Feb. 29, 2012
|2012 Arizona Baseball
March 2-4, 2012 | Tucson, Ariz. | Hi Corbett Field
Harvard Crimson (0-0, 0-0 Ivy League) @ No. 7 Arizona Wildcats (5-2, 0-0 Pac-12)
|Friday, March 2 • 6 p.m. (MST) • Hi Corbett Field • UA Radio: 990 AM (Spanish only)
LHP Brent Suter vs. RHP Kurt Heyer (2-0, 0.64)
|Saturday, March 3 • 4 p.m. (MST) • Hi Corbett Field • UA Radio: None
RHP Joey Novak vs. RHP Konner Wade (1-0, 1.93)
|Sunday, March 4 • 11 a.m. (MST) • Hi Corbett Field • UA Radio: 990 AM (Spanish)
RHP Jacob Kremers vs. RHP James Farris (1-1, 3.65)
|Some Series Themes||Quick Links|
|Two of college baseball winningest programs meet for the first time in their respective histories this weekend ... Arizona continues a season-opening 15-game home stand against an unfamiliar foe, while Harvard makes its 2012 debut in the Old Pueblo ... UA starters Kurt Heyer and Konner Wade look to continue strong starts to their junior and sophomore seasons, respectively ... Wildcat hitters seek to improve their hitting numbers after a sluggish opening weekend and a more successful second weekend ... Crimson left-hander Brent Suter will open the series on the mound and try to duplicate the success Auburn lefty Daniel Koger had against the Cats in the series finale last Saturday ... Situational hitting is sure to be an emphasis for a Wildcat squad that has done a good job of getting runners on base, but not always moving them over and getting them in during the early stages of 2012 ... Another weekend for Wildcat fans to fill the stands at Hi Corbett Field after large crowds the first two weekends.||Baseball America Rank: UA - 7th|
|Game Notes (PDF)|
|2012 Media Guide|
|Harvard vs. Arizona Statistical Comparison||Arizona Statistical Leaders|
|0-0 (0-0 Ivy League)||Record||5-2 (0-0 Pac-12)||Avg.||Robert Refsnyder (.448)|
|-||Avg.||.303||Hits||Robert Refsnyder (13)|
|-||Runs||51||Runs||Robert Refsnyder (9)|
|-||Hits||72||RBI||Alex Mejia (9)|
|-||2B||16||2B||Four players (3)|
|-||3B||5||HR||Alex Mejia (2)|
|-||HR||2||OB%||Johnny Field (.594)|
|-||SB-ATT||19-23||SLG%||Robert Refsnyder (.690)|
|-||OB%||.381||SB||Robert Refsnyder (6)|
|-||SLG%||.437||ERA||Mathew Troupe (0.00)|
|-||ERA||3.57||IP||Heyer, Wade (14.0)|
|-||K's||56||K's||Konner Wade (23)|
|Arizona Baseball Game Notes:|
A Rare Meeting: Arizona and Harvard meet on the diamond for the first time ever this weekend. Geographically speaking, that may not be much of a surprise, but consider some of these astounding numbers: The two programs have combined to play 8,036 all-time games. Arizona's 2,578 all-time wins ranks as the seventh-most in NCAA history. Harvard's 2,412 victories rank as the 12th-most all-time. Together, they have won 4,990 games, lost 2,988 and tied 58. The Crimson have now fielded teams for 145 seasons, while the Wildcats have done so for 107 years.
Arizona Head Coach Andy Lopez: The Wildcats are coached by Andy Lopez, who is now in his 11th season with a 360-231-1 record at the school. He has guided the Wildcats to postseason competition in seven of the last nine years, including two straight NCAA regionals and highlighted by a 2004 College World Series appearance. The Wildcats have won at least 30 games in five straight years and in nine of Lopez's 10 seasons at the school. Overall, Lopez has more than 1,000 career victories, one national championship and four College World Series appearances. Lopez owns a career record of 1,047-649-7 in 30 years as a head coach, including stints at Cal State Dominguez Hills (1983-88), Pepperdine (1989-94), Florida (1995-2001) and Arizona (2002-present). Lopez led Pepperdine, Florida (twice) and Arizona to College World Series appearances. His total victories are 13th-most among active coaches and he is just one of just 45 individuals to reach 1,000 career victories.
