Jan. 30, 2002
Next Up - Utah: The Utah Utes come to Tucson for a three game set Feb. 1-3. UU is 1-2 in 2002 having dropped two games to Cal Poly after winning its season opener last weekend. Coached by Tim Esmay, the Utes finished the 2001 season 27-29 overall and tied for third in the Mountain West Conference with a 14-16 record. Utah returns six starters, five pitches and 20 letterwinners from last season's team. Arizona leads the all-time series 47-4 in 51 meetings between the two schools. The Wildcats and Utes met last year in Tucson for the first time in 11 years. Arizona took the closely contested series two games to one with 8-7 and 5-4 victories.
Friday - Sean Rierson (1-0, 2.25 ERA) vs. Jason Wylie (1-0, 1.80 ERA)
Saturday - Marc Kaiser (1-0, 1.12 ERA) vs. Doug Mackay (0-1, 12.00 ERA)
Sunday - TBA vs. Sean Overholt (0-1, 10.80 ERA)
Busy As Bees: Beginning with the Friday matchup with Utah, the Arizona baseball team will play nine games (including the Jim Click All-Pro Alumni Game) in 10 days. Utah, Southern Utah and San Diego State will all travel to Tucson over the next week and a half.
Last Time Out: Arizona opened its 2002 season against the New Mexico Lobos. Carrying a 14-game winning streak into the three game series, the Wildcats extended it to 17 straight with 6-2, 23-3, and 8-2 victories. Arizona out-scored UNM 37-7 and out-hit them 32-24 in the three games. The Lobos last beat Arizona in the first of three games in 1997, UA has now swept the season series with New Mexico in five consecutive seasons.
Pitching Staff Off To A Fine Start: The sophomore dominant Arizona pitching staff evidently took well to the lessons learned during their freshmen campaign last year. In three games against New Mexico, pitching coach Jeff Morris' charges had the Lobo hitters on their heals all weekend. In 27 innings Arizona pitchers struck out 19 Lobo hitters and walked only three, while tallying a 2.00 ERA. They limited UNM to just eight hits per game and a .242 batting average. Of the 24 hits given up by the pitching staff, only two went for extra bases. Arizona's starters Sean Rierson, Joe Little and Marc Kaiser averaged 7.1 innings, four K's and 0.67 walks per start. They gave up only five earned runs for the weekend. The relief corps was just as effective. Led by Tony Sulser, Arizona's pen recorded seven strikeouts in five innings. Sulser dominated UNM's hitters. In two innings pitched, the right-hander struck out five of the six hitters he faced. He struck out the side in the ninth inning of Sunday's, 8-2, Arizona victory.
Ouch, That's Got To Hurt: The New Mexico pitching staff showed that it was early in the season and they took it out on the Arizona batters. Along with the 22 walks issued by New Mexico pitchers, six different Wildcat hitters were plunked seven times by Lobo pitches. Not to let a painful, but free pass go to waste, all seven hit batters eventually came around to score for Arizona. Marc Kasier led the team with two HBP in the three games.
A Sibling Rivalry: Arizona freshman right-hander Jason Snyder has the book on at least one of the Utah Utes. His twin brother, Jared, is a member of the Ute pitching staff. The brothers attended Alta High School in Sandy, Utah, and combine to provide a tough one-two punch in prep play. Jason was named the Gatorade Utah Player-of-the-Year last year and Jared earned first-team all-state honors as the duo led Alta to the Class 5A state championship.
Give Me Mo: Moises Duran has begun the 2002 season on tear. The sophomore second baseman is 7-for-10 with 10 RBIs and eight runs scored in the young season. He has already surpassed his career RBI total by three and needs just eight more runs to improve on the 15 he scored last season. In Saturday's 23-3 thrashing of New Mexico, the Tucson Sunnyside grad was 4-for-4 with four runs scored and drove in nine, the third most RBIs in a single game in school history. He hit the first grand slam in nearly two years for Arizona and added another solo shot to double his career home run tally.
