June 13, 2012
Bracket 1 Schedule
Friday, June 15
Game 1 - 4 p.m. (ESPN2/ESPN3)
(V) Stony Brook (52-13) vs. (H) No. 2 UCLA (47-14)
Game 2 - 8 p.m. (ESPN2/ESPN3)
(V) Arizona (43-17) vs. (H) No. 3 Florida St. (48-15)
Sunday, June 17
Game 5 - 4 p.m. (ESPN2/ESPN3)
Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2
Game 6 - 8 p.m. (ESPN2/ESPN3)
Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2
Arizona Head Coach Andy Lopez: The Wildcats are coached by Andy Lopez, who is now in his 11th season with a 398-246-1 record at the school. He has guided the Wildcats to postseason competition in eight of the last 10 years, including three straight NCAA regionals, and highlighted College World Series appearances in 2004 and now 2012. The Wildcats have won at least 30 games in six straight years and in 10 of Lopez's 11 seasons at the school, and have won 40 games in three of the last six seasons. Overall, Lopez has more than 1,000 career victories, one national championship and four College World Series appearances. Lopez owns a career record of 1,085-664-7 in 30 years as a head coach, including stints at Cal State Dominguez Hills (1983-88), Pepperdine (1989-94), Florida (1995-2001) and Arizona (2002-present). Lopez led Pepperdine, Florida (twice) and Arizona (twice) to College World Series appearances. His total victories are 13th-most among active coaches and he is just one of just 45 individuals to reach 1,000 career victories.
Lopez One of Three, Four: Arizona head coach Andy Lopezis one of just three coaches to lead three different schools (Pepperdine, Florida and Arizona) to the College World Series. In the history of college baseball, only Larry Cochell (Oral Roberts - 1978; Cal State Fullerton - 1988, 1990; Oklahoma - 1992, 1994, 1995) Ron Polk (Georgia Southern - 1973; Mississippi State - 1979, 1981, 1985, 1990, 1997, 2007; Georgia - 2001) and Lopez have led three schools to the College World Series. Lopez has also now led two schools to multiple appearances (Florida and Arizona), joining Augie Garrido (Cal State Fullerton and Texas), Dave Van Horn (Arkansas and Nebraska) and Larry Cochell (Cal State Fullerton and Oklahoma) as the only four coaches to do so.
Evens Are Odd: Of Arizona's 16 all-time College World Appearances, 11 have come in even-number years, including this year - 2012. Perhaps most interesting is that all three of the school's national championships were won in even-numbered years - 1976, 1980 and 1986. On top of that, head coach Andy Lopezhas now coached five teams to the College World Series. Of course, each of those seasons - 1992, 1996, 1998, 2004 and 2012 - are even-numbered years. Lopez's national championship at Pepperdine came in his first CWS appearance in 1992.
The Road To Omaha: The Wildcats seemingly took the easiest path they could to Omaha this season - through Tucson. Arizona swept the Tucson Regional and Tucson Super Regional to post a 5-0 mark heading into the College World Series. It was a welcomed relief to stay home after Arizona had not hosted a postseason game since 1992. In fact, the school has not advanced to the College World Series through Tucson since its second national championship season in 1980 when Arizona swept three games at the West Regional.
Finishing Hot: One sure way to get to Omaha: get hot down the stretch. Arizona has won 13 of its last 15 games dating back to early May. The plan has been simple: play good baseball. Easier said than done, of course, but that basically encompasses timely hitting, strong pitching and good defense. Arizona has benefited from all three. The Wildcats have hit .335 over the last 15 games, and have outscored opponents 37-9 in two-out RBI. On the mound, UA hurlers have a 3.13 ERA, 89 strikeouts and just 37 walks in 135 innings pitched. Starters have combined for six complete games in those 15 contests. Defensively, Arizona boasts a .983 fielding percentage with just 10 errors committed, compared to 30 errors by opponents. Lastly, the Wildcats have done it all at home and on the road. Arizona went 7-1 at home and 6-1 on the road over those final 15 games.
