Two of the three coaches in NCAA Division I history that have taken three different schools to the College World Series will grace Kindall Field this weekend as Mississippi State comes to Tucson for a three-game series ... UA’s Andy Lopez (Pepperdine, Florida and Arizona) joined the exclusive group of Mississippi State’s Ron Polk (MSU, Georgia Southern and Georgia) and Oklahoma’s Larry Cochelle (OU, Oral Roberts and Cal State Fullerton) last season ... The Bulldogs will head to the Old Pueblo after playing a pair of midweek non-conference games against Louisiana Tech and Jackson State in Starkville on Tuesday and Wednesday ... Arizona and Mississippi State have met five times previous to this weekend’s series with MSU owning a 4-1 all-time advantage .... The Wildcats dropped two of three to the Bulldogs in Mississippi in 1978 and lost both games at home in 1981 ... Mississippi State is the first SEC team that Arizona will have faced in the regular season since Lopez moved to UA from Florida in 2002 ... Lopez’s UF teams went 17-6 against MSU during his seven-year stint in Gainesville ... Arizona took on the SEC’s Georgia (0-2) and Arkansas (1-0) in Omaha at last year’s College World Series.
Subscribers to All-Access, Arizona's premium multimedia service, can watch video webcasts of all three games vs. Mississippi State. Audio-only subscribers can listen to Sunday's audio webcast with Brian Jeffries calling the action. Free, live statistics will be available for all games.
Live Statistics (free)
Last Week Recap
The Wildcats dropped two of three to top-ranked Texas in Tucson last weekend ... Arizona fell 5-4 in the ninth inning on Friday, handed UT its first loss of the year in an 8-3 win on Saturday and fell just one hit shy of winning the series on Sunday in a 5-4 loss ... Despite the series loss, Arizona out-scored Texas 16 to 13 for weekend ... The Wildcats batted .270 as a team and finished with four doubles and a triple ... UA went 5 for 5 in stolen bases against Texas’ All-American catcher Taylor Teagarden ... The pitching staff posted a 3.33 ERA in 27 innings pitched and 29 strikeouts against 11 walks ... Friday - Texas scored the game-winning run in the top of the ninth on a bases loaded hit batter. Closer Mark Melancon hit UT’s No. 9 hitter Robby Hudson to force in the go-ahead run with two outs in the inning ... The Wildcats had rallied from a 4-2 deficit in the game with a pair of runs in the seventh inning ... Saturday - Arizona took advantage of two Texas defensive miscues to score seven runs in the second inning in an 8-3 win ... The Wildcats rapped out 10 singles and double in the contest and pitchers Kevin Guyette and Sean Jarrett teamed up to limit UT to just two earned runs on seven hits ... Guyette picked up his team-leading third win of the year and Jarrett his second save ... Sunday - UT closer J. Brent Cox got UA clean up hitter Jordan Brown to ground into a game-ending out at first with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning in Sunday’s 5-4 loss ... Arizona rallied to make it a one-run game when Jason Donald tripled to lead off the ninth and Trevor Crowe scored him with an infield single ... The Wildcats had numerous opportunities to take over the game, but ended up stranding six runners in scoring position in the game.
Rierson To Move Up
Senior Sean Rierson will move up in the Arizona history books on Sunday. The right-hander will be taking the mound as the starting pitcher for Arizona for the 53rd time in his career, placing him in a tie for second all-time with former major leaguer Joe Magrane (UA 1983-85). After Sunday, Rierson will be just seven starts away from equalling the school record of 60 set by Ed Vosberg (1980-83).
A Different Kind of March Madness
For most college students, Spring Break is a time of relaxation and rest. The “week off” from school will be quite the opposite for the Arizona baseball team. This weekend’s series against Mississippi State will start a string of eight games in 10 days for the Wildcats. UA will face the Bulldogs this Fri.-Sun, take Monday off, host UNLV at Kindall Field on Tuesday and Wednesday before leaving on Thursday for a three-game weekend series at No. 3 Cal State Fullerton.
