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Baseball Set For Season Opener
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 02/18/2009
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Feb. 18, 2009

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Arizona vs. Sacramento State
Jerry Kindall Field at Frank Sancet Stadium

Friday, Feb 20 - 7 p.m. (Gametracker Live)*
Saturday, Feb. 21 - 6 p.m. (Gametracker Live)
Sunday, Feb. 22 - Noon (Gametracker Live)
* Friday's game will not be broadcast by 1290 A.M. Instead, UA's game on March 10 against Oklahoma State and March 15 against Michigan will be broadcast.

Potential Starting Lineup 

                Player                                      B/T           Pos.
1.             Mike Weldon                            R/R          2B
2.             Rafael Valenzuela                   L/R           LF
3.             Brad Glenn                              R/R          3B
4.             Bobby Coyle                            L/L           CF
5.             Steve Selsky                           R/R          RF
6.             Dillon Baird                              L/R           1B
7.             Matt Presley                            R/R          DH
8.             Dwight Childs                          R/R          C
9.             Bryce Ortega                          R/R          SS

Pitching
Fri            RHP Preston Guilmet
Sat           RHP Matt Veltmann
Sun          RHP Donn Roach
CP            RHP Jason Stoffel

Opening It Up: The Wildcats will open the 2009 season against Sacramento State, a program UA defeated three times in 2008 ... For the seventh time in eight seasons, UA will open the season at home ... Last season, the Wildcats opened at Georgia marking only the fourth time since 1950 that the Wildcats opened a season on the road ... The Wildcats last opened a season against a member of the current Western Athletic Conference in 1989, when UA swept New Mexico State in three games in Tucson.

 

Starting Fast: After opening the 2008 season with a 2-1 series victory against Southeastern Conference power Georgia, the Wildcats have won 14 straight opening weekend series dating back to 1995 and have gone 35-8 on the first weekend of the year during this span ... Dating back 1994, Arizona is 13-2 on Opening Day with the lone losses coming to BYU in 2003 and at Georgia in 2008 ... Under seventh-year head coach Andy Lopez UA is 18-3 all-time on opening weekend and has won five of seven season-opening games.

Arizona vs. Sac State -- The All-Time Series: The Wildcats and Hornets have met 11 times on the baseball diamond dating back to 1994 with the Wildcats owning a 7-4 advantage in the series... The Wildcats defeated Sacramento State in all three games in 2008, breaking a 4-4 tie in the series ... Previously, the two last met up for a single game in 2005 with Sac State upsetting the No. 6-ranked Wildcats 7-4 in Sacramento.

A Quick Look at Sacramento State: The Hornets open their 2009 season with a three game road series against the Wildcats, which will start a stretch of seven consecutive road games to begin the year ... Sac State is led by head coach John Smith, who has led the program for 30 seasons ... Smith has accumulated a record 834-853, including a 24-34 record in 2008 ... The Hornets return several marquee players, including center fielder Tim Wheeler, who hit .330 and drove in 43 RBI as a sophomore in 2008 ... The pitching rotation is led by senior Brian Smith, who posted a mark of 4-1 with a 4.75 ERA a year ago ... As a team, the Hornets posted a .311 batting average, hit 55 home runs and scored 6.4 runs per game ... The pitching staff recorded a 6.25 team ERA, striking out 276 batters in 495 innings.

Off to the Races: Arizona opens the 2009 season with a rigorous schedule that includes only six off days in the first month of the season. The Wildcats will play 18 games in 24 days beginning on Friday against Sacramento State and ending with the third game of a three game series against Michigan on March 15. Fortunately, all but two of those games are in Tucson with the lone road games at UNLV on Feb. 24 and 25. UA will then settle into Pac-10 play for several weeks with a typical Friday-Saturday-Sunday schedule in place and no mid-week games until mid April.

Home Sweet Home: Arizona will host 35 games at Jerry Kindall Field at Frank Sancet Stadium this season. If the past two seasons are any indication, that should be a good thing for a young Wildcat club. Over the last two seasons, UA has posted a mark of 53-9 at home, including a 25-5 mark a season ago.

Manageable Travel Schedule: After enduring one of the toughest travel schedules in the nation a year ago, the Wildcats will face a much more manageable travel schedule in 2009. Arizona plays only two non-conference series on the road and both are only a short flight away. After opening against Sacramento St. (Feb 20-22), the Wildcats will head to Las Vegas to take on UNLV in a mid-week series (Feb. 24-25). Later in the season, the Wildcats will head to Cal State Fullerton for a mid-week series (May 5-6). Both series are wedged between home series, meaning there won't be any Seattle-San Diego-Tucson or Tempe-Los Angeles-Stillwater-Tucson stretches like a year ago.

