April 16, 2003
Notes From the Washington Series: Arizona scored a two games to one series win over the Cougars to move back above .500 in the conference ... The Wildcats batted .324 to UW's .208 for the series ... Wildcat base runners went 6 for 8 in stolen bases ... Arizona's pitching staff tallied a 2.79 ERA with 27 strike outs against just nine walks in 29 innings pitched ... Freshman Derek Decater led the Arizona offense with a .444 batting average in the series ... Sophomore Jeff Van Houten continued his hot hitting with a 5 for 12 (.417) weekend. The outfielder tallied a double, a triple and two home runs to go along with six RBIs in the series ... Richard Mercado and Moises Duran each chipped in with a home run apiece ... Arizona is now 9-7 all-time against Washington ... Friday: Arizona fell in extra innings after giving up a late 3-1 lead ... Washington scored the winning run on an errant pick off attempt in the top of the 11th inning ... Starter Richie Gardner missed out on his seventh win of the season for the second straight week. The right-hander did not earn a decision in nine innings of work. He struck out 10 and gave up just three runs on seven hits ... Van Houten hit his ninth home run of the season in the loss ... Senior Brian Pemble was charged with his first loss of the year ... Saturday: The Wildcats rebounded on Saturday with a 13-4 win ... Decater finished a perfect 3 for 3 with two doubles, a triple, three RBIs and a run scored in the win ... Trevor Crowe, Brad Boyer, Richard Mercado and Pat Reilly all chipped in with two hits in the game. Mercado hit his third home run of the season ... Junior Sean Rierson picked up his team-high seventh win of the year with eight innings of work on the mound. The right-hander struck out six and walked just one ... Arizona stole six bases in the game ... Eight of Arizona's 14 hits in the game went for extra bases ... Sunday: Arizona wrapped up its second conference series win of the season with a 9-4 win in the series finale ... Freshmen John Meloan and Kevin Guyette bailed out junior Joe Little with 8 1/3 innings of scoreless relief on the mound ... Meloan struck out a career-high seven batters in 5 1/3 innings to pick up the win. Guyette worked the final three innings for his second save of the year ... Van Houten missed out on hitting for the cycle by just a double for the second straight week. The sophomore hit a triple in the first, a homer in the third and a single in the seventh to finish 3 for 4 with four RBIs.
Notes From the Sac State Game: The Wildcats dropped a game in the ninth inning for the fifth time this season, losing 12-11 to the Hornets ... The two teams combined for 23 runs, 27 hits, seven errors, three hit batters, four wild pitches and two passed balls in the 3 hour 41 minute game ... The four-run ninth inning erased Moises Duran's tie-breaking three-run homer in the seventh ... Duran finished with four RBIs on a pair of hits in the game ... Senior Brian Pemble was charge with his second loss in four days after giving up all four runs in the ninth ... Arizona used a season-high seven pitchers in the game ... The Wildcats will face Sac State again this season on Monday, April 28 in Sacramento, Calif.
Polling Place: Arizona's series win over Washington bumped the Wildcats up one spot, from 26th to 25th, in the latest Collegiate Baseball poll and marked their return to the USA Today/Sports Weekly poll at the No. 24 spot.
Three Times The Fun: Arizona's 39 triples this season has UA on the door step of knocking off one the greatest Wildcat teams in school history in the Pac-10 record books. The 1986 College World Series champion Arizona team tallied a single-season Pac-10 record 43 three-baggers. With 17 games remaining on the schedule this season, the 2003 squad will likely surpass the 16-year old conference mark by a considerable margin.
National Leaders: The NCAA released the national statistics this week for the first time in 2003 and Arizona is represented among the leaders in a number of categories. Individually, sophomore Jeff Van Houten's .445 average heading into play on Monday places him 12th in the nation among all Division I players. He also ranks seventh among all players nationally in RBIs per game (1.43) and is tied for sixth in triples per game (0.19). As a team, Arizona is fourth in team batting average (.341) and fifth in scoring (9.5 runs). Arizona, both as a team and individually, were not ranked among the national leaders in any statistical category last season.
Batting Average Scoring 1. Southern .360 1. Southern 10.5 4. Arizona .341 5. Arizona 9.5
Getting Offensive: The Arizona offense currently has a team .341 batting average, down one point from last week's .342 and six points higher than the season low of .335 (3/9) ... As a team, Arizona ranks either first or second in nearly every offensive category in the Pac-10 this season ... Heading into play on Monday, the Wildcats are slugging at a Pac-10-best .553 clip and have a .404 on-base percentage, third in the conference ... The Wildcats' 39 triples and 102 stolen bases not only lead the Pac-10, but double up on the nearest school in the rankings ... Heading into the week, sophomore Jeff Van Houten continues to lead Arizona in average (.445), hits (61), slugging percentage (.796) and RBIs (53) ... Van Houten's batting average and slugging percentage are the best in the Pac-10 so far this season ... Junior Brian Anderson leads the team with a career-high 10 home runs and seven triples ... Freshman Brad Boyer has 46 runs scored, third in the Pac-10, and 15 stolen bases, second in the conference. See pages 4-5 of the notes for the Pac-10 leaders and where Arizona ranks.
