Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Baseball Heads Out to Face No. 14 Oregon State
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: April 07, 2006
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Potential Starting Lineup
1 Brad Boyer L/R 2B Has scored a team-high 26 runs this season
2 Jon Gaston L/R RF Leads UA with three HR this season
3 Jason Donald R/R SS Leads UA with 24 RBI this season
4 Bill Rhinehart L/L LF Finished with two RBI and two runs scored vs. ASU on Sun.
5 Colt Sedbrook R/R 3B Has been hit by a Pac-10-high 16 pitches this year
6 David Plante L/R DH Hit a grand slam and had seven RBI vs. ASU on Sunday
7 Brad Glenn R/R 1B Has five-game hitting streak entering this weekend
8 T.J. Steele  R/R CF Rejoined the starting lineup in CF vs. ASU
9 Konrad Schmidt R/R C Batted. 364 in three games last weekend
Fri.  Preston Guilmet RHP His 2.41 ERA as a starter is the lowest for any UA starter
Sat. Brad Mills LHP Has given up three or less earned runs in seven of eight starts
Sun. David Coulon LHP Making third start of the year
CP Mark Melancon RHP Has given up just one earned run out of the pen this year


On the Air

All three games against Oregon State can be heard on the radio or Internet this weekend. Brian Jeffries, The Voice of the Wildcats, will bring all the action live on 1290 AM KCUB in Tucson, or fans that have subscribed to UA’s All Access package can hear the games on their computer. All-Access subscribers can watch Oregon State's video webcasts of all three games.


Two Games, Two States, One Day

The Wildcats participated in a truly unique experience last Sunday. Playing in Berkeley, Calif., on April 1, the second game of a double header against Cal was halted due to darkness and the lack of lights at Evans Diamond. With the score tied 4-4 in the 12th inning, the end of the contest was postponed until Sunday morning at 10 a.m. The solution wouldn’t have presented any problems except for the fact that Arizona had already checked out of its hotel, had a 7:40 p.m. flight to Phoenix and was scheduled to play in-state rival Arizona State 650 miles away at Chase Field that same Sunday afternoon. Below is a timeline of Arizona’s unique two games, two states, one day adventure.

Saturday, April 1

8 a.m. - Arizona checks out of hotel, departs for Evans Diamond

10 a.m. - Cal and Arizona play game one of a double header, UA wins 5-1

2:45 p.m. - Second game of DH begins

6:30 p.m. - Game halted in 12th inning with the score tied 4-4 due to darkness

7:30 p.m. - Arizona checks back in to hotel, cancels flight and re-books airfare for Sunday

Sunday, April 2

8 a.m. - Arizona checks out of hotel for a second time, heads back to Evans Diamond

10 a.m. - Game from Saturday resumes in the top of the 13th

10:11 a.m. - Cal wins 5-4 on Brian Nesbitt’s one-out, walk-off home run in the 13th

10:45 a.m. - Arizona departs for Oakland airport

12:30 p.m. - Arizona splits up and boards two different flights to Phoenix

2:30-3:00 p.m. - Arizona arrives in Phoenix, gathers luggage and heads to Chase Field

3:30 p.m. - Arizona arrives at Chase

3:45 - 5:07 p.m. - Arizona misses batting practice, but warms up and takes infield and outfield

5:07 p.m. - Challenge at Chase begins

8:41 p.m. - Backed by an eighth-inning grand slam by David Plante, UA defeats No. 10 ASU 12-8

9:30 p.m. - Arizona departs via bus for Tucson

11:45 p.m. - Arizona arrives home at McKale Center


Last Week

As noted above, Arizona’s road trip to open the Pac-10 schedule was anything but ordinary. Still, the Wildcats managed to split their four games over the weekend, going 1-2 at Cal and defeating Arizona State, 12-8, at the Challenge at Chase ... UA batted .269 in the four games and hit four doubles and a pair of home runs ... Freshman David Plante led all players over the weekend with a .400 average (6 for 15). The first-year Wildcat hit his first career home run, a grand slam against Arizona State, and finished the game against the Sun Devils with a season-high seven RBI ... On the mound, Arizona posted a 2.58 team ERA and finished with 43 strikeouts in 38 1/3 innings pitched ... Brad Mills (6 IP, 0 R, 7 K) and Daniel Schlereth (2 1/3 IP, 0 R, 7 K) both picked up wins on the weekend.


A Busy Stretch

Starting last Thursday with UA’s Pac-10 opener at Cal, the Wildcats are at the beginning of a stretch with 20 games in 32 days that will cover the end of March and the entire month of April. The pro-like schedule features three home series (vs. UCLA April 13-15, Stanford April 21-23 and Southern Utah April 25-26), three road trips to Berkeley (March 30-April 1), Corvallis (April 7-9) and Seattle (April 28-30) that will cover a total of 6,124 round trip miles traveled, a neutral-site game against Arizona State (April 2) in Chase Field and a exhibition game against the Tucson Sidewinders (April 4) at TEP.


