July 2, 2002
Season In Review: The Wildcats closed out the 2002 season with a victory in their final game at Washington to finish 31-24 overall and 9-15 in the Pac-10. The 30-win mark was the 41st in school history and the fifth in the last six seasons. The Wildcats batted .289 in 2002, their lowest team average since the 1994 team hit .275 for the season, yet still managed to post a .384 on base percentage with 246 walks and a school record 69 HBP. Freshman John Hardy led the team with a .328 average (57 for 174) and also tallied 38 RBIs in his first season. Senior Chris Cunningham closed out his Arizona career by leading the team with 13 home runs, four triples, 13 doubles and 53 RBIs. Classmate Brad Hassey started every game for the second consecutive season, bringing his career total to 111 consecutive games started. Dating back to the 2000 season, Hassey played in 113 consecutive games, the 15th best streak in school history. On the mound, the Wildcat pitching staff recorded the second fewest walks in school history. Only the 1951 squad, which played just 32 games, allowed fewer free passes (130) than the 155 surrendered by the 2002 team. The staff finished the season with 31 wins, nine saves, 345 strikeouts and a 5.24 ERA. Senior reliever Wes Zlotoff paced the team with a 3.00 ERA in 22 appearances. He finished his final season with two saves and 19 strikeouts. Sophomore Sean Rierson led the team in wins with seven and in innings pitched (117.0). Rierson's 2.00 BB/nine innings was the sixth fewest in school history. Lefty Joe Little tallied a team-leading 83 strikeouts in 2002, his first season as a starter.
That Was It: For eight Arizona seniors the series with Washington marked their final games in an Arizona uniform. Kevin Anderson, Clayton Bried, Chris Cunningham, Brad Hassey, Kevin Sears, Justyn St. Clair, Matt Wersel and Wes Zlotoff all exhausted their collegiate eligibility.
Postseason Honors: Senior Brad Hassey was Arizona's lone representative on the All-Pac-10 team after the season. Classmate Chris Cunningham, sophomore Moises Duran and freshman John Hardy were all named honorable mention.
Season Notes: NEW MEXICO (Jan.25-27): The Wildcats defeated New Mexico 6-2 on opening day to give first-year head coach Andy Lopez his initial victory at Arizona ... Arizona's three-game sweep over New Mexico to start the season extended the Wildcats winning streak to 17 straight games over the Lobos ... The series with UNM served as a precursor for the upcoming season, as Lobo pitchers hit seven Arizona batters, all seven hit batsmen came around to score ... UA out-scored UNM 37-7 in the three games ... Moises Duran tallied the third most RBIs in school history for a single game on Jan. 26 against the Lobos. The sophomore second baseman finished 4 for 4, including a grand slam, with nine RBIs ... Brad Hassey recorded a straight steal of home against UNM on Jan. 26, the first of its kind in nearly six years ... UTAH (Feb.1-3): Arizona out-scored the Utes 25-12 in the series ... Three sophomores, Sean Rierson, Chris Goodman and Brian Anderson, combined to shutout the Utes 3-0 on five hits in the series opener on Feb. 1 ... Freshman John Hardy hit Arizona's second grand slam of the season on Feb. 2, marking the first time since 1999 that UA had two or more GS in a season. The grand slam was Hardy's first career home run ... Lefty Joe Little struck out a then-career high nine Ute hitters on Feb. 2, just seven days after getting struck above the left eye in the Arizona dugout by a foul ball ... The Wildcats suffered their first loss of the season in the series finale, but forced the game into extra innings with a run in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game ... Sophomore Brian Anderson went down with a sprained knee in the finale and sat out the next 15 games ... SOUTHERN UTAH (Feb. 4-5): Seven different Wildcats scored two or more runs in the two-game series ... Senior Matt Wersel picked up what would prove to be his only victory in an Arizona uniform on Feb. 5 ... The Wildcats out-scored the Thunderbirds 21-9 in the two games ... Chris Cunningham had three hits in the series, two home runs and a triple ... SAN DIEGO STATE (Feb. 7-9): Sean Rierson tossed the first complete game of the season in the series opener with the Aztecs and Moises Duran rewarded him with a one-out, solo home run in the bottom of the ninth to secure a 1-0 win ... The CG-shutout was the first for an Arizona pitcher since 1997 and the win was the first 1-0 victory for Arizona since 1992 ... Sophomore Joe Little struck out a career-high 10 batters in his third start of the season on Feb. 7 to improve to 7-0 for his Arizona career ... Freshman Richard Mercado went 4 for 5 in the series finale to give Arizona a 7-5 victory and its third series sweep of the season ... All-Pro Alumni Game (Feb. 10): The Alums defeated the Wildcats 1-0 on Troy Gingrich's two-out double to score former teammate Dennis Anderson in the bottom of the fourth inning ... The Alumni also won the home run hitting contest 14 to 7. Former Wildcats J.T. Snow and Brian Becker tied for the individual title with six fence busters each ... at TEXAS A&M-CORPUS CHRISTI (Feb. 13): The Wildcats took to the road for the first time in 2002 and opened with 4-1 win over the Islanders ... Freshman Will Miller won his first collegiate game with six innings of work on the mound ... The Islanders held the Wildcats homer-less in the game, making the only opponent that Arizona did not hit a home run off of all year ... at TEXAS A&M (Feb. 15-17): The Aggies limited Arizona to just 13 hits over three games to hand the Wildcats their first road series sweep in nearly two seasons ... Arizona tallied just five hits in the series opener as A&M shutout the Wildcats for the first time in 2002 ... Chris Cunningham's two-RBI double in the eighth inning was Arizona's only hit in the second of the series on Feb. 16. The one-hitter was the first tossed against Arizona since UCLA did the same during the 2000 season ... A&M scored seven unearned runs in the bottom of the fourth to complete the series sweep on Feb. 17 ... Arizona batted a season low .138 for the series while striking out 24 times ... UC IRVINE (Feb. 22-24): Arizona returned to its winning ways with a three-game sweep over the Anteaters ... Sophomore Marc Kaiser went 9 for 14 with three home runs, five RBIs and six runs scored in the three games. His two-home game in the series opener was the only multi home run game of the season for Arizona ... Senior Brad Hassey began a 12-game hitting streak with at least one hit in all three of the games vs. UCI ... Eight of nine Arizona starters collected at least one hit in the series opener and freshman reliever Jason Snyder struck out a career-high eight batters in 4.2 innings for his first career win ... Senior Brad Hassey drove home the winning run in the bottom of the 10th inning with a two-out single. The game-winning hit was impressive in part because the shortstop had committed a school record-tying four errors in the game, was picked off second in the seventh inning and was thrown out at home with what would have been the winning run in the bottom of the ninth ... The victory on Saturday gave Coach Lopez his 700th career win in 19-plus seasons as a collegiate head coach ... Kaiser went 5 for 5 in the series finale, marking the only five hit game for the Wildcats all season ... NEW MEXICO STATE (Feb. 26): Brad Hassey led off the game with a first-pitch home run, one of two leadoff home runs he recorded in 2002 ... Richard Mercado slugged his first collegiate home run in the 14-10 Arizona victory ... COLORADO ROCKIES (Feb. 28): The Wildcats took on Colorado in an exhibition game on Feb. 28 and fell 15-1 ... Sophomore Greg Powers plated Chris Cunningham for Arizona's lone run in the game ... The loss dropped Arizona's record 4-5 all-time against Major League clubs ... CAL STATE DOMINGUEZ HILLS (March 2-3): The Toros squared off against their former coach Andy Lopez and fell twice to him and the Wildcats ... The two victories over CSUDH improved Arizona's winning streak to a season-high tying six straight games ... Sophomore Sean Rierson established a career high with 10 strikeouts in his victory over the Toros on March 2 ... at LONG BEACH STATE (March 8-10): Arizona's road woes continued as LBSU swept the