April 8, 2003
Notes From the Miami (Ohio) Series: The Wildcats won their final non-conference series of the season two games to one against the Redhawks ... Arizona batted .378 as a team in the three games and scored 24 runs ... The pitching staff had a 6.67 ERA and 24 strike outs in 27 innings pitched ... Sophomore Jeff Van Houten led all Arizona players at the plate with an outstanding weekend ... The second-year starter went 9 for 13 with two triples, his seventh home run of the season, eight RBIs and five runs scored ... Junior Brian Anderson finished the three-game set 6 for 11 (.545) with five RBIs and four runs scored ... Friday: The Wildcats jumped out to 10-4 lead through the first eight innings, but saw the bullpen surrender six runs in the ninth inning ... Freshman Derek Decater rescued his pitching teammates with a game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth to score John Hardy from second ... Van Houten went 3 for 4 with two RBIs and two runs scored in the game ... Decater, who entered the game as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning, finished 2 for 2 with three RBIs, including the game-winner ... Anderson went 4 for 5 with his 10th home run of the season and four RBIs ... The Wildcat pitching staff issued a season-high 11 walks in the game, including five in the disastrous ninth inning ... Senior Brian Pemble picked up his second win of the season with a third of an inning of relief ... The Miami comeback erased what would have been starter Richie Gardner's seventh win of the season ... Gardner gave up just one earned run over six innings pitched ... Saturday: Miami scored seven runs off a pair of home runs in the first two innings and never looked back ... Starter Kevin Guyette gave up a three-run blast in the first and a grand slam in the second as Miami cruised to a 9-4 win ... Van Houten was Arizona's lone offensive threat, finishing 3 for 5 with a run scored ... Miami starter Graham Taylor tossed a 155-pitch complete game for the Redhawks ... Sunday: Van Houten capped off his weekend with a 3 for 4, six-RBI day as Arizona took the series with a 9-4 win ... The six RBIs tied a career high for a single game ... Van Houten, who was on deck in Arizona's final at bat, finished a double shy of hitting for the cycle in the contest ... Arizona starter Sean Rierson picked up his team-high-tying sixth win of the season with eight innings of work ... The right-hander struck out five and walked one, while giving up just one run on 10 hits ... Junior Terrence Taylor went 3 for 5 with two stolen bases and two runs scored in the win.
Polling Place: Arizona's loss to Miami last Saturday cost it five spots in Collegiate Baseball poll. The Wildcats dropped from No. 21 to No. 26 in this week's poll.
Pac-10 Player of the Week - Jeff Van Houten: Arizona sophomore Jeff Van Houten has been named the April 8 Pac-10 Player of the week, the conference office announced today. The honor is the second of the season for Van Houten and the fifth weekly award for an Arizona player/pitcher this season. Van Houten garnered his second recognition of the year for his 9 for 13-weekend against Miami (Ohio). The second-year starter batted .692 with two triples, his seventh home run of the season, five runs scored and a team-high eight RBIs. He posted a .714 on-base percentage and tallied a 1.231 slugging percentage in helping Arizona win its final non-conference series of the season. In Sunday's 9-4 win he finished 3 for 4 with a career-high-tying six RBIs and needed just a double to hit for the cycle. He was recognized by the Pac-10 previously this season for the week of March 10-17. The Player of the Week honor is 39th all-time for an Arizona player and the second in Van Houten's career. UA's five weekly award winners this season (three pitchers, two players) are the most for a Wildcat team since the 1992 club also had five members (four pitchers, one player) recognized. The 1991 Arizona team tallied a school record eight Player/Pitcher of the Week honorees.
M*A*S*H: The Wildcats continue to fight through a number of nagging injuries. Injured, but still playing, are Pat Reilly (hand), Jeff Van Houten (ribs) and Terrence Taylor (ankle). Freshman catcher Nick Hundley hurt his thumb on his glove hand on a play at the plate against UCLA on March 30, while junior Mo Duran is still ailing from a knee injury suffered against New Mexico on March 18. Both players missed the whole weekend against Miami, but are expected to return to the lineup this weekend against Washington.
