May 7, 2002
On The Air:All three games can be heard live on the radio at 790 AM KNST or over the Internet at www.knst.com.
Next Up - UCLA: UCLA comes to Tucson sporting a 21-28 overall record and a 6-9 mark in the Pac-10. The Bruins will play Long Beach State in a non-conference game on Tuesday before heading east to the Old Pueblo. UCLA recently dropped its three-game series at Washington two games to one to the Huskies, winning last Friday's contest 8-1 before falling 5-4 and 9-5 on Saturday and Sunday.
The Bruins return five starters from last season's 30-27 team, including current leading hitters senior Josh Arhart (.376, 33 RBIs) and junior Ben Francisco (.368, 20 stolen bases). Senior Adam Berry continues to lead the Pac-10 in home runs this season with 16 fence busters.
On the mound UCLA returns five arms from last season and will send junior Mike Kunes and freshman Wes Whisler to the hill on Friday and Saturday. Kunes carries a 7-3 overall and a 3.70 ERA in 73.0 innings pitched. He leads the team with 60 strikeouts and just 18 walks. Whisler is 4-2 wit ha 3.82 ERA in 68.2 innings pitched this season, but is also dangerous with the bat. The freshman lefty/DH is batting .328 with 10 home runs and 30 RBIs this season.
The all-time series between the two schools is deadlocked at 93-93 in 186 career meetings. The Wildcats evened the series last season, winning two of three at Jackie Robinson Stadium in Los Angeles.
Probable Starting Pitchers
Friday - vs. Sean Rierson (7-3, 4.10 ERA)
Saturday -vs. Marc Kaiser (5-4, 5.48 ERA)
Sunday - vs. LHP Joe Little (6-4, 5.22 ERA)
Wildcat Notes From The USC Series: (Overall) After losing the first two games of the series, the Wildcats averted a sweep with a 15-12 win on Sunday ... Senior Chris Cunningham led the Wildcats in an offensive packed series, The backstop went 6 for 12 with two home runs, five RBIs and six runs scored in the three games ... Arizona was hit by five pitches over the course of the three games, moving the 2002 team into second place on the all-time Arizona list with 57 HBP ... With three double plays turned against the Trojans, the Wildcats surpassed last season's total of twin killings by two (38) ... Despite losing two of three, the Wildcats recorded one of the best series of the season at the plate against USC. Arizona batted .353 in the three-game series with 27 RBIs, 31 runs, 13 walks and four home runs. (Sunday) - All nine starters on offense had at least one hit and one run scored ... Five players posted multiple RBIs, the most in a single game this season ... Senior Wes Zlotoff tallied his third career save with an inning of perfect relief against the comeback minded Trojans ... Of the seven runs given up by starter Joe Little, only three were earned ... (Saturday)- Saturday was the first game all season that Marc Kaiser has walked more than one hitter during a start ... The 10 walks given up by the Wildcat pitching staff on Saturday was a season high in a single game. It was also just the third game this year in which the UA pitchers had more walks than strikeouts ... Catcher/DH Ken Riley saw his team-leading seven-game hitting streak end on after finishing 0 for 3. Despite the hitless game, Riley still tallied two RBIs ... Seven of the nine starters for Arizona on Saturday collected at least one hit, five of whom scored at least once as well ... Saturday's game was just the second of the season the Wildcats have lost in which two or more players have hit a home run (Long Beach State 3/9) ... (Friday)- Friday's five inning outing was the shortest of the season for Arizona starter Sean Rierson (he went just 2.1 innings against UC Irvine, but that was due to an injury) ... The eight earned runs surrendered was a career high for the right-hander .
