May 24, 2012
|2012 Arizona Baseball|
May 25-27, 2012 | Tucson, Ariz. | Hi Corbett Field
No. 16 Arizona State (35-18, 17-10 Pac-12) @ No. 13 Arizona (36-16, 18-9 Pac-12)
Friday, May 25 6 p.m. (MST) Hi Corbett Field UA Radio: 1290 AM
Saturday, May 26 6 p.m. (MST) Hi Corbett Field UA Radio: 1290 AM
Sunday, May 27 12 p.m. (MST) Hi Corbett Field UA Radio: 1290 AM
|Some Series Themes||Quick Links|
|The regular season winds to a close for two in-state rivals who have split a pair of non-conference games in Tempe to date ... The Wildcats are firmly in the mix for at least a share of the Pac-12 Championship, but need a bit of help as they trail Oregon by one game with two other clubs - UCLA and Stanford - nipping at their heels for a high conference finish ... The Sun Devils, meanwhile, are not eligible for the crown or the postseason, but can put the finishing touches on a fine season and post a record as good as the top teams in the league ... The UA-ASU rivalry games return to Hi Corbett Field, a venue that hosted many memorable games between the schools in the 1950s, 60s and early 70s ... Some noteworthy pitching matchups, headlined on Friday night with aces Brady Rodgers and Kurt Heyer set to take the mound ... Two high-strikeout pitching staffs that don't give up many free passes, either ...The Devils, with 41 home runs on the year, get to take their hacks in a ballpark that has yielded only 12 dingers in 32 games all season ... The Cats seek their first conference series win over the Devils since 2008 ... The final regular season home games for two senior Wildcats - Bobby Brown and Michael Lopez.||Baseball America Rankings|
|Game Notes (PDF)|
|Season Statistics (PDF)|
|2012 Media Guide|
|Arizona State vs. Arizona Statistical Comparison||Arizona Statistical Leaders|
|35-18 (17-10 Pac-12)||Record||36-16 (18-9 Pac-12)||Avg.||Johnny Field (.374)|
|.292||Avg.||.326||Hits||Alex Mejia (77)|
|323||Runs||374||Runs||Johnny Field (56)|
|526||Hits||593||RBI||Robert Refsnyder (55)|
|23||3B||28||HR||Robert Refsnyder (6)|
|41||HR||18||OB%||Robert Refsnyder (.449)|
|53-76||SB-ATT||70-106||SLG%||Bobby Brown (.582)|
|.372||OB%||.395||SB||Joey Rickard (13)|
|.444||SLG%||.444||ERA||Kurt Heyer (2.20)|
|3.16||ERA||3.97||IP||Kurt Heyer (110.2)|
|Arizona Baseball Game Notes:|
- UA ranked 4th nationally with a .326 batting average entering the week.
- UA is 8th in scoring (7.2 runs per game).
- UA's 28 triples are 6th-most in the nation.
- UA's 2.64 strikeout to walk ratio is 24th best nationally.
- Johnny Field's .492 on base percentage leads the Pac-12 and ranks No. 9 nationally.
- Kurt Heyer's 5.25 strikeout to walk ratio ranks No. 31 nationally.
- Bobby Brown is hitting an even .400 with 35 RBI over the last 29 games, all starts at DH.
- The Cats won each of their conference road series (5-0) for the first time since 2005.
- UA is 12-2 in weekend three-game series in 2012.
- UA's win last Sunday at USC marked the first time it has won a game when being out-hit by the opponent (1-11). UA is 33-4 when out-hitting foes (and 2-1 when tied).
- Pitchers have thrown 10 complete games in 2012, the most for the program since tossing 12 in 1990.
- Robert Refsnyder has reached base via base hit, walk or HBP in 26 straight games. Bobby Brown (17) and Johnny Field (16) also have notable streaks.
- UA pitchers have a 2.87 ERA over the last dozen Pac-12 games.
- Seth Mejias-Brean is two hits shy of 200 for his career. He could become the fourth active Wildcat with 200 career hits, which would be a first for the program.
Arizona Head Coach Andy Lopez: The Wildcats are coached by Andy Lopez, who is now in his 11th season with a 391-245-1 record at the school. He has guided the Wildcats to postseason competition in seven of the last nine years, including two straight NCAA regionals and highlighted by a 2004 College World Series appearance. The Wildcats have won at least 30 games in six straight years and in 10 of Lopez's 11 seasons at the school. Overall, Lopez has more than 1,000 career victories, one national championship and four College World Series appearances. Lopez owns a career record of 1,078-663-7 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 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.