Winning Ways: Arizona's 43 overall wins are the most in a season since posting a 45-18-1 mark in 1989 ... Andy Lopez has coached the Wildcats to six-consecutive 30 wins seasons, including 40 win campaigns in the of those six years ... Arizona enters Omaha with an unbeaten postseason record for the first time since going 4-0 at the NCAA Central Regional in Austin, Texas in 1986. That year was the last time the Wildcats won a national championship ... The Wildcats are 13-7 away from home this season (all true road games) ... Arizona was 5-0 in Pac-12 weekend series on the road, the first undefeated mark since 2005 (4-0) ... The Wildcats have won 40 games in a season 20 times dating back to 1954, the first season UA appeared in the College World Series ... Arizona has reached the 30-win plateau for the sixth straight season and for the 10th time in Andy Lopez's11 seasons at the school.
An Eye For Hitting: A team doesn't rank No. 4 in the nation in batting average without a bit of plate discipline. Arizona hitters have struck out just 283 times on the season, which checks out to only 4.72 times per game - the lowest rate for any Pac-12 school. At the same time, the Wildcats have drawn 216 walks, which have helped produce a .403 on-base percentage that leads the Pac-12 and ranks in the top-10 nationally. Over the last 15 games (13-2 record), UA hitters have struck out 74 times and drawn 72 walks, which is 4.93 strikeouts and 4.5 walks per game. In the postseason (5-0 record), the Wildcats have struck out just 21 times (4.2 per game), while walking 26 times (5.2). Johnny Field (40 BB, 25 SO) and Robert Refsnyder(31 BB, 21 SO) have more walks than strikeouts on the season.
Super Regional Recap: Arizona relied heavily on its starting pitching and more timely hitting as it dispatched St. John's in consecutive games of the Tucson Super Regional to earn a bid to the College World Series. The Wildcats erased a five-run, fourth-inning deficit by tying Game 1 in the sixth inning, 5-5. The Red Storm took the lead with a run in the top of the 10th inning off starter Kurt Heyer, who tossed 9.1 innings and "scattered" 17 hits. In the bottom of the 10th, UA rallied to win on a game-tying RBI single off the bat of senior Bobby Brown and a walk-off RBI single by freshman Trent Gilbert to win, 7-6. A day later, the Wildcats scored three first-inning runs and rode the arm of Konner Wade, who threw a six-hitter and tossed his fourth complete game of the year in a 7-4 win.
Regional Recap: Arizona cruised through the Tucson Regional - the school's first time hosting postseason play since 1992 - with a 15-3 victory over Missouri in the opener, and back-to-back wins over Louisville (16-4 and 16-3) to clinch the regional championship. Arizona's 47 runs scored were the third-most ever for the school in a regional tournament, and it amassed the number in the minimum number of games. The 15.7 runs per game surpassed the 1986 club's 12.5 runs per game for most in a single regional tournament. The Wildcats placed seven players on the All-Tournament team, including outfielders Johnny Field and Joey Rickard, infielders Seth Mejias-Brean and Alex Mejia, pitchers Kurt Heyer and Konner Wade, and designated hitter Bobby Brown. Field hit .533 (8-for-13), with two doubles, two triples and a grand slam, combining for eight runs scored and 10 RBI to secure the Most Outstanding Player citation.
Winning Weekends: Dating back to the final month of the 2011 regular season, Arizona has a 17-3 record in its last 20 three-game weekend series (13-2 in 2012 regular season). That stretch includes eight sweeps. In that span, the Wildcats are 6-1 in road series, including a 5-0 record in 2012. The only losses have been at Stanford in 2011, and at home against UCLA and Oregon in 2012. Including all games (postseason 2012 included), the Wildcats have a 55-23 record over their last 77 games (.714). The club has racked up a 29-13 (.690) mark in Pac-10/12 games.
Alive With Five: Five runs seems to be a pretty good breaking point for success for the Wildcats. In 2012, Arizona is 35-6 when it scores five or more runs in a game, while it has struggled to a 8-11 mark when it fails to score at least five runs. Conversely, the same holds true for opponents. When the Wildcats have held opponents under five runs, they are 29-1. When opponents score five runs or more, UA has struggled to a 14-16 clip.