Getting Offensive: The Arizona offense currently has a team .342 batting average, up three points from last week's .339 and seven points higher than the season low of .335 (3/9) ... As a team, Arizona ranks either first or second in nearly every offensive category in the Pac-10 this season ... The Wildcats are slugging at a Pac-10-best .552 clip and have a .404 on-base percentage, second in the conference ... The Wildcats 35 triples and 92 stolen bases not only lead the Pac-10, but double up on the nearest school in the rankings ... Sophomore Jeff Van Houten continues to lead Arizona in average (.448), hits (56) and RBIs (47) ... Van Houten's batting average is the best in the Pac-10 so far this season ... Junior Brian Anderson leads the team with a career-high 10 home runs and seven triples. The third-year starter has a team-high and Pac-10-best .793 slugging percentage while hitting at a .400 clip ... Freshman Brad Boyer has 43 runs scored, third in the Pac-10, and 14 stolen bases, second in the conference. See pages 4-5 of the notes for the Pac-10 leaders and where Arizona ranks.
On the Bump: Arizona's staff ERA sits at 4.06 heading into the weekend series with the Huskies, up from 3.82 after the Pac-10 series at UCLA, but still second among the Pac-10 schools ... The Wildcat hurlers have recorded a better than 2-to-1 strike out to walk ratio this season (256 to 113) ... Arizona issued a season-high 11 walks to Miami last Friday, including five in the ninth inning ... Richie Gardner, who was in line to pick up his seventh win on Friday but had to settle for a no decision, saw teammate Sean Rierson tie him for the team lead in wins at six on Sunday. Both right-handers are 6-1 on the season ... Gardner and Rierson are tied with three other conference pitchers for the wins lead ... The Wildcat bullpen's season-long struggle has seen the relievers blow as many leads as they have saved (four) ... Gardner leads the starting rotation with a 3.02 ERA and 54 strike outs in 59 2/3 innings pitched ... His ERA and strike outs both rank third among the Pac-10 pitchers ... See pages 4-5 of the notes for the Pac-10 leaders and where the Wildcats rank.
Up Coming: With its non-conference season nearly behind it, Arizona returns to Pac-10 action this weekend with a three-game series with Washington at Sancet Field ... The Huskies come to town with a nearly identical 21-10 overall record and a 3-3 mark in the Pac-10 ... Washington is coming off a 2 to 1 series win over Oregon State in Seattle ... The Huskies return 24 letterwinners, six starters and three pitchers from last season's 33-27-1 NCAA Tournament team ... Freshman Brent Lillibridge leads the Washington attack at the plate with a .364 batting average in 25 games ... The Huskies distribute the scoring evenly with seven players having scoring 20 or more runs this year ... Junior transfer Chad Boudon leads UW with 10 home runs and 24 RBIs ... On the mound, Washington will send Sean White, Jeff Petersen and Trevor Gibson to the rubber as the starters ... White brings a 5-3 record and a team-high 42 strike outs to the weekend ... Gibson leads the three starters with a 3.58 ERA in 27 2/3 innings ... Head coach Ken Knutson is in his 11th season as the skipper of the Huskies and has racked up a 368-245-1 record in Seattle.
Arizona Probable Pitching Rotation vs. Washington
Friday - Richie Gardner RHP (6-1, 3.02 ERA)
Saturday - Sean Rierson (6-1, 5.14 ERA)
Sunday - TBA
Arizona vs. Washington All-Time: The least played opponent among the Pac-10 schools, Arizona and Washington have only met 13 times in their respective histories ... The two team met for the first time in 1992 ... Arizona holds a tenuous 7-6 lead all-time after Washington took two of three to end Arizona's season in Seattle last year.
Van Hitting: Perhaps Jeff Van Houten should request a name change. From the first game played this season, the sophomore outfielder has done nothing but hit. In 35 starts (he missed one game at UCLA with sore ribs) he is batting a team-high .448 while leading the team in hits (56) and RBIs (47). This season he has posted 15 multi-hit games and 12 multiple RBI games, both are the best for any player on the Arizona roster. His season-low for batting average came on March 8 at Texas when it "dropped" to .373. He has collected at least one hit in 28 games this year, and when he has gone hitless he has still managed to put the ball in play. In his six hitless games he has struck out just three times, while recording three RBIs. The last player to be even close to Van Houten's batting average through the first 35 games of the season happened back in 1998 when Jason Hendricks was batting .435 (50 for 115).
Ninth Inning Woes: The Wildcats have picked a particularly bad inning to be out-scored in this season. Arizona is out-scoring its opponents in the first eight innings by a combined 182 runs this year. The ninth inning however has proven to be a different matter. With big innings being the main culprit, the Wildcats are getting out-scored by over a 3-to-1 margin (36 to 11) in the final frame. The good news is that Arizona has won nine of the 14 games that it has surrendered runs in the ninth. The bad news is that the Wildcats have blown four leads that have eventually led to losses.