series over the Wildcats, twice shutting them out . The sweep extended LBSU's streak to 10 straight wins over the Wildcats ... Arizona struck out a season-high 17 times and managed only four hits in the series opener. For the series the Wildcats K'd 34 times, while collecting just 16 hits ... The Wildcats rallied to tie the game in the ninth inning in the second game of the series, but gave up a run in the bottom of the inning to fall 7-6. Brian Anderson marked his second game back from injury with a 3 for 4, three RBI and two run game ... LBSU pitchers limited Arizona to just three hits in the 6-0 series sweeping win on Sunday ... UNC WILMINGTON (March 15-17): Arizona's series opening loss to the Seahawks extended its losing streak to a season-high four straight ... Despite losing the opener, Arizona won the series two games to one ... Arizona posted a season-high 17 hits in a game against UNCW on March 17 ... The victory that day was UA's 900th all-time at Frank Sancet Field ... Sophomore Marc Kaiser tossed a complete game five-hitter on only 93 pitches in the win on March 17 ... Sophomore Brian Anderson and freshman Jeff Van Houten each a grand slam during the series. Van Houten's GS tied the school record for team slams in a single season ... Redshirt freshman Pat Reilly started his first game of the season at first base on March 15. Reilly would take over the position for the remainder of the season, starting 27 games over the rest of the year ... ARIZONA STATE (March 22-24): The in-state rivals met to open the Pac-10 season for just the third time since the two joined the conference in 1978-79 ... The 15th-ranked Sun Devils rallied from deficits in the first two games of the series to emerge victorious ... ASU scored three runs in the ninth inning of the series opener to win 9-7. Arizona committed a season-high seven errors in the game... Arizona stranded nine runners on base, including six in scoring position, in the loss on March 23 ... Sophomore Marc Kaiser tossed his second consecutive 93-pitch complete game to salvage a win for Arizona in the series finale ... Senior Brad Hassey saw his 12-game hitting streak get snapped in the series opener. The fourth-year Wildcat began a season-high 13 game streak one contest later ... at OREGON STATE (March 28-30): Arizona's road woes extended during a trip to the Pacific Northwest. The Beavers took two of three from the Wildcats in Corvallis to drop UA's road record 2-8 for the season ... Senior Brad Hassey led the Wildcat offense at OSU, batting .500 with five RBIs and a home run ... Sophomore Joe Little did not earn a decision in the March 29 game, despite giving up only one run in seven innings of work ... Arizona was shutout for the fourth and final time in 2002 on March 30, helping OSU take the series with a 6-0 victory ... STANFORD (April 5-7): The Wildcats and Cardinal played in the longest game (time wise) in school history in the series opener. The 18-inning marathon lasted 5:19 and resulted in a 5-4 Stanford victory ... Redshirt freshman Pat Reilly broke an NCAA record in the game by posting 29 putouts in the contest ... The game was the longest Pac-10 game (innings-wise) in school history ... Arizona fell one AB shy of tying the school record for a single game with 65 ... UA twice rallied to tie the score in extra innings, before succumbing in the 18th ... The 19-1 loss the next day was the most lopsided defeat since ASU defeated Arizona 32-3 in 2000 ... The Sunday victory not only saved Arizona from a series sweep, but also ended a season-high tying four game losing streak ... The Wildcats trailed 10-1 after 1.5 innings, but rallied to win in eight innings ... The come-from-behind victory was the second-largest deficit overcome by the Wildcats in Pac-10 play ... The game was halted after eight innings due to Stanford's travel plans and was supposed to be played to completion a week later in Palo Alto. However, the two schools administrators got together and announced an eight-inning victory in favor of the Wildcats ... at CALIFORNIA (April 12 -14): The Wildcats won their only Pac-10 series of the season, two games to one over the Golden Bears ... The Wildcats tallied 