The Arizona Wildcats have missed the postseason a year after winning the College World Series.
Arizona, with a young lineup and a veteran pitching staff that didn’t live up to expectations, made a charge at the end of the season but finished 34-21 overall and 15-15 in the Pac-12.
Coach Andy Lopez said a couple of weeks ago that he thought winning five of six games down the stretch would be good enough — and that’s what the Wildcats did — but UA still fell short of earning an at-large bid to the 64-team NCAA Tournament.
“I’m excited about this club for the next couple of years. Really excited,” Lopez said Sunday after the Cats completed a home sweep of USC. “I mean, these freshmen have had some big plays, done some great things in tough situations.”
Although the Wildcats finished within a game of fourth place in the Pac-12, the competition on their non-conference resume wasn’t particularly strong, which certainly worked against UA’s NCAA Tournament resume.
Lopez notes that Arizona had been scheduled to open the season with a tough series at Auburn, but when the Tigers canceled the series, UA was forced to scramble and fill in its schedule with Coppin State.
“We had to find somebody to play three games, or else we would have had three intra-squads on opening weekend,” Lopez said last week. “I don’t think Tucson would have enjoyed it that much.”
Arizona began conference play with an 0-6 mark against Oregon State (the No. 3 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament) and Oregon (the No. 8 overall seed). The Cats bounced back with sweeps against Utah and Cal, but didn’t have enough marquee victories sprinkled throughout the season, save for winning two of three late in the season at Arizona State.
Arizona led the Pac-12 in hitting (.306 batting average) but was ninth in team ERA (4.41).
Four Pac-12 teams made the NCAA field: Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA and Arizona State.
Check back from reaction from the Wildcats later today …