Doing More With Less: The Wildcats entered the 2002 season with the knowledge that they will have to score runs any way possible. The first three games of the season proved that point to a T. Arizona scored a total of 37 runs off of only 34 hits. UA was patient at the plate earning 22 walks and getting hit seven times as well. They took full advantage of the free passes as 12 of the 22 walks resulted in runs and all seven batters that got hit scored. Arizona also fought to last out of the inning, 17 of the 37 runs came with two down in an inning.
Three and Oh: Arizona's three game sweep over New Mexico is the best start to a season for the Wildcats since 1999. The '99 squad, Arizona's last NCAA team, went undefeated through the first 13 games of the season.
Dating Back To Last Season: Going back to the final three games of the 2001 season, Arizona has now won six straight games.
Power Surge: Despite returning only six home runs from 2001, the Wildcats proved that can make pitchers pay with the long ball when given the opportunity. Paced by Moises Duran's two homers, Arizona tallied four round-trippers in the opening weekend of play. Freshman Jeff Van Houten went yard in his second career at bat and senior Brad Hassey tallied a three-run shot of his own, the first of his career.
Home Sweet Home: Brad Hassey's straight steal of home in the third inning of Saturday's game against New Mexico was the first of its kind since Diego Rico did the same against UCLA on March 9, 1996.
Pleading The Fifth: In the first three games combine Arizona managed to score at least one run in seven of the eight innings in which they hit (they have yet to come to bat in the ninth). The fifth inning has proven to be stuborn in allowing Arizona to score. Not even in the 23-3 win over UNM did Arizona cross the plate in the fifth. The Wildcats' best chance to the end the drought came on Sunday when Arizona had runners on first and third with two out. In attempt to break through, Jeff Van Houten was caught on the back end of a double steal ending the scoring opportunity. See page 4 of the notes to see a breakdown of Arizona's scoring inning-by-inning.
Little's All Right: Arizona's No.2 starter Joe Little was struck by a batted ball in UA's dugout during the Wildcats' 8-2 win over New Mexico last Sunday. The left hander was taken to St. Mary's Hospital in Tucson where he recieved 20 stitches over his left eye. He will be able to practice on a limited scale and will be re-evaluated on a day-to-day basis.
Arizona-Arizona State Game To Be Televised: The Pac-10 Conference Office announced this week 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 accomdate TV. The game is one of just four Pac-10 games to be televised on Fox Sports Net this season.
Jim Click All-Pro Alumni Game: The Jim Click All-Pro Alumni Game is fast approaching. Scheduled for Feb. 10 the annual event gives Tucson fans an opportunity to revisit some of the great players that have made their way through the Old Pueblo and Frank Sancet Field. Among the former UA legends scheduled to appear are Alan Zinter, Ed Vosberg, J.T. Snow, Kevin Long, Gil Heredia, Chip Hale, Clark Crist, Scott Erickson and Trevor Hoffman. This season will feature an All-Pro Game first as three-time World Series Champion Vida Blue teams up with current World Series Champ Erubiel Durazo to lead the Alumni as the guest managers.
Schedule of Events For the Jim Click Arizona All-Pro Alumni Game 11 a.m. Gates open 11:30 a.m. Autograph Session 12:30 p.m. Home Run Hitting Contest 1 p.m. Jim Click All-Pro Alumni Game
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 885-385-3 in 1,273 games for a .697 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. Frank Sancet Field has been the site of four NCAA Regionals (1979, '80, '89, '92).
Arizona Player Career Stats vs. Utah (Through 1/31/02) Hitter G BA AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR BB SB Ken Riley 3 .429 7 1 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 Brian Anderson 3 .333 9 1 3 1 0 0 0 2 0 Justyn St. Clair 3 .273 11 0 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 Brad Hassey 3 .231 13 3 3 1 2 1 0 1 0 Pitcher G GS W-L Sv. IP H R ER BB K ERA Tony Sulser 2 0 1-0 0 3.2 2 0 0 0 2 0.00 Sean Rierson 1 1 0-0 0 6.0 5 2 2 0 8 3.00 Marc Kaiser 1 1 1-0 0 5.0 5 5 3 7 5 5.40 Joe Little 1 0 0-0 0 3.1 4 2 2 0 3 5.40 Chris Goodman 1 1 0-0 0 4.2 5 3 3 1 6 5.79