13 hits in the series opener, all singles ... On Saturday the Wildcats scored 10 runs in the first inning, the most runs scored in an innings all season ... Nine of the 10 runs came after Cal had recorded the first two outs of the game ... Sophomore Brian Anderson accounted for half of the RBIs in the inning with a one-run single and Arizona's single season school record breaking fifth grand slam of the season ... Cal pitchers walked home four runs in the inning ... The Wildcats attempt to sweep the series fell one run short as Cal's Justin Nelson hit a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh to break a 1-1 tie ... GRAND CANYON (April 16): Pat Reilly hit Arizona's sixth grand slam of the season in the contest. The bases loaded home run was the first of his career ... Senior Chris Cunningham finished the contest 3 for 4 with a home run, a double, a single and four RBIs. He began a season-high 11-game hitting streak in the game ... UC RIVERSIDE (April 19-21): The Wildcats closed out the non-conference portion of its schedule with a two-games to one victory over the Highlanders ... Hassey's 13-game hitting streak came to an end in the April 20 contest ... He started a 10-game hitting streak one game later ... at USC (April 26-28): The Wildcats won on Sunday to avert a series sweep for the third time in conference play ... Senior Chris Cunningham hit .500 for the series going 6 for 12 with two home runs, five RBIs and six runs scored ... Five players posted a multiple RBI game in the series finale ... The 10 walks surrendered by the pitching staff on April 27 was a season-high in a game ... UCLA (May10-12): After taking two weeks off for finals, Arizona returned to action against Coach Lopez's Alma Mater ... Despite losing two of three, the Arizona pitching staff struck out 26 UCLA hitters while walking just six in the series ... Senior Brad Hassey hit his fourth home run of the season to leadoff an inning and his second to leadoff a game ... Arizona scored nine runs in the first inning of the series final, including Moises Duran's second grand slam of the season. The GS was the seventh and final bases loaded home run of the season for Arizona ... Freshman Jeff Van Houten hit his seventh home run of the season, it was his first home run in nearly two months ... WASHINGTON STATE(May 17-19): All three games in the series were decided by three runs in the ninth inning. WSU twice rallied with a three-run ninth to take the series two games to one. Arizona's comeback on Saturday was the only game all season that Arizona won after trailing heading in the ninth ... Chris Cunningham saw his 11-game hitting streak snapped on Saturday. Despite losing the streak, Cunningham's walk in the ninth inning turned into the game winning run. Kevin Sears, normally a relief pitcher, pinch run for the catcher and scored his first career run on John Hardy's two-out single ... at WASHINGTON (May 17-19): The Wildcats closed out their season on the road in Washington ... The Huskies, who need to win the series in order to make the NCAA Tournament field, took two of three from the Wildcats ... Freshman John Hardy closed out his first season at Arizona on a tear, completing the series 7 for 12 (.583) with a home run and three runs scored.
The Non-Conference Numbers: Arizona tallied a 22-9 record in 31 non-Pac-10 games. The Cats won eight of 10 multiple game series, including sweeps over New Mexico, San Diego State, Southern Utah, UC Irvine and Cal State Dominguez Hills. The Wildcats won all eight non-conference series at home, but were swept in both road series (Texas A&M, Long Beach). As a team Arizona hit .293 in the 31-game non-conference season. Freshman Richard Mercado led the way individually with a .341 average in 91 at-bats. Senior Chris Cunningham feasted on non-conference pitching, recording team-highs in both RBIs (40) and runs scored (32). The pitching staff tossed 275.1 innings against non-conference opponents and posted a 3.76 ERA with 204 strike outs against only 68 walks. Sophomore Joe Little went 6-1 against non-Pac-10 teams in 52.1 innings pitched. Senior Wes Zlotoff recorded a 1.69 ERA in nine appearances and 16 innings.