A Quick Look at Oregon State

The defending Pac-10 champion Beavers head into the weekend ranked No. 14 in the latest Sports Weekly/USAToday Coaches Poll ... With a 19-8 overall record, OSU has won seven of its last eight games ... The Beavers are 1-2 in the conference after dropping a pair at USC to open the Pac-10 season March 17-19 ... As a team, OSU is batting .310 and is averaging 6.7 runs, 10.9 hits and 5.7 RBI per game this year ... Shortstop Darwin Barney, the 2005 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, leads OSU with a .360 batting average and eight stolen bases ... Junior Cole Gillespie boasts a team-leading 33 runs scored, six home runs and a .358 batting average ... On the mound, OSU returns its CWS starting rotation of Dallas Buck (6-0, 3.38 ERA), Jonah Nickerson (4-3, 2.36 ERA) and Anton Maxwell (3-2, 4.72 ERA), as well as closer Kevin Gunderson (1-1, 1.93 ERA, seven saves) ... Head coach Pat Casey is in his 12th year in Corvallis.


The History

Arizona and Oregon State have met 35 times on the baseball diamond dating back to 1963 ... Arizona holds a 21-14 advantage in the all-time series and is 7-5 against OSU under fifth-year head coach Andy Lopez.


Last Season

The Wildcats were the lone team to win a weekend series during the regular season from the Beavers, winning two of three games at Kindall Field in Tucson ... Former Wildcat Trevor Crowe paced Arizona to a series opening victory with a three-run triple and a straight steal of home in the 7-5 victory. The Wildcats handed starter Dallas Buck his first loss of the year with the win ... Oregon State blew out Arizona in the second game of the series 17-1, as UA managed just six hits while surrendering 18... In the rubber game of the series, Arizona scored two runs off of closer Kevin Gunderson in the bottom of the ninth to steal a 7-6 win and the series.


Playing Where The Pros Play

Arizona, which will play the Tucson Sidewinders in an exhibition game at Tucson Electric Park on Tuesday, has already played in two professional ballparks and, including Tuesday’s contest, is slated to play in two more this year. So far, UA is 3-1 playing where the pros play, winning two of three in the Dairy Queen Classic at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, and downing Arizona State, 12-8, at Chase Field last Sunday at the Challenge at Chase. In addition to Tuesday’s exhibition, UA is also slated to play New Mexico in Albuquerque, N.M., at Isotopes Park, home of the AAA affiliate for the Florida Marlins, on April 18.


Mending Up

The injury front got some good news last week as seniors Derek Decater (shoulder) and Brad Boyer (hip), and freshman Jon Gaston (wrist) returned to the lineup. The lone question mark for the Wildcats remains sophomore LHP/DH Eric Berger. His ailing elbow is still being evaluated, and his availability for this weekend is doubtful.


Rotational Movement

For a second straight weekend, Eric Berger’s ailing elbow has caused a change in the Arizona pitching rotation for the series at Oregon State. Freshman right-hander Preston Guilmet, who moved from his normal No. 2 spot into the No. 1 slot last weekend at Cal, will open the weekend series against OSU’s Dallas Buck. Left-hander Brad Mills will also jump up a day and will pitch in the second game of the series against Jonah Nickerson, while fellow southpaw David Coulon will make his third start of the season as the No. 3-man in the rotation against OSU’s Anton Maxwell.


Offensive Numbers

Entering the week of play, the Arizona offense is batting .271 as a team, and is averaging 5.8 runs, 9.1 hits and 5.4 RBI per game ... Arizona currently leads the Pac-10 with 17 triples.


Pitching Numbers

Through 27 games, the Wildcats have posted a 4.12 team ERA in 242.1 innings pitched, and have 269 strikeouts against 96 walks.


The Competition’s Been Tough

Arizona faced a pretty tough slate in the month of March. The Wildcats took on three ranked teams, No. 11 Nebraska, No. 15 Mississippi State and No. 7 Cal State Fullerton, that have a combined overall record of 66-15 thus far. The Husker, who are currently No. 8 in the nation in the Sports Weekly/USAToday Coaches Poll, scored two late runs to defeat Arizona 3-1 at the Dairy Queen Classic in Minneapolis. The Bulldogs, currently ranked No. 3 overall, went undefeated through the first 18 games of the year ( including a 3-2, 9-2, 5-4 series sweep of Arizona) and are currently 22-3 overall. The Titans, who were swept on opening weekend by Stanford and have since won 24 of their last 28 games (including a series sweep of the Wildcats), are currently ranked No. 1 in the poll.


