0 two-hit innings with eight strikeouts against Utah.

Williams, in his fourth season with the Wildcats, was the primary driver of one of the nation’s top offenses, hitting .335 with 71 runs scored, 13 doubles, 3 triples, six home runs, 41 RBIs, a .517 slugging percentage, and an astounding .487 on-base percentage. The Las Vegas native led the Pac-12 and ranked third among all Division I players in the country with 71 runs while also setting career-high marks in doubles, home runs, RBIs, and slugging percentage. Defensively, the center fielder logged a .975 fielding percentage, collected one outfield assist, and committed just one error across 30 Pac-12 games. Williams’ selection to the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team is the second of his career, having previously earned the honor as a sophomore in 2019.

Berry, who along with Susac made up the “Baby Bombers” duo with Silsac, slugged his way through 55 games to a team-leading .371 batting average, 48 runs, 16 doubles, five triples, 15 home runs, 64 RBIs, a .710 slugging percentage, and a .463 on-base percentage. His 15 home runs are five shy of matching the Wildcats freshman record of 20, set by the program’s home run king, Shelley Duncan, in 1999. Through the conclusion of the regular season, Berry leads the team in batting average, triples, home runs, RBIs, extra-base hits, total bases, and slugging percentage. His 64 RBIs are the most in the Pac-12 and tied for fifth-most among all Division I players. In addition to his Pac-12 honors, Berry was picked to the midseason watch lists for the Golden Spikes Award and Bobby Bragan Collegiate Slugger Award and named as a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy.

Boissiere, Arizona’s everyday first baseman, finished the regular season on a tear and ultimately hit .362 with 62 runs, eight doubles, four triples, five home runs, 55 RBI, a .505 slugging percentage, and a .453 on-base percentage. He was one of just three players to start every game this year for the Wildcats, making him a critical piece of the conference’s most productive offense. At the end of the regular season, his 62 runs ranked second in the conference and tied for ninth nationally. Defensively, Boissiere turned in a Gold Glove-caliber performance, logging a .991 fielding percentage on more than 400 chances. For his efforts, he was selected to the Golden Spikes Award Midseason Watch List.

Arizona is back in action this weekend at Hi Corbett Field, kicking off postseason play by hosting Grand Canyon in the Tucson NCAA Regional on Friday at 7 p.m. For ticketing information, a full schedule, and more visit Arizona’s Tucson Baseball Regional Central.

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