State Farm Territorial Cup Series: With the series tied 1-1, the winner of this weekend's series will become the winner of the baseball point between the schools in the State Farm Territorial Cup Series. Two years ago the insurance corporation sponsored the Territorial Cup Series, which counts all head-to-head sporting events between the schools (or, league-championships competition finishes in some sports). The rivalry competition series should not be confused with the actual Territorial Cup, which is the nation's oldest rivalry trophy recognized by the NCAA and is presented each fall to the winner of the football game. The University of Arizona won the 2009-10 and 2010-11 State Farm Territorial Cup Series by overall scores of 10.5 to 7.5 and 11.5 to 6.5, respectively. The Wildcats have also secured a victory in 2011-12 with a current 10.5-6.5 margin. Only the baseball point remains up for grabs.
UA-USC Recap: Arizona won two of three games at USC last weekend, winning the opener 11-1, dropping the second game 8-4, and claiming the rubber match 6-1. Kurt Heyer threw eight strong innings and improved to 10-2 on the season, securing his 25th career victory on Friday night. On Saturday, Konner Wade carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning, the Trojans scored six runs on seven hits in the frame to even the series. On Sunday, James Farris hurled 6.1 innings to earn his sixth victory of the season. Arizona's bullpen combined for 6.1 scoreless innings over the three games, with lefties Tyler Crawford and Augey Bill and righties Tyler Hale and Mathew Troupe all getting at least one inning of work. Offensively, the Wildcats hit .290 in the series with three triples. Bobby Brown led with for runs batted in, while Joey Rickard scored a team-high six runs. The Cats were 4-for-7 in stolen base tries, walked 16 times and struck out just 17 times. Defensively, Arizona did not commit an error.
Cats And Devils: The schools have split two non-conference games this season in Tempe, with ASU winning the first 12-8 (April 17) and Arizona claiming the second 10-2 (May 16). The Wildcats have a .307 team average over those two games, led by Joseph Maggi's .883 (5-for-6) clip and Seth Mejias-Brean's .444 clip (4-for-9). The Wildcats are 3-for-3 in stolen base attempts and have committed just one error. The Sun Devils, meanwhile, are hitting .279 against the Wildcats, are 1-for-1 in steals and have five errors. UA pitchers have racked up 15 strikeouts against eight walks, and ASU hurlers have 12 punchouts against nine walks. Arizona has not turned a double play in the field, while ASU has three. Both teams have hit a pair of homers.
The Pac-12 Race: Four schools are firmly in the mix for the Pac-12 Championship. Oregon leads the way with a one-game edge over Arizona. The Wildcats are a game ahead of UCLA and Stanford (and Arizona State, which is ineligible for the crown). The conference officially awards the league title to the team(s) that finish with the highest winning percentage, but all schools are scheduled to finish with the same amount of games played, so the games back column is just as accurate. In the event of a tie at the top, tie-breakers are only used to determine the automatic bid for postseason play. Otherwise, co-champions will be crowned.
What's At Stake: Outside of the Pac-12 race, the Wildcats are also looking to post one of their best regular season records with a strong finish this weekend ... Currently, UA is 36-16 on the season. The Cats finished the 2011 regular season with a 36-19 mark ... One win this weekend would give the Wildcats their best finish since a 38-17 regular season in 2008 ... Two wins would tie them with that '08 club at 38-17 ... Three wins would give the Wildcats their best record since a 40-15 year in 2007, which has been Andy Lopez's best regular season at Arizona in his 11 seasons.
.300 Club: Arizona boasts a .326 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's second 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.
Road Trip Wrap Up: Arizona concluded a season-long seven-game road trip last weekend at USC. The Wildcats swept California (May 11-13), defeated ASU (May 16) and won two-of-three against the Trojans (May 18-20) to post a 6-1 mark in those games. The key was outstanding pitching and clean defense, with some timely hitting sparking the offense. UA pitchers combined for a 2.47 ERA and a .197 opposing batting average in the seven games, while the Cats committed only two errors in the field to sport a .992 fielding percentage. Offensively, the Wildcats hit below their season average at a .272 clip, but out-scored foes 12-1 in two-out RBI. Arizona also jumped on teams, outscoring them a cumulative 10-2 in the first inning and 24-8 over the first five innings of games.