So Close

Despite playing such a tough schedule, Arizona is just a couple of runs away from being one of the big stories around college baseball. In the seven losses to No. 1 Cal State Fullerton, No. 3 Mississippi State and No. 8 Nebraska, six have been by two runs or less, including a pair of one-run losses. For the year, nine of Arizona’s 14 losses have come by two or fewer runs. The Wildcats have dropped five games by one run and four by two.


The Big Inning

A stumbling block for the Wildcats this season has been surrendering the big inning. In eight of UA’s 14 losses this year Arizona has given up three or more runs in a frame. In most cases the big inning has been a factor in the final score, in a few others, not so much

Opponent Inning Runs Final Score
2/5 Loyola Marymount 8th 3 12-5
2/10 UC Riverside* 2nd 3 8-5
2/10 UC Riverside* 6th 4 8-5
2/17 New Mexico 3rd 4 6-5
2/18 New Mexico 8th 4 7-3
3/11 Mississippi State 8th 5 9-2
3/17 Cal State Fullerton 5th 4 6-4
3/16 UC Irvine  8th 6 7-1
3/30 Cal 4th 3 3-2
* Same Game

Mound Construction

Engineering major Brad Mills has done some fine work on the mound as a starter in the Arizona rotation. The left-hander is 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA and 42 strikeouts overall this season. He has set a new career-high for strikeouts three times already, helped team up with closer Mark Melancon for Arizona’s lone shut out of the year against Notre Dame, and he has given up three earned runs or less in seven of his eight starts this season. All the numbers are impressive on their own, but when taking into consideration that Mills has already surpassed his first two seasons innings pitched totals in just this year alone, they stand out even more.

Mills' First Two Seasons vs. 2006
Year(s) ERA W L IP K
2004-05 4.63 0 1 23.1 19
2006 2.93 3 1 46 49


Melancon Mows ?'Em Down

Wildcat closer Mark Melancon has been nearly untouchable out of the bullpen this season. Having surrendered just one earned run in relief this season, the right-hander currently leads the Wildcats with a Pac-10 Conference-best 1.45 ERA. Out of the pen, Melancon has struck out 43 batters and walked only 12 in 32 1/3 innings pitched out of the bullpen, and opponents are hitting just .179 against him in relief. The “as a reliever” qualifier must be used because in his one start this season the junior surrendered a career-high six runs on five hits to New Mexico, and thus his return to the bullpen.

Melancon Starting vs. Relief Numbers This Season

Starting (1 start) 0-1, 9.00 ERA, 5 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, .333 Opp BA
Relief (12 app) 3-1, 4 saves, 0.28 ERA, 32.1 IP, 20 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 10 BB, 43 K, .179 Opp BA


Not Your Typical Closer

As noted above, Mark Melancon has posted some very nice numbers out of the bullpen in the early going for Arizona. What makes them even more impressive is that the junior is not a typical one-inning closer. In 12 relief appearances, the right-hander has gone two or more innings nine times, and has pitched three or more innings six times. UA’s trip to Minneapolis proved the value to Arizona of his ability to go longer in games. Clinging to a 4-2 lead with the tying runs on base in the sixth inning against Minnesota on Friday, Melancon entered and ended the Gopher threat with a pair of strikeouts and then held them scoreless over the final three innings in an eventual 7-2 Arizona win. Two days later, Melancon entered a 0-0 game with Notre Dame and held the Fighting Irish scoreless over the final 4 2/3 innings, which allowed the Wildcat offense to pull off a 2-0, 10-inning victory despite getting out-hit 10 to 4 in the game.


Guilmet Gets the Nod

Freshman right-hander Preston Guilmet moved into the weekend rotation on Feb. 26, and has made an impression in six career starts. Guilmet has gone seven innings three times and given up just 10 earned runs on 38 hits, while striking out 34 and walking only eight. His 2.41 ERA as a starting pitcher is the best for any Arizona starter this season.

Guilmet Relief vs. Starting Numbers

Relief (4 app) 0-0, 5.79 ERA, 9 1/3 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 14 K, .243 Opp BA
Starting (6 starts) 2-4, 2.41 ERA, 37 1/3 IP, 38 H, 14 R, 10 ER, 8 BB, 34 K, .269 Opp BA


Preston Presses On

Freshman Preston Guilmet has been the recipient of some tough losses this season. The right-hander is 2-4 this season, but in his four losses he has given up just a total of nine earned  runs on 26 its in 23 2/3 innings pitched for a 3.42 ERA. The Wildcat offense has posted a combined eight runs in those four losses, a 3-1 decision to No. 11 Nebraska, a 9-2 defeat to No. 15 Mississippi State, a 5-3 loss to No. 7 Cal State Fullerton and a 3-2 loss at Cal.


Taking a Dose

Maybe an orange safety vest should be required for the Arizona hitters this season. Opponent pitchers are averaging 1.9 hit batters per game through 27 conte

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