The Lopez-Adams Connection: In 1975 current UCLA coach Gary Adams took over as the skipper of the Bruin baseball program. His starting shortstop that season was a senior named Andy Lopez. The Bruins finished 31-22 overall and 7-11 in the conference play that season. Lopez graduated from UCLA in the spring and began his coaching career shortly thereafter. In the 26 years since one UCLA career ended (Lopez's) and another one began (Adams'), the coach and his former shortstop have met 16 times in opposing dugouts with Adams holding a 10-6 advantage. The Bruins defeated Lopez's CSUDH teams fivetimes between 1983 and 1988, but lost in six of their 11 tries in the six seasons after Coach Lopez moved up the California coast to Pepperdine. The last time the two coaches met in was in 1994 and resulted in UCLA snapping a four-game losing streak to Lopez and Pepperdine, 5-0.
Series Bests: Despite putting together an offensive fireworks display at USC, the three-game numbers didn't quite make the series season best list. Here's a look at the top offensive marks posted after the 13 three-game series already played this season:
Avg: .400 vs. UC Irvine (February 22-24) ABs: 137 vs. Stanford (April 5-7) Runs: 37 vs. New Mexico Hits: 44 vs. UC Irvine (February 22-24) Extra Base Hits: 14 vs. UC Irvine (February 22-24) HRs: 7 vs. UC Irvine (February 5-7) RBIs: 33 vs. UC Irvine (February 22-24) BBs: 22 vs. New Mexico (April 5-7) SB: 10 at California (April 12-14)
The Streak Ends: Senior Brad Hassey's season-high 13-game hitting streak came to an end in the second game of the series last month against UC Riverside (4/20). The shortstop completed the streak with a .441 average (26 for 59) 14 RBIs and 13 runs scored. He also walked eight times, helping him to a .507 on-base percentage. Despite the streak coming to an end, Hassey has still hit safely in 29 of his last 31 games. During this 31-game span he is batting .371 (52 for 140) with 28 RBIs, 30 runs, five homers and 14 walks.
Cunningham Catches Fire: Senior catcher Chris Cunningham is enjoying a renaissance at the plate. Since seeing his batting average bottom out at .245 three weeks ago, the Wildcat backstop has gone on a seven game hitting streak in which he has torn up opposing pitching to the tune of 14 hits in 29 at-bats (.483) and has driven in at least one in each game. He has tallied three home runs, 15 RBIs and 10 runs scored while improving his overall season average 41 points during his seven-game resurgence.
Swiping Them Silly: While the Wildcats don't necessarily possess a ton of team speed, Arizona has already surpassed the stolen base output from a season ago. The Wildcats' 10 stolen bases against California (4/12-14) pushed the team total to 57 for the season and past the 2001 final tally by five. Now with 63 SBs, this season's team needs only seven more stolen bases to achieve the highest theft rate in the past five seasons. The 1998 team stole 69 bases. Double play partners Brad Hassey and Moises Duran are one-two on team with 13 and 11, respectively. The figures are both career highs for pair.
Turning Two: The Arizona defense has turned 38 double plays this season, two more than last season's team turned all of last year.
Hitting Notes: Arizona's team batting average went up five points after the three-game series at USC ... Senior Justyn St. Clair and sophomore Brian Anderson have scored at least one run is seven straight games ... The Wildcats have hit at least one home run against 17 of their 18 opponents this season, including the last 13 straight. The only team not to give up a long ball to the Cats thus far is Texas A&M-Corpus Christi ... Seniors Brad Hassey and Chris Cunningham are tied for the lead the team with 43 runs scored this season ... 11 of the 13 players that are averaging at least one at-bat per game have hit one or more home runs this season ... Of the returning players that have at least one at bat per game (seven total), five have recorded career high numbers in home runs ... Senior Chris Cunningham has hit a team-high 11 home runs and 12 doubles this season and also paces the Cats with 50 RBIs ... 10 of the 13 players that average an at-bat per game have 15 or more RBIs, six of whom have 25 or more.
