This Weekend: Arizona will host UC Riverside for a three-game series in Tucson ... Dating back to 2003, the Wildcats have won four straight games vs. the Highlanders, including a three-game sweep to open the 2004 season last year ... Arizona is 14-8 all-time against UCR in a series that dates to 1975.
Wednesday’s Recap: The Wildcat offense scored nine two-out runs in an 11-5 win over rival Arizona State in Tucson ... A switch in the batting order paid huge dividends as No. 8 hitter Chris Frey moved to the No. 2 spot and Brad Boyer moved from No. 2 to No. 9. The duo combined to go 6 for 9 with two home runs, a triple, four RBI and five runs scored against the Sun Devils. Frey hit his first career home run and Boyer added his first round-tripper in the win ... Eight of the nine UA starters finished with at least one hit as Arizona ended the game with 17 total hits (the 10th time in 11 contests UA has posted double digit hits) ... Junior Nick Hundley hit his team-high-tying fourth HR of the season and classmate Jordan Brown added three hits and three RBI in the win ... Reliever Eric Berger picked up his second career victory and closer Mark Melancon picked up his first save of the year.
Last Week Recap: The Wildcats went 3-1 last week, defeating Arizona State 7-6 in 14 innings and winning its series against UT-Pan American two games to one ... Despite the successful week, the Wildcats dropped their first game of the season, 7-0 to UTPA, to end a nine-game winning streak ... Still Arizona moved up in two polls (No. 7 in Sports Weekly and No. 9 in Baseball America) and held firm in another (No. 10 in Collegiate Baseball) ... Arizona batted .309 in the four games and scored 33 runs (8.25 runs/game) ... The Wildcats hit eight doubles, two triples and six home runs over the course of the week ... Arizona State (Feb. 15) ?- Jordan Brown’s two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the 14th inning lifted Arizona to a 7-6 come-from-behind victory over the Sun Devils ... With ASU leading 5-2 after six and half innings, the Wildcats scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh, including a two-run homer by Jeff Van Houten, to tie the game. The UA and ASU bullpens battled to keep the game knotted at 5-5 over the next six innings, before ASU broke through with a run in the top of the 14th and Brown’s two-run blast won it in the bottom of the frame ... UTPA (Feb. 18) ?- Arizona rapped out a season-high 20 hits and 18 runs in the three-game series opener ... Junior Trevor Crowe went 3 for 5 with two home runs and tied his career-high with six RBI in the win ... Jordan Brown hit his team-leading fourth HR of the season in the game ... Right-hander John Meloan struggled in his third start of the season (3.0 IP 5 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 6 K), but was bailed out on a career-high 10 strikeouts by reliever Sean Jarrett who earned his first career win over the final six innings ... UTPA (Feb. 19) ?- Jeff Van Houten’s three-run homer in the fifth inning gave Arizona a 4-2 lead as the Wildcats went on to ensure a series victory with an 8-2 win over the Broncs. .. Starter Kevin Guyette struck out a career-high-tying nine batters and did not give up an earned run over a season-high seven innings for his second win of the year ... UTPA (Feb. 20) ?- UTPA starter Dane Mason kept the potent Wildcat bats in check over eight solid innings as the Wildcats fell for the first time in 2005. Mason struck out six and scattered nine hits for his first win of the year. He stranded nine UA runners on base and twice worked out of bases-loaded jams in helping to shut out the Wildcats for the first time since March 18, 2004 ... Freshman Mike Koons (0-1) was charged with the loss after giving up three runs in just a third of an inning.
A Year Later: Through the first 11 games last season, Arizona was 6-4-1 and had just ended a five-game winless streak. The UA offense was mired in a slump and the pitching staff was not much better. Flash forward a year and the Wildcats are 10-1 with an offense that averages 11 runs per game, just under 15 hits, 3.4 doubles and 1.7 home runs per game and pitching staff with a better then 3-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio and a 2.15 ERA. A look at the first 11 games this season vs. the first 10 games in 2004:
Stat 2004 2005 Difference
Avg. .299 .377 +78
Runs 72 121 +49
Hits 117 161 +44
2B 18 37 +19
3B 8 7 -1
HR 13 19 +6
RBI 70 109 +39
BB 51 53 +2
K 83 59 -24
SB 11 23 +12
ERA 5.17 2.41 -2.76
IP 101.0 101.0 Even
Shutouts 0 2 +2
Hits 110 71 -39
Runs 68 37 -31
Earned runs 58 27 -31
BB 45 40 -5
SO 85 124 +39
Leading It Off: Junior Trevor Crowe has truly made a pest of himself right from the start. UA’s leadoff hitter, Crowe has successfully reached base in his first AB of the game eight times (seven hits, one walk) in Arizona’s 11 contests this season and has come around to score five times for an early run. He has hit two singles, four doubles and a triple as the Wildcats’ first hitter and has reached base 13 times in 19 opportunities when leading off any inning. For the year, Crowe has two or more hits in eight of 11 games and scored two or more runs in nine contests
Hitting Streaks Galore: Trevor Crowe, Jeff Van Houten and Jordan Brown have all strung together double digit hitting streaks. Crowe, who carried over an eight-game streak from UA’s 2004 postseason run, has hit safely in his last 19 straight games. Van Houten follows closely behind with an 18-game streak (seven in 2004, 11 in 2005), while Brown has at least one hit in all 11 games in 2005.
