Feb. 26, 2003
Notes From the Minnesota Series: The Wildcats took two of three from the visiting Golden Gophers ... After dropping the series opener 13-10 on Friday, the Wildcats rallied to win the next two games by scores of 11-5 and 7-2, respectively ... The series win was the third in four tries for Arizona this season ... As a team, Arizona hit .357 in the three games, 43 points higher than the Gophers ... Sophomore Richard Mercado led all Arizona players individually with a .500 batting average (4 for 8) in two starts ... Classmate Jeff Van Houten continued his impressive start to the 2003 season with a team-high six RBIs on .364 hitting in three starts ... Sophomore Pat Reilly extended his hitting streak to 17-straight games with a 5 for 11 (.385) weekend. He also scored a team-high six runs in the series ... Junior Brian Anderson hit two home runs in Friday's 13-10 loss to tie him with classmate Moises Duran for the team lead at three. The two homers in a game was the first of the season for an Arizona player and marked the first time since Feb. 22 of last season that a UA player homered twice in a game. Anderson finished the weekend 5 for 12 (.417) with a double, a triple, the two home runs, two RBIs and five runs scored ... Freshman Brad Boyer led all Arizona players with six hits in the series ... On the mound Arizona used nine different pitchers in the three games, one off the season series high of 10 against BYU ... The pitching staff posted a 5.00 ERA in 27 innings, but showed impressive control. The Wildcat hurlers struck out 16 Minnesota hitters against just three walks ... Junior Chris Goodman was impressive in his second appearance of the season. The right-hander came on to shut down the potent UM bats in Friday's 13-10 loss. After Joe Little and Chris Frey gave up 12 runs on 14 hits in the first 3 2/3 innings, Goodman silenced the UM offense to just two hits and one unearned run over the next 4 1/3 innings ... Junior Sean Rierson followed his dominating performance at UC Irvine in his previous start with a solid six inning effort against the Gophers. Rierson struck out four and walked none for the second straight week en route to his second win of the season ... Richie Gardner picked up his team-leading third win of the season with a gutsy five inning start in Sunday's win. The junior right-hander scattered eight hits and struck out four while pitching with what turned out to be a stress fracture in his right foot (see later note for more on Gardner's injury) ... With the series win, Arizona closed Minnesota's lead in the all-time series to 17-12-1.
Notes From the Oklahoma State Game: The Wildcats downed OSU 7-4 with an all-around team effort. Eight of Arizona's nine starters on offense collected at least one hit and six different players drove in one run apiece ... Freshman Brad Boyer was the lone Arizona player to collect multiple hits in the game with a 2 for 4, 2-run day ... Pat Reilly extended his hitting streak yet again with a single through the right side in the fourth inning. He has hit in 18 straight games dating back to last season ... Junior Loe Little rebounded from his rough start against Minnesota to pick up the win in relief of starter John Meloan. Little gave up just one run in five innings out of the bullpen. He scattered six hits while striking out two and walking two. The relief appearance was the first for Little since serving as UA's long reliever his freshman season ... Meloan made his first career start against the Cowboys, but did not factor in the decision ... Arizona improved to 3-9 all-time against OSU with the win.
Taking Pictures: X-rays taken this week on starter Richie Gardner's right foot revealed that the right-hander has a stress fracture in his pivot foot. Although the cause of the injury is not known, the healing process has begun already and it is hoped that Arizona's leader in wins this season will miss just one start. It is believed that Gardner has made two starts with the injury. In those two games Gardner has gone 2-0 with a 1.46 ERA in 12 1/3 innings. He has struck out 10 hitters and given up just two runs.
Still Streaking: Pat Reilly's carry-over hitting streak from last season lives on at 18-straight after the sophomore collected at least one hit in each of the four games he played against Minnesota and Oklahoma State. Reilly hit successfully in each of Arizona's final six games last season and has at least one hit in all 12 of the games he has played in 2003. The feat is even more impressive when considering that he had just one at bat as a defensive replacement in the Feb. 15 game against UC Irvine and still managed to extend the streak. Classmate Richard Mercado also carried over a three-game hitting streak which now stands at 11 in a row after getting a hit in all eight games he has played this season.
