June 7, 2012
NCAA Tournament Central
2012 Tucson Super Regional Game Notes
Super Regional Press Guide | 2012 Stats | 2012 Media Guide
Tucson Super Regional Ticket Information
Friday, June 8 | Noon (ESPN2)
Saturday, June 9 | Noon (ESPN2)
Game 2: Arizona vs. St. John's
Sunday, June 10 | 1 p.m. (ESPN2)
Game 3: If necessary
- UA is hosting its first Super Regional in program history.
- UA is making its third NCAA Super Regional appearance and has made 37 all-time NCAA postseason appearances, including three straight. Under Andy Lopez, UA earned a postseason berth in eight the last 10 seasons.
- The Wildcats claimed a share of the Pac-12 Championship, their first league title since 1993.
- Alex Mejia became the sixth Wildcat player all-time to earn Pac-10/12 Player of the Year honors. The other five - Terry Francona, Chip Hale, Alan Zinter, Scott Erickson and Trevor Crowe - each played Major League Baseball.
- Andy Lopez was named Pac-12 Coach of the Year for the first time in his 11 seasons at Arizona.
- The Wildcats placed six players on the 25-member Pac-12 All-Conference Team
- Juniors Alex Mejia, Seth Mejias-Brean, Robert Refsnyder and Joey Rickardeach have over 200 career hits. It marks the first time in school history four active players have had 200 or more career hits.
- UA's .333 team batting average ranks No. 4 nationally.
- UA's 7.5 runs per game ranks No. 6 nationally.
- UA pitchers have thrown 13 complete games in 2012, most in a season at the school since 1989 (22). - UA pitchers have allowed just 2.72 walks per nine innings, ranked No. 21 nationally.
- UA pitchers have a 2.60 walk to strikeout ratio, No. 23 nationally.
- UA is 28-1 when holding opponents to four runs or less.
- UA is 37-4 when out-hitting opponents and 1-12 when being out-hit (3-1 when tied.)
- UA had five players drafted in the top nine rounds of the MLB draft.
NCAA Tournament Central
Arizona Head Coach Andy Lopez: The Wildcats are coached by Andy Lopez, who is now in his 11th season with a 396-246-1 record at the school. He has guided the Wildcats to postseason competition in eight of the last 10 years, including three straight NCAA regionals, and highlighted by a 2004 College World Series appearance. The Wildcats have won at least 30 games in six straight years and in 10 of Lopez's 11 seasons at the school, and have won 40 games in three of the last six seasons. Overall, Lopez has more than 1,000 career victories, one national championship and four College World Series appearances. Lopez owns a career record of 1,083-664-7 in 30 years as a head coach, including stints at Cal State Dominguez Hills (1983-88), Pepperdine (1989-94), Florida (1995-2001) and Arizona (2002-present). Lopez led Pepperdine, Florida (twice) and Arizona to College World Series appearances. His total victories are 13th-most among active coaches and he is just one of just 45 individuals to reach 1,000 career victories. Regional Recap: Arizona cruised through the Tucson Regional - the school's first time hosting postseason play since 1992 - with a 15-3 victory over Missouri in the opener, and back-to-back wins over Louisville (16-4 and 16-3) to clinch the regional championship. Arizona's 47 runs scored were the third-most ever for the school in a regional tournament, and it amassed the number in the minimum number of games. The 15.7 runs per game surpassed the 1986 club's 12.5 runs per game for most in a single regional tournament. The Wildcats placed seven players on the All-Tournament team, including outfielders Johnny Field and Joey Rickard, infielders Seth Mejias-Brean and Alex Mejia, pitchers Kurt Heyer and Konner Wade, and designated hitter Bobby Brown. Field hit .533 (8-for-13), with two doubles, two triples and a grand slam, combining for eight runs scored and 10 RBI to secure the Most Outstanding Player citation.
Super Notes: Arizona is set to play in a Super Regional for the third time in school history, though it will do so at home for the first time ... Both of UA's previous two Super Regionals have gone the full three games ... The Wildcats last appeared in a Super Regional in 2008, winning the game before dropping the next two to host Miami at the Coral Gables (Fla.) Super Regional. Current fifth-year senior Bobby Brown redshirted during that season ... Arizona won its first-ever Super Regional at Long Beach in 2004. The Wildcats prevailed in Game 1 after chasing Dirtbags' starter Jared Weaver from the game in the eighth inning. UA then scored four ninth-inning runs to win 6-5. LBSU evened the series the next day, before the Wildcats won the rubber match 4-3 in 11 innings. Arizona's roster that season featured seven future Major Leaguers Trevor Crowe, Nick Hundley, Jordan Brown, Jason Donald, Mark Melancon, John Meloan and Brad Mills.