Pac-10 Numbers: Arizona completed it's 2002 season 9-15 in the Pac-10. They won only one series, but were not swept by a conference opponent all season. As a team Arizona hit .284 as a team in Pac-10 play. They averaged just over seven runs and 10 hits per game. Individually, the Wildcats were led by freshman John Hardy's .362 Pac-10 batting average. He finished the conference season with 20 RBIs, 17 runs, four doubles and two home runs. Somewhat surprisingly senior Brad Hassey, UA's leadoff hitter, supplied the majority of the power in Pac-10 play. He posted 21 RBIs on 38 hits, including five home runs, and scored 22 runs. All the afore mentioned numbers led the Wildcats in the Pac in 2002. On the mound Arizona posted a 7.10 ERA in 218 innings pitched. The pitching staff struck out 141 batters while walking just 87. Sophomore reliever Chris Goodman led all pitchers with a perfect 4-0 record in 10 appearances. Sean Rierson tallied a team-high 36 K's.
So Close, And Yet So Far: The Wildcats lost a number of close games in 2002. In fact, of the 24 losses, the Wildcats dropped 11 games by two runs or less. Arizona dropped four contests in 2002 after taking the lead into the ninth inning.
Series Best: Despite putting together an offensive fireworks display at the end of the season, the three-game numbers in the last three series didn't quite make the season best list. Here's a look at the top offensive and pitching marks in three-game series for 2002:
Hitting Avg: .400 vs. UC Irvine (February 22-24) ABs: 137 vs. Stanford (April 5-7) Runs: 37 vs. New Mexico Hits: 44 vs. UC Irvine (February 22-24) Extra Base Hits: 14 vs. UC Irvine (February 22-24) HRs: 7 vs. UC Irvine (February 5-7) RBIs: 33 vs. UC Irvine (February 22-24) BBs: 22 vs. New Mexico (April 5-7) SB: 10 at California (April 12-14) Pitching IP: 35.0 vs. Stanford (April 5-7) Runs: 7 vs. New Mexico (January 25-27) Earned Runs: 6 vs. New Mexico (January 25-27) Hits: 20 vs. Utah (February 1-3) BB: 3 vs. New Mexico (January 25-27) Ks: 26 vs. San Diego State (February 7-9) and vs. UCLA (May 10-12) Opp Ba: .200 vs. Utah (February 1-3)
Turning Two: The Arizona defense turned 46 double plays in 2002, nine more than the 2001 team.
Long Ball Stats: At the beginning of the year, the position of Arizona's long ball leader was up for grabs. With the departure of UA's all-time home run king, Shelley Duncan, and only six home runs returning to the current roster, the role could have gone to any number of players. And, in a way, it did. A total of 11 different Wildcat players hit at least one of UA's 60 round-trippers this season, seven of whom have six or more. The 2002 team , in fact, hit six more home runs than the 2001 team did (60-54). Leading the way with a career-high 13 fence busters was Chris Cunningham. Cunningham went yard with nobody on seven times, one runner on five times and with two runners on once for 20 runs batted in on homers. Classmate Brad Hassey, who had never homered in his three previous seasons at Arizona, finished tied for second on the team with nine homers. He had 13 RBIs on seven solo shots and two three-run blasts. Sophomore Moises Duran equalled Hassey's number . He went over the fence with the bases loaded twice, with one and on twice, two on once and hit four solo shots for a total of 19 RBIs. Jeff Van Houten, a freshman, and sophomore Marc Kaiser each had seven apiece. Van Houten hit two solos shots, three two-run homers, a three-run shot and a grand slam for 15 RBIs on home runs. Kaiser smashed five solo home runs and two two-run shots for nine RBIs. The Wildcats were 23-11 in the 34 games when at least one player hit a homer and 11-5 in the 16 games two or more players connect for the four-base hit.