Pitching Lately: Arizona's pitching has been strong down the stretch, something it certainly hopes holds up this weekend and beyond. Over the last dozen Pac-12 games, the Wildcats are 8-4. The pitching staff has thrown four complete games, registered a 2.87 ERA, and limited opposing hitters to a .232 batting average. Included have been 79 strikeouts against only 34 walks in 109.2 innings. Opponents have combined for just 17 extra base hits 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 its home showdown with No. 2 Stanford (March 30 - April 1). A crowd of 4,191 turned out for the series opener on Friday, the largest home attendance for the Cats in over four years. More than 3,500 showed up on Saturday and another 2,900-plus cheered the Cats on to a sweep on Sunday. Over the three games, a total of 10,656 passed through the gates, which marked the first time UA surpassed 10,000 fans for a three-game series in two decades. The last time it happened was May 15-17, 1992, when the Wildcats closed out the regular season with a three-game sweep of Arizona State in front of a combined 13,466 at Sancet Field. That was also the last season Arizona hosted an NCAA regional. On the year, the Cats have drawn 72,077 fans in 32 games (avg. 2,252), a significant increase over the 36,412 fans at 33 home games (1,103 per game) a season ago.
Cats At Home: Arizona has racked up 23-9 record at Hi Corbett Field this season. On their home turf, the Wildcats have hit .346 as a team, while opponents have hit .272. The Wildcats have scored an average of 7.6 runs per game compared to opponents' 5.1 per game. Joseph Maggi (.426), Johnny Field (.397), Alex Mejia (.381), Robert Refsnyder (.380), Seth Mejias-Brean (.375) and Bobby Brown (.346) have all taken a special liking to the facility. The Wildcats have hit 67 doubles, 23 triples and six homers at home, while opponents have 48 doubles, 23 triples and six round-trippers. Arizona's pitching staff has a 4.06 earned run, but perhaps most impressively 236 strikeouts to just 77 walks.
Winning Weekends: Dating back to the final month of the 2011 regular season, Arizona has a 16-3 record in its last 19 three-game weekend series (12-2 this year). That stretch includes eight sweeps. In that span, the Wildcats are 6-1 in road series, including a 5-0 record thus far in 2012. The only losses have been at Stanford in 2011, and at home against UCLA and Oregon in 2012. Including all games, the Wildcats have a 51-22 record over their last 72 games (.699). The club has racked up a 27-12 (.692) mark in Pac-10/12 games.
Heyer on Watch Lists: Junior right-hander Kurt Heyer has put together his best season to date at Arizona with a 10-2 record, a 2.20 ERA, 89 strikeouts and just 17 walks in 110.2 innings pitched. He has thrown five complete games in 14 starts, leads the conference in innings pitched, ranks second in strikeouts and places fourth in earned run average. It has placed him on the National Pitcher of the Year Watch List as announced by the College Baseball Hall of Fame. Additionally, he remained on the 60-man Golden Spikes Award Midseason Watch List, after initially appearing on the 30-player Preseason Watch List.
Fearsome Foursome: Juniors Alex Mejia, Seth Mejias-Brean, Robert Refsnyder and Joey Rickard have combined to make 664 starts in 673 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 870 base hits and 508 runs scored, hitting .330 (870-2636) as a group.
4 X 200: Seth Mejias-Brean is two base hits shy of 200 for his career. If/when the junior third baseman reaches the milestone he will join classmates Robert Refsnyder (227), Joey Rickard (225) and Alex Mejia (220) 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.
30 Wins: Arizona has reached the 30-win plateau for the sixth straight season and for the 10th time in Andy Lopez's 11 seasons at the school. The last Wildcat club to miss the 30-win mark was 2006 team, which finished 27-28 and is one of just two Lopez-coached squads to miss postseason play in the last nine years. A year ago, the Wildcats finished 39-21, their best record since going 42-19 in 2008.
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 30 of its last 39 games (16-14 record when trailing) and in 35 of 52 on the season (19-16). A season ago, the Cats trailed during 38 of their 60 games played. They posted a 17-21 mark in those games.
Alive With Five: Five runs seems to be a pretty good breaking point for success for the Wildcats. In 2012, Arizona is 29-5 when it scores five or more runs in a game, while it has struggled to a 7-11 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 24-1. When opponents score five runs or more, UA has struggled at to a 12-15 clip.
Complete Games: Kurt Heyer's three consecutive complete games last month 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 five 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 (5), Konner Wade (3) and James Farris (2) have combined for 10complete 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' 10 complete games in 2012 are the most for the program since throwing 12 in 1990 ... Combined with seven complete games a year ago, Arizona's 17 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).
