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Baseball Notes - Season Opener vs. New Mexico
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 02/01/2005
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Radio Coverage: Sunday's game against New Mexico can be heard live on the radio on Arizona's flagship station 1290 AM - The Source. Brian Jeffries, the Voice of the Wildcats, will bring all of the game's action live. Out of the area fans can listen in over the internet by subscribing to Arizona's "All-Access" package. Including Sunday's game, a total of 30 UA baseball games will broadcast this season, including all 24 home and away Pacific-10 Conference contests.

 

Basketball/Baseball Doubleheader: Fans in possession of a ticket stub from Saturday's 11 a.m. Arizona-Stanford men's basketball game will have an opportunity to redeem it for a free ticket to the Arizona-New Mexico baseball game scheduled for 2 p.m. that same day. Simply take your basketball ticket stub to the Sancet Field Ticket Office and pick up a free ticket for the baseball game (one baseball game ticket per basketball game ticket stub). The baseball game will begin approximently 45 minutes after the conclusion the the hoops game. Wildcat fans, show your support for both outstanding programs and make Saturday your "Wildcat Doubleheader Day".

 

For Openers: Arizona will begin the 2005 regular season with a three-game series against former WAC foe New Mexico ... Among current non-conference opponents, the Lobos rank as the No. 1 team in terms of games played against the Wildcats (180 all-time) ... The Wildcats swept a two-game series against UNM in 2003, the last meeting between the two schools ... Arizona currently enjoys a 152-28 (.844) advantage in the all-time series and has won the last 19 straight games between the two ... New Mexico’s last victory over Arizona came on Jan. 31, 1997 ... Head coach Andy Lopez picked up his first career victory at UA against the Lobos on opening day in 2002.

 

Opening Weekend Success: After opening the 2004 season with a three-game sweep over UC Riverside, the Wildcats have won 10-straight opening weekend series dating back to 1995 and have gone 25-6 on the first weekend of the season during that span ... Dating back to 1994, Arizona is 10-1 on opening day, with the lone loss coming from BYU in 2003 ... UA is 2-1 on opening day under fourth-year head coach Andy Lopez.

 

The Non-Conference Slate: According to plan, the Wildcats will face a challenging non-conference slate in 2005. UA will take on not only defending national champions Cal State Fullerton, but the CWS runner up Texas as well. Mississippi State, a Collegiate Baseball top 25 team and 2004 regional participant, will also pay a visit to Tucson in early March, as well as UNLV, Northern Colorado and UC Riverside.

 

Some Familiar Foes, Some Not So: Among Arizona’s 12 non-conference opponents this season, the Wildcats have faced nine of the schools at least once over the past two seasons, including Cal State Fullerton, Texas, Arizona State, UT Pan Am and New Mexico. For two of the other three non-Pac-10 schools it’s been a while. The last time Arizona and Mississippi State squared off was all the way back in 1981, a span of 24 years. The Wildcats and Northern Colorado have gone even longer without having played. The two last faced each other 30 years ago in 1975. Utah Valley State and Arizona will be meeting for the first time ever in early May.

 

No Place Like Home: A season removed from playing the fewest number of home games since 1973 (27 home games in 2004), Arizona will play 19 of its first 22 games of the season in Tucson, and will host a more-typical total of 34 regular season games at Kindall Field in 2005. Since moving to its current location on the corners of Enke and National Championship Drives in 1967, Arizona has posted 34 winning seasons at Kindall Field, including the last nine straight.

 

Preseason Polls: The Wildcats will open the season a unanimous No. 12 in the rankings. Baseball America, Sports Weekly/ESPN and Collegiate Baseball all placed the Wildcats just outside of the top 10 to start the year. The Wildcats concluded the 2004 season ranked sixth in the Collegiate Baseball poll, seventh in the Sports Weekly rankings and 12th in Baseball America’s final poll.

 

Welcome Back: Arizona returns the core of its offense that batted .305 as a team, averaged 6.9 runs, 10.7 hits and 1.8 doubles per game in 2004. In fact, the Wildcats return 68 percent of the runs scored last season, 66 percent of the hits, 68 percent of the home runs, 67 percent of the RBI and 62 percent of the stolen bases. Individually, both the 2004 team batting champion (Trevor Crowe, .350) and home run and RBI leader (Jordan Brown, 13 HR, 57 RBI) return to action this season. Additionally, the Wildcats return 2004 freshman All-American Jason Donald, 2003 Pac-10 batting champion Jeff Van Houten and two-year starting catcher Nick Hundley.

 

Big John: Opening day starter John Meloan put together just the third undefeated season on the mound for an Arizona pitcher since 1950 (min. 10 decisions). The big 6-foot-5 right-hander went 10-0 with a 4.66 ERA in 2004 despite moving into the starting the rotation in the middle of the year. As a starter he went 9-0 with a 4.03 ERA in 11 games. For his career, Meloan is 14-1 all-time with a 4.50 ERA in 136 innings pitched, and is even better as a starter with a 10-0 record and a 3.80 ERA.

Meloan’s Overal Career Numbers

38 GP, 14-1, 4.50 ERA, 136.0 IP, 134 H, 84 R, 68, ER, 73 BB, 117 K

Meloan’s Career Starting Numbers

13 GS, 10-0, 3.80 ERA, 92.1 IP, 75 H, 45 R, 39 ER, 42 BB, 75 K

 

A Good Omen?: The last two times Arizona advanced to the College World series and failed to come home with the national championship in tow (1979, 1985), the Wildcats returned to Omaha the following season and brought back the hardware. The 1979 Arizona CWS team went 1-2 in Omaha and the ?'85 squad went 0-2.