Complete Games: Kurt Heyer's three consecutive complete games in April were more than UA had as a team in four of the six seasons prior to the season (2010, 2009, 2008 and 2006) ... Heyer's seven complete games in 2012 are more than UA combined for as a team in a three-year stretch from 2008-10 ...The last UA pitcher to earn a victory in three consecutive complete game outings was RHP Troy Bradford at the end of the 1990 season ... Kurt Heyer (7), Konner Wade (4) and James Farris(3) have combined for 11 complete games. The last time three UA pitchers had 2+ complete games in a season was in 1989 (Scott Erickson - 14, Lance Dickson - 4 and Jim Richardson - 3) ... The Wildcats' 14 complete games in 2012 are the most for the program since throwing 22 in 1989 ... Combined with seven complete games a year ago, Arizona's 21 CG's the last two seasons are more than half of the 32 the school combined to throw in the first 11 years of the 21st century (2000-10).
Going The Distance: Arizona pitchers have combined to throw 14 complete games this season, the most for the program in a single year since tossing 22 in 1989. Perhaps most impressive is the fact that the 14 complete games are the most for a school from a major baseball conference. In fact, the 13 CG's as many as or close to the teams in the ACC (12) and SEC (14) combined to throw in their respective leagues during the regular season. Big 12 teams registered 38 CG's on the season, while the Big East had 39 and the Big 10 collected 43. Conference USA tallied 21, the Missouri Valley 32, and the WAC 17. Gonzaga, from the West Coast Conference, tossed 10 complete games, while UC Davis out of the West Coast Conference matched Arizona with 11 CGs during the regular season.
Fearsome Foursome: Juniors Alex Mejia, Seth Mejias-Brean, Robert Refsnyder and Joey Rickardhave combined to make 696 starts in 705 total games played. They have missed a combined seven games in their careers. It's been a very consistent a productive group that has helped guide the Wildcats to consecutive NCAA Regional appearances. Together they have accumulated 921 base hits and 541 runs scored, hitting .333 (921-2769) as a group.
4 X 200: Seth Mejias-Brean (214) surpassed the 200-hit milestone for his career on the final weekend of the regular season. The junior third baseman joined classmates Robert Refsnyder (236), Joey Rickard (238) and Alex Mejia(233) as four active players with 200 or more career hits. It's believed that such a feat has never happened before at the school. There are three notable teams that have boasted a trio of active 200-hit players, including in 1986 (Chip Hale, Gar Millay and Todd Trafton), 1989 (Alan Zinter, J.T. Snow and Greg Fowble) and 1993 (Robbie Moen, Willie Morales, John Tejcek). Some years have been followed by another player reaching 200 hits the next season, or vice versa.
Don't Forget These Guys: Arizona's veterans get much of the praise, but Arizona has a trio of freshmen and a sophomore that have been strong offensively to fill out the No. 7-9 spots in the batting order in the postseason. Freshman Joseph Maggi (.357) and sophomore Brandon Dixon (.500, 6 runs, 3 RBI, HR) have platooned at first base, with the younger Maggi starting each game before Dixon has come on as a defensive replacement. Dixon, however, has been swinging a hot bat and even hit his first career home run during the regional round. Freshman second baseman Trent Gilbert (.438, 6 runs, 4 RBI) has also been hot, and delivered the walk-off single to complete a thrilling comeback win over St. John's in the first game of the Tucson Super Regional. Meanwhile, freshman catcher Riley Moore(.378, 7 runs, 4 RBI) has steadily put together an impressive postseason to date. Added up, the four underclassmen have combined to hit .404 (23-of-57) with 20 runs scored and 12 RBI. During the regular season, those four players hit a combined .277.
90 Hits: Arizona has three players with 90 base hits since 1993. Johnny Field, Seth Mejias-Brean and Alex Mejia each have exactly 90 base hits on the season to tie for the most of any players from the Pac-12 Conference. They are the first Wildcat players to reach 90 knocks since Trevor Crowe finished with 106 in 2005. UA's single season top-10 charts start at 96 hits. Robert Refsnyder is six hits shy of the 90-hit milestone, while Joey Rickard(77 hits) is seeking to become the fifth player to reach 80 hits in one season.