It Must Be Contagious: In addition to Reilly and Mercado's carry over streaks, junior Brian Anderson has collected at least one hit in all 13 games he has played in this season, while freshmen Brad Boyer, Trevor Crowe, Nick Hundley and Derek Decater have at least one hit in all 12, nine, eight and six games they've played in, respectively.
Tread Lightly: Arizona's battery of pitchers and catchers have made running on the Wildcats a dangerous proposition this year. Wildcat pitchers and catchers have caught nine of 19 would be base stealers this season for a 47 percent throw out rate. Arizona has also picked off four base runners.
Grand Larceny: On the opposite side of the stolen base issue, Arizona has been pretty successful in thievery on the base paths. The Wildcats have stolen 30 bases in 37 attempts this season for an 81 percent success rate. At this point last season, Arizona had the same amount of attempts and five less successful steals.
What A Difference A Year Makes: Through 13 games this season, Arizona's offense has blown away the 2002 team's numbers by a considerable margin. At this point a year ago Arizona was batting a meager .268 with 111 hits, 101 runs scored, 24 doubles, seven triples, 12 home runs and 86 RBIs. This year the Wildcats are batting .351 with 181 hits, 129 runs scored, 39 doubles, 11 triples, 16 home runs and 113 RBIs.
Individually, Arizona had just five players batting .300 or better through the first 13 games last season, while the Wildcats have six players hitting better than .400 this season.
2002 vs. 2003 Offensive Numbers (Thru 13 games)
Average .268 .351
Hits 111 181
Runs 101 129
Doubles 24 39
Triples 7 11
Home Runs 12 16
RBIs 86 113
Slugging Pct. .447 .562
Players Batting .300+ 5 8
Players Batting .400+ 1 6
Stolen Bases 25 of 37 30 of 37
Getting Offensive: The Wildcat offense has posted some impressive numbers through the first 13 games of the season. The team has a .562 slugging percentage, a .397 on-base percentage and is averaging over 10 runs, 15 hits and nine RBIs per game this season.
Lucky Seven: So far this season the seventh inning has been very kind to the Arizona offense and not so kind to its opponents. Through 13 games Arizona has out-scored its opponents 26-0 in the seventh inning alone. The 26 runs account for 20-percent of the total runs scored for UA this season. The Wildcats are also out-scoring their opponents 19-3 in the fifth inning. See page five of the notes for the inning-by-inning breakdown on Arizona's scoring.
Up Coming: Arizona contiues its psuedo Big 12 schedule this week with a three-game series against Texas A&M Friday-Sunday ... Arizona has already taken on A&M conference foes Baylor and Oklahoma State and will travel to Texas after facing the Aggies this weekend ... A&M heads west to Tucson with a 9-2 overall record and a No. 16 ranking in the Collegiate Baseball poll and No. 24 ranking in Baseball America's poll ... A&M returns four starters, nine pitchers and 17 letterwinners from last season's 35-24 team ... 11 games into the season, the Aggie pitching staff has posted outstanding numbers. A&M has a team ERA of 2.72 in 86 innings pitched and have nearly a three to one strikeout-to-walk ratio ... Sophomore Logan Kensing leads the A&M starters with a 3-0 record and a 1.69 ERA in 16 innings pitched this season. He has struck out 13 and walked just two ... Offensively A&M is led by junior Erik Schindewolf. The infielder is batting .375 with 13 runs scored out of the leadoff spot in the batting order ... As a team TAMU is batting .289 with 64 runs scored, 20 doubles and six home runs ... Head coach Mark Johnson is in his 19th season as the head man in College Station. His career record stands at 768-367-2 heading into play this week.
