Arizona will head out on the road for the first time this season with a trip to Edinberg, Texas, for a three game series with UT-Pan American ... Arizona is 4-0 all-time against Broncs, including a three-game series sweep over them in Tucson last year ... The trip to southern Texas will be the second all-time for the Wildcats, as they also visited Edinberg for regional play in 1976 to start the run to the 1976 College World Series Championship ... Arizona’s only other meeting with UTPA came that weekend in ?'76, with UA winning 5-0 in the opening game of the regional.
Northern Colorado Series Recap
The Wildcats swept their second straight series, defeating Northern Colorado 16-1, 13-2 and 10-0 at Kindall Field in Tucson ... Friday’s game was postponed due to rain and made up as part of a doubleheader on Saturday ... Sunday’s game was ended after seven innings to allow UNC to catch its flight home ... The 6-0 start to the year is the best for Arizona since 2002, Andy Lopez’s first season in Tucson ... The Wildcats have scored 10 or more runs in five of seven games and have posted double digit hits in all seven thus far ... Both the offense and the pitching continued to hit on all cylinders against Northern Colorado ... In game one on Saturday, the offense scored 16 runs on 17 hits, including nine for extra bases, and pitchers John Meloan and Sean Jarrett limited UNC to six hits and an unearned run over nine innings. The duo struck out 13 and walked just two ... In game two, sophomore Bill Rhinehart hit two home runs en route to a six-RBI day as the offense pounded out 13 more runs on 14 hits. Starter Kevin Guyette (5 1/3 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 4 K) picked up his first win of the year on the mound. Relievers Mike Koons and Sean Rierson worked a hitless final 3 2/3 innings ... In the series finale on Sunday, junior Nick Hundley (2 for 3, HR, 3 R, RBI) hit his third HR of the year and Jeff Van Houten (3 for 5, 3 RBI) and Trevor Crowe (3 for 4, 2R, RBI, team-leading seventh double) helped sweep the series as part of a 13-hit barrage. Freshman David Coulon (5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K) struck out seven over five innings for his first career win ... UA hit .411 as a team (44 for 107) against the Bears ... 19 of Arizona’s 44 hits (43 percent) in the series went for extra bases (11 doubles, three triples, five HRs) ... Arizona slugged .710 as a team and posted a .477 on-base percentage ... All nine starters finished with at least one hit in the series, drove in at least one run and scored at least two runs ... On the mound, Arizona posted a 0.72 team ERA with 31 strike outs against just five walks ... UNC scored just two earned runs in 25 innings during the series.
Arizona State Recap
Jordan Brown’s two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the 14th inning lifted the Wildcats to a 7-6 victory over in-state rival Arizona State ... The HR handed UA freshman Mike Koons (3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 3 K) his first career victory ... Other stand outs in the five hour game included Trevor Crowe (3 for 5, 2 R, 3B, SB), Jeff Van Houten (3 for 7, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI), Nick Hundley (3 for 6, 2 SB) and Mark Melancon (4 1/3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K)
Brown’s Blast First In Over a Year
JB’s two-run walk-off homer against Arizona State on Feb. 15 was the first game-ending four-bagger since Moises Duran hit a solo home run in the 11th inning on opening day in 2004 against UC Riverside (Feb. 4). It was also the first walk-off homer in Jordan’s baseball playing career on any level.
Leading It Off
Junior Trevor Crowe has truly made a pest of himself right from the start. UA’s leadoff hitter, Crowe has successfully reached base in his first AB of the game five times in Arizona’s seven contests this season and has come around to score four times for an early run. He has hit a single, three doubles and a triple as the Wildcats’ first hitter and has reached base nine time in 13 opportunities when leading off any inning. For the year, Crowe has two or more hits in six of seven games and scored two or more runs in all seven contests
Some Streaks End, Others Continue
Junior Trevor Crowe saw his streak of successful stolen base attempts come to an end at 30 straight in the 14th inning against Arizona State on Feb. 15. Crowe ended the 2004 season with 26 consecutive successful steals and was 4 for 4 this season before getting thrown out on a very close play against the Sun Devils ... Despite losing one streak, Crowe extended his team-best hitting streak to 15 straight with a 3 for 5 night against ASU. He finished the 2004 season with an eight-game streak and has at least one hit in all seven games thus far in 2005 ... Teammate Jeff Van Houten also extended his carry over streak from last year to 14 in a row with a 3 for 7 night against ASU on Feb. 15 ... Jordan Brown and Nick Hundley each extended their hitting streaks to seven straight against ASU, while Jason Donald and Bill Rhinehart each saw their streaks snap at six straight in the game.
