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Baseball Set To Host Arizona State
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 05/18/2006
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Potential Starting Lineup
1 Brad Boyer L/R 2B Fourth all-time at UA in runs and stolen bases
2 Colt Sedbrook R/R 3B Six game hitting streak (.500, 8 runs, 13 RBI, 3 HR)
3 Jon Gaston L/R RF Has scored three runs in two games vs. ASU this year
4 Jason Donald R/R SS 20-game hitting streak, team leader in RBI (45)
5 Bill Rhinehart L/L LF Second on the team with a .327 batting average
6 David Plante L/R DH 5 for 10 with nine RBI vs. ASU this year
7 Matt Denker R/R C Has started the last seven games behind the plate
8 Brad Glenn R/R 1B Team leader with eight home runs this season
9 T.J. Steele R/R CF Batted .538 with six runs vs. WSU last weekend
Pitching
Fri.  Preston Guilmet RHP Leads all active pitchers with a 4.21 ERA
Sat. Brad Mills LHP Team-leader with five wins in 2006
Sun. TBA
CP Daniel Schlereth RHP Tied for team lead with four saves this season 

 

On the Air

Brian Jeffries, The Voice of the Wildcats, will have all of the live play-by-play action of the weekend series with the Sun Devils. All three games can be heard live on 1290 AM KCUB in Tucson, or fans that have subscribed to Arizona All Access package can listen over the Internet. All three games will be video webcast as well via the All Access package.

 

Senior Sendoff

This weekend will mark the final home games for a pair of UA seniors. Infielder Brad Boyer and outfielder Derek Decater will take to Kindall Field for the last time on Sunday against Arizona State. The baseball program will honor the pair for their contributions on Friday in a pregame ceremony.

 

Last Week

The Wildcats opened their series with a bang, but couldn’t sustain it over the next two days to drop their third straight three-game set ... Arizona set a school record for the most run scored in a Pac-10 game with a 29-4 thrashing of Washington State in the series opener on Saturday ... However, the Cougars battled back to win the second game 9-3 and took the series with a 6-5 win on Monday.

 

No Room For Error

If Arizona wants to avoid its first losing season since 2000 it must win its final six games in the regular season. Standing at 22-27 overall, the Wildcats have to sweep their final home series of the season against Arizona State this weekend and go out on the road next weekend and win three in a row against USC in Los Angeles.

 

Home Protection

A 10-year string of winning seasons at home for Arizona is on the line this weekend. With just the three games against Arizona State at Kindall Field remaining on the home slate, UA, which is currently 14-14 in 28 home dates thus far, has to win two of three to ensure the streak extends another year. The Wildcats last failed to record a winning record on their home field in 1995 when they went 14-19.

 

A Quick Look at Arizona State

The Sun Devils come to Tucson for the three-game conference series with a 32-17 overall record and a 10-8 mark in the Pac-10, good enough for a tie for second in the conference standings ... ASU took two of three from Pac-10 leader Oregon State in Tempe last weekend ... The Devils enter the weekend of play hitting .319 as a team and are averaging 7.4 runs, 11.3 hits and 9.6 RBI per game through 49 contests ... Sophomore Eric Sogard paces the ASU offense with a .372 batting average and a team-high 39 runs scored in 46 games played ... Freshman Ike Davis is tied with Sogard for the team lead with seven home runs and has collected a team-best 58 RBI in his first year in Tempe ... On the mound, ASU has not announced a starting rotation for the weekend yet ... The Sun Devil hurlers have a 4.97 team ERA in 438 1/3 innings pitched this season and have struck out 405 batters against 219 walks.

 

The History

Previous to this weekend, Arizona and Arizona State have met 410 times on the baseball diamond in a series that dates back to 1907 ... The Wildcats hold a 225-184-1 edge in the series and have won five of the last seven games between the two schools.

 

This Season

Arizona and Arizona State have already met twice this season in two single non-conference games ... The Wildcats won the inaugural Challenge at Chase 12-8 on April 2, but the Sun Devils cruised to a 22-8 win over the Cats in the most recent meeting on May 2 in Tempe.

 

Last Season

Arizona and Arizona State met up for five games in the regular season last year, with the Wildcats taking four of five from the Devils ... UA won both the non-conference games in Tucson, 7-6 and 11-5, and rallied to win the conference series two games to one after dropping the series opener on Saturday.

 

Offensive Turning It On

Since bottoming out at a season-low .266 team batting average at Cal on April 1, the Arizona offense has found its stroke. In the 24 games since the game against the Golden Bears, the Wildcats are batting .334 as a group and are averaging 8.4 runs, 12.4 hits, 2.2 doubles and 7.5 RBI per game, well ahead of their season totals. The recent offensive surge has raised the team batting average from .266 to its current .301 mark, a 35-point swing.

 

Offensive Numbers

Entering the weekend of play, the Arizona offense is batting .301 as a team, and averaging seven runs, 10.6 hits and 6.4 RBI per game.