Remember When? On May 30, 1980, Arizona opened College World Series play in Omaha against St. John's. The Wildcat lineup featured 1980 Golden Spikes Award winner Terry Francona, along with three other future Major Leaguers - outfielder Dwight Taylor and John Moses, along with third baseman Casey Candaele. However, it was the Red Storm's future Major Leaguer - pitcher Frank Viola - that stole the show. Viola pitched a complete game four-hitter and allowed just one run, though he danced around seven walks, to earn the win in a 6-1 win. But, the Wildcats bounced back and won their next five games at the CWS to capture their second of three national championships.
Draft Update: Five Wildcats were drafted in the first nine rounds, including SS Alex Mejia (No. 150, 4th Round, St. Louis Cardinals), OF Robert Refsnyder (No. 187, 5th Round, New York Yankees), RHP Kurt Heyer (No. 210, 6th Round, St. Louis Cardinals), 3B Seth Mejias-Brean (No. 262, 8th Round, Cincinnati Reds) and OF Joey Rickard (No. 302, 9th Round, Tampa Bay Rays).The group of draftees pushes Arizona's total to 52 under head coach Andy Lopez, who took over the program in 2002. Of those, 10 have played in the Major Leagues. All-time, 220 Arizona baseball players have been drafted, including 81 in the last 14 seasons. Of the 220 selections, 58 have been taken in the first five rounds.
Don't Forget The Pitching: Arizona's offense surely drew some praise for its hitting barrage in the NCAA Regional, but the Wildcats also received some outstanding starting pitching. Ace Kurt Heyer tossed his second complete game of the season, No. 2 pitcher Konner Wade worked into the ninth inning, and No. 3 hurler James Farristhrew his third complete game of the season. In all, the Wildcats registered 2.00 earned run average, struck out 21 batters and walked just five in 27.0 innings of work. The UA staff limited opponents to a .260 average. Going forward, pitching will continue to be a key to how far the Wildcats go no matter how hot their offense is. On the season, UA's starting rotation of Heyer, Wade and Farris has thrown 13 complete games.
Pitching Lately: Arizona is 11-2 over its last 13 games, and one of the key factors has been strong pitching. The UA staff has received five complete games from its starters (Heyer - 3, Wade - 1, Farris -1), and has a cumulative 3.03 earned run average over the last 116.0 innings. Wildcat pitchers have 83 strikeouts against 37 walks in that span, and have limited opposing hitters to a lowly .238 average.
Mejia Garners National Honors: To go along with being named the Pac-12 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, junior shortstop Alex Mejia has captured a pair of national honors, too. Collegiate Baseball Newspaper named Mejia a first team Louisville Slugger All-American last week, becoming the school's first tabbed by the publication as a first-teamer since pitcher Preston Guilmetin 2007. Mejia is also one of five finalists for the Brooks Wallace Shortstop of the Year Award.
All-Americans: Arizona placed three players on the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Louisville Slugger All-American teams last week. Shortstop Alex Mejia was named to the first team, while pitcher Kurt Heyer and third baseman Seth Mejias-Brean were placed on the second and third teams, respectively. The trio of All-Americans marks the first time the Wildcats have placed three players on the Collegiate Baseball All-American teams in the same season since 2005. That year, outfielder Trevor Crowe was named to the first team, while catcher Nick Hundley and first baseman Jordan Brownwere honored on the second and third teams, respectively. Each has since played Major League Baseball.
Johnny On and Off The Field: Sophomore outfielder Johnny Field turned in an All-Conference season and has been arguably Arizona's most dangerous hitter over the second half of the season. He was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Tucson Regional last weekend, and this week was named second team Pac-12 All-Academic for his efforts in the classroom. Field has yet to declare a major, but boasts a 3.51 grade point average. Several other Wildcats, including Augey Bill, Brandon Dixon, Vincent Littleman and Seth Mejias-Breanwere named honorable mention All-Academic.
Noting Some Streaks: Robert Refsnyder has reached base in 32-consecutive games (via hit, walk or HBP), which is the longest streak for any Wildcat this season ... Johnny Field has reached base in 22 straight games and has a nine-game hitting streak ... Seth Mejias-Brean has a current 11-game hitting streak and a 12-game reached base streak heading into regionals ... Joey Rickardhas reached base in 10 straight games.