On the Bump: Arizona's staff ERA sits at 4.11 heading into the weekend series with the Huskies, up from 4.06 after the Pac-10 series at UCLA, but still second among the Pac-10 schools ... The Wildcat hurlers have recorded a better than 2-to-1 strike out to walk ratio this season (293 to 128) ... Arizona used a season-high seven pitchers in its loss to Sac State on Monday ... Junior Richie Gardner ranks third in the conference in ERA (2.88), strike outs (64) and innings pitched (68.2) ... Classmate Sean Rierson is tied for the conference lead in wins (7) and is fourth in innings pitched (64.0) ... Arizona's season-long struggle in the bullpen cost the Wildcats a pair of games last week. UA lost in extra innnings against Washington last Friday and a four-run ninth cost Arizona a win against Sac State on Monday. Arizona has now lost five games in the ninth inning to blown saves.
Up Coming: Arizona continues its Pac-10 schedule this week with a three-game series in the Pacific Northwest against Washington State ... The Cougars enter play with the Wildcats fresh off a two games to one series win over Oregon State last weekend ... The Cougars return 21 letterwinners and nine starters from last season's 21-33 team ... Wazzu is batting .257 as a team and have a team ERA of 6.28 ... Individually, junior Justin Hart paces the WSU attack with a .347 batting average ... Freshman Jay Miller has scored a team-high 23 runs, while sophomore Grant Richards has a team-high 25 RBIs and five home runs in 2003 ... On the mound, WSU will send left Tony Banaszak (2-7, 4.14), RHP Bryce Chamberlin (3-4, 7.21) and RHP Aaron MacKenzie (2-3, 4.32) to the mound this weekend ... Head coach Tim Mooney is in his third season in Pullman and has tallied a 47-96 record as the Cougars' skipper. Arizona Probable Pitching Rotation vs. Washington State Friday - Richie Gardner RHP (6-1, 2.88 ERA) Saturday - Sean Rierson (7-1, 4.78 ERA) Sunday - TBA
Arizona vs. Washington All-Time: In a series that dates back to 1975, Arizona owns a 13-7 all-time lead in 20 meetings between the two schools ... The Cougars won the 2002 series played in Tucson two games to one in stange fashion. All three games were decided by a three-run ninth inning. The Cougars took the opening game and the series finale with a ninth inning rally, while Arizona rallied for a final inning win in the second game.
Van Hitting: Perhaps Jeff Van Houten should request a name change. From the first game played this season, the sophomore outfielder has done nothing but hit. In 38 starts (he missed one game at UCLA with sore ribs) he is batting a team-high .440 while leading the team in hits (62) and RBIs (54). This season he has posted 16 multi-hit games and 14 multiple RBI games, both are the best for any player on the Arizona roster. His season-low for batting average came on March 8 at Texas when it "dropped" to .373. He has collected at least one hit in 32 games this year, and when he has gone hitless he has still managed to put the ball in play. In his six hitless games he has struck out just three times, while recording three RBIs. The last Arizona player to be even close to Van Houten's batting average through the first 39 games of the season happened back in 1998 when Jason Hendricks was batting .405 (51 for 126).
Ninth Inning Woes: The Wildcats have picked a particularly bad inning to be out-scored in this season. Arizona is out-scoring its opponents in the first eight innings by a combined 199 runs this year. The ninth inning however has proven to be a different matter. With big innings being the main culprit, the Wildcats are getting out-scored by over a 3-to-1 margin (40 to 11) in the final frame. The good news is that Arizona has won nine of the 14 games that it has surrendered runs in the ninth. The bad news is that the Wildcats have blown five leads that have eventually led to losses.
Anderson Adding Up: Junior Brian Anderson has bounced back nicely from a down year in 2002. The third-year starter has already surpassed his career home run total of nine in just this season alone and has also topped his single-season-bests in runs scored (41 in 2003, 40 in 2001) and RBIs (40 in 2003, 38 in 2001). His seven triples this season not only lead the team this year, but are also one more than his freshman and sophomore seasons combined.
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 seven freshmen that have played this season have 187 hits, 130 runs, 39 doubles, 12 triples, 10 home runs, 115 RBIs and 38 stolen bases. Brad Boyer is currently fourth on the team with a .373 batting average and leads all players with 48 runs scored and 16 stolen bases.