 

All In a Day’s Work

The Arizona offense exploded for 29 runs on 27 hits in a 25-run win over Washington State last Saturday. The Wildcats scored a season-high 13 runs in the fourth inning alone and tied the previous season-high with eight runs in the seventh in the 29-4 victory. Arizona set school records for the most runs scored in a Pac-10 game (29), the most RBI in a Pac-10 game (29) and the most at-bats in a nine-inning Pac-10 game (50). UA collected three doubles, three triples and two home runs in the win.

 

Powering Up

After hitting just eight home runs in the first 23 games of the season, the Wildcats have seen a surge in pitches going over the fence. In Arizona’s last 26 games it has almost quadrupled its home run numbers with 23 bombs to raise its total to 31 for season.

        Individually, freshman Brad Glenn has led the home run charge, hitting six of his team-leading eight homers over the last 26 games, with classmate David Plante adding four. Jason Donald, Colt Sedbrook and Bill Rhinehart have chipped in with three fence-busters each and Jon Gaston with two. Brad Boyer and Konrad Schmidt have added one HR apiece.

 

20 and Counting

Junior Jason Donald’s current 20-game hitting streak is the longest for any Arizona player this season. Beginning on April 9 at Oregon State and still going, Donald is hitting .351 (33 for 94) with eight doubles, a triple, three home runs, 21 RBI and 15 runs scored during his streak. It is the most consecutive games with a hit in Donald’s three-year career at UA (nine, twice) and has helped boost his season average 29 points from .291 to .320.

 

Maybe It’s Contagious

Perhaps it’s coincidence, maybe it’s not, but during Donald’s 20-game hitting streak eight other Wildcat hitters are batting over .300 during that same time span. Travis Peep (.519) and Colt Sedbrook (.405) are both over the .400 mark, while Bill Rhinehart (.392), Matt Denker (.346), T.J. Steele (.377), Jon Gaston (.317), Brad Glenn (.315) and Brad Boyer (.329) have all seen more success at the plate during Donald’s streak. As a team, Arizona is hitting .342 with 44 doubles, 13 triples, 19 home runs and 159 RBI over the last 20 games.

 

He’s More Than Just Target Practice

Sophomore Colt Sedbrook, UA’s single season HBP leader (see note below), has been on a tear at the plate when not getting plunked by a pitch. In Arizona’s last 10 games, Sedbrook is batting .450 (18 for 40) with a double, a triple, three home runs, 14 RBI and 11 runs scored. He is currently riding a season-high six-game hitting streak, and just to make sure he hasn’t forgotten his past, he’s also been hit twice for good measure. The recent efforts have raised his batting average 27 points, from .326 to its current team-best .353, and moved him into fourth in Pac-10 in on-base percentage for the year (.470).

 

Chalk It Up

Senior Brad Boyer has been on a run-scoring tear of late. The four-year starter has come around to score at least one run in 13 of UA’s last 15 games, including a pair of straight steals of home, and has scored in 34 of the 47 games he has played in this season. The recent run, pun intended, has boosted Boyer into some very exclusive company in the annals of Arizona baseball history. With 210 career runs scored, Boyer is only the fourth player in Arizona history to tally 200 or more at UA. Against Washington on April 30 he moved past former teammate Jeff Van Houten for fourth on career list and he needs 10 runs in UA’s final nine games in the regular season to tie Les Pearsey for third on the list.

Top Run Scorers in School History
1 Dave Stegman 1973-76 287
2 Chip Hale 1984-87 246
3 Les Pearsey 1975-78 220
4 Brad Boyer 2003-Present 210

 

Grand Theft

In addition to his run-scoring prowess, Brad Boyer has also become one of the most successful base stealers at UA. With 71 career stolen bases, Boyer is currently fourth all-time at Arizona. However, he’ll be hard pressed to move up the list over UA’s six remaining regular season games, as Dave Stegman currently holds the No. 3 slot with 86 thefts.

 

Post Easter Peep

One day away from redshirting the 2006 season, Travis Peep has taken advantage of his opportunities over the last month. Making his first collegiate appearance at Oregon State on April 7, Peep has collected 14 hits in 29 at-bats for a .483 average. The first-year Wildcat has two doubles, four RBI, scored eight runs and four hits in seven pinch hit appearances.

 

The Nine Hole

The last spot in the batting order has been one of the most productive for Arizona this season. The No. 9 hole in the order has seen the 11 players that have hit there hit a batting order-best .369 (65 for 176) with 36 runs scored, 29 RBI and two home runs this season. Freshman T.J. Steele, who hit in No. 9 hole last weekend against Washington State, finished the three-game series against the Cougars 7 for 13 (.538) with a double, a triple, three RBI and a team-best six runs scored.