Hitting Streak Numbers
Crowe 19 Games ?- .442 Avg., 86 AB, 27 R, 38 H, 13 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR, 17 RBI, 13 BB
Van Houten 18 Games ?- .434 Avg., 76 AB, 18 R, 33 H, 6 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 20 RBI, 10 BB
Brown 11 Games ?- .440 Avg., 50 AB, 16 R, 22 H, 6 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 20 RBI, 3 BB
Pac-10 Player of the Week Trevor Crowe: Junior outfielder Trevor Crowe was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week by the conference office on Feb. 22. Crowe led all Arizona players with a .529 batting average, nine hits (including a double, a triple and two home runs), as well as a team-best eight RBI, five runs scored and a 1.059 slugging percentage against ASU and UTPA. He collected at least one hit in all four games to extend his team-best hitting streak to 18-straight games dating back to last season (eight in 2004, 10 in 2005) and also walked a team-high six times to help him to a .652 on-base percentage in the four games ... In Friday’s series-opener at UTPA, Crowe tied his career-high with six RBI and hit both of his home runs for the week in the contest (3 for 5, three runs, six RBI, two HRs, BB in the game) ... The weekly honor was the second in Crowe’s three-year Arizona career.
The Return of Jeff Van Hitting?: A sophomore in 2003, current senior Jeff Van Houten became the first Arizona player since 1996 to bat over .400 during a season. His efforts earned him the Pac-10 batting title that season and third-team All-America honors from Collegiate Baseball. Two years later, Van Houten has posted similar numbers in Arizona’s first 11 games as he did in 2003.
Van Houten’s First 11 games in 2003 vs 2005
2003 .535 Avg., 43 AB, 12 R, 23 H, 3 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 18 RBI, 4 BB
2005 .490 Avg., 49 AB, 13 R, 24 H, 5 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 14 RBI, 5 BB
On Freyer: Junior outfielder Chris Frey spent his first two seasons at Arizona as a situational left-handed pitcher and a defensive replacement. An off season conversation with head coach Andy Lopez ended his pitching career at UA and turned him into a full time positional player. Now the starting center fielder, Frey has already surpassed his first two-year totals offensively in UA’s first 11 games this season and was recently moved from the No. 8 spot in the batting order to second. In his first game in his new spot, Frey went 3 for 5 with his first collegiate home run, a triple, three runs scored and three RBI.
Frey’s First Two Years vs. 2004
2003 and ?'04 42 AB, 8 R, 10 H, 4 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 7 RBI, .238 Avg
2005 45 AB, 15 R, 17 H, 2 2B, 3 3B, 1 HR, 11 RBI, .378 Avg
Joltin’ Jordan: Junior Jordan Brown has been a machine when it comes to driving in runs. The third-year starter leads Arizona with 20 RBI this year and has driven in two or more in eight of UA’s 11 games. Tied for the team lead with four HRs, it certainly doesn’t hurt that he has collected multiple hits in seven games either.
Hundley’s The One: For the previous two seasons, Nick Hundley split the catching duties with departed draftee Richard Mercado. Not once during that two year run did Hundley start more than four consecutive games behind the plate. Now the primary backstop, Hundley has started all 11 games this season and has thrived in doing so. Batting .444, he has already scored 17 runs, driven in nine more, hit four doubles, stolen five bases and has tied his single season high for home runs at four in UA’s first 11 games. In addition to his offensive numbers, Hundley has nearly flawlessly handled a pitching staff that has recorded 124 strikeouts, a 2.41 ERA and limited opponents to a .192 batting average this season.
Spreading It Around: The Wildcat batting order has produced top to bottom. In Arizona’s 11 games this season, all nine starters have collected a hit in one game, eight of nine in four games and seven of nine in two others. All nine regular starters have collected double digit hits this season, seven have scored 10 or more runs and six have driven in 10 or more. Batting a Pac-10-best .377 as a team, four different starters are batting .400 or better individually and three are over .300 for the year. The offense is averaging 11 runs and just under 15 hits per contest this season.
Two Outs? Rally’s On!: Led by a season-high nine two-out runs against Arizona State on Wednesday, Arizona has scored 48 runs this season after the first two outs in an inning have been recorded (40 percent of UA’s 121 runs this year). As a team, Arizona is batting .397 as a team with two outs and has recorded 40 two-out RBI. Individually, junior Jordan Brown leads the two-out RBI parade with 10 runs driven in with a pair down. Brown is batting .579 (11 for 19) with two outs so far this season.