Opponents Struggle With the Gloves
Highlighted by Texas’ two-error inning on March 5 that led to seven Arizona runs in an 8-3 win, UA’s opponents have struggled in the field thus far. Opponents are fielding at a very poor .947 clip against the Wildcats this season and have posted nearly twice as a many errors (33 to 17) as Arizona. UA’s opposition has posted at least one error in 14 of the 17 games played thus far and has two or more errors in 11 of 17 games. The defensive miscues have helped lead to 29 unearned runs, almost 20 percent of Arizona’s team total of 151 this season.
The Arizona Offense
The Wildcats remain atop the Pac-10 rankings in nearly every offensive category heading in to play this weekend. Arizona is batting a conference-best .342 as a team with 217 hits, 46 doubles, nine triples, 21 home runs and 151 runs scored. Where the Wildcats rank in the Pac-10 statistics can be found on Page 5 of the notes.
The Arizona-Texas match up is the only three-game series this season in which the Wildcats have failed to hit a home run (Texas also went homerless in the series). The heavy air due to rain and cold weather in Tucson contributed to knocking down a number of hard hit balls that will likely go over the fence at spacious Kindall Field once the weather warms up. Despite the lack of any home runs in the last three games, Arizona is still averaging a very impressive 1.2 round trip hits per game this season.
Two Outs? Rally’s On!
Led by a season-high nine two-out runs against Arizona State on Feb. 23, Arizona has scored 65 runs this season after the first two outs in an inning have been recorded (43 percent of UA’s 151 runs this year). As a team, Arizona is batting .351 as a team with two outs and has recorded 51 two-out RBI. Individually, junior Jordan Brown leads the two-out RBI parade with 12 runs driven in with a pair down. Brown is batting .516 (16 for 31) and has hit three of his team-leading six HRs with two outs so far this season.
Van Houten and Brown Streak On
Junior Jordan Brown and senior Jeff Van Houten each extended their double-digit hitting streaks last weekend ... Van Houten, who carried a seven-game streak over from the 2004 season, has hit safely in all 16 games he has played in this season for a career-high 23 consecutive contests with a base knock. The two-season school record for hitting streaks is 28 straight games, shared by Ernie Durazo (2000-01) and Jack Daugherty (1981-82) ... Brown has a least one hit in all 17 games this year, including a team-best six home runs, to help him pace the Wildcat offense with 28 RBI.
Active Hitting Streak Numbers
Van Houten - 23 Games - .396 Avg, 96 AB, 22 R, 38 H, 8 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 26 RBI, 12 BB
Brown - 17 Games - .413 Avg, 75 AB, 22 R, 31 H, 6 2B, 0 3B, 6 HR, 28 RBI, 5 BB
Leading It Off
Junior Trevor Crowe has truly made a pest of himself right from the start. UA’s leadoff hitter, Crowe has successfully reached base in his first AB of the game 11 times (nine hits, two walks) in Arizona’s 17 contests this season and has come around to score seven times for an early run. He has hit four singles, four doubles and a triple as the Wildcats’ first hitter and has reached base 18 times in 30 opportunities when leading off any inning. For the year, Crowe has two or more hits in 11 of 17 games and scored two or more runs in 10 contests
The Return of Jeff Van Hitting
A sophomore in 2003, current senior Jeff Van Houten became the first Arizona player since 1996 to bat over .400 during a season. His efforts (.413 avg. 72 RBI, 11 HR, nine 3B, 11 2B, 53 R) earned him the Pac-10 batting title that season and third-team All-America honors from Collegiate Baseball. Two years later, Van Houten has posted similar numbers in his first 16 games as he did in 2003 (He missed one game vs. UC Riverside this season due to illness).
Van Houten’s First 16 games in 2003 vs 2005
2003 ?- .422 Avg., 64 AB, 18 R, 27 H, 3 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 21 RBI, 5 BB
2005 ?- .420 Avg., 69 AB, 17 R, 29 H, 7 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 20 RBI, 7 BB
Junior Jordan Brown has been a machine when it comes to driving in runs. The third-year starter leads Arizona with 25 RBI this year and has driven in two or more runs in 11 of UA’s 17 games. The team leader with six HRs, it certainly doesn’t hurt that he has collected multiple hits in eight games and has a 17-game hitting streak either.
