Arizona Baseball

A look at Tucson Regional field — toughest group in nation, according to D1Baseball

Brendan Summerhill of Arizona made the Pac-12 All-Tournament team after being an all-conference selection (Arizona Athletics)

D1Baseball rates the Tucson Regional involving Arizona, Grand Canyon, Dallas Baptist and West Virginia as the toughest of the 16 regional sites in the nation.

Mike Rooney of D1Baseball writes: “Pac-12 regular-season and tournament champion hosted despite a No. 31 RPI, and the Wildcats were rewarded with the toughest regional field from top to bottom, with a No. 2 seed that had its own strong hosting case in Dallas Baptist, a No. 3 seed that could have been a 2 in West Virginia, and the toughest 4-seed in the field of 64 in Grand Canyon. It’s anybody’s ballgame, and it should make for compelling theater out West.”

Arizona’s baseball team, the No. 13 overall seed in the NCAA tournament, will host its first regional since 2021 when the Wildcats emerged victorious and then beat Ole Miss at Hi Corbett in the Super Regional to earn a trip the College World Series.

The Wildcats (36-21) will play Grand Canyon (34-23) at 6 p.m. on Friday (ESPN-Plus) after Dallas Baptist (44-13) faces West Virginia (33-22) at noon (ESPN2).

A brief rundown on each team:


— The Wildcats are 10-1 in home NCAA Tournament games.

— Arizona is 19-7 in home games this season.

— Wildcats are galvanized by playing the No. 1 strength-of-schedule non-conference slate, that includes Grand Canyon and Dallas Baptist this season.

— Arizona lost 4-3 to Dallas Baptist and lost two of three games to Grand Canyon, including a 24-8 loss on April 30 at home.

— Wildcat pitchers are No. 1 in the nation in walks-per-nine innings, allowing only 2.5 walks per game. They are 19th in the country in team ERA (4.33).

— Salpointe graduate Mason White, a sophomore shortstop, has 19 home runs with 65 RBIs and 54 runs.

— In a press gathering Monday at Hi Corbett Field, Arizona coach Chip Hale touched on Grand Canyon’s 2-1 record against the Wildcats — with all the matchups one-game mid-week affairs in which starters in the regular rotation are not utilized. “This will be different,” Hale said. “We’ll face they’re supposed Friday night starter and we’ll have our best pitcher going against them. So it will be a little bit different, but they put good at-bats together. They put the ball in play with two strikes. As we know, with our weather and our field, there’s a lot of hits to be had in this field. When you put the ball in play, you have a chance.”


— Grand Canyon won the WAC regular-season title but lost to Tarleton State in the conference championship. Tarleton State is not in the NCAA tournament because it is in the transitionary period moving from Division II to Division I.

— Since the Antelopes took the place of Tarleton State with the automatic bid, they believe they are playing with “house money” this weekend in Tucson. “We like to say we’re back from the dead; it’s all house money from this point on,” infielder Eli Paton (formerly of UCLA) told reporters.

— Paton said Grand Canyon is looking forward to playing in nearby Tucson. “We kind of thought that we were going to end up there (in Tucson), but we never knew. Playing them (Arizona) three times already it gives us a little bit of an advantage. And obviously it’s only two hours down south so it’s not like we’re going across country to play a team we’ve never played before. We do have experience and we’re ready to go.”

— The Antelopes have eight players batting .308 or higher. They led the WAC in batting average and in team ERA.

— Former Arizona pitching standout Nathan Bannister, a member of the 2012 CWS championship team, is the pitching coach at Grand Canyon. Issac Lyon leads Grand Canyon with 10 starts and a 3.70 ERA.

— Former Catalina Foothills standout Troy Sanders, son of Santa Rita grad Anthony Sanders who is now the first base coach of the Baltimore Orioles, is batting .333 (8 of 24).


— The Patriots were 9-1 in their final 10 games, allowing them to build its RPI to No. 17. They are coming off a 17-10 win over Louisiana Tech for the Conference USA championship.

— Dallas Baptist went 4-0 against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, which finished first and second, respectively, at the top of the Big 12 standings and were the final two teams in the Big 12 Tournament.

— The Patriots were 6-1 in neutral-site games this season.

— RHP Ryan Johnson (11-2, 2.07 ERA) is third in the nation with 147 strikeouts and fourth in walks allowed per nine innings (1.08).

— Dallas Baptist ranks eighth in the nation in team ERA (3.98) and also eighth in hits allowed per nine innings (7.7).

— The Patriots rank 15th in the country in home runs (111), 31st in hits (595 in 57 games) and 47th in steals (86)

— Arizona lost to Dallas Baptist 4-3 in the opening game of the Frisco (Texas) Baseball Classic on March 1. The Patriots improved to 9-0 with that win while Arizona dropped to 4-5. Johnson had a no-decision, striking out 14 and walking one with seven hits allowed in 6 2/3 innings. Arizona left-hander Jackson Kent pitched well without a decision in 5 1/3 innings, allowing six hits, two runs and one walk while striking out seven.


— Future Big 12 opponent West Virginia has now reached NCAA regional play in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1964.

— Current assistant coach Steve Sabins will be taking over for the retiring Randy Mazey next season.

— West Virginia is motivated by being a No. 3 seed and not No. 2. “Part of it is going to be playing with a chip on our shoulder,” Mazey said in a press gathering. “I’ll bet not many people are going to give us an opportunity to get a win out there, which benefits us. Us being a three-seed instead of a two-seed stings a little bit I think, based on what we have done. There’s some reasons we will be very motivated out there.”

— West Virginia finished in fourth place in the Big 12 regular-season standings. After an 11-9 start, the Mountaineers went 22-13.

— The Mountaineers played at Arizona last season and took two out of three games from the Wildcats. “We played great out there,” Mazey said. “JJ (Wetherholt) swung it incredibly well. Sam White played incredibly well. There’s a lot to be said for playing on a field you have confidence in. Just like a golfer, sometimes they play better golf on a course they are familiar with. I kind of like that aspect of it.”

— Nine Mountaineers on this year’s roster made at least one appearance in the series at Hi Corbett Field last year. After losing a late lead in the first game of the series, Wetherholt, a second baseman, stole home in the 11th inning to take the game-winning 6-5 lead. 

— Wetherholt (.356 batting average, eight home runs, 30 RBIs) and RHP Derek Clark (7-2, 3.05 ERA) were named first team All-Big 12.  


at Hi Corbett Field


Game One: No. 2 Dallas Baptist vs No. 3 WVU — 12 p.m, (ESPN2)

Game Two: No. 1 Arizona vs No. 4 Grand Canyon — 6 p.m. EST (ESPN+)


Game Three: Game 1 Loser vs Game 2 Loser — 1 p.m. (TBA)

Game Four: Game 1 Winner vs Game 2 Winner — 7 p.m. (TBA)


Game Five: Game 3 Winner vs Game 4 Loser — 12 p.m. (TBA)

Game Six: Game 5 Winner vs Game 4 Winner — 6 p.m. (TBA)

Monday (If Necessary)

Game Seven: Same as Game Six — TBA (TBA)

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