UA-Auburn Recap: Arizona won the first two games of the series by scores of 8-1 and 15-4, while the Tigers salvaged an 8-3 victory in the second half of a double-header on Saturday to conclude the series ... The Wildcats out-hit and out-scored Auburn .339-.291 and 26-13, respectively ... Kurt Heyer improved to 2-0 following seven strong innings with just one unearned run allowed in the opener ... Konner Wade earned his first win of the season on Saturday with 10 strikeouts and two runs - one earned - in 6.2 innings ... James Farris suffered the loss in the finale with five runs allowed in 3.1 innings of work ... Offensively, SS Alex Mejia led the charge with seven hits, including homers in the first two games, four runs and seven RBI on the weekend ... Freshman catcher Riley Moore had a breakout series with four hits and three RBI in his two starts ... Freshmen Joseph Maggi and Jordan Berger each saw their first action of the year and combined for four hits in Saturday's double-dip action ... Relievers Mathew Troupe and Lucas Long closed out the Wildcats' two victories with just two runs allowed in 4.1 combined innings ... Defense was a bit a rough spot for both clubs, as 15 combined errors were committed in the three games.
March Madness: We aren't talking about the NCAA basketball tournament, but rather UA's busy baseball schedule during the month. Starting Friday, the Wildcats begin a frenzied stretch that includes 18 games in 24 days. Arizona's only off days will be Monday's and Thursday's as the schedule is filled with Tuesday-Wednesday games in each of next three weeks. Fortunately for the Wildcats, only five of the 18 contests are on the road, including two during the mid-week at Rice (3/13-14) and three at Oregon State (3/23-25) to wrap up the stretch of games. By the time the Final Four pairings are set for New Orleans, the UA baseball team will be nearing the half-way point of its schedule at 25 (of 55) games. Three of the six "off days" in the period are scheduled travel days for the Cats.
Diamond Notes: Robert Refsnyder has hit safely in all seven games this season and carried over two straight games with a hit from the end of the 2011 season to give him a current nine-game hitting streak ... Refsnyder is one of five Wildcats with multi-RBI games this season ... Bobby Brown is the only regular starter that does not have a multi-hit game yet this year, but he has two multi-RBI games already to match his total from 2011 ... Seth Mejias-Brean, who finished 2011 with a reached-base streak of 11 consecutive games, has reached base in the last six games after failing to do so in the season opener ... Five of UA's seven games have been played in under three hours. The season-opener was the shortest at 2:22, while a mid-week tilt with Utah Valley lasted 3:35 ... UA's two-out hitting has been spotty at best early in the season, as the Cats are batting .286 with two outs and have just 13 two-out RBI over seven games. After seven games a year ago, UA was hitting .349 and had 24 RBI with two outs ... UA has just two official pinch-hit at bats this season, but Bobby Brown and Joseph Maggi have collected a hit in each trip to the plate ... After being hit by a pitch 1.3 times per game a year ago, the Cats have been plunked just five times in seven contests.
Slow To Heat Up: Arizona hitters got off to a slow start this year, hitting .242 in their opening three games against North Dakota State. Since, they've begun to turn things around with a .340 batting average and 38 runs scored over the last four games. Included has been the club's first two home runs of the year (both hit by Alex Mejia) and 15 total extra base hits. Leadoff runners have reached in 14 of the 33 innings the Cats have gone to bat the last four games, and the club is hitting .319 with runners in scoring position. They're also hitting .319 with two outs and .313 with runners in scoring position. All are relatively modest numbers for a "hot streak", but certainly an improvement over the opening three games. A lackluster second game of a double-header against Auburn last Saturday drew the ire of Coach Andy Lopez, and dropped the numbers slightly too.
Heyer Standards: Junior Kurt Heyer enters his third season as the Friday starter for the Wildcats. He is a two-time All-Pac-10 honoree and has been tabbed as preseason third-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball and is on the preseason watch list for the Golden Spikes Award. As a sophomore, Heyer tied for the most starts in the nation (20) and ranked fourth nationally with 134 strikeouts. The 6-foot-2 right-hander tallied double-digit strikeouts six times in 2011, and has done so nine times in career. In 2012, Heyer is 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA and 11 strikeouts in 14.0 IP.
Heyer Rings `Em Up: Kurt Heyer has tallied 11 strikeouts in his first two starts of the season, building upon one of the best careers of any active pitcher in the nation. The 11 punch-outs has moved his career tally to 254, which is believed to be the second-most in the nation for active pitchers (research courtesy Troy Prendergast at Troy University). Heyer's 254 strikeouts in two-plus seasons are 29 shy of breaking into the school's career top-10 list in the category. The Huntington Beach, Calif., native boasts a 17-9 record and a 2.65 ERA in his career.