80 Hits: The Wildcats have four players already over 80 hits for the season, with a fifth just five shy. Johnny Field and Alex Mejia are tied for the team lead with 88 base hits apiece, which is tied for the most of any Pac-12 player this season. Seth Mejias-Brean is not far behind with 86 hits, and Robert Refsnyder is a few more back at 82 hits. Joey Rickard, who missed four starts with an injury, has exactly 75 base hits this season, marking the third straight season he has reached the benchmark. The last time UA had four players collect 80 hits in a single season was in 2005, when Trevor Crowe (106), Jordan Brown (88), Jeff Van Houten (87) and Nick Hundley(80) did so. No Wildcat club has had five players reach 80 hits in the same season since the 1993 squad had six: Robbie Moen (102), John Tejcek (91), Jason Thompson (90), Willie Morales (88), Toddy Landry (88) and George Arias (88).
RBI Top to Bottom: Arizona has eight players with 30 or more runs batted in on the season, which is pretty impressive balance in a nine-man batting order. Then you can consider that Arizona's first base platoon of Joseph Maggi and Brandon Dixon has also combined for 30 runs batted in this season, which essentially gives the Wildcats a lineup that features 30 RBI at all nine spots. Robert Refsnyder leads all players with 61 runs batted in, the first Wildcat to reach 60 since C.J. Zieglerhad exactly that many in 2008. As a team, Arizona has 393 runs batted in to date. The last UA team to reach 400 or more RBI was in 2005 (445).
Double Digit Runs: Arizona scored double-digit runs in each game of the Tucson Regional. As the sixth-highest scoring team in the nation (7.5 runs per game), it's nothing new to the Wildcats. Arizona has scored 10 or more runs in a game 16 times this season, but last weekend was the first time the club did so in three consecutive games. In fact, the Wildcats had scored 10-plus runs in consecutive games just one other time this season (May 16 at ASU and May 18 at USC).
Swiping Bases: Keep an eye on the base paths this week. Arizona has stolen 80 bases (most for a Pac-12 school), while St. John's ranks No. 20 in the nation with 92 swipes. The Wildcats have allowed only 42 stolen bases all season and opponents have been successful 68.9-percent of the time. Arizona has been more aggressive in the second half of the season, successfully stealing 36 bases (in 51 attempts) over the last 28 games, with 10 different players collected a stolen base. Immediately prior to that stretch, the Wildcats went eight games in a row without a stolen base and stole only three over a 14 game period from March 14 through April 5. Last weekend in the Tucson Regional, Wildcat runners were 7-for-7 in stolen base tries. Joey Rickardleads the team and ranks tied for most stolen bases of any Pac-12 player (17).
Going The Distance: Arizona pitchers have combined to throw 13 complete games this season, the most for the program in a single year since tossing 22 in 1989. Perhaps most impressive is the fact that the 13 complete games are the most for a school from a major baseball conference. In fact, the 13 CG's as many as or close to the teams in the ACC (12) and SEC (14) combined to throw in their respective leagues during the regular season. Big 12 teams registered 38 CG's on the season, while the Big East had 39 and the Big 10 collected 43. Conference USA tallied 21, the Missouri Valley 32, and the WAC 17. Gonzaga, from the West Coast Conference, tossed 10 complete games, while UC Davis out of the West Coast Conference matched Arizona with 11 CGs during the regular season.
Fearsome Foursome: Juniors Alex Mejia, Seth Mejias-Brean, Robert Refsnyder and Joey Rickardhave combined to make 688 starts in 697 total games played. They have missed a combined seven games in their careers. It's been a very consistent a productive group that has helped guide the Wildcats to consecutive NCAA Regional appearances. Together they have accumulated 911 base hits and 533 runs scored, hitting .332 (911-2740) as a group.
4 X 200: Seth Mejias-Brean (210) surpassed the 200-hit milestone for his career on the final weekend of the regular season. The junior third baseman joined classmates Robert Refsnyder (234), Joey Rickard (236) and Alex Mejia(231) as four active players with 200 or more career hits. It's believed that such a feat has never happened before at the school. There are three notable teams that have boasted a trio of active 200-hit players, including in 1986 (Chip Hale, Gar Millay and Todd Trafton), 1989 (Alan Zinter, J.T. Snow and Greg Fowble) and 1993 (Robbie Moen, Willie Morales, John Tejcek). Some years have been followed by another player reaching 200 hits the next season, or vice versa.
