May 22, 2002
On The Air: Arizona's final three games of the 2002 season at Washington can be heard live on the radio at 790 AM KNST or over the internet at www.knst.com. Brian Jeffries will provide the play-by-play of all three games.
Next Up - Washington: The Huskies have overcome a 15-16-1 non-conference record to position themselves for a run at the conference title with a 13-8 mark in Pac-10 play. Trailing USC by just a game in the conference standings, Washington still has a chance at its first-ever Pac-10 title.
The 2002 Huskies return eight starters and five pitchers from last season's 29-23 team, including two-time 2002 Pac-10 Player of the Week Jay Garthwaite. The junior outfielder is batting .306 with a team-leading 14 home runs and 58 RBIs. Newcomer Kyle Larsen leads the Washington team with a .356 batting average this year.
On the mound, UW's Shawn Kohn has put together an impressive senior season. The right-hander is 10-4 in 14 starts this year. He has thrown seven complete games in 2002 and has struck out 68 while walking just 19 in 113.2 innings.
Arizona holds a 6-4 lead in the all-time series, including a three-game sweep of the Dawgs last season in Tucson.
Probable Starting Pitchers Friday - RHP Sean Rierson (7-4, 4.60 ERA) Saturday - LHP Joe Little (6-5, 5.12 ERA) Sunday - RHP Marc Kaiser (5-4, 5.77 ERA)
Wildcat Notes From The Washington State Series: Overall - All three games in the series with the Cougars were decided by three runs in the ninth inning. Friday and Sunday WSU rallied for victories with three runs in the final inning and the Wildcats rallied for three on Saturday ... Friday and Sunday marked the third and fourth times this season that Arizona has carried a lead into the ninth inning and lost ... Saturday's victory was the first this season that the Wildcats came back to win in the final inning ... Sophomore Marc Kaiser led the Wildcats at the plate, finishing the three-game series 4 for 11 (.364) with a triple, a home run (No. 5), five RBIs and two runs scored ... In addition to Kaiser's home run Pat Reilly (2), Brad Hassey (9), Moises Duran (8) and Chris Cunningham (13) all went yard for the Cats Sunday - Arizona rallied for seven runs in the sixth through eighth innings for a 7-6 lead, but could not hold on. WSU's No.9 hitter Collin Henderson got to reliever Brian Anderson's 2-2, two-out pitch in the ninth for a bases loaded, three-RBI double that won the game ... The blown save was the second of the season for Anderson, who also surrendered a ninth inning lead to Arizona State earlier this year ... Marc Kaiser, who started the game on the mound, got back all four runs he surrendered on the hill with two swings of the bat. The sophomore belted a two-RBI triple and a two-run homer to help Arizona gain its short-lived 7-6 lead ... Saturday - Starter Joe Little, who gave up just four runs in six innings, did not earn a decision in the game. The outing marked the sixth time this season the southpaw has given up four runs or less and either did not earn a decision (Four times) or picked up a loss (Twice)... Reliever Chris Goodman was the beneficiary of the ninth-inning rally picking up his fourth win of the year ... John Hardy tallied his 27th two-out RBI of the year in the ninth to win the game. The freshman has a total of 36 RBIs this season ... Senior Chris Cunningham had an 11-game hitting streak snapped in the game. Despite losing the streak, Cunningham's walk in the ninth inning turned into the game-winning run. Kevin Sears, normally a relief pitcher, pinch ran for Cunningham and scored his first career run on Hardy's two-out single from second ... Friday - The Wildcats saw a 5-3 lead evaporate in the ninth inning on Steve Mortimer's two-RBI double and a wild pitch by Arizona reliever Wes Zlotoff ... The loss was the third straight defeat for the Wildcats ... Moises Duran and Chris Cunningham each hit home runs, marking the 15th game this season two or more Arizona player have gone yard in the same game.
This Is It: For eight Arizona seniors this weekend's series with Washington will mark their final games in an Arizona uniform. Kevin Anderson, Clayton Bried, Chris Cunningham, Brad Hassey, Kevin Sears, Justyn St. Clair, Matt Wersel and Wes Zlotoff have all exhausted their collegiate eligibility. The University of Arizona and the baseball program would like to thank them for their dedication and hard work both on the field and in the classroom.
Going Yard: The Wildcats have been on a home run tear as of late. Arizona has hit at least one home run in four straight games and in nine of its last 10. During this streak, Arizona has blasted eight solo home runs, four two-run fence busters, two three-run shots and one grand slam for a total of 15 four baggers and 26 runs. Seniors Chris Cunningham and Brad Hassey, Arizona's top two hitters over the final part of the season, each have four home runs during the power surge.
So Close, And Yet So Far: The Wildcats have lost a number of close games this season. In fact, of the 22 losses this year, Arizona has dropped 11 games by two runs or less. Arizona has dropped four contests this season after taking the lead into the ninth inning.