Leading the Pac: Arizona's hitting leads the Pac-12 in batting average (.326), on base percentage (.395), runs scored (374), hits (593), RBI (338), triples (28) and sacrifice flies (36). The club ranks second in slugging (.444), doubles (106) and stolen bases (70), while it has struck out the second-fewest times (248). Pitching-wise, the Cats are second in the conference with 372 strikeouts and have issued the third-fewest walks (141).
Hitting 101: Arizona leads the Pac-12 and ranked No. 4 nationally with a .326 team batting average entering the week ... The Wildcats have seven regulars (min. 100 at bats) batting above .300 ... Five players rank in the top-8 of the conference for individual batting, led by Johnny Field's .374 clip (No. 2) ... UA has collected 10+ hits in a game 38 times this season, including in 20 of the last 27 contests ... The Wildcats are 33-4 when out-hitting opponents in games this season and 1-11 when opponents outhit the Wildcats (2-1 when hits are tied) ... Nine players have at least 10 multi-hit games in 2012 ... Five players have had an 11+ game hitting streak, including Seth Mejias-Brean's team-high 21-game streak earlier this year.
Go, Johnny, Go! Johnny Field has been on a torrid hitting pace since early April despite a 12-game hitting streak that was snapped on Wednesday. The streak began on April 4 at Utah Valley, where Field entered the game with a season-low .294 batting average. Since, he has hit an astounding .458 (44-for-96) to raise his batting average to .374, the No. 2 mark in the Pac-12. During that 24-game span, Field has scored 28 runs, driven in 15, and stolen three bases in four attempts. Field has a .563 on base percentage and a .688 slugging percentage, thanks to 10 doubles, three triples and two homers. For good measure, he has walked 18 times and struck out just eight times. In a 12-game hitting streak (snapped at ASU on May 16), Field hit a robust .540 (27-for-50) with 15 runs scored and 15 RBI. Included were eight doubles, three triples and his first two home runs of the season, producing a staggering .940 slugging percentage. He was 0-for-2 at Arizona State that day, but walked twice, was hit by a pitch and scored two runs. He has reached base in 16 straight games. His .492 on base percentage leads all Pac-12 players and ranks No. 9 in the nation. He is tied for the most runs scored in the Pac-12 (56).
What Can Brown Do For You? Fifth-year senior and recent graduate Bobby Brown had just 40 starts and 164 at bats entering the year, but he has seemingly saved his best for last. The team's starting designated hitter, Brown has become one of the conference's hottest left-handed bats over the last two months. Over the course of the last 29 games, Brown is batting an even .400 (46-for-115) with 25 runs scored and 35 RBI. He has hit seven doubles, five triples and the first four home runs of his career. For good measure he's 5-for-5 in stolen base tries, too. On the season, Brown is hitting .353 (No. 8 in Pac-12) with career-highs in runs scored (34) and RBI (46). His .582 slugging percentage is tops on the club and ranks No. 4 in the Pac-12. His seven triples are tied with ASU's Joey DeMichele for most in the league. Brown graduated from the school this month with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and minors in Sociology and Anthropology.
Mejia Leads The Way: Arizona is blessed with some veterans who provide leadership on and off the field, but perhaps none more so than junior shortstop Alex Mejia. An excellent defensive player, Mejia is turning in his best offensive season at the plate. The Sylmar, Calif., native ranks No. 7 in the Pac-12 with a .355 batting average and leads all players with 77 total base hits. Mejia has scored 46 runs (No. 9 in Pac-12) and added a career-best 44 RBI (tied No. 10), while hitting 10 doubles, four triples and three home runs. In his career, Mejia boasts a .336 batting average, 118 runs scored, 220 hits and 122 RBI. Interestingly, Mejia has been even more efficient in conference games in his career, hitting .357 (107-300) with 47 runs and 45 RBI in 81 career league contests. An All-Pac-10 player a year ago, Mejia was named a second team preseason All-American by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and is on the midseason watch list for the Brooks Wallace Award, presented to the nation's top shortstop.
Rob Rev'd Up: Junior right fielder Robert Refsnyder continues to be one of the top run-producers in the Pac-12. Arizona's home run leader with six dingers, Refsnyder ranks highly in several offensive categories among Pac-12 players, including batting average (.364, No. 3), slugging (.573, No. 6) and on-base percentage (.449, No. 5). He also checks in highly for runs scored (51, No. 4), hits (75, No. 3), and RBI (55, No. 2). He has 27 extra base hits on the season to lead Arizona, including 17 doubles (t-No. 3 Pac-12) and four triples (t-No. 6). Refsnyder is the team's top hitter with runners in scoring position (.444), and has shown tremendous plate discipline evidenced by 24 walks (and 10 HBP) against only 19 strikeouts. He also second on the club with 12 stolen bases (No. 6 Pac-12) in 16 attempts. In his career, Refsnyder is a .341 hitter who has amassed 227 hits, 140 runs scored and 150 RBI. He has hit 39 doubles, 13 triples and 14 home runs (66 extra base hits).
