FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
TUCSON, Ariz. – The Arizona baseball team will open the 2012 season with 20 of its first 22 games at home, including 15 straight to start the year, at the new home of the Wildcats – Hi Corbett Field.
Arizona will play 35 of its 55 regular season games at Hi Corbett Field, which is scheduled to make its debut as the permanent home for Arizona baseball when North Dakota State visits Tucson to open the 2012 slate in February (17-19). The Bison are coached by Tod Brown, a former Arizona player and assistant coach.
“We are very excited to begin playing at Hi Corbett in the spring,” Head Coach Andy Lopezsaid. “I think it is going to be an outstanding experience for our players and certainly for the fans. It is an exciting time for Arizona baseball as we look ahead to the upcoming season.”
Also on the non-conference slate for visits to Tucson are Utah Valley (Feb. 21), Auburn (Feb. 24-25), Harvard (March 2-4), UC Davis (March 6-7), Eastern Michigan (March 9-11), New Mexico State (March 20-21) and East Tennessee State (April 27-29).
“It will be good for our team to get an opportunity to play a lot of home games early in the season,” Lopez said. “We’ve got a strong nucleus of our team returning, and playing at home will allow the rest of the pieces to come together before we hit the road in conference play for the second half of the season.”
Arizona hosts weekend series against five Pac-12 foes, including Washington State (March 16-18), Stanford (March 30-April 1), UCLA (April 13-15), Oregon (May 4-6) and rival Arizona State (May 25-27) to conclude the regular season.
The Wildcats and Sun Devils also play two non-conference games in Tempe, Ariz. The first contest is scheduled for April 17 and the second is set for May 16.
Other non-conference road games include a two-game mid-week series at Rice in Houston, Texas (March 13-14). The Wildcats also take on Utah Valley in a single game in Logan, Utah (April 4) before playing against Pac-12 newcomer Utah in Salt Lake City (April 5-7).
Besides the three-game set with Utah, Arizona will play at Oregon State (March 23), at Washington (April 20-22), at California (May 11-13) and at USC (May 18-20) in conference play.
The Wildcats have reached the postseason in seven of the last nine seasons under Lopez, who is entering his 11th year at the school. UA, which has appeared in back-to-back NCAA regional tournaments, returns two of its top three starting pitchers and five of its top eight hitters.
“Certainly one of our goals for moving into Hi Corbett Field is to improve our chances to host postseason games,” Lopez added. “If we take care of our job on the field, we should have every opportunity. It is a fantastic facility and I think it will be a great atmosphere for our fans to come enjoy with their friends and families.”
Arizona’s long and storied baseball tradition includes a history of playing games at Hi Corbett Field. During the 1960-70s, the Wildcats hosted as many as a dozen night games each year at Hi Corbett Field. Through the 1974 season, Arizona enjoyed a home field advantage at the park that produced a 37-15 (.712) overall record.
Jerry Kindall Field at Frank Sancet Stadium has been the Wildcats’ primary home facility since 1967, where Arizona boasts an all-time record of 1,114-486-4 (.695). From 1986-2003, the facility was known as Frank Sancet Field. Prior to 1986, the facility was known as Wildcat Field.
The Arizona baseball team begins official fall practices on Monday, Oct. 10. The fall practice season will run through Nov. 19.