Back -To-Back-To-Back Streaks: Senior Brad Hassey has the potential to wrap up his collegiate career on tear. The Wildcat shortstop has strung together an active 10-game hitting streak over the past three weeks, which comes on the heals of a season high 13-game streak, which followed a 12-game hitting streak. Each time a streak has been snapped, Hassey has begun another one a game later.
All total, Hassey has hit safely in 35 of Arizona last 37 games. He has batted .376 (59 for 157) with seven doubles, two triples, seven home runs, 35 RBIs, 15 walks and 36 runs scored in the three hitting streaks combined. He has also recorded 10 stolen bases, a .580 slugging percentage, second best on the team, and an Arizona-best .480 on base percentage. Not bad for a player who entered the season with a career .280 batting average, 34 total RBIs, 12 stolen bases and ZERO home runs.
Series Best: Despite putting together an offensive fireworks display at the end of the season, the three-game numbers in the last three series didn't quite make the season best list. Here's a look at the top offensive marks posted after the 14 three-game series already played this season:
Avg: .400 vs. UC Irvine (February 22-24) ABs: 137 vs. Stanford (April 5-7) Runs: 37 vs. New Mexico Hits: 44 vs. UC Irvine (February 22-24) Extra Base Hits: 14 vs. UC Irvine (February 22-24) HRs: 7 vs. UC Irvine (February 5-7) RBIs: 33 vs. UC Irvine (February 22-24) BBs: 22 vs. New Mexico (April 5-7) SB: 10 at California (April 12-14) Pitching IP: 35.0 vs. Stanford (April 5-7) Runs: 7 vs. New Mexico (January 25-27) Earned Runs: 6 vs. New Mexico (January 25-27) Hits: 20 vs. Utah (February 1-3) BB: 3 vs. New Mexico (January 25-27) Ks: 26 vs. San Diego State (February 7-9) and vs. UCLA (May 10-12) Opp Ba: .200 vs. Utah (February 1-3)
Swiping Them Silly: While the Wildcats don't necessarily possess a ton of team speed, Arizona has already surpassed the stolen base output from a season ago. The Wildcats' 10 stolen bases against California (4/12-14) pushed the team total to 57 for the season and past the 2001 final tally by five. With 71 total SBs this season, the 2002 team has the most stolen bases of any team in the last five seasons.
Double play partners Brad Hassey and Moises Duran are one-two on the team with 15 and 14, respectively. The figures are both career highs for pair.
Turning Two: The Arizona defense has turned 44 double plays this season, seven more than last season's team turned all of last year.
Hitting Notes: Arizona's team batting average remained at .292 after the three-game series with Washington ... Senior Justyn St. Clair, who will miss the remainder after having a screw inserted in a broke bone in his hand, scored at least one run in his final nine games ... The Wildcats have hit at least one home run against 19 of their 20 opponents this season, including the last 15 straight. The only team not to give up a long ball to the Cats thus far is Texas A&M-Corpus Christi ... Senior Brad Hassey leads the team with 49 runs scored this season ... 11 of the 13 players that are averaging at least one at-bat per game have hit one or more home runs this season ... Of the returning players that have at least one at bat per game (seven total), five have recorded career high numbers in home runs ... Senior Chris Cunningham has hit a team-high 13 home runs and 12 doubles this season and also paces the Cats with 52 RBIs ... 10 of the 13 players that average an at-bat per game have 23 or more RBIs, six of whom have 33 or more.
Long Ball Stats: At the beginning of the year, the position of Arizona's long ball leader was up for grabs. With the departure of UA's all-time home run king, Shelley Duncan, and only six home runs returning to the current roster, the role could have gone to any number of players. And, in a way, it has. A total of 11 different Wildcat players have hit at least one of UA's 53 round-trippers this season, six of whom have five or more. The 2002 team has, in fact, hit nine more home runs through 52 games than the 2001 team did (58-49).
Leading the way with a career-high 13 fence busters is Chris Cunningham. Cunningham has gone yard with nobody on seven times, one runner on five times and with two runners on once for 20 runs batted in on homers. Classmate Brad Hassey, who had never homered in his three previous seasons at Arizona, is second on the team with nine homers. He has 13 RBIs on seven solo shots and two three-run blasts. Sophomore Moises Duran is third on the team with eight. He has gone yard with the bases loaded twice, with one on twice and hit four solo shots for a total of 16 RBIs. Jeff Van Houten, a freshman, and sophomore Marc Kaiser have seven apiece. Van Houten has hit two solos shots, three two-run homers, a three-run shot and a grand slam for 15 RBIs on home runs. Kaiser has smashed five solo home runs and two two-run shots for nine RBIs. (See page 8 of the notes for the entire team break down)
The Wildcats are 22-10 this season in the 32 games when at least one player hits a homer and are 11-5 in the 16 games two or more players connect for the four-base hit.
