Feb. 19, 2002
Next Up - UC Irvine: The Anteaters return to the collegiate baseball scene after a 10-year hiatus as members of the Big West Conference. UC Irvine comes to Tucson sporting an 8-5 overall record. UCI has swept St. Mary's in a three-game series, took two of three from BYU and have won single games over Pepperdine and UCLA. Head coach John Savage begins his first season in the revitalized program. Savage previously spent four seasons (1997-2000) as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator for Pac-10 rival USC. UCI and Arizona have met 10 times in the past with UA holding a 7-2-1 advantage all-time. The last meeting between the two schools, an 8-2 Arizona victory, came on Jan. 30, 1988.
Friday - Sean Rierson (3-1, 1.80 ERA)
Saturday - Joe Little (3-1, 3.86 ERA)
Sunday - Marc Kaiser (2-0, 3.15 ERA)
Looking For Win No. 700: When Andy Lopez signed on with the Wildcats last summer he had accumulated 687 wins in 19 seasons as head coach at Cal State Dominguez Hills, Pepperdine and Florida. Arizona's 11 victories thus far in 2002 have moved him two wins shy of his 700th as a head coach.
Notes From The Texas Road Trip: Texas A&M's three-game sweep of Arizona is the first road series sweep of the Wildcats since May 13-15, 2000 when Arizona lost all three games to UCLA in Los Angeles ... Marc Kaiser's two-run homer in the series finale against the Aggies was the first of his career ... A&M's 9-4 win last Saturday was the first one-hitter thrown against the Wildcats since May 14, 2000 in a 10-0 loss at UCLA ... Senior catcher Chris Cunningham had at least one hit in all four games of the road trip, including UA's lone base knock in Saturday's one-hit loss ... Of the 26 runs surrendered by the pitching staff on the road trip, only 14 went into the books as earned ... Arizona is now 5-0 all-time against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Pac-10 Struggles: The Arizona baseball team wasn't the only Pac-10 team to stumble last weekend. USC dropped all three games in its series with Baylor, UCLA was swept by Hawaii in the Islands and Florida State handed Arizona State its first three losses of the season in Tallahassee. The Baylor pitching staff limited the Trojan bats to just one hit the same day Texas A&M one-hit the Wildcats.
Washington State and California each won a game, but both went 1-2 against Gonzaga and Long Beach State, respectively.
Manufacturing, Inc.: Arizona has scored a total 111 runs this season and amazingly 38 of them (34 percent) have come without Arizona recording a hit to score the run. In 12 of the 14 games in which Arizona has scored, at least one run was scored without the benefit of a hit. The Wildcats have manufactured runs via ground ball outs to the left side of the infield, wild pitches, walks, sacrifice flies, straight steals and even batters being hit by pitches.
Game-By-Game Breakdown of Runs Scored Without a Hit 1/25 vs. New Mexico 5 of 6 1/26 vs. New Mexico 7 of 23 1/27 vs. New Mexico 0 of 8 2/1 vs. Utah 2 of 3 2/2 vs. Utah 3 of 17 2/3 vs. Utah 2 of 5 2/4 vs. Southern Utah 6 of 10 2/5 vs. Southern Utah 3 of 11 2/7 vs. San Diego State 0 of 1 2/8 vs. San Diego State 1 of 6 2/9 vs. San Diego State 2 of 7 2/13 at Texas A&M-CC 2 of 4 2/16 at Texas A&M 2 of 4 2/17 at Texas A&M 2 of 6
On The Defensive: The Arizona defense has already been, and will continue to be, an important part to the success of the 2002 team. In the 11 games the Wildcats have won this season they are averaging just one defensive miscue per game and have a .975 fielding percentage. Numbers that are somewhat skewed by the four errors committed in the 7-5 win over San Diego State (2/9). The Cats have played six error-free games this year and have won five of them.
On the other hand, in the four games Arizona has lost, fielding and throwing errors have led to 16 unearned runs. The Wildcats are averaging 2.25 errors and are fielding at a .943 clip in the games they have lost this season.
Pitching Continues To Shine: The Arizona pitching staff chalked up three losses over the weekend, but have continued to impress despite the recent team struggles. Pitching coach Jeff Morris' arms maintain a better than 3-to-1 strike out-to-walk ratio (99-to-28) and still sport a sub 3.00 ERA (2.91) in the 15 games played this season.