Long Ball Stats: At the beginning of the year, the position of Arizona's long ball leader was up for grabs. With the departure of UA's all-time home run king, Shelley Duncan, and only six home runs returning to the current roster, the role could have gone to any number of players. And, in a way, it has. A total of 11 different Wildcat players have hit at least one of UA's 49 round-trippers this season, seven of whom have four or more. The 2002 team has, in fact, hit six more home runs through 46 games than the 2001 team did (49-43). Leading the way with a career-high 11 fence busters is Chris Cunningham. Cunningham has gone yard with nobody on and one runner on five times each and with two runners on once for 18 runs batted in on homers. Classmate Brad Hassey, who had never homered in his three previous seasons at Arizona, is second on the team with seven homers. He has 11 RBIs on five solo shots and two three-run blasts. Jeff Van Houten, a freshman, and sophomores Moises Duran and Marc Kaiser and are tied for third on the team with six each. Van Houten has hit two solos shots, three two-run homers and a grand slam for 12 RBIs on home runs. Duran has gone yard with the bases loaded once, with one on twice and hit three solo shots for a total of 11 RBIs. Kaiser has smashed five solo home runs and one two-run shot for seven home run RBIs. (See page 8 of the notes for the entire team break down) The Wildcats are 20-7 this season in the 27 games when at least one player hits a homer and are 11-2 in the 13 games two or more players connect for the four-base hit.
Getting Started: Senior Brad Hassey has hit a career high seven home runs this season, while that in and of itself is very noteworthy, it is also prudent to point out that three of his fence crashers has led off innings for the Wildcats. As a team, the Wildcats have hit 13 of their 49 home runs (27 percent) this season leading off an inning.
No Pac-10 Swoon For Some: The conference season is the time of the year that some players see their stats take a turn downward. Not so for many of the Wildcats, as four players are posting better numbers against Pac-10 opponents this season then they are against non-conference competition and many others are maintaining a steady pace against both. Senior Brad Hassey has torn up the Pac-10 with a .420 average in 15 games, while in 31 non-conference games this season the shortstop hit just .282. He has also tallied 13 RBIs and 15 runs scored in conference action. Freshman John Hardy has thrived at the plate against Pac-10 competition posting a .353 average with 16 RBIs against just a .298 average and 18 RBIs out of conference play. Sophomore Marc Kaiser is batting .327 in Pac-10 and 52 points lower against non-conference opponents.
Pitching Notes: The Wildcats pitching staff maintains a better than two-to-one strike out to walk ratio this season (2.6-to-1) ... In Marc Kaiser's two complete games this season the sophomore has had to toss only 93 pitches both times ... Senior Wes Zlotoff continues to lead the team with a 1.82 ERA in 24.2 innings pitched this season ... Joe Little is the team leader in strike outs (67) and Sean Rierson leads the team in wins (7) ... Rierson also continues to lead the team in innings pitched (96.2) ... Opponents are hitting .286 against Arizona pitching this season, five points lower than a year ago through 46 games ... The Wildcat starting staff (Rierson, Little and Kaiser) is averaging better than six innings per start ... Closer Brian Anderson is now six for eight in save opportunities in his career ... Through 46 games the 2002 Arizona pitching staff is on pace for one of the better statistical seasons in last five years:
Year-By-Year Comparison (through 46 games) 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 ERA 4.90 5.38 7.34 5.71 6.06 Opp BA .286 .291 .306 .298 .298 CG 4 1 3 4 0 Sho 2 2 0 2 1 CBO 1 2 0 2 1 Sv 8 13 5 12 8 IP 413.1 415.0 402.0 416.0 396.2 H 472 492 505 500 471 R 283 309 402 311 310 ER 225 248 328 264 267 BB 120 165 250 210 211 SO 282 322 392 361 407
