Pitcher, defense and weather take center stage in Arizona Wildcats’ final home series against Oregon State

Arizona hasn’t made a mistake in its last five games, the second time since mid-April. That might not seem like a big deal, but considering the Wildcats lead the Pac-12 with 54 errors, that’s quite the feat.

And staying clean on the field can only help UA as they prepare to take first place in Oregon State this weekend in their final series of the regular season at Hi Corbett Field.

The Beavers (39-9, 18-6) lead the nation in fielding percentage at .989, committing just 19 errors. They had just seven unearned runs, compared to Arizona’s 46, but aren’t giving up many runs overall.

The OSU team’s ERA is 3.45, seventh-best in the nation, and in Pac-12 play, that number drops to 2.85. He struck out more than 10.2 batters per nine innings in conference play, walking only 52 in 217.2 conference innings.

Arizona’s Pac-12 ERA is 5.03 and it has walked nearly twice as many batters (100) as the Beavers.

All of these numbers indicate that OSU has a clear advantage on paper, but playing conditions could favor Arizona.

“Now they are going to have to play on grass and dirt which is different for them,” the UA coach said. Chip Hale said of OSU, which owns an artificial turf pitch in Corvallis. “So we’ll see how it goes. And it will be a little warmer than usual.

The predicted first pitch temperature for Friday’s opener at 7:00 p.m. is 88 degrees, while Saturday’s starting temperature at 6:00 p.m. is expected to be 98 and Sunday’s predicted high is 102. Beavers n haven’t played any games this season when the temperature was above 80, while Arizona’s last home game on May 1 against Nevada had a temperature of 90 on the first pitch.

Maybe the heat could neutralize the OSU ace Cooper Hjerpe, a southpaw who is 9-1 with a 2.08 ERA. He struck out 120 batters to just 14 in 73.2 innings and hasn’t allowed more than three runs in a game all season.

“We’ve tried to look at all the teams he’s come up against, and has anyone had success, and kind of tried, maybe we’ll try to take that approach, and there’s just not much there,” Hale said. . “So you have to hope everyone has a night off, and maybe it will be here in Tucson.”

Any win over OSU, which is No. 2 in the RPI, will be a boost for Arizona’s playoff resumption. The Wildcats’ RPI is 40, which forces them to dive into a regional #3 seed in the NCAA Tournament screenings of Baseball America and D1Baseball.

O’Tremba wins academic honor

Junior right fielder Tanner O’Tremba was selected to the CoSIDA Academic All-District team on Thursday, making him eligible for Academic All-American honors. He is the Wildcats’ first college district winner since Brad Mills in 2007.

O’Tremba, who graduated in psychology from UA on Thursday, has a 4.0 grade point average and was a 2021 Pac-12 Spring Academic Honor Roll recipient.

He also leads the Wildcats in batting with an average of .368, with his 74 hits ranking second on the team. O’Tremba’s 46 RBIs are also second on the team.

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