Hundley’s The One
For the previous two seasons, Nick Hundley split the catching duties with departed draftee Richard Mercado. Not once during that two-year run did Hundley start more than four consecutive games behind the plate. Now the primary backstop, Hundley has started 16 of 17 games this season (he missed one start due to family matters) and has thrived in doing so. Batting .387, he has already scored 19 runs, driven in 11 more, hit four doubles, stolen a team-high seven bases and has tied his single-season-high for home runs at four in UA’s first 17 games. In addition to his offensive numbers, Hundley has nearly flawlessly handled a pitching staff that has recorded 182 strikeouts, a 3.19 ERA and limited opponents to a .229 batting average this season. He has also thrown out 43 percent (10 of 23) of the would-be base stealers this season.
Spreading It Around
The Wildcat batting order has produced top to bottom. In Arizona’s 17 games this season, all nine starters have collected a hit in one game, eight of nine in five games and seven of nine in five others (11 contests with at least seven players getting one hit in a game). All nine regular starters have collected double digit hits this season, seven have scored 10 or more runs and seven have driven in 10 or more. Batting a Pac-10-best .342 as a team, three different starters are batting .400 or better individually and five are over .300 for the year. The offense is averaging nine runs and just under 13 hits per contest this season.
Donald Bouncing Back
Since jamming his left thumb at UT-Pan American on Feb. 19, sophomore shortstop Jason Donald has managed just a .179 batting average. However, if last weekend’s series against Texas is any indication, that number should be on the rise. In three games against the Longhorns, Donald batted .333 with a run scored, a triple and a RBI. His leadoff three-bagger in the ninth inning on Sunday almost helped rescue the Wildcats from a 5-4 loss.
Pac-10 Player of the Week Trevor Crowe
Junior outfielder Trevor Crowe was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week by the conference office on Feb. 22. Crowe led all Arizona players with a .529 batting average, nine hits (including a double, a triple and two home runs), as well as a team-best eight RBI, five runs scored and a 1.059 slugging percentage against ASU and UTPA. He collected at least one hit in all four games to extend his team-best hitting streak to 18-straight games dating back to last season (eight in 2004, 10 in 2005) and also walked a team-high six times to help him to a .652 on-base percentage in the four games ... In Friday’s series-opener at UTPA, Crowe tied his career-high with six RBI and hit both of his home runs for the week in the contest (3 for 5, three runs, six RBI, two HRs, BB in the game) ... The weekly honor was the second in Crowe’s three-year Arizona career.
The Pitching Numbers
Arizona enters play this weekend with a 3.19 team ERA and a Pac-10-best 182 strikeouts in 155.0 innings pitched. Arizona will start junior RHP John Meloan (2-0, 3.51 ERA, 37 K, 25 2/3 IP) on Friday, junior RHP Kevin Guyette (3-1, 3.03 ERA, 42 K, 32 2/3 IP) on Saturday and senior RHP Sean Rierson (2-1, 5.00 ERA, 19 K, 18 IP) on Sunday.
Punching ?'Em Out
Not since 1998 has an Arizona pitching staff put up better strikeout numbers through the first 17 games then this season’s staff. The 2005 Wildcats have punched out 182 batters this year, an average of 10.6 per nine innings. The last team to put up superior numbers was the 1998 team that started the season 16-1. The ?'98 Cats had 195 strikeouts in the first 17 games for an average of 11.6 per nine innings. Individually, four different UA pitchers have 20 or more strikeouts this season and two others will head into the weekend with 19 Ks. Junior right-hander Kevin Guyette paces the staff with 42 against eight walks this year.