Pac-10 Stats: Despite a week off from play, the Wildcats, both as a team and individually, continued to rank among the conference leaders in a number of categories. Offensively, Arizona leads the conference in walks (217). Somewhat surprisingly the Wildcats are fifth in the conference with 49 home runs. On the mound the Wildcats have given up the fewest walks (120). The pitching staff is third amongst Pac-10 teams in ERA (4.90) and in innings pitched (413.1). Individually, Moises Duran is second in the Pac-10 in walks (31). Marc Kaiser (25) and Chris Cunningham (25) are tied for eighth in the category. Senior Brad Hassey's recent hot streak at the plate has him sixth in the conference in total hits with 66 on the season. Cunningham's 11 home runs are tied for third best amongst all players thus far. (See the list to the right and on the next page to see the league leaders and where the Cats rank)
No More Non-Conference: The UC Riverside series marked the end of the non-conference schedule for the Wildcats. Arizona tallied a 22-9 record in 31 non-Pac-10 games. The Cats won eight of 10 multiple game series, including sweeps over New Mexico, San Diego State, Southern Utah, UC Irvine and Cal State Dominguez Hills. The Wildcats won all eight non-conference series at home, but were swept in both road series (Texas A&M, Long Beach). As a team the Arizona hit .293 in the 31-game non-conference season. Freshman Richard Mercado led the way individually with a .341 average in 91 at-bats. Senior Chris Cunningham feasted on non-conference pitching, recording team-highs in both RBIs (40) and runs scored (32). The pitching staff tossed 275.1 innings against non-conference opponents and posted a 3.76 ERA with 204 strike outs against only 68 walks. Sophomore Joe Little went 6-1 against non-Pac-10 teams in 52.1 innings pitched. Senior Wes Zlotoff recorded a 1.69 ERA in nine appearances and 16 innings.
Going The Distance: Sean Rierson's complete game against UC Riverside (4/19) was the second for the sophomore right-hander this season and the fourth total for the Wildcat pitching staff this year. Rierson previously went the distance in UA's 1-0 win over San Diego State on Feb. 7. Classmate Marc Kaiser tossed back-to-back complete games against UNC Wilmington and Arizona State earlier this season. The two CGs apiece for Rierson and Kaiser mark the first time since 1999 that more than one Wildcat hurler has gone the distance more than once in a year. Former Wildcats and top professional prospects Josh Pearce and Ben Digggins each tossed a pair of complete games during the 1999 season. Arizona's four complete games this season is the second most CGs for a pitching staff in the last five years. Both the 1999 and '97 staffs tossed five complete games each. The school single-season record is 38 by the 1956 team.
Coming Through In A Pinch: Ken Riley has produced in the pinch this season. Pinch hitting that is. The junior has three of Arizona's five pinch hits this year. In four pinch hit at bats, Riley is batting .750 with two singles, a triple and an RBI that scored the game tying run in the 10th inning of Arizona's come-from-behind win over UC Irvine on Feb. 23. Freshman Richard Mercado is the only other player to tally a pinch hit this year with two. The first-year Wildcat entered a game at the plate against Oregon State and delivered a single to right and most recently the designated hitter/catcher scored a pair of runners with a two-out single through the left side in the eighth inning against UC Riverside (4/19).
Get there Early, But Stick Around For the Stretch: Arizona's offensive explosions in the fifth inning of in UA's non-conference games against Grand Canyon (nine runs) and UC Riverside (seven runs) has turned this loyal note on its ear. The fifth inning, in which Arizona holds a 32-point discrepancy (59 to 27), has taken over as the most productive inning on offense this season for the Wildcats. However, the first and seventh innings maintain their presence with 23- and 24-point Arizona advantages, respectively. (See page nine of the notes for an inning-by-inning breakdown of when Arizona scores its runs).
Wearin' It: It's painful to be a Wildcat batter in 2002. Opposing pitchers have plunked Wildcat hitters 57 times already in 46 games (1.24 HBP per game). In comparison, last year Arizona batters were hit "just" 35 times in 56 games (0.63 HBP per game). Should the Wildcats' opposition continue to assail batters at the current rate, Arizona will end up with nearly 70 hit bats men, smashing the current school record of 59 (1.02 HPB per game) set in 1997. The 57 HBP this season are the second-most by any team in school history.
