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Baseball Returns From the Road, Hosts UCLA
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 04/13/2006
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Potential Starting Lineup
1 Brad Boyer L/R 2B Six-game hitting streak
2 Jon Gaston L/R CF Seven-game hitting streak
3 Jason Donald R/R SS Leads UA with 24 RBI this season
4 Bill Rhinehart L/L RF Batted. 400 with team-high five RBI at Oregon State.
5 Colt Sedbrook R/R 3B Has been hit by a Pac-10-high 18 pitches this year
6 David Plante L/R LF Has hit two HRs in last four games
7 Brad Glenn R/R 1B Hit his third HR of the year last week at Oregon State
8 Derek Decater L/L DH DHing while rehabbing shoulder
9 Konrad Schmidt R/R C Batting .381 in his last six games
Pitching
Thu.  Preston Guilmet RHP His 2.79 ERA as a starter is the lowest for any UA starter
Fri. Brad Mills LHP Has given up three or less earned runs in eight of nine starts
Sat. David Coulon LHP Tossed a career-high seven innings in win at Oregon St.
CP Mark Melancon RHP All-time leader at UA with 18 saves

 

On the Air

All three games against UCLA 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. Fans can also watch all the action on their computers via UA’s All Access live webstream of the series with Jeffries’ radio call played over the video action.

 

Last Week

The Wildcats took to the road for a second straight Pac-10 weekend and went 1-2 against Oregon State in Corvallis ... The Beavers won the opening two games of the three-game set, 10-5 and 10-2, but Arizona rallied to avoid its first conference series sweep since 2004 with an 8-1 win on Sunday ... Arizona batted .275 as a team and finished the weekend series with eight doubles, a triple and three home runs ... On the bump Arizona struggled to find the strike zone, finishing with 19 walks against 19 strikeouts to mark the first series this season it did not have more Ks than walks ... Individually, Konrad Schmidt and Bill Rhinehart each hit .400 in the series, with Rhinehart leading all players with five RBI. Freshmen David Plante, Jon Gaston and Brad Glenn each hit a home run in the series ... Left-hander David Coulon picked up his first win of the year on the mound after limiting OSU to one run on five hits over a career-high seven innings.

 

A Busy Stretch

The Wildcats are currently seven games into a 32-day stretch that will see them play a total of 20 contests. The pro-like schedule began with road trips to Cal (March 30-April 1) and Oregon State (April 7-9) sandwiched around a game against Arizona State at Chase Field (April 2). Up next is a home three-game set against UCLA this Thursday-Saturday, followed by a one-game trip to New Mexico next Tuesday and a three-game weekend series at home against Stanford on April 21-23. A mid-week two-game visit from Southern Utah (April 25-26) and a three-game road trip to Washington (April 28-30) will finally wrap up the hectic month for the Cats.

 

Home Sweet Home

Including a neutral site game at Chase Field in Phoenix against Arizona State, the Wildcats have not played at Jerry Kindall Field at Frank Sancet Stadium since hosting UC Irvine on March 26. The seven-game road/neutral site swing was/will be the longest for Arizona this season and it saw the Cats go 3-4, with two of the losses coming by one run. Of Arizona’s 25 remaining games left on the regular season schedule 17 of them are home games (68%). UA will only head out of town only four more times for eight games in 2006. A one-game trip to New Mexico, a non-conference mid-week game against ASU, a three-game series at Washington and a regular season-ending three-game set at USC are all that remain on the UA travel planner. None of the road trips will happen during the same week or on consecutive weekends. 

 

A Quick Look at UCLA

The resurgent Bruins enter the week of play with an 18-14 overall record and a 3-3 record in the Pac-10 ... UCLA won its first conference series of the year 2-1 against Washington State last weekend ... UCLA is batting .273 as a team and is averaging 5.8 runs, 9.2 hits and 5.2 RBI per game in 32 contests this year ... RHP/DH Hector Ambriz leads the team individually with .340 batting average and 22 RBI ... On the mound, the Bruins have posted a team ERA of 3.44 in 285 innings pitched thus far ... UCLA has 268 strikeouts this season against 102 walks ... The scheduled UCLA rotation will see RHP Ambriz (5-4, 3.86 ERA) on Thursday, LHP Dave Huff (3-2, 2.69 ERA) on Friday and RHP Tyson Brummett (4-4, 2.98 ERA) on Saturday ... Head coach John Savage is in his second season in Westwood.

 

The History

In the most closely contested Pac-10 series for Arizona, the Wildcats are 106-105-1 all-time against UCLA in 212 meetings in a rivalry that dates back to 1927... The Wildcats are 8-7 against the Bruins under fifth-year head coach Andy Lopez, a UCLA alum ... Lopez is 14-12 all-time against his alma mater.

 

Last Season

The Wildcats swept a three-game conference series against UCLA at Jackie Robinson Stadium in Los Angeles last year ... Former Wildcat Jordan Brown’s grand slam in the seventh inning lifted Arizona to an 8-4 win in the series opener. Departed junior Kevin Guyette tossed a complete-game, one-hit shut out in an 11-0 win in the second game of the series, and UA wrapped up the sweep with a 16-hit 12-2 victory on Sunday ... The sweep was the first for Arizona in a conference road series since 1999.

 

Playing Where The Pros Play

Next Tuesday’s game at Isotopes Park in Albuquerque, N.M., will wrap up Arizona’s pro park experience for 2006. The Wildcats have already played at the Dairy Queen Classic in the Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minn., taken on Arizona State at Chase Field in Phoenix and played an exhibition game against the AAA Tucson Sidewinders at Tucson Electric Park. Isotopes Park, home of the AAA affiliate of the Florida Marlins, is the site of home games for the University of New Mexico.

