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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Local talent brings high hopes for Arizona baseball in 2023

Amelia McAnear

Garen Caulfield enters the dugout, receives high fives from his teammates after scoring a run in a game against Pima Community College on Oct. 15, 2022 at Hi Corbett Field. The Wildcats would go on to win 5-0.

It is safe to say that Chip Hale’s first season as the head coach of Arizona baseball was a success. The team went 39-25 (16-14) on the season and went to the NCAA regionals as the No. 2 seed in the Coral Gables Regional. The offense was elite last season hitting .286 as a team with 391 RBIs, 74 home runs and a .462 slugging percentage, while averaging just over 6.5 runs per game.

However, the lineup is taking a significant hit before the 2023 season. Outfielder Blake Paugh is out of eligibility and star catcher Daniel Susac was drafted by the Oakland Athletics, 19th overall in the first round of the 2022 MLB Draft. The draft also took outfielders Tanner O’Tremba (Round 15, Pick 466) and Mac Bingham (undrafted). The team lost first-baseman Noah Turley to Oklahoma State University as well.

The Wildcats will also be taking a bit of a hit on the mound. Javyn Pimental and Chandler Murphy are transferring to the University of Missouri, the pros took Garrett Irvin and eligibility took Holden Christian, Quinn Flanagan, George Arias Jr. and Jonathan Guardado.

Luckily, Arizona signed nine new pitchers to the 2023 class, three of them being left-handed. This will be the first glance at the recruiting skills of Hale. When Hale took control of his old stomping grounds on July 5th, 2021, he was not able to make any additions to the roster.

Hale has been doing quite a bit of local recruiting. With two players signed from Pima Community College and six more players from high schools and community colleges in Southern Arizona, it seems Hale has a strategy when it comes to the 2023 signing class.

“It’s just not that we’re recruiting [in] the Tucson area, Southern Arizona, Phoenix, the whole state of Arizona [alone], but we have really good baseball in Arizona,” Hale said. “Did we get all of them? No. And that just shows how good our state is [at] producing baseball players.”

After playing eight major league seasons between two clubs, managing the Arizona Diamondbacks and winning a World Series with the Washington Nationals in 2019, Hale is more than qualified to take the Wildcats all the way.

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