2003 Arizona Freshmen Numbers (Boyer, Brown, Crowe, Decater, Franklin, Frey, Hundley) Category Combined Total Percent of Team Total AB 545 38% Runs 130 35% Hits 187 38% (The freshmen have class .343 BA) 2B 39 42% 3B 12 31% HR 10 22% RBIs 115 35% SB 38 37%
Freshman Record Book: As far as freshmen Wildcats are concerned, first-year starter Brad Boyer is posting numbers that rival some of the best in school history. Boyer already ranks among the Arizona freshmen leaders in a number of offensive categories:
Stat Freshman Record Boyer's Numbers/Rank
Runs Keoni DeRenne (1999) - 68 48/t4th
Hits Keoni DeRenne (199) - 81 60/11th
Triples Alan Zinter (1987), - 7 7/t1st
Damon Mashore (1989)
Stolen Bases Damon Mashore (1989) - 22 16/2nd
Extra Base Hits Shelley Duncan (1999) - 33 20/t5th
Total Bases Shelley Duncan (1999) - 135 93/10th
Batting Average Dave Page (1981) - .374 .373/2nd
On-Base % Dave Page (1981) - .457 .430/5th
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 102 bases this season, 18 more than Arizona stole the entire season last year and just the 10th team in school history to swipe over 100. The Wildcats currently average nearly three steal a game. Arizona stole a season-high 11 bases in their 15-12 win over Portland on March 12. The school record for stolen bases in a season is 150 set by the 1985 team.
Team Stolen Bases (Last 10 Seasons)
2003 102 - Through 39 games.
Speed Kills: Along the same lines of improved team speed is the ability to take extra bases. Arizona has already surpassed 2002's totals in both doubles (92 this season, 89 in 2002) and triples (39 this season, 25 in 2002). Including Jeff Van Houten's inside-the park home run, the Wildcats have 132 hits that have gone for extra bases and are not traditional over the fence homers (92 doubles, 39 triples, one inside-the-park home run) which accounts for nearly 27-percent of all of Arizona's hits for the season. Toss in the 44 traditional home runs and 37-percent of UA's hits are for extra bases.
Double Digits: The Wildcats have found success this season when scoring double digit runs. Arizona is 14-3 (.824) when scoring 10 or more runs in a game this season.
T-Squared: Having gained his eligibility prior to the Texas road trip, junior Terrence Taylor has played in 17 games, including 14 starts. During that short span, the speedy JC transfer is batting .418 with 20 runs scored, six doubles, two triples and 11 stolen 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, but since has hit safely in Arizona's next 11 games for at least one hit in in 37 of the 38 games he has played this year.
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)
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 29 of 61 would-be base stealers this season for a 48-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.
What A Difference A Year Makes: Through 39 games this season, Arizona's offense continues to blow away the 2002 team's numbers by a considerable margin. At this point a year ago Arizona was batting .285 with 383 hits, 304 runs scored, 66 doubles, 17 triples, 41 home runs and 264 RBIs. This year the Wildcats are batting .341 with 494 hits, 373 runs scored, 92 doubles, 39 triples, 45 home runs and 332 RBIs. Individually, Arizona had just four players batting .300 or better through the first 39 games last season, while the Wildcats have two players hitting better than .400 this season and 10 at .300 or better.
Average .285 .341
Hits 383 494
Runs 304 373
Doubles 66 92
Triples 17 39
Home Runs 41 45
RBIs 264 332
Slugging Pct. .450 .552
Players Batting .300+ 5 10
Players Batting .400+ 0 2
Stolen Bases 56 of 82 102 of 129
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 was 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.
Richie Gardner - Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week: Junior Richie Gardner was 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.
Jeff Van Houten - Pac-10 Player of the Week Part II: Arizona sophomore Jeff Van Houten was named the April 8 Pac-10 Player of the week. The honor was the second of the season for Van Houten and the fifth weekly award for an Arizona player/pitcher this season. Van Houten garnered his second recognition of the year for his 9 for 13-weekend against Miami (Ohio). The second-year starter batted .692 with two triples, his seventh home run of the season, five runs scored and a team-high eight RBIs. He posted a .714 on-base percentage and tallied a 1.231 slugging percentage in helping Arizona win its final non-conference series of the season. In Sunday's 9-4 win he finished 3 for 4 with a career-high-tying six RBIs and needed just a double to hit for the cycle. He was recognized by the Pac-10 previously this season for the week of March 10-17. The Player of the Week honor is 39th all-time for an Arizona player and the second in Van Houten's career. UA's five weekly award winners this season (three pitchers, two players) are the most for a Wildcat team since the 1992 club also had five members (four pitchers, one player) recognized. The 1991 Arizona team tallied a school record eight Player/Pitcher of the Week honorees.
Head Coach Andy Lopez: Andy Lopez, now in his second season at Arizona, has posted a career 742-454-6 (.620) 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.