March 25, 2003
Notes From the USC Series: Arizona defeated USC two games to one to open the Pac-10 season last weekend at Frank Sancet Field ... The series victory was the first for Arizona over the Trojans since 1993 ... Arizona batted .315 as a team against the Trojans, while the pitching staff recorded a 5.33 team ERA ... Freshman Nick Hundley, who had a 4 for 4, 4-run outing in Sunday's win, led Arizona at the plate with a .545 average and five runs scored in the series ... UA's 10-run loss in the series opener was the largest losing margin of the season for the Wildcats and the most over three runs ... The series win was Arizona's eighth in 10 tries this season ... Arizona inched closer to USC all-time with the two victories. USC now leads the series 102-88-1 ... Friday: USC's Bobby Paschal and Michael Cooper combined to limit the Arizona bats to just three hits and freshman Jeff Clement hit two home runs in USC's eight-run third ... Junior Brian Anderson went 1 for 4 to extend his hitting streak to an Arizona single-season record 26 straight games ... Junior starter Sean Rierson was tagged with his first loss of the season after giving up seven runs in just 2 2/3 innings ... Saturday: Arizona squandered a four-run lead in the seventh inning, but rallied to win 6-5 on Brad Boyer's ninth inning single ... Boyer, who tore a finger nail on his throwing hand in pregame warm ups, finished the game 3 for 5 with the game-winning RBI and a run scored ... Sophomore outfielder Jeff Van Houten finished 3 for 4 with two runs scored in the win ... Reliever Brian Pemble picked up his first win of the season with an inning of relief in the ninth ... Arizona starter Joe Little did not earn a decision despite pitching well for five innings. The lefty game up just one run on three hits with four strike outs ... Anderson's hitting streak came to an end at 26 straight with an 0 for 3 day at the plate ... Sunday: Junior Richie Gardner won his team-leading sixth game of the season with eight solid innings on the mound. The right-hander gave up just two runs while striking out five. The win was his second of the week ... Powered by three home runs, Arizona's offense exploded for seven runs in the sixth inning to blow the one-run game wide open ... Brian Anderson hit his team-leading eighth home run, while Mo Duran and Jordan Brown added their sixth and second, respectively, in the inning ... Brad Boyer followed his game-winning hit on Saturday with a 4 for 5, three RBI-day at the plate on Sunday.
Notes From the New Mexico Series: The Wildcats extended their winning streak to 19-straight games over the Lobos with a two-game series sweep ... New Mexico last defeated Arizona in the 1997 season ... The sweep boosted Arizona's season win streak to seven straight ... Arizona limited the potent UNM bats, which were hitting well over .300 as a team coming into the series, to a .238 average in the two games ... As a team, Arizona posted a .317 batting average and a 2.00 ERA in the series ... A quartet of Wildcats batted .500 for the series (Boyer, Anderson, Franklin, Hundley) ... Tuesday: The Wildcats played in Nogales, Ariz., for the first time in 40 years and downed the Lobos 5-3 ... Arizona starter Richie Gardner struck out a career-high 12 batters over seven innings, while giving up three runs (only one earned) en route to his fifth win of the season ... Senior reliever Brian Pemble helped bail Gardner out of a seventh-inning, two-on, no-out jam. The fifth-year southpaw struck out the first batter he faced before getting an inning-ending double play to quash the threat ... Pemble picked up his first save of the season ... Junior Brian Anderson led the Arizona offense with a 2 for 4, two RBI night at the plate. The outfielder hit a double and his team-leading seventh home run of the season ... Freshman Brad Boyer went 3 for 4 in the contest ... The victory was Arizona's first of the season that was decided by two runs or less ... Wednesday: Freshman John Meloan tossed six innings of one-hit ball to help Arizona sweep the two-game set ... The big right-hander struck out four for his second win of the year ... Relievers Chris Frey and Mark Worrell struck out four and two, respectively, to close out the win ... Anderson tied Arizona's longest single-season hitting streak with a first inning RBI triple. He finished the game 2 for 4 with a RBI and two runs scored ... Sophomore Jeff Van Houten went 1 for 1 with a pair of walks and two RBIs in the game ... Freshman Lee Franklin, playing for injured Moises Duran, finished the contest 2 for 3 with a run scored in the nine spot of the order.
Polling Place: Arizona's 4-1 record against New Mexico and USC last week bumped it up three spots, from 20th to 17th, in the Collegiate Baseball Poll. The Wildcats also enter the Baseball America and USA Today top 25 polls for the first time since 2000 in the No. 21 and 24 slots.
Freshmen Phenoms: Offensively Arizona knew it was going to have to rely on its youth to produce this season, and so far it has. As a class, the freshman have 148 hits, 106 runs, 36 doubles, 8 triples, 10 home runs, 89 RBIs and 32 stolen bases. Brad Boyer is currently second on the team with a .398 batting average and leads all players with 49 hits, 35 runs scored and 12 stolen bases.