Pitching Lately: Arizona is 13-2 over its last 15 games, and one of the key factors has been strong pitching. The UA staff has received six complete games from its starters (Heyer - 3, Wade - 2, Farris -1), and has a cumulative 3.13 earned run average over the last 125.0 innings. Wildcat pitchers have 89 strikeouts against 37 walks in that span, and have limited opposing hitters to a lowly .250 average. In five postseason games (5-0), UA hurlers have registered a 2.74 ERA and struck out 27 against just five walks in 46.0 innings. All three starters - Heyer, Wade and Farris - have a complete game.
Mejia Garners National Honors: To go along with being named the Pac-12 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, junior shortstop Alex Mejia has captured a pair of national honors, too. Collegiate Baseball Newspaper named Mejia a first team Louisville Slugger All-American last week, becoming the school's first tabbed by the publication as a first-teamer since pitcher Preston Guilmetin 2007. Mejia is also one of five finalists for the Brooks Wallace Shortstop of the Year Award.
All-Americans: Arizona placed three players on the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Louisville Slugger All-American teams last week. Shortstop Alex Mejia was named to the first team, while pitcher Kurt Heyer and third baseman Seth Mejias-Brean were placed on the second and third teams, respectively. The trio of All-Americans marks the first time the Wildcats have placed three players on the Collegiate Baseball All-American teams in the same season since 2005. That year, outfielder Trevor Crowe was named to the first team, while catcher Nick Hundley and first baseman Jordan Brownwere honored on the second and third teams, respectively. Each has since played Major League Baseball.
Johnny On and Off The Field: Sophomore outfielder Johnny Field turned in an All-Conference season and has been arguably Arizona's most dangerous hitter over the second half of the season. He was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Tucson Regional last weekend, and this week was named second team Pac-12 All-Academic for his efforts in the classroom. Field has yet to declare a major, but boasts a 3.51 grade point average. Several other Wildcats, including Augey Bill, Brandon Dixon, Vincent Littleman and Seth Mejias-Breanwere named honorable mention All-Academic.
Draft Update: Five Wildcats were drafted in the first nine rounds, including SS Alex Mejia (No. 150, 4th Round, St. Louis Cardinals), OF Robert Refsnyder (No. 187, 5th Round, New York Yankees), RHP Kurt Heyer (No. 210, 6th Round, St. Louis Cardinals), 3B Seth Mejias-Brean (No. 262, 8th Round, Cincinnati Reds) and OF Joey Rickard (No. 302, 9th Round, Tampa Bay Rays).The group of draftees pushes Arizona's total to 52 under head coach Andy Lopez, who took over the program in 2002. Of those, 10 have played in the Major Leagues. All-time, 220 Arizona baseball players have been drafted, including 81 in the last 14 seasons. Of the 220 selections, 58 have been taken in the first five rounds.
RBI Top to Bottom: Arizona has eight players with 30 or more runs batted in on the season, which is pretty impressive balance in a nine-man batting order. Then you can consider that Arizona's first base platoon of Joseph Maggi and Brandon Dixon has also combined for 31 runs batted in this season, which essentially gives the Wildcats a lineup that features 30 RBI at all nine spots. Robert Refsnyder leads all players with 61 runs batted in, the first Wildcat to reach 60 since C.J. Zieglerhad exactly that many in 2008. As a team, Arizona has 406 runs batted in to date. The last UA team to reach 400 or more RBI was in 2005 (445).
Double Digit Runs: Arizona scored double-digit runs in each game of the Tucson Regional. As the sixth-highest scoring team in the nation (7.5 runs per game), it's nothing new to the Wildcats. Arizona has scored 10 or more runs in a game 16 times this season, but regional weekend was the first time the club did so in three consecutive games. In fact, the Wildcats had scored 10-plus runs in consecutive games just one other time this season (May 16 at ASU and May 18 at USC).