Arizona Probable Pitching Rotation vs. Texas A&M Fri. - RHP Sean Rierson (2-0, 6.14 ERA) Sat. - LHP Joe Little (3-2, 4.32 ERA) Sun. - RHP Kevin Guyette (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Arizona vs. A&M All-Time: Texas A&M's three-game sweep over the Cats last season in College Station gave the Aggies a 21-19-1 advatange in the all-time series that dates back over 50 years. The two schools met for the first time in the 1951 District 6 playoffs. The Aggies defeated Arizona two games to one to advance to the College World Series that season. However, the postseason matchups continued in 1955, 1959 and 1976 with Arizona prevailing to advance to Omaha all three times. Since 1991, A&M and Arizona have played 30 games over 10 seasons. The Aggies hold a 17-13-1 advantage during that span. Arizona swept A&M the last time the two teams met in Tucson in 2001.
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 is 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 is 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.
Road Series Sweep: Arizona's three-game sweep at UC Irvine Feb. 14-16 was the first road series sweep for Arizona since the 1999 team swept three games at Washington State on April 17-18.
Holding 'Em Down: UC Irvine's one run scored in three games was the fewest allowed by an Arizona team in a three-game series since the 1997 team shutout California for three straight games April 4-6. The 1997 squad gave up just 14 hits to the Golden Bears, while the 2003 team surrendered just 13 to UCI in three games. The 1997 series against Cal was the last time Arizona posted back-to-back shutouts as well.
The Last Time...: ...Arizona played two extra inning games in a series was back in 1997 against California in Berkeley. Unlike the 2003 version against Baylor, Arizona went on to win both of those contests, defeating the Bears 8-7 in 15 innings on February 28 and again 2-1 in 10 innings a day later on March 1.
Going Yard The First Time Out: Nick Hundley placed himself in some good company in his first game as an Arizona Wildcat. Hundley hit a home run in his first official at bat in the Cardinal and Navy on Jan. 30 against BYU, making him the first player to do so since former All-American Shelley Duncan did the same in his freshman season in 1999.
Individual Record Setting Game: Richard Mercado's six-hit afternoon against BYU on Feb. 1 was the first for an Arizona player in 10 seasons and tied the school record for base knocks in a single game. The sophomore backstop tied former UA greats John Glenn (1972), Ron Hassey (1974), Les Pearsey (1978) and Chris Gump (1993) for the record. His five runs scored on the afternoon tied him with 21 other former players for the second-most in a single game ... Freshman Derek Decater's 11 total bases in the blowout win placed him tied for sixth in school history.
Six-Hit Games At Arizona
John Glenn vs. Iowa 3/30/1972
Ron Hassey vs. Colorado 3/22/1974
Les Pearsey vs. Azusa Pacific 2/20/1978
Chris Gump vs. Cal (10 inn.) 4/18/1993
Richard Mercado vs. BYU 2/01/2003
Scoring At Will: Arizona's 52 runs scored in the three games against BYU is tied for the third-most in a series in school history. Arizona posted 64 runs in two games against St. Francis in 1995 to establish the school record and the 1965 team scored 56 times in three games against New Mexico. In 1998 Arizona scored 52 total runs in a three-game series with Portland State.
The 32-run game marks the third-highest run total for a single game at Arizona. The Wildcats tallied a school record 40 runs in a game against St. Francis in 1995 and put up 36 against the Lobos in 1965.
The 29-run margin of victory against the Cougars ties for the second-largest ever at Arizona, trailing only the 30-run advantage the 1995 team enjoyed over St. Francis.
Runs in a Series Most Runs in Game
1995 64 vs. St. Francis (2 games) 40 vs. St. Francis (2/22/95)
1965 56 vs. New Mexico (3 games) 36 vs. New Mexico (5/7/65)
1998 52 vs. Portland State (3 games) 32 vs. BYU (2/1/03)
2003 52 vs. BYU (3 games) 31 vs. Colorado (3/19/51)
Waving Them In: Of the 15 players that had at least one plate appearance in the three-game series with BYU (Jan. 30 -Feb. 1), 14 of them scored at least one run. A total of 12 of those players scored at least two runs and of which seven players came around to touch home five or more times.
