March 8, 2012
|2012 Arizona Baseball
March 9-11, 2012 | Tucson, Ariz. | Hi Corbett Field
Eastern Michigan Eagles (3-8, 0-0 Big West) @ No. 7 Arizona Wildcats (10-2, 0-0 Pac-12)
|Friday, March 9 6 p.m. (MST) Hi Corbett Field UA Radio (Spanish 990 AM)
RHP Kurt Heyer (3-0, 0.78) vs. RHP Joe Battistelli (1-2, 9.00)
|Wednesday, March 7 6 p.m. (MST) Hi Corbett Field UA Radio (Spanish 990 AM)
RHP Konner Wade (2-0, 1.25) vs. RHP Steve Weber (1-1, 1.02)
|Wednesday, March 7 11 a.m. (MST) Hi Corbett Field UA Radio (Spanish 990 AM)
RHP James Farris (2-1, 3.26) vs. RHP Brian Valente (0-2, 4.15)
|Some Series Themes||Quick Links|
|Arizona (10-2) concludes a season-opening 15-game homestand, while Eastern Michigan (3-8) continues what will be a 16-game stretch without a home game to open the year ... A rematch of the 1976 NCAA Championship title game, won by the Wildcats, 7-1 ... All right-handers slated to start this weekend ... UA's 1-2 pitching duo of Kurt Heyer and Konner Wade look to continue strong starts to the season ... Heyer was named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week last week, while Wade was tied for the national lead in strikeouts (33) following the first three weekends ... The Cats look to build on a modest five-game winning streak, and have won 9 of the last 10 games ... The Eagles make their second trip to Tucson in recent years, having dropped two of three games at Kindall Field/Sancet Stadium in 2007 ... On paper, the Wildcats have statistical edges in batting average (.322-.256) and earned run average (2.50-7.70) ... The Eagles have belted six home runs on the young season, while the Cats have just two - both hit by Alex Mejia ... UA classes halt after Friday for the start of spring break (March 10-18).||Baseball America Rank: UA - 7th|
|Game Notes (PDF)|
|2012 Media Guide|
|Eastern Michigan vs. Arizona Statistical Comparison||Arizona Statistical Leaders|
|3-8 (0-0 MAC)||Record||10-2 (0-0 Pac-12)||Avg.||Johnny Field (.439)|
|.256||Avg.||.333||Hits||Robert Refsnyder (20)|
|48||Runs||86||Runs||Johnny Field (15)|
|14||2B||24||2B||Brandon Dixon (5)|
|2||3B||8||HR||Alex Mejia (2)|
|6||HR||2||OB%||Johnny Field (.566)|
|8-12||SB-ATT||34-41||SLG%||Johnny Field (.610)|
|.373||OB%||.387||SB||Refsnyder, Rickard (8)|
|.356||SLG%||.436||ERA||Mathew Troupe (0.00)|
|7.70||ERA||2.50||IP||Kurt Heyer (23.0)|
|83||K's||105||K's||Konner Wade (33)|
|Arizona Baseball Game Notes:|
UA-UC Davis Recap: The Wildcats swept a two-game, mid-week series from UC Davis in the first-ever meetings between the two programs ... UA captured the first game, 6-0, on Tuesday and rallied to win the second, 6-4, on Wednesday ... Robert Refsnyder roped a single to lead off the bottom of the eighth inning to ignite a three-run rally as the Cats overcame a one-run deficit to win 6-4 in the finale ...The Cats out-hit the Aggies .349-.206 in the series, and UA pitchers struck out 15 and walked only two ... Freshman designated hitter Joseph Maggi started both games, and led the club with four hits, two RBI and a run scored in the two ball games ... Trent Gilbert and Seth Mejias-Brean were two of the six Wildcats to have at least three hits, and they combined for six RBI ... Freshman Lucas Long earned a win on the mound in his first career start on Tuesday, combining with Stephen Manthei on a six-hit shutout ... Vincent Littleman turned in 6.1 innings in his longest career outing on Wednesday, but did not factor into the decision ... Freshman Mathew Troupe recorded the final six outs on Wednesday and earned his first win out of the bullpen.