Falling Behind: Arizona has developed a habit of falling behind early in games, something that has proven costly at times while other times simply serving as a wakeup call. Arizona has trailed at some point in 34 of its last 47 games (19-15 record when trailing) and in 39 of 60 on the season (22-17). A season ago, the Cats trailed during 38 of their 60 games played. They posted a 17-21 mark in those games.
Home At Hi Corbett: Arizona's decision to move its home venue off campus to historic Hi Corbett Field has paid dividends this season, none bigger than the final weekend of the regular season when 14,055 fans came out to cheer on the Wildcats to a conference championship over three days against rival Arizona State. The Friday crowd on May 25 drew 5,451 fans, while Saturday saw a season-high 5,677 pass through the gates. It was Arizona's largest home crowd since May 25, 1980, when 7,002 fans watched Arizona defeat Gonzaga by a score of 8-5 at Wildcat Field (before it was named Sancet Field) in the championship game of the Tucson Regional en route to the school's second national championship. In 2012, Arizona drew 86,132 fans to its 35 regular season home games for an average of 2,460 per game. That average is the third-best in single season history at the school, behind the 1980 (3,256) and 1981 clubs (2,777). For comparison's sake, UA drew 36,412 fans at 33 home games (1,103 per game) a season ago on campus. With the NCAA Regional/Super Regional games added in, the Wildcats drew 105,131 fans through the gates at home games this season (2,628 per game).
Cats At Home: Arizona racked up 30-10 record at Hi Corbett Field this season. On their home turf, the Wildcats hit .353 as a team, while opponents hit .276. The Wildcats scored an average of 8.0 runs per game compared to opponents' 4.95 per game. Johnny Field (.405), Alex Mejia (.386), Joseph Maggi (.376), Robert Refsnyder (.363) and Seth Mejias-Brean(.386) all took a special liking to the facility. The Wildcats hit 87 doubles, 30 triples and eight homers at home, while opponents hit 62doubles, 24 triples and seven round-trippers. Arizona's pitching staff had a 3.99 earned run average, but perhaps most impressively 278 strikeouts to just 93 walks in 361.0 innings.
Leaders of the Pac: Arizona finished the season as the top offensive team in the Pac-12 in several categories (regular season stats), including batting average (.325), runs scored (390), hits (625), RBI (351), triples (29), total bases (849) and sacrifice flies (36). The Wildcats ranked No. 2 in slugging (.441), on-base percentage (.394), stolen bases (73) and finished with the second-fewest strikeouts (262). Pitching-wise, UA hurlers struck out the second-most hitters and issued the third-fewest walks.
.300 Club: Arizona boasts a .333 batting average that leads the Pac-12 and ranks No. 4 in the nation. That clip has the Wildcats poised for a .300 or better team batting average for the 10th consecutive season. In 2011, the Wildcats hit .320 as a team and finished No. 3 nationally. That mark was the best clip for a Wildcat team since 2005, when a veteran squad turned in a blistering .328 average. The 2003 club - Andy Lopez'ssecond year - also hit .328, while the 2009 club hit .314. Other marks include .306 in 2007, .305 in 2006 and in the 2004 College World Series season, and .301 in 2008.
Pac-12 Champs: Arizona won a share of the Pac-12 Championship with a 20-10 mark in league play, tying with UCLA. The conference crown is the school's first since 1992 when Hall of Fame Coach Jerry Kindall led the Wildcats to an 18-12 mark in the Pac-10 South. Arizona also won Pac-10 South titles in 1989 and 1980 in addition to winning five WAC championships before moving into the Pac-10 for the 1979 season. Andy Lopezhas coached Arizona to a pair of second-place finishes, and this year's Pac-12 championship marks the ninth time he has led a school to a conference title, including twice at Florida in the SEC. Also of note is Arizona's 20 conference wins in 2012, which is the second-highest win total the school has ever accumulated in league action. The 1989 Pac-10 South championship club went 23-7.