The Last Eight Years of Strikeouts (Through 17 Games)
K/Nine Innings 2005
Bullpen Getting It Done
Arizona’s relief corps has done a fine job of putting fires out and keeping the Wildcats in games this season. The group has been a mix of veterans (Melancon, Jarrett, Rierson, Mills) and newcomers (Coulon, Berger, Koons, Baugh) and has posted a 2.78 ERA in 68 innings pitched, 76 strikeouts and just 27 walks. The group has allowed just 13 of the 37 inherited runners to score and is tied for the Pac-10 lead with five saves.
Starters vs. Bullpen Numbers
87 IP, 82 H, 42 R, 34 ER, 37 BB, 106 K, 3.52 ERA Relievers
68 IP, 50 H, 27 R, 21 ER, 27 BB, 76 K, 2.78 ERA
Friday starter John Meloan is 16-1 all-time at UA and has won 12 straight games in which he has factored in the decision. His only career loss at UA came on May 4, 2003, against Cal in his freshman year. Since then he has appeared in 26 games, made 16 starts and gone 12-0. Used primarily as a reliever early in his career at UA, he has flourished as a starter with an 12-0 record, a 3.31 ERA and 102 strikeouts when taking the ball from the get go.
Meloan’s Overall Career Numbers
43 GP, 16-1, 4.34 ERA, 161.2 IP, 158 H, 98 R, 78 ER, 91 BB, 164 K
Meloan’s Career Starting Numbers
18 GS, 12-0, 3.74 ERA, 118.0 IP, 99 H, 59 R, 49 ER, 60 BB, 112 K
Meloan Named Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Week
Junior right-hander John Meloan was named the co-national player of the week by Collegiate Baseball for his 7 2/3 innings, one-hit effort against New Mexico on Feb. 4. The honor was the first in Meloan’s career and the first for an Arizona player since teammate Sean Rierson garnered the award on Feb. 18, 2003. Meloan is the eighth UA player to be recognized by the publication as its player of the week since 1994.
Guyette Unlucky Again
For the second time in his career, junior Kevin Guyette tossed a complete game and got a loss for the effort. The right-hander struck out a career-high 15 UC Riverside batters on Feb. 26 and gave up just three runs on seven hits over nine innings and still took the ?'L’ in the 3-1 defeat. Guyette’s only other complete game effort in his three years at UA came in 2004 vs. UCLA. Against the Bruins, he went all nine, gave up four runs on eight hits, walked two and struck out six in a 4-3 loss. The Arizona offense has given him very little support in his two CG efforts, batting a combined .161 (10 for 62) with only one extra base hit and a two-game total of four runs scored. Arizona lost four the six games in which it pitchers tossed complete games in 2004.
Guyette’s Complete Game Misery
2 Games, 18 IP, 15 H, 7 R, 5 ER, 5 BB, 21 K, 0-2, 2.50 ERA
Rierson Gets The Nod For Sundays
Senior Sean Rierson has worked his way back from Tommy John surgery to earn the role of Sunday starter. Arizona’s Friday guy in 2001 and 2002 (he moved to Sat. in 2003), Rierson took all of last year off after under going elbow surgery in the fall of 2003. Now 18 months removed from the operation, he is 2-1 with a save this season and has struck out 19 hitters in 18 innings pitched. He made his first start since May 30, 2003, against UC Riverside on Feb. 27 and will take the mound on Sunday for the 53rd time in his career this Sunday against Mississippi State, tying him for second all-time at UA.
Melancon Mows ?'Em Down
Dating back to Arizona’s postseason run in 2004, sophomore closer Mark Melancon has been impressive out of the bullpen. In his last 15 appearances he has given up just four earned runs in 28 2/3 innings pitched. Over this span he has surrendered just 18 hits (1.2/game) and issued only eight walks (0.5/game), while picking up two wins, four saves, striking out 21. Impressive numbers for a closer who has worked two or more innings in eight of his last 15 appearances.