`K'onner Wade: Through the first two weeks of the season, Konner Wade leads all Pac-12 pitchers with 23 strikeouts. That's a bit surprising since he racked up just 28 strikeouts in 61.2 innings as a freshman. Wade, whose career high was seven punch-outs entering the season, shattered the previous mark with 13 in his season debut against North Dakota State on Feb. 18. He followed that up with another 10 strikeouts a week later against Auburn on Feb. 25. The strong start backs up an impressive summer that saw Wade become a Cape Cod League All-Star mostly as a closer. At Arizona, he'll remain a starter, a spot he's had success in during his first two years. In his career as a starter (10 career starts), Wade has thrown 58.0 innings with a 2.33 ERA, including just five earned runs in his last five starts dating back to the end of last season.
Rob is Rollin': Junior right fielder Robert Refsnyder leads the Wildcats in hitting through seven games with a .448 batting average. His five extra base hits (three doubles, two triples) have boosted his slugging percentage to a team-high .690 mark. He is reaching base a .515 clip, and once on base, is a threat to steal. Refsnyder has a swiped a league-best six bases (in six attempts), and leads the club with nine runs scored. His seven RBI are tied for second-best on the team. The Laguna Hills, Calif., native has a base hit in each of UA's first seven games to date.
Field Days: Sophomore left fielder Johnny Field is off to a blistering start in 2012. Through seven games, is second on the club in batting (.435), slugging (.652) and leads in on-base percentage (.594). He collected two doubles and a triple as part of a four-hit opening day last Friday night against North Dakota State. Since, opposing pitchers have pitched around the clean-up hitter. Field has drawn a team-high eight walks and has been hit by one pitch in his 32 plate appearances so far. He's second on the team with seven runs scored.
Mejia Muscles Up: Arizona's first home runs - yes plural - at Hi Corbett Field came off the bat of junior shortstop Alex Mejia, who went 371 at-bats between home runs. Mejia homered just once in his first two seasons - a grand slam against New Mexico on March 24, 2010. His second career homer was a two-run shot that capped a five-run inning for the Cats, who went on to down Auburn, 8-1, on Feb. 24. Mejia's third career round-tripper came less than 24 hours when he hit another two-run home run against Auburn in a 15-4 victory. The two home runs for Mejia are the club's only gopher balls of the season to date. On the year, Mejia is hitting .345 with a team-high nine RBI to go with seven runs scored.
Fearsome Foursome: Juniors Alex Mejia, Seth Mejias-Brean, Robert Refsnyder and Joey Rickard have combined to make 488 starts in 497 total games played. They have missed a combined three games in their careers, with Rickard playing in all 125 games and missing only one start. It's been a very consistent a productive group that has helped guide the Wildcats to consecutive NCAA Regional appearances. Together they have accumulated 621 base hits and 346 runs scored, hitting .325 (621-1908) as a group.
Don't Blink: If runners get on base, don't turn your head away for long so long as the Wildcats are playing. The club has swiped 19 stolen bases in 23 attempts over seven games. It's an aggressive style that has paid dividends for an athletic lineup that outside of Joey Rickard does not have blazing speed. But Robert Refsnyder has stolen a team-high six bases in as many tries, Rickard has five of his own, and Brandon Dixon is 4-for-4 to lead the way. Interesting, too, is the fact opponents have tried 15 stolen base attempts and been successful nine times. That's 38 combined steal attempts in just seven games (5.4 per game). Not to mention, there have been seven combined balks by UA (3) and opposing pitchers (4). So when runners get on base, something is likely to happen.
Too Many E's: Arizona currently ranks second-to-last in the Pac-12 in fielding after committing 13 errors over seven games. It's an unexpected trend after the Wildcats were one of the best fielding teams in the nation a year ago. Consider that in the final 18 contests in 2011, the Cats committed the same number of errors - 13 - that they have already this year in nearly half the games. It is interesting, though, that Arizona's miscues have not led to a flurry of unearned runs. In fact, UA has allowed only three unearned runs all season. Additionally, Wildcat defenders have made some spectacular plays in the infield and outfield to offset the overall number that is a bit of an eye sore on the stat sheet. Given UA's talent and experience in the field, expect the defensive fielding percentage to improve over the course of the season.
Freshmen in the Pen: UA has received mixed results from its bullpen early in the season, but one promising trend is the performance of the freshmen relievers. While the sample size remains small, Lucas Long, Mathew Troupe and Tyler Crawford have combined to allow just three earned runs in 12.1 innings pitched (2.19 ERA). The key has been throwing strikes. Despite allowing 12 total base hits, the trio has issued just one free pass while racking up 11 strikeouts. Their roles could increase as the season progresses if they build on the early season success and some of the older arms don't turn things around. Junior relievers Nick Cunningham, Vincent Littleman and Stephen Manthei have surrendered nine earned runs in eight innings pitched (10.13 ERA), while walking five, hitting two batters and striking out just three (all three by Manthei).