 

Power Surge

While the Wildcats haven’t been known for the long ball this year, they have seen a recent surge in their home run numbers over the last couple of weeks. After collecting just eight homers in the first 22 games of the season, Arizona has seen five pitches go over the fence in its last six games. All five of the recent home runs have come from freshmen, as Jon Gaston and David Plante have two fence-busters each, and Brad Glenn, who saw a potential two-run shot brought back over the fence by Oregon State’s Tyler Graham last weekend, has the other one.

 

Rotational Notes

The Wildcats will keep the same rotation that they have used for the previous two weekends. Freshman RHP Preston Guilmet (2-4, 3.33) will toe the rubber on Thursday against UCLA’s RHP Hector Ambriz (5-4, 3.86). Friday a pair of left-hander will square off, as UA’s Brad Mills (3-2, 3.75) and UCLA’s Dave Huff (3-2, 2.69) match up, and Saturday will see UA  southpaw David Coulon (1-2, 5.40) and UCLA right-hander Tyson Brummett (4-4, 3.98) start for their respective teams.

 

Offensive Numbers

Entering the week of play, the Arizona offense is batting .271 as a team, and is averaging 5.7 runs, 9.2 hits and 5.3 RBI per game ... Arizona currently leads the Pac-10 with 18 triples.

 

Pitching Numbers

Through 30 games, the Wildcats have posted a 4.38 team ERA in 267.1 innings pitched, and have 288 strikeouts against 115 walks ... The Wildcats are currently second in the Pac-10 in strikeouts, 12 behind conference-leader Arizona State despite playing five fewer games.

 

The Competition’s Been Tough

After playing a ranked team at least once in five of the last six weekends, the Wildcats will get break from the top 25 as the unranked Bruins come to town. Arizona has faced a pretty tough slate over the past month and a half, as the Wildcats have taken on Sports Weekly/USAToday Top 25 teams in No. 11 Nebraska (currently No. 5), No. 15 Mississippi State (currently No. 9), No. 7 Cal State Fullerton (currently No. 1), No. 10 Arizona State (currently No. 12) and No. 14 Oregon State (currently No. 15). The five schools have a combined overall record of 121-38 thus far. The only school remaining on Arizona’s regular season schedule that is currently in the top 25 is Arizona State, but USC and Washington are both receiving votes in this week’s 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. 5 Nebraska and No. 9 Mississippi State, six have been by two runs or less, including a pair of one-run losses. For the year, nine of Arizona’s 16 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 10 of UA’s 16 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 at UC Riverside* 2nd 3 8-5
2/10 at UC Riverside* 6th 4 8-5
2/17 New Mexico 3rd 4 6-5
2/18 New Mexico 8th 4 7-3
3/11 at Mississippi State 8th 5 9-2
3/17 Cal State Fullerton 5th 4 6-4
3/16 UC Irvine  8th 6 1-6
3/30 Cal 4th 3 3-2
4/7 at Oregon State 7th 6 10-5
4/8 at Oregon State* 2nd 3 10-2
4/8 at Oregon State* 8th 3 10-2
* Same Game
 

Coulon On the Corner

Left-hander David Coulon has provided a spark to the Arizona pitching staff. After getting roughed up five earned runs in 3 1/3 innings in his first start of the season against Loyola Marymount on Feb. 5, he did not appear in another game for nearly a month.

        A short scoreless stint against Nebraska in the Metrodome (2/3 IP) earned him more mound time and an elbow injury to fellow southpaw Eric Berger moved him back into the starting rotation three weeks ago. In his seven appearances (two starts) since reemerging in the pitching mix, Coulon is 1-1 with a 4.15.

        His numbers are even better when you take away a messy eighth inning against UC Irvine on March 26 (six runs on six infield hits). Without the one-inning blip against the Anteaters, Coulon has a 1.74 ERA in his last 20 1/3 innings pitched. Most recently he went a career-high seven innings at No. 14 Oregon State, and gave up just one run on five hits to earn his first victory of the year.

 

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 3-2 with a 3.75 ERA and 53  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 nine 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 3.75 3 2 50.1 53
 

Melancon Mows ?'Em Down

Despite having his roughest outing in an Arizona uniform last weekend at Oregon State, closer Mark Melancon has been a key weapon for UA this season. The right-hander currently leads the Wildcats with 2.97 ERA, has struck out 25 batters and walked only 13 in 34 1/3 innings pitched out of the bullpen and opponents are hitting just .211 against him in relief. The “as a reliever” qualifier must be used because in his one start this season the junior surrendered six runs on five hits in five innings 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 (13 app) 3-2, 4 saves, 2.10 ERA, 34.1 IP, 26 H, 11 R, 8 ER, 13 BB, 45 K, .211 Opp BA

 

Not Your Typical Closer

As noted above, Mark Melancon has posted some very nice numbers out of the bullpen for Arizona. What makes them even more impressive is that the junior is not a typical one-inning closer. In 13 relief appearances, the right-hander has gone two or more innings 10 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 seven career starts. Guilmet has gone seven innings three times and given up just 13 earned runs on 42 hits, while striking out 37 and walking only 12. His 2.79 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 (7 starts) 2-4, 2.79 ERA, 42 IP, 42 H, 17 R, 13 ER, 12 BB, 37 K, .263 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.

 

Plante and Gaston Go Off

A pair of freshmen have turned it up offensively of late. Outfielder Jon Gaston is currently riding a team-high seven-game hit streak in which he has gone 10 for 28 (.357) with two home runs, a double, four RBI and a very impressive 11 runs scored. Classmate David Plante saw his own seven-game hit streak end last Sunday, but before going 0 for 3 (with two runs scored) in the series finale against Oregon State, he was 10 for 26 (.385) with a double, two home runs, two runs scored and an equally impressive nine RBI during his streak.

 

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