Record Tying Afternoon: Arizona's 32-3 win against BYU on Feb. 1 tied a number of aged records at UA. The Wildcats sent 61 hitters to the plate and rapped out 32 hits in the win. Both marks tied school records for a nine inning game set 38 years ago (5/7/65) against New Mexico.
Starting Spots To Be Tough To Come By: It appears coach Lopez will face a 'good' problem this season. A couple of different spots in the lineup will be hotly contested this year, with playing time coming as the big reward. Freshman Nick Hundley and sophomore Richard Mercado both made a strong claim to the starting catcher role. Hundley has made eight starts behind the dish this season and has hit .364 with a home run, five doubles and three RBIs. Mercado, who started eight games as catcher and DH, is currently second on the team in average (.457) and has eight RBIs and 11 runs scored. The outfield situation also appears to be up for grabs. Freshman Derek Decater, who is limited to the DH role early on due to off season shoulder surgery, has played in five games, making four starts. The first-year Wildcat is batting .429 with four RBIs and eight runs scored. Joining Decater in the mix is sophomore Jeff Van Houten. The second-year starter is taking full advantage of Decater's rehab with a team-high .471 average, 19 RBIs and 13 runs scored in 12 games. Starting center fielder Brian Anderson is hitting .364 with 14 runs and nine RBIs, while freshman Trevor Crowe is batting .435 with eight RBIs and 11 runs scored in his first 11 games.
Game In Nogales, Ariz.: The Arizona baseball team will host New Mexico for one game in Nogales, Ariz., this season. Although it has been a while since UA made a trip south of Tucson to play, the appearance is not all together unprecedented. Looking back into the past schedules it has been found that the 1963 team played a game in the Arizona border town. The Wildcats defeated former WAC foe Wyoming 8-1 on April 2 in the only other known game played in Nogales.
Head Coach Andy Lopez: Andy Lopez, now in his second season at Arizona, has posted a career 727-446-6 (.619) 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)
Surpassing 2002 Early On: Arizona's opening series provided the Wildcats an opportunity to surpass a number of single game highs from last season. In just three games, the Wildcats either equaled or went by the game highs of last season in team runs in an inning, runs scored, team hits, team RBIs, individual at bats, individual hits, individual doubles, individual triples, stolen bases and total bases for a single game. (All the single game marks can be found on page five of the notes)
Single Game Highs - 2002 vs. 2003
Team Runs (inning) 10 10
Team Runs scored 23 32
Team Hits 17 32
Team RBIs 20 25
Extra Base Hits 8 8
Individual Runs 4 5
Individual Hits 5 6
Individual Doubles 2 2
Individual Triples 2 2
Individual Stolen Bases 3 3
Individual Total Bases 9 11
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.
The Fall Season: The Wildcats played 14 intra squad games last fall and a number of players stood out in the early competition. Returning starter Joe Little led all pitchers with 21 strike outs in just 16 innings pitched. The southpaw also tallied an impressive 2.25 ERA. Newcomer Richie Gardner got a leg up for the third spot in the starting rotation with a 3-0 record and a team best 1.13 ERA in 16 fall innings. Fellow newcomer Jordan Brown went 4-0 with a 2.25 ERA and 12 strike outs. Junior Sean Rierson, the staff ace the past two seasons, tallied nine K's and a 2.40 ERA in 15 innings pitched. Offensively, junior Mo Duran led all players with a .412 average and six home runs. John Hardy trailed closely with a .409 average and a team-high 14 RBIs. Newcomers Nick Hundley and Trevor Crowe impressed in their first appearances in the Cardinal and Navy, hitting .310 and .386 respectively. Crowe led all players with 17 hits, 10 stolen bases and 16 runs scored, while Hundley chipped in with 12 RBIs and a pair of home runs.