Closing the Deal: Under Andy Lopez, the Wildcats have been dominant in games when they have had a lead late in games. In fact, the Wildcats are 267-24-1 (.918) in the last 292 games when they have a lead after the sixth inning. That covers the last nine full seasons of Lopez's teams that have won at a 92-percent clip in such games. Certainly it has helped having Major League arms in the bullpen. Consider that three players - Mark Melancon, Daniel Schlereth and Ryan Perry - have reached the big leagues in recent years, and another - Cory Burns - may get a chance this season with the San Diego Padres. In 2011, Arizona was 31-4 when leading after six innings. So far in 2012, the Wildcats are 5-0 in such games.
Turnstiles Turning: Arizona baseball games have drawn an average of 2,350 fans to the first seven home games at Hi Corbett. That's 16,452 total fans through the gates after 36,412 attended 33 home games at Kindall Field/Sancet Stadium a year. The Wildcats are on pace to draw more than 80,000 fans to their games this year at the current rate. Opening Weekend (Feb, 17-19 vs. North Dakota State) was a huge success for the Wildcats as 3,997 fans were on hand for the opener and nearly 9,000 turned out for the three-game series. Arizona's smallest crowd thus far - 1,362 for the second game of a double-header against Auburn - would have checked in as the sixth-largest home crowd of the season last year.
Table-Setter: Joey Rickard has been the team's leadoff batter and starting centerfielder since he arrived on campus. He's been a speed-guy at the top of the lineup that also can provide some power and run-producing abilities, evidence by 39 extra base hits and 92 RBI in his career. A .329 career hitter, Rickard has shown a bit more patience at the plate early this season, drawing five walks to go with his 10 hits. That's currently an increase from the 22 free passes he drew in 60 games as a sophomore. Once on base, Rickard is a threat to steal and has 34 career stolen bases.
SMB at 3B: Junior third baseman Seth Mejias-Brean has been penciled in as Arizona's starter at the hot corner 118 times in his career. After an injury-plagued sophomore season, Mejias-Brean is off to a strong start in his junior campaign. A high school graduate of nearby Cienga High School, Mejias-Brean is hitting .308 on the year, including a .345 clip in his last four ballgames. His three doubles to date are tied for most on the club, as are his seven RBI. In his career, Mejias-Brean boasts a .311 batting average with 132 career base hits.
Career Benchmarks: Joey Rickard, with seven runs scored on the season, has surpassed 100 career runs scored and currently stands at 103. Rickard has 92 career RBI ... Robert Refsnyder, with seven RBI this season, has reached 102 RBI for his career ... Refsnyder, who leads the club with six steals this season, has also pushed his career tally to 21 in that category .... Four Wildcats have over 100 career hits, including Refsnyder (165), Rickard (171), Alex Mejia (153) and Seth Mejias-Brean (132).
.300 Club: Arizona led the Pac-10 and ranked No. 3 in the nation in 2011 with a .320 team batting average, which extended the program's streak to nine consecutive seasons with an overall batting average of .300 or better. In 2011, UA hit .321 as a team which was the best clip for a Wildcat team since 2005, when a veteran squad turned in a blistering .328 average. The 2003 club - Andy Lopez's second year - also hit .328, while the 2009 club hit .314. Other marks include .306 in 2007, .305 in 2006 and in the 2004 College World Series season, and .301 in 2008.
New to the Nine: Freshmen Riley Moore and Trent Gilbert have been penciled in as the starters at catcher and second base, respectively, to start the 2012 season. After combining to hit 1-for-21 (.048) in the opening series against North Dakota State, the duo is a much improved 9-for-29 (.310) over the last four ballgames. Their contributions should become more significant as they gain more experience and confidence over the course of the season. Moore is a talented player that turned down the Phillies who drafted him in the 21st round last summer. A switch-hitter, Moore is a natural left-handed hitter that will balance out the Wildcats' batting order. Gilbert is a left-handed hitter, too, that played shortstop in high school. He, too, turned down pro waters, after the Marlins drafted him in the 40th round last summer.
Up Next: Arizona is set to host a full slate of games at Hi Corbett Field next week. The Wildcats will battle UC Davis in a two-game mid-week series (March 6-7), before welcoming Eastern Michigan to town for a three-game weekend series (March 9-11).