Aug. 28, 2002
TUCSON, Ariz.- The Arizona baseball team will have some familiar faces take the field for fall practice in October and even more new ones. The Wildcats return 14 players from last season's roster and have added 16 new scholarship members for the 2002-2003 school year.
Among the players that attended the first day of classes on Monday were MLB draftees Sean Rierson (26th round, San Francisco), Nick Hundley (5th round, Florida) and Trevor Crowe (20th round, Oakland). In fact, of coach Andy Lopez's first recruiting class, only one player, infielder Steve Skinner, signed a professional contract and will not be in uniform this season.
Key returnees for the Wildcats in 2002-2003 are infielders John Hardy (So., .328, 5 HR, 38 RBI) and Pat Reilly (R-So.,.317, 2 HR, 25 RBI), outfielders Brian Anderson (Jr., .275, 5 HR, 30 RBI) and Jeff Van Houten (So., .295, 7 HR, 34 RBI), as well as pitchers Rierson (Jr., 7-5, 4.69 ERA, 81 K), Chris Goodman (Jr., 5-2, 4.86 ERA, 31 K) and Joe Little (Jr., 6-6, 5.38 ERA, 83 K).
Among the highly anticipated newcomers are freshmen Hundley (catcher, Seattle, Wash., Lake Washington HS), Crowe (infield, Portland, Ore., West View HS), Brad Boyer (infield, Camarillo, Calif., Camarillo HS) and Derek Decater (outfield, Sammamish, Wash., Skyline HS).
On the mound, the Arizona coaching staff is excited about freshman Jonathan Meloan. The big right-hander hails from Katy, Texas and has been clocked with a 90 MPH fastball and a plus curve.
Local and Arizona freshmen prospects include Kris Sanchez (OF/1B, Tucson, Canyon Del Oro HS), Alex Ortega (1B/DH, Tucson, Cholla HS) and Pat Lawler (RHP, Cottonwood, Ariz., Cottonwood Mingus HS).
Junior college transfers include Richie Gardner (RHP) and Mark Worrell (RHP). Gardner was named the top JC pitcher at Santa Rosa JC (Calif.) last season, while Worrell, who had originally signed out high school to play for Coach Lopez at Florida, is the last high school pitcher to have defeated Cuba in an international game. He played last season at Indian River Community College in Florida.
Also joining the team this season is transfer Kevin Guyette. The right-hander comes to Arizona from College World Series participant Georgia Tech. Despite pitching in only three games last season for the Rambling Wreck, he tore up the Cape Cod League this summer with a 5-1 record, a 2.05 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 52.2 innings pitched.
The Wildcats are scheduled to open their three-week fall practice schedule on Oct. 7. Tryouts for walk ons will take place the same day at 5:30 p.m. at Frank Sancet Field.
Summer Notes: A number of returning Arizona players faired well with their respective teams during the summer league seasons.
Moises Duran: Played for the Mat-Su Miners in the Alaska Baseball League ... Batted .212 with five home runs and 18 RBIs in 47 games.
Chris Goodman: Played for the Brainerd (Minn.) Mighty Gulls in the Northwoods League ... Compiled a 6-1 record in 10 starts and 66.2 innings pitched ... Posted 51 strikeouts with only 14 walks and a 2.16 ERA ... Helped the Gulls to a 22-11 record and berth in the championship series ... Was named to the mid-season All-Star team.
John Hardy: Played with Arizona teammate Richard Mercado for the Harrisonburg (Va.) Turks in the Valley League ... Batted .255 with two home runs and 14 RBIs in the wood bat league ... Finished 7 for 8 in stolen bases ... Named to the mid-season All-Star team, but was unable to play due to a sore wrist.
Joe Little: Played for the Cotiuit Kettlers in the Cape Cod Baseball League ... Went 2-2 with a 4.37 ERA in seven appearances ... Averaged one strikeout per inning in 35 innings pitched while walking just 15.
Sean Rierson: Played for the Anchorage Bucs in the Alaska Baseball League ... Went 1-1 with a 2.00 ERA in five starts ... Struck out 18 and walked just two, one intentionally, in 27 innings pitched ... Combined with Nevada's Bryan Johnson for a shutout during in the season.