 

Denker’s Dish

Sophomore Matt Denker has started the last seven straight games behind the plate for the Wildcats. The first-year Wildcat has responded to his new role by batting .346 (9 for 26) with two doubles and seven RBI. For the year, Denker is hitting .326 (14 for 43) with three doubles, a triple, 11 RBI and seven runs scored in 17 games and 12 starts.

 

Wearing It

When T.J. Steele was plunked with the bases loaded against Southern Utah on April 25, it pushed the Wildcats into uncharted territory in the annals of school history. Steele’s third HBP of the year was the 70th overall for Arizona as a team, eclipsing the former school record of 69 set in 55 games in 2002. The Wildcats have been hit 16 more times since then to extend the record to 86 for the year. At the current pace, 1.8 HBP/game, Arizona will end its 55-game regular season with 97 HBP.

 

It Didn’t Last Long

Jason Donald’s stay atop the single season list for getting hit by pitches was a short one. Sophomore teammate Colt Sedbrook displaced his junior teammate in the record books in less than one season when he was hit for the 20th time on against Southern Utah on April 26. Donald, the all-time HBP leader at UA with 37, was hit by 19 pitches in 55 games last year. To put things further in perspective, Sedbrook’s 22 HBP this season alone places him in alone in third on the all-time career list at UA. The sophomore, who enters the week in a three-way tie for second among all Division I players in HBP/Game, is getting dosed about an average of every other game. With six games remaining on the regular season schedule, Sedbrook is looking to get tagged three more times before the end of May and finish the regular season with 25.

 

Bulls Eye

Getting plunked in back-to-back ABs against La Salle on Feb. 25 moved junior Jason Donald past Kenny Corley for the top spot on the all-time HBP list at Arizona. Donald, who was hit by 10 pitches his freshman season and by 19 last year, has been hit by eight pitches in 45 games this season for an all-time high of 37. To put Donald’s record-breaking wayward pitch magnetism in perspective, Corley’s former record of 32 was set in 201 games played over four seasons (1995-98). Donald has been hit by 37 pitches in two-plus seasons and 168 games played.

 

So Close

Arizona has been just a couple of runs away from  being a struggling sub-.500 team to a force in college baseball this season.  In seven losses to No. 3 Cal State Fullerton, No. 6 Nebraska and No. 19 Mississippi State earlier this year, six were by two runs or less, including a pair of one-run losses. For the year, 12 of Arizona’s 27 losses have come by two or fewer runs. The Wildcats have dropped seven games by one run and five by two.

 

One Pitch, One Swing, Two Accomplishments

Freshman Jon Gaston hit the first collegiate pitch thrown to him over the right field fence at Kindall Field in UA’s season-opener against LMU on Feb. 3. The home run marked the first time since Nick Hundley in 2003 that a UA player homered in his first career at-bat. Hitting the home run as pinch hitter, Gaston’s HR was also the first for a replacement batter at Arizona since Dallas Haught went yard for the Wildcats as a PH against Washington State on 4/19/2003.

 

Pitching Numbers

Through 49 games, the Wildcats have posted a 5.24 team ERA in 436 1/3 innings pitched, and have 440 strikeouts against 197 walks ... Arizona leads the Pac-10 in strikeouts this season, including a conference-best 153 punch outs looking.

 

Sitting Them Down

As noted above, Arizona leads the Pac-10 in strikeouts this season. All 10 pitchers that have thrown for the Wildcats have more Ks then BBs this year, including seven with better then a 2-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. As a team, UA is averaging 9.1 strikeouts per game. As a comparison, last year’s staff that struck out a school record 554 batters in 60 games averaged 9.2 K/nine innings. Arizona has punched out double digit hitters in 21 of 49 contests thus far, including a season-high 17 against Cal on April 1.

 

Pressing On

Any team that plays without not only its Friday starter but its closer as well would certainly struggle, and Arizona is no exception. With the loss of starter Eric Berger for the season and relief expert Mark Melancon for an extended time (about 14 of the 27 regulation innings pitched over a weekend) a number of Arizona pitchers have been thrust into different roles. True freshman Preston Guilment went from being the Saturday starter to the Friday guy. Left-handed junior Brad Mills has also been bumped up a day, from Sunday to Saturday, and fellow southpaw David Coulon went from the bullpen, where had been pitching well for the Wildcats, into the Sunday starting spot. Left-handed transfer Daniel Schlereth has gone from a match-up/set-up reliever out of the bull pen to the closer.

 

Run of the Mills

Junior Brad Mills has emerged as one of the top pitchers on the UA staff. After only accumulating only 23 1/3 innings in his first two years at UA, Mills has tossed 76 1/3 innings this season. His 4.36 ERA this year is the best for all active pitchers and his five wins on the mound leads the team. Mills has also played a part in two of UA’s three shut out wins this season. The left-hander blanked Notre Dame over five innings at the Metrodome in a 2-0 win over the Irish earlier this season and he most recently went a season-high eight innings in Arizona’s 15-0 whitewashing of Washington on April 29.

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