Extra! Extra!: The Wildcat offense is unquestionably potent and nothing is more telling then the fact that 39 percent of UA’s hits this season have gone for extra bases. Through the first 11 games, Arizona has 161 total hits, 63 of which have gone for two or more bases. In comparison, UA opponents have collected just 14 extra base hits this season (19 percent of the total hits). The Wildcats have posted 37 doubles (an average of 3.4 per game), seven triples (0.6/game) and 19 home runs (1.7/game) thus far.
12 Straight: Friday starter John Meloan is 16-1 all-time at UA and has won 12 straight games in which he has factored in the decision. His only career loss at UA came on May 4, 2003, against Cal in his freshman year. Since then he has appeared in 24 games, made 14 starts and gone 12-0. Used primarily as a reliever early in his career at UA, he has flourished as a starter with an 12-0 record, a 3.31 ERA and 102 strike outs when taking the ball from the get go.
Meloan’s Overall Career Numbers
41 GP, 16-1, 4.07 ERA, 152.2 IP, 144 H, 87 R, 69 ER, 83 BB, 143 K
Meloan’s Career Starting Numbers
16 GS, 12-0, 3.30 ERA, 109.0 IP, 85 H, 48 R, 40 ER, 52 BB, 102 K
Meloan Named Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Week: Junior right-hander John Meloan was named the co-national player of the week by Collegiate Baseball for his 7 2/3 innings, one-hit effort against New Mexico on Feb. 4. The honor was the first in Meloan’s career and the first for an Arizona player since teammate Sean Rierson garnered the award on Feb. 18, 2003. Meloan is the eighth UA player to be recognized by the publication as its player of the week since 1994.
Melancon Mows ?'Em Down: Dating back to Arizona’s postseason run in 2004, sophomore closer Mark Melancon has been impressive out of the bullpen. In his last 11 appearances he has not given up an earned run (one unearned) in 20 1/3 innings pitched. Over that span he has given up just seven hits and issued four walks, while picking up two wins, three saves, striking out 16 and limiting opposing hitters to a .104 batting average.
Melancon’s Last 11 Appearances (2004 and 2005)
2-0, 3 Saves, 0.00 ERA, 20 1/3 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 16 K
Jarrett Emerges: As a transfer from Otero Junior College in 2004, junior Sean Jarrett worked a grand total of 14 2/3 innings in his first season at Arizona. He did not factor in a decision, saw opponents bat .304 against him and finish with a 4.91 ERA, nine strikeouts and five walks. A year later, Jarrett finds himself as the primary reliever to ace John Meloan on Friday, a role he has excelled in. Just an inning away from his season total from 2004 in UA’s first 11 games this year, he is 1-0 this year with a 1.32 ERA, 16 strikeouts and just one walk, while limiting opponents to a .163 average.
Freshman Arms Chipping In: Freshmen Mike Koons, David Coulon and Eric Berger have all chipped in to help the Arizona cause on the mound this season. Combined the three newcomers have combined to throw 33 2/3 of UA’s 101 total innings this season (33 percent) and have gone 4-1 with 36 strikeouts, 18 walks and a 3.74 ERA.
Preseason Honors: Junior teammates Trevor Crowe and John Meloan were feted with preseason All-America recognition by three different sources. Crowe, who finished with a team-high .350 batting and led the Pac-10 in stolen bases in 2004, was named second-team All-America by both the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and Baseball America. Meloan, who finished the 2004 season a perfect 10-0 on the mound, garnered third-team preseason All-America honors from Collegiate Baseball.
No Place Like Home: A season removed from playing the fewest number of home games since 1973 (27 home games in 2004), Arizona will play 19 of its first 22 games of the season in Tucson, and will host a more-typical total of 34 regular season games at Kindall Field in 2005. Since moving to its current location on the corners of Enke and National Championship Drives in 1967, Arizona has posted 34 winning seasons at Kindall Field, including the last nine straight.
Cats Picked Third By Conference Coaches: In what was one of the closest preseason races in Pac-10 history, the Wildcats were selected to finish in a tie for third in the preseason coaches rankings. Defending conference champion Stanford will begin the 2005 season as the team to beat, followed by Washington in second and Arizona and Arizona State in a tie for third. The Cardinal garnered four first-place votes and 58 total, Washington picked up two first-place votes and 52 final votes, while the Wildcats and the Sun Devils each finished with 51 total points. ASU was named the first-place team by two coaches and UA picked up one first-place vote. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team.
Preseason Pac-10 Coaches Poll
1. Stanford 58 (4)
2. Washington 52 (2)
3. Arizona 51 (1)
Arizona State 51 (2)
5. USC 36
6. Oregon State 25
7. California 23
8. UCLA 20
9. Washington State 8
Head Coach Andy Lopez: Entering his fourth season as the skipper at UA, Lopez has reenergized the Wildcat program. The fastest coach in school history to lead a team to College World Series, he has posted a 112-75-1 record (current) in his first three seasons. Last year’s postseason run extinguished a streak of 18 years with out a UA appearance at the CWS and made him one of just three coaches in NCAA Division I history to lead three different schools to Omaha. In addition to his role as head coach, Lopez also serves as the pitching coach for the Wildcats.