Anderson Adding Up: Junior Brian Anderson has bounced back nicely from a down year in 2002. The third-year starter has already surpassed his career home run total of nine in just this season alone. He is also on pace to top his single-season-bests in runs scored (36 in 2003, 40 in 2001) and RBIs (36 in 2003, 38 in 2001). His seven triples this season not only lead the team this year, but are also one more than his freshman and sophomore seasons combined.
Freshmen Phenoms: Offensively Arizona knew it was going to have to rely on its youth to produce this season, and so far it has. As a class, the seven freshmen that have played this season have 170 hits, 118 runs, 36 doubles, 9 triples, 10 home runs, 104 RBIs and 36 stolen bases. Brad Boyer is currently fourth on the team with a .372 batting average and leads all players with 43 runs scored and 14 stolen bases.
2003 Arizona Freshmen Numbers (Boyer, Brown, Crowe, Decater, Franklin, Frey, Hundley)
Category Combined Total Percent of Team Total
AB 496 38%
Runs 118 35%
Hits 170 38% (The freshmen have class .343 BA)
2B 36 44%
3B 9 26%
HR 10 25%
RBIs 104 35%
SB 36 39%
Scoring Position: The Wildcats have made scoring from first base a common occurrence this season. Through 35 games, an Arizona player has come around to score from first base on the next hit 36 times for a total of 11-percent of Arizona's runs.
Stealing Them Silly: Head coach Andy Lopez and his staff put an emphasis on improving Arizona's team speed. It appears they did just that. In addition to scoring 36 runs from first base on the next hit this season, the Wildcats have already stolen 92 bases this season , 18 more than Arizona stole the entire season last year. The Wildcats are currently 92 for 117 in stolen bases this season for an average of nearly three swipes a game. The Wildcats stole a season-high 11 bases in their 15-12 win over Portland on March 12. The school record for stolen bases in a season is 150 set by the 1985 team.
Team Stolen Bases (Last 10 Seasons)
2003 92 - Through 35 games.
Speed Kills: Along the same lines of improved team speed is the ability to take extra bases. Arizona has consistently turned singles into doubles this season (82 total doubles for the year, just seven behind 2002's 56-game total) and has already surpassed its triples total from last season by 10 with 35. Including Jeff Van Houten's inside-the park home run, the Wildcats have 118 hits that have gone for extra bases and are not traditional over the fence homers (82 doubles, 35 triples, one inside-the-park home run) which accounts for nearly 30-percent of all of Arizona's hits for the season. Toss in the 39 traditional home runs and 38-percent of UA's hits are for extra bases.
Double Digits: The Wildcats have found success this season when scoring double digit runs. Arizona is 13-2 (.867) when scoring 10 or more runs in a game this season.
T-Squared: Having gained his eligibility prior to the Texas road trip, junior Terrence Taylor has played in 13 games, including 10 starts in the outfield. During that short span, the speedy JC transfer is batting .415 with 17 runs scored, five doubles, two triples and nine stolen bases.
Stringing Them Together: Junior Brian Anderson snapped former Wildcat Ernie Durazo's longest single-season hitting streak in school history on March 21 against USC. The third-year starter hit safely in the first 26 games he played this season to break Durazo's 2-year-old 2001 mark. His streak ended a day later with an 0 for 3 performance.
Single-Season Hitting Streaks All-Time Hitting Streaks
26 Brian Anderson (2003) 28 Jack Daugherty (1981-82)
25 Ernie Durazo (2001) 28 Ernie Durazo (2000-01)
23 Todd Trafton (1985) 26 Brian Anderson (2003)
Putting Up Zeros: The Wildcat pitching staff already has five shutouts to its credit in 29 games played this season. The 2003 tally has already surpassed the season totals for the past five years and is tied for the most for an Arizona staff since the 1997 club also shutout five opponents during the season. The school record for shutouts in a season is 14 by the 1974 team. In Arizona's shutout wins this season, the Wildcat pitching staff has limited their opponents to under four hits per game, including a pair of two-hitters, and a combined .121 batting average.
Tread Lightly: Arizona's battery of pitchers and catchers have made running on the Wildcats dangerous proposition for their opponents this year. Wildcat pitchers and catchers have caught 25 of 53 would-be base stealers this season for a 47-percent throw out rate. Arizona has also picked off four base runners.