The More The Merrier: Arizona is doing a fine job of hitting with runners on base, posting a .345 batting average at the plate. However, that average increases significantly when all three bases are occupied. In 53 official at bats with the bases loaded, Arizona is hitting .472 (25 for 53) with six grand slams (see note that follows), 84 RBIs and a .962 slugging percentage. The Wildcats have also hit seven sac-flies, walked nine times and been hit by pitches five times in bases loaded situations. Freshman Jeff Van Houten has cleared the bases twice with the sacks full, tallying a three-run triple and a grand slam. He has also been hit by a pitch with the bases loaded for eight RBIs. Classmate John Hardy and senior Justyn St. Clair lead the team with 11 and 10 bases loaded RBIs, respectively.
Having A Grand Time: Pat Reilly's first career home run against Grand Canyon on April 16 came with the bases loaded for a grand slam. The bases loaded fence buster extended Arizona's school single-season record to six for the season. Reilly, Jeff Van Houten, John Hardy and Moises Duran have all hit a grand slam apiece this season. Sophomore Brian Anderson has smashed two. The six slams mark the first time since 1999 that an Arizona team has had two or more bases loaded home runs in a season. Anderson's second GS of the season, against California on April 13, broke the previous school record of four shared by Arizona's 1955, '56, '61, '88, '93, '98 and '99 teams. Former Wildcat Dave Shermet holds the all-time individual career record with four.
Manufacturing, Inc.: Arizona has scored a total 375 runs this season and 91 of them (24 percent) have come without Arizona recording a hit to score the run. In 35 of the 42 games in which Arizona has scored, at least one run was plated without the benefit of a hit. The Wildcats have manufactured runs via ground ball outs to the left side of the infield, wild pitches, walks, balks, sacrifice flies, errors, straight steals and even batters being hit by pitches.
Using All Three Outs: Brian Anderson's grand slam at California (4/13) was just one of many two-out hits the Wildcats have posted this season. Arizona is hitting .303 (163 for 538) and have scored 169 of their 375 runs (45%) as a team with two down in an inning this season. Leading the way individually is senior Justyn St. Clair and freshman Pat Reilly. The duo are hitting .380 and .406, respectively, with two outs. St. Clair has 15 RBIs in the situation and Reilly has 12. Freshman John Hardy leads the team with 26 two-out RBIs. He has 34 total RBIs for the season.
700 and Counting: When Andy Lopez signed on with the Wildcats last summer he had accumulated 687 wins in 19 seasons as head coach at Cal State Dominguez Hills, Pepperdine and Florida. Arizona's win over UC Irvine on Feb. 23 propelled the first year Arizona skipper to his 700th career win. Through 46 games at Arizona, his career record stands at 716-436-6 (.622).
Head Coach Andy Lopez: First-year Arizona skipper Andy Lopez makes his return to the Pac-10 where he played collegiality at UCLA in 1974-75. Entering his 20th season as a head coach Lopez takes over as the head man at his fourth school. Starting out at Cal State Dominguez Hills in 1983, Lopez has also coached at Pepperdine and the University of Florida. While in Malibu, he led the Waves to the only team national championship in school history, winning the 1992 College World Series title in Omaha. He twice led Florida to Omaha and in the process doubled the Gators number of trips from two in 82 years to four in just seven more. Just the fifth head coach in the last 80 years at Arizona, he is also one of only seven active coaches with a national championship to his credit and one of eight men to ever lead two or more schools to the College World Series.
Arizona Player Career Stats vs. UCLA Hitter G BA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SB Brad Hassey 3 .214 14 2 3 0 0 0 1 0 1 Ken Riley 5 .111 18 0 2 0 0 0 2 0 0 Brian Anderson 3 .083 12 4 1 0 0 0 1 1 1 Justyn St. Clair 3 .000 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Pitcher G GS W-L Sv. IP H R ER BB K ERA Marc Kaiser 1 1 0-0 0 8.0 8 2 1 1 4 1.12 Sean Rierson 1 1 1-0 0 7.0 7 2 2 1 5 2.57 Joe Little 1 0 1-0 0 3.0 3 1 1 0 1 3.00 Chris Goodman 1 1 0-0 0 3.2 5 3 3 1 1 7.36 Tony Sulser 1 0 0-1 0 0.1 2 1 1 1 0 27.00