Getting Started: Senior Brad Hassey hit a career high nine home runs in 2002, while that in and of itself is very noteworthy, it is also prudent to point out that four of his fence crashers led off innings for the Wildcats, including two to start a game. As a team, the Wildcats hit 15 of their 60 home runs (25 percent) in 2002 to lead off an inning.
Pitching Stats Continue To Improve: The Arizona pitching staff statistically posted the best season in the last five years:
Year-By-Year Comparison 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 ERA 5.24 5.34 7.48 6.00 6.48 Opp BA .295 .293 .308 .300 .305 CG 4 1 3 5 0 Sho 2 2 0 2 1 CBO 1 2 0 2 1 Sv 9 16 6 14 11 IP 493.1 504.1 489.2 501.0 483.0 H 586 598 623 604 588 R 354 363 490 389 402 ER 287 299 407 334 348 BB 155 204 299 252 268 SO 345 376 491 448 481
Fewest Free Passes: The 2002 team recorded the second fewest base on balls in school history. Averaging 2.81 walks per game, the Wildcats finished the season with 155 BB this season, including 10 intentional walks. Only the 1951 team, which tallied 130 walks in just 32 games (4.10 BB/game), had a fewer number of free passes over the course of a season. Including this year, only nine Arizona teams walked fewer than 200 hitters in a season.
Going The Distance: Sean Rierson's complete game against UC Riverside (4/19) was the second for the sophomore right-hander in 2002 and the fourth total for the Wildcat pitching staff. Rierson previously went the distance in UA's 1-0 win over San Diego State on Feb. 7. Classmate Marc Kaiser tossed back-to-back complete games against UNC Wilmington and Arizona State earlier in 2002. The two CGs apiece for Rierson and Kaiser marked the first time since 1999 that more than one Wildcat hurler had gone the distance more than once in a year. Former Wildcats and top professional prospects Josh Pearce and Ben Digggins each tossed a pair of complete games during the 1999 season. Arizona's four complete was the second most CGs for a pitching staff in the last five years. Both the 1999 and '97 staffs tossed five complete games each. The school single-season record is 38 by the 1956 team.
Coming Through In A Pinch: Ken Riley produced in the pinch in 2002. Pinch hitting that is. The junior had three of Arizona's five pinch hits in 2002. In five pinch hit at bats, Riley batted .600 with two singles, a triple and an RBI that scored the game tying run in the 10th inning of Arizona's come-from-behind win over UC Irvine on Feb. 23. Freshman Richard Mercado was the only other player to tally a pinch hit in 2002. The first-year Wildcat entered a game at the plate against Oregon State and delivered a single to right and scored a pair of runners with a two-out single through the left side in the eighth inning against UC Riverside (4/19).
Get there Early, But Stick Around For the Stretch: Arizona's offensive explosion in the first inning of games at the end of the season gave the opening inning the title as the most productive frame in 2002. Arizona held a 69-34 advantage (35 runs) in the opening inning. The 69 runs scored in the first were the most of any inning in 2002. Arizona also out-scored its opponents by 23 runs in the fifth (60-37) and by 24 runs in the seventh (58-34). See page nine of the notes for an inning-by-inning breakdown of when Arizona scored its runs.
Wearin' It: It was officially the most painful season to be a Wildcat batter . Opposing pitchers plunked Wildcat hitters a school record 69 times in 55 games (1.25 HBP per game). In comparison, last year Arizona batters were hit "just" 35 times in 56 games (0.63 HBP per game). The previous school record was held by the 1997 team that got hit 59 times in 56 games (1.05 HBP per game).
The More The Merrier: Arizona did a fine job of hitting with runners on base in 2002, posting a .330 batting average at the plate. However, that average increased significantly when all three bases were occupied. In 59 official at bats with the bases loaded, Arizona hit .458 (27 for 59) with seven grand slams (see note that follows), 93 RBIs and posted an impressive .983 slugging percentage. The Wildcats also hit eight sac-flies, walked nine times and were hit by pitches five times in bases loaded situations. Moises Duran led the team with 15 bases loaded RBIs in 2002 on a pair of grand slams, a triple, two walks and a sac-fly.