UA-EMU History: For a pair of programs that have only met nine times on the diamond, UA and EMU share some significant history. The two teams met twice at the College World Series in 1976, and UA won both games, including the title match that handed the Wildcats their first national championship in any sport. That year, UA lost its opening game of the CWS, but went on to win five straight contests. The Cats defeated the Eagles, 11-6, on June 16, then two days later again by a score of 7-1 to claim the national championship. The schools again met in postseason play as recently as 2008, when UA knocked off EMU 13-7 in the opening game of the Ann Arbor Regional. The Cats win on to win the regional and advance to the Coral Gables Super Regional. EMU's only win the all-time series (UA leads 8-1) came in 2007 as the Eagles salvaged a win in the finale of a three-game series victory for the Wildcats in Tucson (March 2-4).
March Madness: We aren't talking about the NCAA basketball tournament, but rather UA's busy baseball schedule during the month. Starting last Friday, the Wildcats began 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.
Heating Up: Arizona hitters got off to a slow start this year, hitting .242 in their opening three games against North Dakota State. But since, the Wildcats have raised their season batting average 80 points to its current .322 clip. The Cats have rapped out 10 or more hits in five straight games, and in nine of the last 10 contests overall. In the nine games since Opening Weekend, UA its hitting .345 with 26 extra base hits. Not coincidentally, the Wildcats have won nine of 10 games since going 2-1 over the first three games.
Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week: Junior Kurt Heyer was named the Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week on March 6 after he tossed a complete game and equaled his career high with 14 strikeouts in a 7-1 victory over Harvard on March 2. The victory pushed his record to 3-0 with an earned run average of 0.78 in 23.0 innings pitched to open the season. The nine-inning effort was the fourth complete game in Heyer's career and moved him atop the conference with 23.0 innings pitched this season. The 14 strikeouts matched a total he racked up against Washington State on April 16, 2010, during his freshman season. The strikeout tally improved his season total to 25, among the top-five in the conference and he now has 268 punch-outs in his career, which ranks as second-most in the nation for active pitchers. Heyer has won the weekly honor four times in his career.
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 10 times in his career. In 2012, Heyer is 3-0 with a 0.78 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 23.0 IP.
Heyer Rings `Em Up: Kurt Heyer matched his career high set during his freshman season with 14 strikeouts last Friday night against Harvard. The 14 punchouts pushed his season tally to 25 strikeouts in his first three tarts of the season, building upon one of the best careers of any active pitcher in the nation. The 25 strikeouts has moved his career tally to 268, which is believed to be the second-most in the nation for active pitchers (research courtesy Troy Prendergast at Troy University). Heyer's 268 strikeouts in two-plus seasons are 15 shy of breaking into the school's career top-10 list in the category. The Huntington Beach, Calif., native boasts an 18-9 record and a 2.60 ERA in his career.
`K'onner Wade: Sophomore RHP Konner Wade, the club's Saturday starter, has reached double-digit strikeouts in all three starts this season, and his total of 33 leads the Pac-12 Conference and was tied for first in the nation entering this week. 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 and 10 more versus Harvard on March 3. 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 (4-0, 11 career starts), Wade has thrown 65.2 innings with a 2.06 ERA (15 ER), including just five earned runs in his last six starts dating back to the end of last season.
Field Days: Sophomore left fielder Johnny Field is off to a blistering start in 2012. Through 12 games, Field leads the club in overall hitting (.439), slugging (.610) and on base percentage (.566). He collected two doubles and a triple as part of a four-hit opening day against North Dakota State. He's continued the torrid pace even when opposing pitchers have opted to pitch around him. Field has drawn a team-high 11 walks and has been hit by one pitch in his 53 plate appearances so far. He leads the club with 15 runs scored and is second in hits (18).
SMB Delivers: Junior third baseman Seth Mejias-Brean has settled nicely into the No. 5 spot in the batting order. Through 12 games, Mejias-Brean is hitting .311 and has a team-high 12 RBI. The Tucson, Ariz., native is one of two Wildcats (Refsnyder) to collect double-digit runs (12) scored and RBI (12) on the young season. Mejias-Brean has three doubles and a triple, to go with four stolen bases on the season.