Getting Started: Senior Brad Hassey has hit a career high eight home runs this season, while that in and of itself is very noteworthy, it is also prudent to point out that four of his fence crashers has led off innings for the Wildcats, including two to start a game.
As a team, the Wildcats have hit 15 of their 58 home runs (26 percent) this season leading off an inning.
Pitching Notes: The Wildcats pitching staff maintains a better than two-to-one strike out to walk ratio this season (2.4-to-1) ... In Marc Kaiser's two complete games this season the sophomore has had to toss only 93 pitches both times ... Senior Wes Zlotoff continues to lead the team with a 2.42 ERA in 26.0 innings pitched this season ... Joe Little is the team leader in strike outs (75) and Sean Rierson leads the team in wins (7) ... Rierson also continues to lead the team in innings pitched (101.2) ... The Wildcat starting staff (Rierson, Little and Kaiser) is averaging better than six innings per start ... Closer Brian Anderson is now six for eight in save opportunities in his career ... Through 49 games the 2002 Arizona pitching staff is on pace for one of the better statistical seasons in last five years:
Year-By-Year Comparison (through 52 games) 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 ERA 5.19 5.39 7.16 5.77 6.37 Opp BA .295 .293 .304 .295 .302 CG 4 1 3 4 0 Sho 2 2 0 2 1 CBO 1 2 0 2 1 Sv 8 15 5 14 10 IP 468.1 469.1 454.0 468.0 450.2 H 556 557 565 554 543 R 337 344 436 348 370 ER 270 281 361 300 319 BB 139 194 272 233 251 SO 334 346 452 415 453
Fewest Free Passes: Barring a major bout of wildness by the Arizona pitching staff, the 2002 team will record the second fewest base on balls in school history. Averaging 2.67 walks per game, the Wildcats can expect to finish the season with around 147 BB this season. Only the 1951 team, which tallied 130 walks in just 32 games (4.10 BB/game), has a fewer number of free passes over the course of a season. Excluding this year, only eight Arizona teams have walked fewer than 200 hitters in a season.
No More Non-Conference: The UC Riverside series marked the end of the non-conference schedule for the Wildcats. Arizona tallied a 22-9 record in 31 non-Pac-10 games. The Cats won eight of 10 multiple game series, including sweeps over New Mexico, San Diego State, Southern Utah, UC Irvine and Cal State Dominguez Hills. The Wildcats won all eight non-conference series at home, but were swept in both road series (Texas A&M, Long Beach).
As a team Arizona hit .293 in the 31-game non-conference season. Freshman Richard Mercado led the way individually with a .341 average in 91 at-bats. Senior Chris Cunningham feasted on non-conference pitching, recording team-highs in both RBIs (40) and runs scored (32). The pitching staff tossed 275.1 innings against non-conference opponents and posted a 3.76 ERA with 204 strike outs against only 68 walks. Sophomore Joe Little went 6-1 against non-Pac-10 teams in 52.1 innings pitched. Senior Wes Zlotoff recorded a 1.69 ERA in nine appearances and 16 innings.
Going The Distance: Sean Rierson's complete game against UC Riverside (4/19) was the second for the sophomore right-hander this season and the fourth total for the Wildcat pitching staff this year. Rierson previously went the distance in UA's 1-0 win over San Diego State on Feb. 7. Classmate Marc Kaiser tossed back-to-back complete games against UNC Wilmington and Arizona State earlier this season. The two CGs apiece for Rierson and Kaiser mark the first time since 1999 that more than one Wildcat hurler has gone the distance more than once in a year. Former Wildcats and top professional prospects Josh Pearce and Ben Digggins each tossed a pair of complete games during the 1999 season. Arizona's four complete games this season is the second most CGs for a pitching staff in the last five years. Both the 1999 and '97 staffs tossed five complete games each. The school single-season record is 38 by the 1956 team.
Coming Through In A Pinch: Ken Riley has produced in the pinch this season. Pinch hitting that is. The junior has three of Arizona's five pinch hits this year. In five pinch hit at bats, Riley is batting .600 with two singles, a triple and an RBI that scored the game tying run in the 10th inning of Arizona's come-from-behind win over UC Irvine on Feb. 23.
Freshman Richard Mercado is the only other player to tally a pinch hit this year with two. The first-year Wildcat entered a game at the plate against Oregon State and delivered a single to right and most recently the designated hitter/catcher scored a pair of runners with a two-out single through the left side in the eighth inning against UC Riverside (4/19).
Get there Early, But Stick Around For the Stretch: Arizona's recent offensive explosions in the first inning have given the opening inning the lead for the most productive frame this season. Arizona currently holds a 69-34 advantage (35 runs) in the opening inning. Arizona has out-scored its opponents by 23 runs in the fifth (60-37) and by 22 runs in the seventh (53-31). See page nine of the notes for an inning-by-inning breakdown of when Arizona scores its runs.