Happy To Be Home: The Wildcats will certainly be happy to retake the field on their home turf this weekend. Arizona's offensive, defensive and pitching numbers have traditionally been better at Frank Sancet Field than on the road, and 2002 appears to be no different. The Wildcats are hitting .280 at home this season, compared with just .163 on the road. The familiar grounds have produced a fielding percentage that is 34 points higher at home (.975) than on the road (.943). And the pitching staff's work on the mound is equally impressive in comparison. Arizona hurlers are holding opponents to just a .239 average in Tucson while finding the road a bit more rough (.319).
Getting Offensive: When the Arizona offense clicks, it posts numbers that any pitcher would like to work with. In UA's 11 wins this season, the Arizona offense is supporting its pitching staff with over nine hits and 8.72 runs per game. However, in the Cats' four loses, the bats have fallen quiet, collecting just 4.75 hits and 3.75 runs per game. In all 15 games this season Arizona pitchers are allowing just 4.2 runs per game.
In a Related Matter: Sophomore Sean Rierson knows firsthand what offensive support means to a pitcher. Prior to last Friday's 4-0 shutout loss to Texas A&M, the right-hander had gone nine starts without losing a game. The twist to this story is that in Rierson's last defeat he was the victim of an Arizona offense that got shutout.
On March 31, 2001, Oregon State's Scott Nicholson blanked the Arizona offense, 8-0 (UA's last scoreless game up to last Friday), handing Rierson his fourth and final loss of the 2001 season.
Over his next nine starts (six in 2001 and three this season), Rierson went 7-0 and the Wildcats bats posted an average of 7.3 runs per start.
Wearin' It: It's painful to be a Wildcat batter early in 2002. Opposing pitchers have plunked Wildcat hitters 22 times already in just 15 games (1.47 HBP per game). In comparison, last year Arizona batters were hit 35 times in 56 games (0.63 HBP per game). Marc Kaiser and Brad Hassey might want to consider wearing body armor as the duo have been tagged a combined 10 times already.
Having A Grand Time: John Hardy's first career home run on Saturday came with the bases loaded and was the second grand slam of the season for the Wildcats. Hardy and Moises Duran's slams mark the first time since 1999 that an Arizona team has had two or more bases loaded home runs in a season. The '99 team shares the school record for slams in a season with six other squads. Arizona's 1955, '56, '61, '88, '93 and '98 teams all hit four grand slams in a season. Former Wildcat Dave Shermet holds the all-time individual career grand slam record with four.
The Unofficial Mountain West Champs: Arizona has played three of the top four schools from 2001 in the Mountain West Conference (New Mexico, Utah and San Diego State) this season and have tallied an 8-1 record in nine games against them. The Wildcats swept New Mexico (third in the MWC in 2001) and San Diego State (2002 preseason favorites to win the conference after finishing second last season) and took two of three from Utah (tied with New Mexico for third last season). In its lone defeat, Arizona managed to force the game into extra innings with the Utes on a ninth inning run to tie the score.
Arizona-Arizona State Game To Be Televised: The Pac-10 Conference Office announced that the March 23 game between Arizona and ASU will be shown live on Fox Sports Net. The time of the game has been changed from its originally scheduled 1 p.m. first pitch to 2 p.m. to accommodate TV. The game is one of just four Pac-10 games to be televised on Fox Sports Net this season.
Frank Sancet Field: Located on the corners of Enke and National Championship Drives, Frank Sancet Field has been the home of Arizona baseball for over 35 seasons. Know originally as Wildcat Field, it was renamed and dedicated Frank Sancet Field on April 19, 1986 to honor Arizona's longtime head coach.
Coach Sancet put Arizona on the collegiate baseball map, posting a 831-283-8 (.744) record in 23 seasons as head coach. His Wildcat teams made 16 postseason appearances during his tenure and nine trips to Omaha. He finished runner-up at the College World Series three times.
Since moving to its current location, the Arizona baseball team has gone 892-386-3 in 1,279 games for a .698 winning percentage (Current through 2/21/02). The Wildcats have suffered only three losing seasons on their home turf and nearly reach perfection in former head coach Jerry Kindall's second season with a 37-1 home record. Frank Sancet Field has been the site of four NCAA Regionals (1979, '80, '89, '92).