Brad is Back: The Wildcats are more than happy to hear that Brad Glenn will be back for his senior season, but it hasn't always been a sure thing for more than one reason. First, the 6-foot-3, 225-pound third baseman turned down professional baseball after being drafted by the Oakland A's in the 17th round of last summer's MLB draft. Then last fall, Glenn injured his throwing arm in a non-baseball accident. Good news for the Wildcats, though, is that Glenn has quickly recovered from the injury and is expected to provide the offensive power and leadership that the club needs. Glenn has 148 RBI in his three seasons at UA and is within reach of breaking into the Top 10 in UA and Pac-10 history with another 50+ RBI season.

Flying Under the Radar: Since Andy Lopez took over the Arizona baseball program the Wildcats have made a return to the national scene. After disappearing nationally nearly all together from 1994-2001, Arizona has made five postseason appearances (2003-05, 2007-08) in the last six seasons, has played for four regional championships (2004-05, 2007-08) - winning two of them (2004 and 2008), won a super regional title (2004), and made its 15th trip to Omaha (2004). Impressive feats on that very basic level, but when you factor in that UA still hasn't hosted a postseason game at home since 1992, the simple fact that Lopez and Wildcats have been able to achieve so much on the road makes it just that more impressive.

Head Coach Andy Lopez: Arizona head coach Andy Lopez enters his eighth season as the Wildcats' skipper with a 252-160-1 record at UA. Now in his 27th season as a collegiate head coach, Lopez has compiled a career record of 939-577-7. Last season, Lopez notched his 900th career victory against Sacramentio State and guided the Wildcats to consecutive 40+ win seasons -- a feat the UA program had not accomplished since 1985-86.

Strong Finish: After bottoming out at a season-low .193 with the batting average after going 0 for 5 against Indiana State on April 11, Brad Glenn went on a tear at the plate to finish the 2008 season. Over the final 30 games of 2008, Glenn hit a team-best .373 and drove in a team-high 35 runs over the final half of the season. In addition, he led all Wildcats with 34 runs scored over the stretch, and tied Jon Gaston for the second-most homeruns in the 30 games (8). He also posted the team's top mark for slugging percentage (.667) and was second in on-base percentage (.441).

One More Time Around: Senior RHP Preston Guilmet returns for his senior year and should lead the UA staff once again as the Friday Night starter. Guilmet currently ranks No. 4 in UA history with 326 strikeouts and needs 97 strikeouts to surpass Carl Thomas as the top strikeout pitcher in Wildcat history. He has pitched 325.1 innings in his three seasons at UA, and has a chance to become UA's all-time leader in the category (Ed Vosberg, 405.1). He stands at No. 6 in program history in fewest walks per nine innings at 2.46. Additionally, his 21 career wins are six shy of breaking into the Top 10 at UA.

Closing Time: Jason Stoffel returns as the anchor man for the UA pitching staff needing only one save to break his tie with Mark Melancon and become UA's all-time leader in saves. As a sophomore, Stoffel earned a UA single-season record 13 saves, to give him a career total of 18 saves.

Pitching Has Been Pretty Special: Under head coach Andy Lopez, the Wildcat pitching staff has re-written the record books. Here's a look at some of the notable tidbits:

- Two Pitchers Selected in the First Round of the MLB Draft in 2008
- Four 10-Game Winners Since 2004
- Nine Different Pitchers Selected in the First 10 Rounds of the MLB Draft Since 2003
- Top Three Strikeout Staffs in School History in Three of the Last Four Years
 - Broke School Record For Lowest Opponent Batting Average in 2007 and 2008
- Four times under Lopez UA has recorded the second-most saves in a season
- Preston Guilmet One of Four UA Pitchers With 300+ Strikeouts
- Top 5 Nationally in Strikeouts Per Nine Innings Last Two Seasons

More Pitching Props: Here's a look at some more pitching marks set by the 2007 and 2008 pitching staffs:

2008 - Set School Record with 572 Strikeouts
2008 - School Record Seven Shutouts Most Since 1976
2008 - Three Pitchers Named All-Pac-10
2007 - Lowest Team ERA in 30 Years (3.90)
2007 - Fewest Home Runs Allowed in 34 Years (20)
2007 - Fewest Hits (516) Allowed in 30 Years
2007 - Fewest Runs (273) Allowed in 30 Years
2007 - Fewest Earned Runs (228) Allowed in 30 Years
2007 - Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year Preston Guilmet
2007 - 386 out of 527 Innings Pitched Were Shutout Innings (73%)

Early Recognition: Several Wildcats have received some notable pre-season media attention and are on watch lists for some of the nation's top honors. Here is the list:

Pre-Season Honors

Jason Stoffel ('09 Junior) - Baseball America Preseason First Team All-American;  BaseballInsider.com Pre-Season Second Team All-American; Louisville Slugger Pre-Season All-American (Third Team), Preseason NCBWA All-American (Third Team), 2009 Brooks Wallace Player of the Year Watch List; Rivals.com Pre-Season All-Conference

Preston Guilmet ('09 Senior) - Rivals.com Preseason Top 10 Returning Senior, 2009 Brooks Wallace Player of the Year Watch List

Bryce Ortega ('09 Sophomore) - 2009 Brooks Wallace Player of the Year Watch List

 

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