Wearin' It: It's officially the most painful season to be a Wildcat batter . Opposing pitchers have plunked Wildcat hitters a school record 64 times in 52games (1.23 HBP per game). In comparison, last year Arizona batters were hit "just" 35 times in 56 games (0.63 HBP per game). At the current rate, Arizona can expect to be hit by pitches just under 69 times this year.
The More The Merrier: Arizona is doing a fine job of hitting with runners on base, posting a .332 batting average at the plate. However, that average increases significantly when all three bases are occupied. In 56 official at bats with the bases loaded, Arizona is hitting .482 (27 for 56) with seven grand slams (see note that follows), 92 RBIs and a 1.036 slugging percentage. The Wildcats have also hit eight sac-flies, walked nine times and been hit by pitches five times in bases loaded situations. Moises Duran leads the team with 15 bases loaded RBIs this season on a pair of grand slams, a triple, two walks and a sac-fly.
Having A Grand Time: Moises Duran's second grand slam of the season, against UCLA, makes him the second Wildcat player to hit two bases loaded home runs this season. The sacks full fence buster extended Arizona's school single-season record to seven for the season. Pat Reilly, Jeff Van Houten, John Hardy and have all hit a grand slam apiece this season. Sophomores Brian Anderson and Duran have smashed two each. The seven slams mark the first time since 1999 that an Arizona team has had two or more bases loaded home runs in a season.
Anderson's second GS of the season, against California on April 13, broke the previous school record of four shared by Arizona's 1955, '56, '61, '88, '93, '98 and '99 teams. Former Wildcat Dave Shermet holds the all-time individual career record with four.
Manufacturing, Inc.: Arizona has scored a total 422 runs this season and 103 of them (24 percent) have come without Arizona recording a hit to score the run. In 40 of the 48 games in which Arizona has scored, at least one run was plated without the benefit of a hit.
The Wildcats have manufactured runs via ground ball outs to the left side of the infield, wild pitches, walks, balks, sacrifice flies, errors, straight steals and even batters being hit by pitches.
Using All Three Outs: John Hardy's game-winning single against Washington State was just one of many two-out hits the Wildcats have posted this season. Arizona is hitting .304 (183 for 601) and have scored 186 of their 422 runs (44%) as a team with two down in an inning this season. Leading the way individually is senior Justyn St. Clair and freshman Pat Reilly. The duo are hitting .373 and .350, respectively, with two outs. St. Clair has 15 RBIs in the situation and Reilly has 12. Freshman John Hardy leads the team with 27 two-out RBIs. He has 36 total RBIs for the season.
700 and Counting: When Andy Lopez signed on with the Wildcats last summer he had accumulated 687 wins in 19 seasons as head coach at Cal State Dominguez Hills, Pepperdine and Florida. Arizona's win over UC Irvine on Feb. 23 propelled the first year Arizona skipper to his 700th career win. Through 49 games at Arizona, his career record stands at 718-440-6 (.619).
Head Coach Andy Lopez: First-year Arizona skipper Andy Lopez makes his return to the Pac-10 where he played collegiality at UCLA in 1974-75. Entering his 20th season as a head coach Lopez takes over as the head man at his fourth school.
Starting out at Cal State Dominguez Hills in 1983, Lopez has also coached at Pepperdine and the University of Florida. While in Malibu, he led the Waves to the only team national championship in school history, winning the 1992 College World Series title in Omaha. He twice led Florida to Omaha and in the process doubled the Gators number of trips from two in 82 years to four in just seven more.
Just the fifth head coach in the last 80 years at Arizona, he is also one of only seven active coaches with a national championship to his credit and one of eight men to ever lead two or more schools to the College World Series.
Arizona Player Career Stats vs. Washington Hitter G BA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SB Brad Hassey 5 .571 14 6 8 0 1 0 1 2 0 Marc Kaiser 2 .556 9 2 5 1 0 0 0 0 0 Brian Anderson 3 .500 10 2 5 1 0 1 4 3 0 C. Cunningham 2 .400 5 1 2 1 0 0 1 0 0 Ken Riley 4 .200 15 1 3 0 0 0 1 0 0 Moises Duran 3 .111 10 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 Pitcher G GS W-L Sv. IP H R ER BB K ERA Tony Sulser 2 0 0-0 0 1.0 0 0 0 0 2 0.00 Brian Anderson 1 0 0-0 1 1.0 0 0 0 0 2 0.00 Sean Rierson 1 1 1-0 0 8.0 9 2 2 1 5 2.25 Marc Kaiser 1 1 1-0 0 8.1 8 3 3 3 8 3.24 Joe Little 1 1 1-0 0 6.2 6 4 4 2 8 5.40