 

Senior Assault On The Record Book: Two of Arizona’s four seniors on the roster this season have a chance to leave a lasting impression in the all-time record book. Outfielder Jeff Van Houten is edging his way into the hitting records and right-hander Sean Rierson is already among the all-time leaders in the pitching records.

Jeff Van Houten

Record                       Van Houten’s Numbers            Rank            All-Time Leader

Games Played            160                                           NR              Chip Hale - 255

At Bats                      578                                           NR              Chip Hale - 978

Hits                            201                                          NR              Chip Hale - 337

Multi Hit Games         57                                            NR               Robbie Moen - 102

Doubles                     30                                            NR               Dave Stegman - 72

Triples                       18                                            t-9th             Charles Shoemaker - 30

Home Runs                21                                           t-22nd           Shelley Duncan - 55

RBI                           146                                          20th              Ron Hassey - 235

HBP                          15                                           t-11th            Kenny Corley - 32

Walks                        92                                           NR                Chip Hale - 162

Sac Flies                    15                                           t-4th              Chip Hale - 21

Extra Base Hits          69                                           NR                Dave Stegman - 110

Total Bases                330                                         NR               Chip Hale - 507

Sean Rierson

Record                      Rierson’s Numbers                  Rank             All-Time Leader

Games Pitched           53                                           t-16th            Ron Sismondo - 88

Starts                         50                                           3rd                Ed Vosberg - 60

Wins                          23                                           t-13th            Don Lee - 36

Innings                       321.0                                      7th                 Ed Vosberg - 405.1

Strike Outs                213                                         20th               Carl Thomas - 422

BB/9 IP                     1.85                                        2nd                Tad Heydenfeldt - 1.77

 

Streaking: Junior Trevor Crowe will carry over a pair of impressive streaks from the 2004 season. Last year’s Pac-10 leader in steals, Crowe went 26 for 26 in stolen bases to end the season after getting caught on his first attempt of the year. Additionally, Crowe has the longest active hitting streak at eight straight games ... Sophomore Jason Donald has the longest current string of consecutive games played at 64 straight. Donald started every game his freshman season in 2004 and did not miss a play all year.

 

Preseason Honors: Junior teammates Trevor Crowe and John Meloan were feted with preseason All-America recognition by three different sources. Crowe, who finished with a team-high .350 batting and led the Pac-10 in stolen bases in 2004, was named second-team All-America by both the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and Baseball America. Meloan, who finished the 2004 season a perfect 10-0 on the mound, garnered third-team preseason All-America honors from Collegiate Baseball.

 

The Comebacks: A pair of familiar faces will return to the Cardinal and Navy this season. Sophomore infielder Lee Franklin and senior right-handed pitcher Sean Rierson have rejoined the team after a one-year absence. Franklin redshirted the 2004 season after being re-diagnosed with Lukemia, a disease he had battled as a teenager. Now healthy and cleared to play, Franklin will bolster UA’s middle infield in 2005. Rierson, a nine-game winner in 2003, also redshirted the 2004 season after undergoing “Tommy John” surgery on his right arm during the fall of 2002. Rierson’s return adds a very experienced arm to the Wildcat pitching rotation.

 

Cats Picked Third By Conference Coaches: In what was one of the closest preseason races in Pac-10 history, the Wildcats were selected to finish in a tie for third in the preseason coaches rankings. Defending conference champion Stanford will begin the 2005 season as the team to beat, followed by Washington in second and Arizona and Arizona State in a tie for third. The Cardinal garnered four first-place votes and 58 total, Washington picked up two first-place votes and 52 final votes, while the Wildcats and the Sun Devils each finished with 51 total points. ASU was named the first-place team by two coaches and UA picked up one first-place vote. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team.

Preseason Pac-10 Coaches Poll

1.         Stanford                       58 (4)

2.         Washington                  52 (2)

3.         Arizona                        51 (1)

            Arizona State               51 (2)

5.         USC                            36

6.         Oregon State               25

7.         California                     23

8.         UCLA                         20

9.         Washington State         8

 

Pinstripes To Make Their Return: The last time the Arizona baseball team took the field in pinstripes was 1947, 58 years ago. That will all change this season as the Wildcats will don white uniforms with thin blue pinnies in selected games in 2005. In addition, the Cats will also top off their new uniforms with white caps that will feature the “Academic A” and a solid blue bill. Arizona will also be able to mix and match red, white, blue and gray tops to go along with the white home pants and road grays.

 

A Couple of Schedule Changes: Since the schedule was released early last fall, it has under gone a couple of minor alterations. The previously scheduled game with New Mexico in Albuquerque on May 17 has been moved to April 19 due to a facility issue in New Mexico. Also, Arizona will face both UC Irvine and Sacramento State in Sacramento April 22-24. Please consult www.arizonaathletics.com and the baseball schedule page for the most current and up-to-date schedule.

 

Head Coach Andy Lopez: Entering his fourth season as the skipper at UA, Lopez has reenergized the Wildcat program. The fastest coach in school history to lead a team to College World Series, he has posted a 102-74-1 record in his first three seasons. Last year’s postseason run extinguished a streak of 18 years with out a UA appearance at the CWS and made him one of just three coaches in NCAA Division I history to lead three different schools to Omaha. In addition to his role as head coach, Lopez also serves as the pitching coach for the Wildcats.

 

It Rhymes With River: Volunteer assistant coach Andy Diver has joined the Wildcat coaching staff in 2005. Diver joins the coaching staff in Tucson after spending the previous two years as the head coach at L.A. Harbor Community College. He will assist Lopez with pitching staff, as well as help coordinate the Andy Lopez Baseball Academy summer camps.

 

 

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