Junior Jordan Brown has been a machine when it comes to driving in runs. The third-year starter leads Arizona with 15 RBIs this year and has driven in two or more in six of UA’s seven games. Tied for the team lead with three HRs, it certainly doesn’t hurt that he has collected multiple hits in five games either.
Getting It Done
Despite batting just .138 this season, junior Brad Boyer is still making productive outs and contributing to Arizona’s potent offense. The third-year starter has seven RBI and has scored nine runs in seven games this year. He is tied for the team lead in walks with six and has been hit by two pitches to help buoy his numbers.
Keeping It The Same and Why Not?
Arizona has used the same lineup and batting order in all seven contests this season. In Andy Lopez’s previous three seasons at UA, the Wildcats never fielded the same lineup or order through the first seven games.
Hundley’s The One
For the previous two seasons, Nick Hundley split the catching duties with departed draftee Richard Mercado. Not once during that two year run did Hundley start more than four games behind the plate. Now the primary backstop, Hundley has started all seven games this season and has thrived in doing so. Batting a team-best .571, he has already scored 10 runs, driven in seven more, hit two doubles stolen three bases and is one HR away from his single season high of four set last season. In addition to his offensive numbers, Hundley has nearly flawlessly handled a pitching staff that has recorded 82 strike outs, a 1.91 ERA and limited opponents to a .174 batting average
Spreading It Around
The Wildcat batting order has produced top to bottom. Averaging 15 hits per game, two players are batting .500 or better, six are hitting .400 or better and five different players have 10 or more hits. Eight of the nine regular starters have scored six or more runs, with four already in double digits. Three players have 10 or more RBI and eight have driven in seven or more runs. All nine starters have hit at least one double and six different players have hit a home run. After seven games in 2004, UA stood at 5-2 and had one player hitting .500 or better, four at .400-plus and only two players with 10 or more hits. None of the Arizona players had 10 or more runs scored through the first seven games and only one had double digit RBI.
The Wildcat offense is unquestionably potent and nothing is more telling then the fact that nearly half of UA’s hits this season have gone for extra bases. Through the first seven games, Arizona has 84 total hits, 41 of which have gone for two or more bases (a nearly unbelievable 48 percent). The Wildcats have hit 24 doubles (an average of 3.4 per game), five triples (0.7/game) and 12 home runs (1.7/game) thus far.
Bullpen Finally Nicked
After not giving up an earned run in the first six games of the year, the Arizona bullpen finally surrendered a pair against Arizona State on Feb. 15. Still the Arizona relievers has given up just two earned runs in 29 innings pitched this season for an ERA of 0.62 to go along with 34 strike outs and just eight walks. Only two of the 10 inherited runners that bullpen has been left with have come around to score.
Friday starter John Meloan is 16-1 all-time at UA and has won 12 straight games in which he has factored in the decision. His only career loss at UA came on May 4, 2003 against Cal in his freshman year. Since then he has appeared in 23 games, made 13 starts and gone 12-0. Used primarily as a reliever early in his career at UA, he has flourished as a starter with an 12-0 record, a 3.31 ERA and 86 strike outs when taking the ball from the get go.
Meloan’s Overall Career Numbers
40 GP, 16-1, 4.09 ERA, 149.2 IP, 139 H, 84 R, 68 ER, 78 BB, 138 K
Meloan’s Career Starting Numbers
15 GS, 12-0, 3.31 ERA, 106.0 IP, 80 H, 45 R, 39 ER, 47 BB, 96 K
Meloan Named Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Week
Junior right-hander John Meloan was named the co-national player of the week by Collegiate Baseball for his 7 2/3 innings, one-hit effort against New Mexico on Feb. 4. The honor was the first in Meloan’s career and the first for an Arizona player since teammate Sean Rierson garnered the award on Feb. 18, 2003. Meloan is the eighth UA player to be recognized by the publication as its player of the week since 1994.
Melancon Mows ?'Em Down
Dating back to Arizona’s postseason run in 2004, sophomore reliever Mark Melancon has been impressive out of the bullpen. In his last eight appearances he has not given up an earned run (one unearned) in 16 1/3 innings pitched. Over that span he has given up just five hits and issued three walks, while picking up two wins, two saves, striking out 12 and limiting opposing hitters to a .093 batting average.
Return Right On
Senior Sean Rierson made a splash in his return from Tommy John surgery against New Mexico. The right-hander struck out six of the seven hitters he faced over 2 1/3 innings against the Lobos on Feb. 7, including three looking, and needed just under six pitches per hitter to do so. The effort earned him his 24th career win, but just his first since the 2003 season. For the year Rierson is 1-0 with a save and a 0.00 ERA in 5 1/3 innings. He has yet to give up a hit and has struck out nine and walked just one.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 109-74-1 record (current) 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.