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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

National Champion Arizona baseball team to take on minor leaguers

The title defense for the Arizona baseball team will kick off Thursday, Oct. 4 — well, sort of.

National champions the Wildcats travel to Tempe, Ariz. to take on the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim instructional league team in an exhibition game at Tempe Diablo Stadium.

The game starts at 6 p.m. at the Angels’ spring training facility and is the headliner for the Andy Lopez Baseball Academy, which will be held on Oct. 6 and Oct. 7.

The exhibition matchup was arranged by Arizona alumnus, current Angels owner, Arte Moreno, and UA head coach Andy Lopez.

Fall team practices don’t begin until Oct. 8, but the friendly matchup will be the first chance for the team to test out its new roster after winning the College World Series in June.

“This will be a great opportunity for some of the younger guys to gain experience early in the fall against some very talented players,” Lopez said in a press release. “It’s a unique situation to have an opportunity like this before we even practice as a team, but it will be valuable to our players and something they can enjoy.”

The Wildcats’ full fall roster will challenge an Angels team featuring some of the organization’s top prospects. Although Arizona brings back some top talent from last season, including juniors Johnny Field and Konner Wade, the Wildcats did lose a bit of talent from their championship roster.

Five of Arizona’s most experienced players entered the MLB Draft.

The team also lost senior Bobby Brown to graduation.

The exhibition may be a learning opportunity for new players, but the game will also be a celebration for the fans.

“We hope our fans, especially those in the Phoenix area, can come out and enjoy this experience with us,” Lopez said.

Admission is free for the nine-inning game, and some players will be available for autographs afterward. The baseball season officially gets underway on Feb. 15 when Arizona takes on Coppin State. The full season schedule has yet to be released.

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