Touchin' 'Em All In A Hurry: Sophomore Jeff Van Houten hit his fifth home run of the season against Wagner on March 14, but didn't have much of an opportunity to savor it. The outfielder became the first Arizona player in over 10 years to circle the bases on an inside-the-park home run. Van Houten smacked a ball down the right field line, circled the bases in a dead sprint and crossed home plate standing up for a home run. Jason Thompson was the last Arizona player to circle the bases with the ball still in play on Feb. 1, 1992 against New Mexico.
What A Difference A Year Makes: Through 35 games this season, Arizona's offense continues to blow away the 2002 team's numbers by a considerable margin. At this point a year ago Arizona was batting .280 with 334 hits, 262 runs scored, 60 doubles, 16 triples, 34 home runs and 226 RBIs. This year the Wildcats are batting .342 with 445 hits, 337 runs scored, 82 doubles, 35 triples, 40 home runs and 299 RBIs. Individually, Arizona had just four players batting .300 or better through the first 35 games last season, while the Wildcats have two players hitting better than .400 this season and 11 at .300 or better.
Average .280 .342
Hits 334 445
Runs 262 337
Doubles 60 82
Triples 16 35
Home Runs 34 40
RBIs 226 299
Slugging Pct. .443 .552
Players Batting .300+ 4 11
Players Batting .400+ 0 3
Stolen Bases 45 of 69 92 of 117
Sean Rierson - National, Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week: Junior Sean Rierson's complete game 2-hitter against UC Irvine on Feb. 15 earned the right-hander Collegiate Baseball/Louisville Slugger National and Pac-10 Conference Pitcher of the Week honors. His national recognition was the seventh all-time at UA and the first for an Arizona pitcher since former Wildcat Ben Diggins was honored the week of Feb. 28, 2000. The conference honor was the 25th all-time for a Wildcat pitcher and the first in Rierson's career. Rierson became the first Arizona pitcher to toss a complete game 2-hitter in nearly 20 years. Former Major Leaguer Joe Magrane was the last Arizona pitcher to go the distance on the strength of a 2-hitter in a 10-1 win over UNLV on Feb. 4, 1984. Rierson's 2-hitter also had the added bonus of being a shutout which was last done by David Carley, James McDonald and Jeff Hird in a combined 1-0 shutout of Pepperdine on two hits on Feb. 6, 1986. Interestingly, the Wildcats got only one hit in that game, which was Todd Trafton's game-winning solo home run in the seventh inning.
Sean Rierson - Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week Part II: Rierson was named the conference pitcher of the week for the second time in 2003 after a dominating performance at Texas in which he limited the defending national champion Longhorns to just one run on seven hits in a complete game performance. He struck out nine and walked two in his fourth win of the year.
Jeff Van Houten - Pac-10 Player of the Week: Sophomore Jeff Van Houten was named the March 18 Pac-10 Player of the Week for his dominating performance at the plate against Portland and Wagner. The outfielder finished Arizona's 5-0 week 10 for 14 (.714) with three home runs (including two in one game and an inside-the-park HR), two triples, a double, seven runs scored, a 1.714 slugging percentage and a .700 on-base percentage. The player of the week honor is the first in his career and the 38th all-time at Arizona. Former Wildcat All-American Shelley Duncan was Arizona's last conference player of the week in 2001.
Richie Gardner - Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week: Junior Richie Gardner was named the March 25 Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week. The right-hander went 2-0 in a pair of starts against New Mexico and USC with 17 strike outs and a 1.80 ERA. The week improved Gardner to a team-best 6-0 for the season.
Head Coach Andy Lopez: Andy Lopez, now in his second season at Arizona, has posted a career 740-452-6 (.620) record (Current). In his three previous coaching stops, Cal State Dominguez Hills, Pepperdine and Florida, he has averaged eight more wins in his second year than in the first. At Florida his second-year team won a school record 50 games, 18 more than the year before, and advanced to the College World Series.
Andy Lopez's First vs. Second Seasons
Cal State Dominguez Hills Pepperdine Florida
1983 15-27 (.357) 1989 41-19-1 (.680) 1995 32-24 (.571)
1984 25-35-1 (.418) 1990 37-23 (.617) 1996 50-18 (.735)
100 Years Of Arizona Baseball: This year will mark the 100th year of Arizona baseball. Since beginning with a 6-1 record in 1904 under head coach B.L. Cosgrove, the Wildcat program has found enormous success in its first 99 seasons. Arizona has recorded 2,248 victories (seventh all-time among Division I teams), won three national championships, finished second three other times, appeared in 14 College World Series, made 29 NCAA regional appearances, had 128 players get drafted and sign professional contracts (of which 52 reached the Major Leagues) and placed 73 players on 54 different All-America teams.