2003 Arizona Freshmen Numbers (Boyer, Brown, Crowe, Decater, Franklin, Frey, Hundley) Catagory Combined Total Percent of Team Total AB 414 38% Runs 106 36% Hits 148 39% (The freshmen have class .357 BA) 2B 36 47% 3B 8 26% HR 10 28% RBIs 89 35% SB 32 40%
Richie Gardner - Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week: Junior Richie Gardner has been named the March 25 Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week. The right-hander went 2-0 in a pair of starts against New Mexico and USC with 17 strike outs and a 1.80 ERA. The week improved Gardner to a team-best 6-0 for the season
Gardner Getting It Done: Junior starter Richie Gardner has been Arizona's most consistent starter since current Milwaukee Brewer Ben Diggins wore the Cardinal and Navy in 2000. The JC transfer from Santa Rosa, Calif., is averaging seven innings, seven strike outs and just over one walk per start this season. He has failed to pitch more than seven innings in a start just twice, once prior to being diagnosed with a stress fracture in his foot (he made two starts with the broken foot) and the other coming in his start after recuperating from the injury. Gardner is the first Arizona pitcher since Diggins to start a season 6-0.
Gardner vs. Diggins Comparison (Through Seven Starts) Diggins (2000 Season) Gardner (2003 Season) Record 4-0 6-0 ERA 2.74 2.19 IP 46.0 49.1 H 43 49 R 19 18 ER 14 12 SO 52 49 BB 23 12
TnT: Prior to spraining his ankle in practice before the USC series, junior Terrence Taylor had gotten off to an explosive start as a Wildcat. Having gained his eligibility prior to the Texas road trip, Taylor has played in eight games, including six starts in center field. During that short span, the speedy JC transfer is batting .440 with 11 runs scored, three doubles, two triples and seven stolen bases. The seven stolen bases already place him in a tie for fourth on the team this season and the players that he trails have all played in at least 27 games this year to his eight.
Stealing Them Silly: Head coach Andy Lopez and his staff put an emphasis on improving Arizona's team speed. It appears they did just that. The Wildcats have already stolen 76 bases this season , two more than Arizona stole the entire season last year. The Wildcats are currently 76 for 97 in stolen bases this season and stole a season-high 11 bases in their 15-12 win over Portland on March 12.
Team Stolen Bases (Last 10 Seasons) 2003 80 - Through 29 games. 2002 74 2001 52 2000 67 1999 62 1998 69 1997 112 1996 78 1995 88 1994 47
Speed Kills: Along the same lines of improved team speed is the ability to take extra bases. Arizona has consistently turned singles into doubles this season (76 total doubles for the year, just 13 behind 2002's 56-game total) and has already surpassed its triples total from last season by six with 31. Including Jeff Van Houten's inside-the park home run, the Wildcats have 108 hits that have gone for extra bases and are not traditional over the fence homers (76 doubles, 31 triples, one inside-the-park home run) which accounts for nearly 30-percent of all of Arizona's hits for the season. Toss in the 35 traditional home runs and 38-percent of UA's hits are for extra bases.
Stringing Them Together: Junior Brian Anderson snapped former Wildcat Ernie Durazo's longest single-season hitting streak in school history on March 21 against USC. The third-year starter hit safely in the first 26 games he played this season to break Durazo's 2-year-old 2001 mark. His streak ended a day later with an 0 for 3 performance.
Single-Season Hitting Streaks All-Time Hitting Streaks 26 Brian Anderson (2003) 28 Jack Daugherty (1981-82) 25 Ernie Durazo (2001) 28 Ernie Durazo (2000-01) 23 Todd Trafton (1985) 26 Brian Anderson (2003) 25 Marty Hurd (1957-58)
Putting Up Zeros: The Wildcat pitching staff already has five shutouts to its credit in 29 games played this season. The 2003 tally has already surpassed the season totals for the past five years and is tied for the most for an Arizona staff since the 1997 club also shutout five opponents during the season. The school record for shutouts in a season is 14 by the 1974 team. In Arizona's shutout wins this season, the Wildcat pitching staff has limited their opponents to under four hits per game, including a pair of two-hitters, and a combined .121 batting average. Tread Lightly: Arizona's battery of pitchers and catchers have made running on the Wildcats dangerous proposition for their opponents this year. Wildcat pitchers and catchers have caught 21 of 43 would-be base stealers this season for a 49-percent throw out rate. Arizona has also picked off four base runners.
Touchin' 'Em All In A Hurry: Sophomore Jeff Van Houten hit his fifth home run of the season against Wagner on March 14, but didn't have much of an opportunity to savor it. The outfielder became the first Arizona player in over 10 years to circle the bases on an inside-the-park home run. Van Houten smacked a ball down the right field line, circled the bases in a dead sprint and crossed home plate standing up for a home run. Jason Thompson was the last Arizona player to circle the bases with the ball still in play on Feb. 1, 1992 against New Mexico.
Trip(le) Up: Arizona recorded a team single-game-tying five triples in its 20-0 win over Wagner on March 14. The feat, last accomplished against New Mexico in 2000, has be done seven time previous to this season.
