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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona baseball team gets set to open 2022 season in State Farm College Baseball Showdown

Screenshot of Arizona baseball head coach Chip Hale (left) and Arizona athletic director Dave Heeke (right) during Hale’s introductory press conference at Hi Corbett Field on July 7, 2021.

Fresh off an appearance in the College Baseball World Series last season, the Arizona baseball team will look to make a trip back to Omaha, beginning with a trip to Arlington, Texas to compete in the State Farm College Baseball Showdown to open the 2022 season. 

The Wildcats will face Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech in this tournament with the other competing teams being Michigan and Auburn. As coach Chip Hale returns to Globe Life Field where he closed out his tenure with the Detroit Tigers last July, one of the biggest themes he preached during Friday’s press conference was on the competition that will take place during this tournament. 

“You get a check of your team,” Hale said. “We think we have a good club. We feel like we know what our starting lineup is going to be and what our top four or five starters are going to be, but we’ll see. There are a lot of fall All-Americans and we’ll see if these guys can do it against good competition.”

Out of the competing teams, Oklahoma is the only one that Arizona saw last season on the field. The Wildcats swept the Sooners in two games earlier this year at the Frisco College Baseball Classic. Oklahoma coach Skip Johnson talked about facing Arizona last year, while also giving props to catcher Daniel Susac.

“[Arizona] is really athletic and had a lot of depth in their pitching,” Johnson said. “The catcher is one of the best in the country. He understands the rapport between the pitcher and the catcher. It is going to be a tough game and a great opportunity to see how we stand against those guys.”

RELATED: No college coaching experience, no problem for newly hired Chip Hale 

The reigning Pac-12 Freshman of the Year was selected as a First-Team Preseason All-American by Collegiate Baseball. Despite these honors, as well as being tabbed as the No. 14 team in the country by Perfect Game, Hale tries to keep all of that noise off the baseball diamond. 

“First off with the rankings, no one has played a game yet,” Hale said. “We just try to get a little bit better every day. One percent better is kind of my theme with our group going into the spring. We have good players. They were recruited well by coach Johnson before he left and I was blessed to take over a good group, so we’re excited to get started.”

The Wildcats will open up the 2022 season against Kansas State on Feb. 18, followed by games against Oklahoma State on Feb. 19 and Texas Tech on Feb. 20. The home opener in Hi Corbett will be against Grand Canyon University on Feb. 22. 

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