Having A Grand Time: Moises Duran's second grand slam of 2002, against UCLA on May 12, made him the second Wildcat player to hit two bases loaded home runs in 2002. The sacks full fence buster extended Arizona's school single-season record to seven for the season. Pat Reilly, Jeff Van Houten, John Hardy all hit a grand slam apiece. Sophomores Brian Anderson and Duran each smashed two. The seven slams marked the first time since 1999 that an Arizona team has had two or more bases loaded home runs in a season. Anderson's second GS of the season, against California on April 13, broke the previous school record of four shared by Arizona's 1955, '56, '61, '88, '93, '98 and '99 teams. Former Wildcat Dave Shermet holds the all-time individual career record with four.
Manufacturing, Inc.: Arizona scored a total 433 runs in 2002 and 105 of them (24 percent) came without Arizona recording a hit to score the run. In 41 of the 51 games in which Arizona scored, at least one run was plated without the benefit of a hit. The Wildcats manufactured runs via ground ball outs to the left side of the infield, wild pitches, walks, balks, sacrifice flies, errors, straight steals and even batters being hit by pitches.
Using All Three Outs: John Hardy's game-winning single against Washington State (5/18) was just one of many two-out hits the Wildcats posted in 2002. Arizona batted .300 (191 for 636) and scored 192 of their 433 runs (44%) as a team with two down in an inning. Leading the way individually was senior Justyn St. Clair and freshman Pat Reilly. The duo hit .373 and .320, respectively, with two outs. St. Clair finished with 15 RBIs in the situation and Reilly had 13. Freshman Hardy led the team with 27 two-out RBIs. He had 38 total RBIs for the season.
700 and Counting: 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 win over UC Irvine on Feb. 23 propelled the first-year Arizona skipper to his 700th career win. Through his first season at Arizona, his career record stands at 718-442-6 (.618).
Head Coach Andy Lopez: First-year Arizona skipper Andy Lopez made his return to the Pac-10 where he played collegiality at UCLA in 1974-75. Entering his 20th season as a head coach Lopez took over as the head man at his fourth school. Starting out at Cal State Dominguez Hills in 1983, Lopez also coached at Pepperdine and the University of Florida. While in Malibu, he led the Waves to the only team national championship in school history, winning the 1992 College World Series title in Omaha. He twice led Florida to Omaha and in the process doubled the Gators number of trips from two in 82 years to four in just seven more. Just the fifth head coach in the last 80 years at Arizona, he is also one of only seven active coaches with a national championship to his credit and one of eight men to ever lead two or more schools to the College World Series.
900 All-Time Wins: Arizona, which finished the 2002 season 25-11 at home, achieved its 900th victory at Frank Sancet Field in a 14-2 win over UNC Wilmington (3/17). The 25 home wins in 2002 were the most since the 1998 tallied 26 home victories. Located on the corners of Enke and National Championship Drives, Sancet Field has been the home of Arizona baseball for over 35 seasons. Known 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, Arizona teams have gone 907-396-3 in 1,306 games for a .696 winning percentage. 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.
Two Games In One: Arizona and Stanford played what turned out to be two full nine inning games in one. The two schools battled for 18 innings on April 5 for over five hours. The game established a number of Arizona single game records and came close to breaking more.
New Records: Previous Arizona Record Longest Game: 5:19 5:04 - at Mississippi (3/3/01) Individual Putouts: 29 - Pat Reilly * 23 - Bob Starke (3/29/73) * NCAA Division I Record Team At-Bats vs. Pac-10 Opp. - 65 63 - at California (2/28/97) Near Records: Current Arizona Record Team At-Bats: 65 66 - vs. Chapman (3/29/73) Individual At-Bats: 8 by three players 9 - Jim Filippeli (3/29/73)