Melancon’s Last 15 Appearances (2004 and 2005)
2-0, 4 Saves, 1.26 ERA, 28 2/3 IP, 18 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 8 BB, 27 K
As a transfer from Otero Junior College in 2004, junior Sean Jarrett worked a grand total of 14 2/3 innings in his first season at Arizona. He did not factor in a decision, saw opponents bat .304 against him and finish with a 4.91 ERA, nine strikeouts and five walks. A year later, Jarrett finds himself as the primary long reliever out of the bullpen, a role he has excelled in. Having already surpassed his season total of innings pitched from 2004 in UA’s first 17 games this year, he is 1-1 with a 2.00 ERA, 19 strikeouts and just two walks, while limiting opponents to a .190 average. He struck out a career-high 10 batters in a six-inning relief appearance at UT-Pan Am earlier this season to pick up his first career win and is tied for the team lead with two saves.
Freshman Arms Chipping In
Freshmen Mike Koons, David Coulon and Eric Berger have all chipped in to help the Arizona cause on the mound this season. Combined the three newcomers thrown 40 of UA’s 155 total innings this season (26 percent) and have gone 4-1 with 43 strikeouts, 21 walks and a 3.60 ERA.
Senior Assault On The Record Book
Two of Arizona’s three seniors on the roster this season have a chance to leave a lasting impression in the all-time record book. Outfielder Jeff Van Houten is edging his way into the hitting records and right-hander Sean Rierson is already among the all-time leaders in the pitching records.
Van Houten's Numbers
All-Time Leader Games Played
Chip Hale - 255 At Bats
Chip Hale - 978 Runs
Dave Stegman - 287 Hits
Chip Hale - 337 Multi-Hit Games
Robbie Moen - 102 Doubles
Dave Stegman - 72 Triples
Charles Shoemaker - 30 Home Runs
Shelley Duncan - 55 RBI
Ron Hassey - 235 HBP
Kenny Corley - 32 Walks
Chip Hale - 162 Sac Flies
Chip Hale - 21 Extra Base Hits
Dave Stegman - 110 Total Bases
Chip Hale - 507
All-Time Leader Games Pitched
Ron Sismondo - 88 Starts
Ed Vosberg - 60 Wins
Don Lee - 36 Innings
Ed Vosberg - 405.1 Strikeouts
Carl Thomas - 422 BB/9 IP
Tad Heydenfeldt - 1.77
Head Coach Andy Lopez
Entering his fourth season as the skipper at UA, Lopez has reenergized the Wildcat program. The fastest coach in school history to lead a team to College World Series, he has posted a 114-79-1 record (current) in his first three-plus seasons. Last year’s postseason run extinguished a streak of 18 years without a UA appearance at the CWS and made him one of just three coaches in NCAA Division I history to lead three different schools to Omaha. In addition to his role as head coach, Lopez also serves as the pitching coach for the Wildcats.
Cats Picked Third By Conference Coaches
In what was one of the closest preseason races in Pac-10 history, the Wildcats were selected to finish in a tie for third in the preseason coaches rankings. Defending conference champion Stanford will begin the 2005 season as the team to beat, followed by Washington in second and Arizona and Arizona State in a tie for third. The Cardinal garnered four first-place votes and 58 total, Washington picked up two first-place votes and 52 final votes, while the Wildcats and the Sun Devils each finished with 51 total points. ASU was named the first-place team by two coaches and UA picked up one first-place vote. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team.
Preseason Pac-10 Coaches Poll
58 (4) 2
52 (2) 3
51 (1) Arizona State
51 (2) 5
Junior teammates Trevor Crowe and John Meloan were feted with preseason All-America recognition by three different sources. Crowe, who finished with a team-high .350 batting and led the Pac-10 in stolen bases in 2004, was named second-team All-America by both the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and Baseball America. Meloan, who finished the 2004 season a perfect 10-0 on the mound, garnered third-team preseason All-America honors from Collegiate Baseball.
No Place Like Home
A season removed from playing the fewest number of home games since 1973 (27 home games in 2004), Ending next week against UNLV, Arizona will have played 19 of its first 22 games of the season in Tucson, and will host a more-typical total of 34 regular season games at Kindall Field in 2005. Since moving to its current location on the corners of Enke and National Championship Drives in 1967, Arizona has posted 34 winning seasons at Kindall Field, including the last nine straight.