Feb. 5, 2003
Notes From the BYU Series: After scoring just three runs on opening day, the Wildcat offense exploded for 49 runs in the second and third games with the Cougars to take the series 2-1 ... The Wildcats batted .426 against BYU, while the pitching staff went 2-1 with a 5.33 ERA in the opening series of the season. Arizona pitchers showed impressive control, walking just six batters while striking out 28 ... Sophomore Richard Mercado made the most of his first start of the season, going 6 for 7 with 3 RBIs and 5 runs scored in the 32-3 blowout win over BYU. The six hits tied the school record for hits in a game (see note below) ... Including Mercado's six-hit outing, seven different Wildcat batters finished Saturday's win with multiple hits ... Mercado's classmate, Jeff Van Houten, led all players for the weekend with 9 RBIs in three starts ... Sophomore Pat Reilly extended his hitting streak to nine straight games with at least one hit in all three games against BYU, he finished last season with a six-game hitting streak ... Junior college transfer Richie Gardner was impressive in his Arizona debut, working seven strong innings in the 32-3 win. Gardner struck out eight and surrendered just two unearned runs in the win ... Freshman hurler John Meloan struck out five over just 3.1 innings to earn his first collegiate victory in Arizona's come-from-behind win on Friday ... Lefty Joe Little did not walk a batter, while striking out five over six innings in Thursday's 6-3 loss.
The Jim Click Alumni Weekend: The Arizona baseball program will host its alumni the weekend of Feb. 7-9. The weekend, sponsored by Jim Click, will feature Arizona's three-game series with nationally ranked Baylor, a dinner reception, golf, a brunch on Sunday morning, recognition of Arizona's three national championship teams and an autograph session prior to the UA-Baylor game on Sunday. The program has moved away from inviting back just the players active in professional ball to all the former alumni, whether they are still active in the game or not. For further information, please contact the baseball office at (520) 621-4102.
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: Third base coach Mark Wasikowski probably needs some time off after waving in so many players during the scoring outburst of the past weekend. Of the 15 players that had at least one plate appearance, 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.
Upcoming: The Wildcats will host Baylor for three games the weekend on Feb. 7-9. The Bears are coming off a 2002 season that saw them make a NCAA regional appearance with a 36-26 overall record. Baylor returns six starters, seven pitchers and 11 letter winners from last season's team. Returning offensively are seniors Ross Bennett and Chris Durbin. Bennett finished the 2002 season with a team-high .357 batting average, six home runs and 41 RBIs. Classmate Durbin was second in hitting at .352 and also posted a team-high tying 62 runs scored in 2002. On the mound Baylor returns senior lefty Jared Theodorakos (3-6, 5.18 ERA in 2002) senior righty Steven White (5-4, 4.95 ERA in 2002) and sophomore Trey Taylor (4-3, 6.20 ERA in 2002). The Bears are lead by head coach Steve Smith, a 1986 Baylor grad. Smith has tallied a 298-180-1 record in eight seasons as the Bears' skipper. Baylor lost to Southwest Texas, 9-5, on Tuesday to open its season before heading west to Tucson.
Projected Pitching Matchups
Friday - Theodorakas (3-6, 5.18 ERA in 2002) or Taylor (4-3, 6.20 ERA in 2002)
vs. Joe Little (0-1, 3.00 ERA)
Saturday - Theodorakas (3-6, 5.18 ERA in 2002) or Taylor (4-3, 6.20 ERA in 2002)
vs. Sean Rierson (0-0, 18.00 ERA)
Sunday - Steven White (5-4, 4.95 ERA in 2002) vs. Richie Gardner (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
The Wildcats vs. The Bears: Arizona and Baylor have played just three times against each other. The Wildcats swept a three-game series against the Bears in Tucson in 1998.
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 made two starts behind the dish against BYU and hit .500 with a home run, two doubles and three RBIs. As previously mentioned, Mercado went off for six hits, five runs and three RBIs in his lone start of the series. 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, played in two games over the weekend, making one start. The first-year Wildcat batted .800 with three RBIs and three runs scored. Joining Decater in the mix is sophomore Jeff Van Houten. The second-year starter took full advantage of Decater's rehab to go 9 for 13 (.692) with a team-high nine RBIs and six runs scored in three games. JC transfer Dallas Haught hit .364 and also stole two bases in two starts and also clubbed his first home run in an Arizona uniform, while freshman Brad Boyer went 6 for 14 (.429) with five runs scored in his first three games. Throw in Chris Frey (.400, 3 RBIs and a run) and Brian Anderson (.300, three runs) and there will certainly be a lot at stake during practices this season.
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 have either equaled of gone 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 four 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
Carry Over From Last Season: Sophomore Pat Reilly extended his six-game hitting streak from last season by adding another three games after the BYU series for at least one hit in nine straight games. Classmate Jeff Van Houten had a least one hit in all three games to extend his carryover streak to six straight. Richard Mercado entered the 2003 season with a three-game streak of his own and, with the six-hit game on Saturday, now stands at four straight.
Head Coach Andy Lopez: Andy Lopez, now in his second season at Arizona, has posted a career 720-443-6 (.618) record. 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)
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. Cosgrave, 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.
Give Us Some Mo: Junior Moises Duran returns in 2003 after posting nine home runs and 42 RBIs last season (both are the most for any returning player on this season's team). The 5-foot-9 infielder has been Arizona's most consistent player in both the fall and the preseason thus far and Lopez and the coaching staff will rely heavily on the veteran to provide leadership on the field and in the dugout.
It's All In The Arms: Juniors Sean Rierson and Joe Little return to anchor the Arizona pitching rotation. Rierson, a 26th-round selection in the 2002 MLB draft, has two full seasons of starting experience under his belt. Named by Baseball America as one of the top three control pitchers in the Pac-10, Rierson has walked just 47 batters in over 217 career innings. Little, who moved from the bullpen to the starting rotation last year, has shown impressive poise and control on the mound thus far. The lefty's velocity is up from last season and his pitching repertoire has been equally effective against both right- and left-handed hitters.
Standing Pat: Sophomore Pat Reilly took full advantage of the opportunity afforded him in 2002. A non-scholarship member of the team, Reilly worked his way into the starting lineup half way into the season and never relinquished his spot at first base. In 27 starts, Reilly hit .317 with 28 runs scored, 10 doubles, two home runs and 25 RBIs. He also etched his name in the into collegiate baseball history with a NCAA record 29 putouts in a single game. Now on scholarship, Reilly is the incumbent at first heading into 2003.
Newcomers To Contribute: The new faces on Arizona's roster this season will be counted upon to help out right away. Freshmen Trevor Crowe, Nick Hundley and Brad Boyer are all expected to be in the starting lineup on opening day. Classmate Derek Decater, who is recovering from off season shoulder surgery, will play an important role in the upcoming weeks both in spacious centerfield and at the plate. JC transfers Mark Worrell and Richie Gardner will assume the closer and No. 3 starter roles, respectively. Fellow JC transfer Dallas Haught, a mid-year transfer, has been impressive in the outfield and on offense thus far in the preseason.
Pemble and Zlotoff Return: The Wildcats have just a pair of seniors on this season's team. Both Brian Pemble and Wes Zlotoff return to the team this season for a fifth and sixth season of eligibility. Left-handed reliever Pemble redshirted the 2002 season in order to recover from a broken arm suffered in 2001. Zlotoff, who made a team-high 22 appearances on the mound last season, was granted a medical hardship sixth season by the NCAA.