Five Triples in A Game 1955 vs. Pepperdine 1955 vs. Utah 1962 vs. Cal Poly 1969 vs. UTEP 1986 vs. Hartford 1987 vs. Cal 2000 vs. New Mexico 2003 vs. Wagner
Scoring Trend Reverses: Early in the 2003 season, the Wildcats often found themselves falling behind in games early and having to fight their way back. In fact through the first 10 games of the season, Arizona was out-scored 16-10 in the first inning alone. That trend has seemingly reversed itself lately with Arizona jumping out to early leads. In the last 19 games the Wildcats have out scored their opponents 36-8in the first inning alone and hold a 46-24 advantage in the frame for the season.
What A Difference A Year Makes: Through 29 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 .287 with 277 hits, 233 runs scored, 54 doubles, 16 triples, 30 home runs and 203 RBIs. This year the Wildcats are batting .347 with 376 hits, 292 runs scored, 76 doubles, 31 triples, 36 home runs and 255 RBIs. Individually, Arizona had just four players batting .300 or better through the first 29 games last season, while the Wildcats have a player hitting better than .400 this season and nine at .300 or better.
2002 2003 Average .287 .347 Hits 277 376 Runs 233 292 Doubles 54 76 Triples 16 31 Home Runs 30 36 RBIs 203 255 Slugging Pct. .469 .574 Players Batting .300+ 4 9 Players Batting .400+ 0 1 Stolen Bases 38 of 60 80 of 103
Getting Offensive: The Wildcat offense has posted some impressive numbers through the first 29 games of the season. The team has a .574 slugging percentage, a .411 on-base percentage and is averaging over 10 runs, 13 hits and nine RBIs per game this season.
Up Coming: The Wildcats will open their conference road season against UCLA in Los Angeles this weekend ... The Bruins enter the week 14-14 after taking two games from Wichita State over the weekend ... UCLA will play Long Beach in a single game on Tuesday before playing the Wildcats this weekend ... UCLA returns 21 letterwinners, four starters and seven pitchers from last season's 26-35 team ... Reigning Pac-10 Freshman of the Year Wes Whisler returns this season, but has gotten off to a rocky start both on the mound (2-4, 6.44 ERA) and at the plate (.297, 2 HR, 15 RBIs) ... Leading the way at the plate for the Bruins this season is sophomore Matt Thayer. Thayer heads into the week with a .348 average, 27 runs scored and 18 RBIs ... The Bruin pitching staff has seen 14 different arms pitch at least one inning this season, nine of which have worked 19 or more ... Senior Mike Kunes leads the staff with a 4-1 record ... Head coach Gary Adams is in his 29th season as the skipper of the Bruins and has led UCLA to a 936-776-7 record during his tenure.
Arizona Probable Pitching Rotation vs. UCLA
Friday - Joe Little LHP (4-2, 3.06 ERA)
Saturday - Richie Gardner RHP (6-0, 2.19 ERA)
Sunday - Kevin Guyette RHP (2-1, 1.24 ERA)
Arizona vs. UCLA All-Time: Arizona and UCLA share a baseball history that dates back all the way to 1927 ... The series has been neck and neck through out the 75-year history, with UCLA owning a one game advantage all time with a 100-99-1 record ... UCLA won two of three last season at Sancet Field to take the lead in the all-time series.
Keeping 'Em Down: Arizona's series with Wagner marked the second time this season that Arizona has limited an opponent to just one run in a three game series while also posting back-to-back shutouts. In addition to keeping Wagner off the scoreboard for most of the weekend, Arizona also limited UC Irvine to just one run in 27 innings earlier this season. The two series are strikingly similar in their dominance by the Arizona pitching staff. The two, one-run series by the Arizona pitchers are the fewest runs given up over a three-game span since the 1997 team shut out California three in a row.
UC Irvine Wagner Wins 3 3 Team ERA 0.33 0.00 Hits 13 11 Runs 1 1 Earned Runs 1 0 Strikeouts 26 36 Walks 5 5
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 was 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 was 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.
Sean Rierson - Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week Part II: Rierson was named the conference pitcher of the week for the second time in 2003 after a dominating performance at Texas in which he limited the defending national champion Longhorns to just one run on seven hits in a complete game performance. He struck out nine and walked two in his fourth win of the year.
Jeff Van Houten - Pac-10 Player of the Week: Sophomore Jeff Van Houten has been named the March 18 Pac-10 Player of the Week for his dominating performance at the plate against Portland and Wagner. The outfielder finished Arizona's 5-0 week 10 for 14 (.714) with three home runs (including two in one game and an inside-the-park HR), two triples, a double, seven runs scored, a 1.714 slugging percentage and a .700 on-base percentage. The player of the week honor is the first in his career and the 38th all-time at Arizona. Former Wildcat All-American Shelley Duncan was Arizona's last conference player of the week in 2001. Current teammate Sean Rierson has been named the pitcher of the week twice already this season.
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.
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)
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.
Head Coach Andy Lopez: Andy Lopez, now in his second season at Arizona, has posted a career 737-449-6 (.621) 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)
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.