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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona baseball team media day takeaways

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.

The Arizona baseball team will play their first game under new head coach Chip Hale against Kansas State at Globe Lite Field in Arlington, Texas, on Feb. 18 at 2 p.m.

Hale, catcher Daniel Susac, infielder Nik McClaughry and pitchers TJ Nichols and Holden Christian spoke to the media. 

“When the pitchers face our hitters, what we have noticed is I think we walk more guys than we will when we face outside competition,” Hale said when talking about what the team’s biggest weakness was. 

Nichols was also spoke about the abilities of the Arizona hitters. 

“It helps a lot just because our hitters are so disciplined, and knowing that’s what the other Pac-12 teams are going to be,” Nichols said. 

When talking about this plan for the opening pitching rotation, Hale said, “I want to see what they can do against outside competition, we will probably ‘piggyback’ some of our starters.” 

By ‘piggyback,’ Hale meant that he plans to have the first starter pitch about four innings, have another starter come in and pitch the next four innings and have a reliever close the game out. The non-conference schedule is how Hale said he plans to evaluate his entire roster early on. 

Last season, McClaughry was put into the starting shortstop position halfway through the season last year and the team began to play better with him in the lineup. 

Susac talked about how McClaughry made an impact and said, “He is the captain of our infield, he keeps all the other players accountable around him.”      

McClaughry saw his batting percentage take a major jump when he came to Arizona. During his two seasons at Sacramento City College, he hit .260 and in his first season at Arizona, his average went up to .316.

“I think that improving my strength and making adjustments to be able to see the ball better,” McClaughry said.  

When asked about what his role will be in the bullpen, Christian said, “Last year my role was coming in a big situation. I just like coming in big situations.” 

Arizona will be looking to find consistency in their late-game relief role. Christian, who is a D1 Baseball Second-team Preseason All-American, is coming off a .97 ERA over 37 innings last season and will look to fulfill that role.

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