Seth Steps Up: Junior third baseman Seth Mejias-Brean has turned in a stellar junior season, building off a strong finish to his sophomore campaign. Mejias-Brean has started all 52 games this year and has developed into one of the Pac-12's top run-producers. In fact, his 49 RBI are not only a career-best, but are fourth-most among Pac-12 players. He is hitting .356 on the season (No. 6 in Pac-12), and has scored 48 runs (t-No. 5 Pac-12). Mejias-Brean's 17 doubles are tied for No. 3 in the conference, and he has added four triples and his first homer since the 2010 season. Since April 30 of last year and continuing through this week, Mejias-Brean is hitting a robust .371 (99-267) with 48 runs scored and 61 RBI over the course of 68 games. In his career, Mejias-Brean is a .327 hitter with 198 hits, 111 runs and 108 RBI.
Heyer Rings `Em Up: Kurt Heyer matched his career high set during his freshman season with 14 strikeouts against Harvard on March 2 and now has 85 on the season. In his career, Heyer has 332 strikeouts, which is believed to be the most in the nation for active pitchers (research courtesy Troy Prendergast at Troy University). Heyer's 332 strikeouts are 5th-most in program history and trails Jim Nichols' 333 (1983-85) for fourth. Heyer, from Huntington Beach, Calif., has made 50 starts in his career, which is also fifth-most in school history. Heyer boasts a 25-11 record and a 2.59 ERA with just 72 walks in 351.0 innings pitched in his career.
`K'onner Wade: Sophomore RHP Konner Wade has settled nicely into his role as the team's No. 2 starter. Wade has been effectively wild at times in 2012, evidenced by 34 walks and a school-record 21 hit batsmen in 98.1 innings of work. At the same time, he's struck out 89 batters (tied for No. 2in Pac-12) and limited foes to a .238 batting average. The 89 strikeouts are a bit surprising since he racked up just 28 strikeouts in 61.2 innings as a freshman. Wade, whose career high was seven punch-outs entering the season, shattered the previous mark with 13 in his season debut against North Dakota State on Feb. 18. He followed that up with another 10 strikeouts a week later against Auburn on Feb. 25 and 10 more versus Harvard on March 3. He spent last summer in the Cape Cod League, where he became a Cape Cod League All-Star mostly as a closer. He's remained a starter at Arizona, a role he has thrived in for the most part. In his career as a starter (9-2, 22 career starts), Wade has thrown 138.1 innings with a 3.71 ERA (57 ER). He was named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week on April 2 following a complete-game three-hitter he pitched to clinch UA's series victory over Stanford on March 31. Wade suffered his first collegiate pitching loss against UCLA on April 14.
Cool Crawford: Freshman left-hander Tyler Crawford has developed nicely over the course of the season and is now one of the club's top options out of the bullpen. In fact, he has a 2.52 ERA in 25.0 innings over seven appearances since April 4. In that span, opponents are hitting a lowly .217 and he has issued just six walks to go with 10 strikeouts.
May Days: The Pac-12 title race and postseason picture will sort itself out in the next two weeks, but it is interesting to note the different tracks recent UA clubs have taken in the month of May. The 2010 club, comprised of a young group of talented players like Kurt Heyer, Alex Mejia, Seth Mejias-Brean, Joey Rickard and Robert Refsnyder, limped into the postseason after going just 5-10 in May, including 4-7 in the Pac-10. The club hit .272 down the stretch with a 6.50 team earned run average. In 2011, Arizona turned things around at the right time for a hot finish. The Cats won 10 of their final 13 regular season games and went 7-3 in Pac-10 play in May. The team hit .316 and saw much-improved pitching with a 2.59 ERA. What does this May have in store? So far, it's a 7-3 start with one weekend remaining.
On Deck: Arizona awaits its postseason fate. The 16 regional sites will be announced by the NCAA on Sunday during Arizona's game. Sites will be announced on ESPN's BottomLine between 12-1 p.m. as well as posted on NCAA.com. Arizona has submitted a bid to host. The 64-team championship field will be announced next Monday, May 28, at 9 a.m. The selection show will be televised live on ESPNU.