Arizona baseball makes NCAA tournament, ASU part of first 4 out
May 29, 2023, 10:44 AM | Updated: 11:40 am
(Photo by Zac BonDurant/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
The Arizona Wildcats baseball team will dance in the NCAA tournament after a remarkable journey to the championship game of the PAC-12 tournament last week, while Arizona State is staying home as one of the first four teams out.
The Wildcats were one of the last four teams to make the tournament, joining Louisiana, Oklahoma and Troy.
Arizona State, along with Kansas State, Kent State and UC Irvine, were on the outside looking in.
The Wildcats (33-24) will take on TCU (37-22) in the first round of the Fayetteville regional. No. 3 seed Arkansas and Santa Clara are also part of the double elimination regional.
Arizona entered the Pac-12 tournament as the No. 8 seed and proceeded to clobber in-state rival and No. 5 seed Arizona State 12-3 before beating the No. 2 seed and No. 8 ranked Oregon State Beavers 13-12. The Wildcats then run-ruled the No. 3 ranked team in the country and the No. 1 seed Stanford 14-4. The Wildcats’ journey in the tournament came to an end with a 5-4 loss to Oregon in the championship game.
NCAA Division 1 Baseball Committee Chair John Cohen said on ESPN’s selection show on Monday that the Wildcats’ run to the conference championship, as well as a series win against USC late in the season, recent domination of Arizona State and a win against UC Irvine, helped them make the cut.
— NCAA Baseball (@NCAABaseball) May 29, 2023
The team’s 45 RPI, which is used to measure a team based on the strength of schedule, also helped as it was the fifth-best in the Pac-12.
The four teams ahead of the Wildcats in RPI – Stanford (15), Oregon (34), Washington (36) and Oregon State (37) – all made the tournament as well.
“A very solid resume and it’s reflected by the RPI,” Cohen said.
Arizona State, meanwhile, beat Oregon State 14-10 in the third day of the tournament but didn’t receive the help it needed to move on.
The Sun Devils had a RPI of 52, which placed them sixth in the Pac-12 conference.
It’s the 42nd time in program history that the Wildcats have been invited to the NCAA tournament. The team hoisted the trophy in 1976, 1980, 1986 and 2012.
Arizona State misses the NCAA tournament for the second consecutive season.
No. 8 seed Stanford will host Texas A&M, Cal State Fullerton and San Jose State in their regional.
Washington is in the Stillwater regional, Oregon is in the Nashville regional and Oregon State is in the Baton Rouge regional.
The winners of the various regionals will move on to the super regionals. All the remaining teams will then travel to Omaha for the College World Series.