Pac-12 Coach of the Year: Andy Lopez was named the Pac-12 Coach of the Year for the first time in his 11 seasons in Tucson. Lopez has guided the Wildcats to a 38-17 overall record and a Pac-12 co-championship in 2012. The league title is Arizona's first conference crown since 1992, and the school is hosting an NCAA Regional for the first time since that same season. Interestingly, Lopez's Pepperdine club won the Tucson Regional in 1992 and advanced to the College World Series, where it won the national championship. Under the guidance of Lopez, the Wildcats have advanced to an NCAA Regional in eight of the last 10 seasons, including in 2004 when the school advanced to the College World Series for the first time since 1986. In the eight seasons prior to Lopez becoming the head coach, Arizona qualified for just one NCAA Regional (1999).
Pac-12 Player of the Year: Shortstop Alex Mejia was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year, becoming just the sixth player in school history to earn the award. Mejia's spectacular defensive play, improved offensive skills and leadership on and off the field drew attention from the league coaches to earn him the top honor. Mejia, who was also named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, has been Arizona's starting shortstop in all 175 games he has played at the school. In 2012, Mejia turned in a career-best season. He finished third on the team and No. 5 in the Pac-12 with a .357 batting average and led all Pac-12 players with 81 hits during the regular season. Mejia ranked No. 9 with 47 runs scored and tied for No. 10 with 46 RBI, while he was tied for No. 3 in conference with five triples and ranked third on club with three home runs. Other Pac-10/12 Players of the Year at Arizona include: Trevor Crowe(2005), Scott Erickson and Alan Zinter (co-MVPs 1989), Chip Hale (1987) and Terry Francona (1980).
All-Conference: Arizona placed six players on the Pac-12's 25-member all-conference team announced this week. In addition to being named Pac-12 Player of the Year and Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, shortstop Alex Mejia is joined by designated hitter Bobby Brown, outfielder Johnny Field, pitcher Kurt Heyer, third baseman Seth Mejias-Brean and outfielder Robert Refsnyder. The six players on the all-conference team matched UA's total from 2011, which was the most a Wildcat team had placed on the all-league list since 1993. Mejia and Refsnyder earned all-conference honors for the second year in a row, while Heyer became a three-time selection. Outfielder Joey Rickard, an all-conference pick as a sophomore, was named honorable mention.
Last At-Bat Wins: Seven of Arizona's 38 victories, including five of its 20 Pac-12 wins, have come with a rally in its final at-bat of game, but perhaps none bigger than the two in the final weekend of the regular season over rival Arizona State to secure the Wildcats a share of their first Pac-12 Championship since 1992. On May 25, the Wildcats and Devils were locked in perhaps the pitching duel of the year in the conference. UA's Kurt Heyer and ASU's Brady Rodgers had kept each side scoreless until the bottom of the ninth. That was when with one out Rodgers gave up a single to Robert Refsnyder, before Jake Barrett was called on to replace Rodgers. Seth Mejias-Brean ripped the second pitch he saw from Barrett for a double down the left field line. Refsnyder was given the stop sign to hold up at third base, but he ran through it and scored the winning run in a thrilling 1-0 victory. Two days later, after UA surrendered a 7-1 lead when ASU tied the game in the 8th, Johnny Fieldstepped to the plate in the bottom of the 9th with two outs and runners at the corners. He pulled a single into left field for another walk-off win over the rivals, this time securing the conference crown with the 8-7 decision. Here's a look at Arizona's seven final at-bat wins:
- March 7 vs. UC Davis (UA scores three runs in Bot. 8, wins 6-4)
- March 11 vs. E. Michigan (UA scores run in Bot. 9, wins 9-8 in walk-off fashion)
- March 24 @ Oregon St. (UA scores two runs in Top 9, wins 5-4)
- March 30 vs. Stanford (UA scores four runs in Bot 9, wins 8-7 in walk-off fashion)
- April 13 vs. UCLA (UA scores one run in Bot. 8, wins 4-3)
- May 25 vs. Arizona St. (UA scores run in Bot. 9, wins 1-0 in walk-off fashion)
- May 27 vs. Arizona St. (UA scores run in Bot. 9, wins 8-7 in walk-off fashion)
- June 8 vs. St. John's (UA scores twice in Bot 10, wins 7-6 in walk-off fashion)