Maggi Makin' Noise: Freshman Joseph Maggi has started as the Wildcats designated hitter in each of the last four games, an opportunity he has taken advantage of. A left-handed hitter, Maggi has collected six hits in the four starts, leading the club over the brief stretch at a .462 clip. On Wednesday, he provided two critical base hits for the Wildcats. Locked in a 2-2 in the fifth inning, Maggi delivered a two-out single to turn the lineup over to allowed Joey Rickard to rope a run-scoring double to give the Wildcats a one-run lead. Later, Maggi provided an RBI single as part of a three-run eighth inning in UA's come-from-behind victory. Maggi has played in six games and has a .533 batting average in 15 at-bats. He's added two RBI and four runs scored.
Fearsome Foursome: Juniors Alex Mejia, Seth Mejias-Brean, Robert Refsnyder and Joey Rickard have combined to make 506 starts in 517 total games played. They have missed a combined three games in their careers, with Rickard playing in all 128 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 648 base hits and 366 runs scored, hitting .326 (648-1987) as a group.
Troupe Time: Freshman RHP Mathew Troupe has emerged as the team's closer. Last Saturday against Harvard, Troupe earned his first career save in a 3-1 Wildcat victory. He followed that up with a strong two innings in relief on Wednesday against UC Davis to earn his first career win. In 8.0 innings pitched, Troupe has allowed just one run, which was unearned. He has struck out 10 and walked none, something he surely hopes to build on. In five overall appearances, Troupe is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA and one save.
Long Time: Freshman Lucas Long turned in a stellar 6.2 innings of shutout baseball in his first collegiate start on March 6 against UC Davis. Long earned his first win as a starting pitcher, set a career-high with sevens strikeouts and did not walk a batter while scattering six hits. It was Long's third appearance of the season and pushed his season strikeout tally to 14 against one walk. Opponents are hitting just .216 against him in 14.0 innings. He has a record of 2-0 and an ERA of 1.93 entering this weekend.
Fast Cats: Arizona may not have blazing team speed, but the Wildcats have plenty of players that can steal bases. In fact, eight players have stolen a base for the Wildcats, who are 34-for-41 (.829) on stolen base attempts this season. Robert Refsnyder is a perfect 8-for-8 to pace the club, while Joey Rickard is 8-for-9 and Johnny Field is 6-for-8. Arizona's 34 stolen bases lead the Pac-12 Conference and are 24 more than it has allowed to opponents this season.
No Bruises: Wildcat hitters have been hit by a pitch just seven times in the first 12 games of 2012. In 2011, UA hitters were plunked 80 times, which was the third-highest single season total in school history. Brandon Dixon and Seth Mejias-Brean are the only Wildcats that have been hit multiple times this season. A year ago, catcher Jett Bandy paced the club with nine HBPs. Bandy finished his UA career one HBP shy of matching the school record of 54 set by Colt Sedbrook (2006-08).
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 272-24-1 (.919) in the last 297 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 10-0 in such games.
Rob is Rollin': Junior right fielder Robert Refsnyder ranks second on the club behind Johnny Field in batting (.408), slugging (.571) and on-base percentage (.463). Refsnyder has a swiped a team-best eight stolen bases (in eight attempts), and is second on the club with 14 runs scored. With 11 RBI, he is one of two Wildcats with double-digits in runs scored and RBI through 12 games. The Laguna Hills, Calif., native has a base hit in each of UA's first 12 games to open the season, and has an overall 14-game streak dating back to the end of 2011.
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 40 extra base hits and 94 RBI in his career. A .331 career hitter, once on base, Rickard is a threat to steal and has 37 career stolen bases. In 2012, Rickard is hitting .367 with 12 runs scored and six RBI to go with eight stolen bases.
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 .333 with 11 RBI to go with eight runs scored.
Turnstiles Turning: Arizona baseball games have drawn an average of 2,045 fans to the first 12 home games at Hi Corbett. That's 25,548 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 70,000 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 crowds this year came on two blustery mid-week days against UC Davis, but each game averaged more than 1,200.
.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.
Up Next: Arizona hits the road for the first time this season when it heads to Houston, Texas, to take on No. 5 Rice on Tuesday, March 13, and Wednesday, March 14. Both games will be televised on CSS, though the Wednesday game will be available only in the Houston area. The Wildcats return home to host the Pac-12 opener against Washington State March 16-18.