Falling Behind: Arizona has developed a habit of falling behind early in games, something that has proven costly at times while other times simply serving as a wakeup call. Arizona has trailed at some point in 33 of its last 45 games (18-15 record when trailing) and in 38 of 58 on the season (21-17). A season ago, the Cats trailed during 38 of their 60 games played. They posted a 17-21 mark in those games.
Home At Hi Corbett: Arizona's decision to move its home venue off campus to historic Hi Corbett Field has paid dividends this season, none bigger than the final weekend of the regular season when 14,055 fans came out to cheer on the Wildcats to a conference championship over three days against rival Arizona State. The Friday crowd on May 25 drew 5,451 fans, while Saturday saw a season-high 5,677 pass through the gates. It was Arizona's largest home crowd since May 25, 1980, when 7,002 fans watched Arizona defeat Gonzaga by a score of 8-5 at Wildcat Field (before it was named Sancet Field) in the championship game of the Tucson Regional en route to the school's second national championship. In 2012, Arizona drew 86,132 fans to its 35 regular season home games for an average of 2,460 per game. That average is the third-best in single season history at the school, behind the 1980 (3,256) and 1981 clubs (2,777). For comparison's sake, UA drew 36,412 fans at 33 home games (1,103 per game) a season ago on campus. With the NCAA Regional games added in, the Wildcats have drawn 98,710 fans through the gates at home games this season (2,597 per game).
Cats At Home: Arizona has racked up 28-10 record at Hi Corbett Field this season. On their home turf, the Wildcats have hit .354 as a team, while opponents have hit .274. The Wildcats have scored an average of 8.1 runs per game compared to opponents' 4.9 per game. Johnny Field (.416), Alex Mejia (.395), Joseph Maggi (.380), Robert Refsnyder (.361) and Seth Mejias-Brean(.382) have all taken a special liking to the facility. The Wildcats have hit 83 doubles, 29 triples and eight homers at home, while opponents have 59 doubles, 24 triples and seven round-trippers. Arizona's pitching staff has a 4.00 earned run average, but perhaps most impressively 272 strikeouts to just 93 walks.
Winning Weekends: Dating back to the final month of the 2011 regular season, Arizona has a 17-3 record in its last 20 three-game weekend series (13-2 in 2012 regular season). That stretch includes eight sweeps. In that span, the Wildcats are 6-1 in road series, including a 5-0 record in 2012. The only losses have been at Stanford in 2011, and at home against UCLA and Oregon in 2012. Including all games, the Wildcats have a 53-23 record over their last 75 games (.707). The club has racked up a 29-13 (.690) mark in Pac-10/12 games.
Alive With Five: Five runs seems to be a pretty good breaking point for success for the Wildcats. In 2012, Arizona is 33-6 when it scores five or more runs in a game, while it has struggled to a 8-11 mark when it fails to score at least five runs. Conversely, the same holds true for opponents. When the Wildcats have held opponents under five runs, they are 28-1. When opponents score five runs or more, UA has struggled at to a 13-16 clip.
Complete Games: Kurt Heyer's three consecutive complete games last month were more than UA had as a team in four of the six seasons prior to the season (2010, 2009, 2008 and 2006) ... Heyer's seven complete games in 2012 are more than UA combined for as a team in a three-year stretch from 2008-10 ...The last UA pitcher to earn a victory in three consecutive complete game outings was RHP Troy Bradford at the end of the 1990 season ... Kurt Heyer (6), Konner Wade (3) and James Farris(2) have combined for 11 complete games. The last time three UA pitchers had 2+ complete games in a season was in 1989 (Scott Erickson - 14, Lance Dickson - 4 and Jim Richardson - 3) ... The Wildcats' 13 complete games in 2012 are the most for the program since throwing 22 in 1989 ... Combined with seven complete games a year ago, Arizona's 20 CG's the last two seasons are more than half of the 32 the school combined to throw in the first 11 years of the 21st century (2000-10).
Hitting 101: Arizona leads the Pac-12 and ranks No. 4 nationally with a .333 team batting average entering Super Regionals ... The Wildcats have seven regulars (min. 100 at bats) batting .326 or better ... Five players rank in the top-10 of the conference for individual batting, led by Johnny Field's .league-best .389 clip ... UA has collected 10+ hits in a game 43 times this season, including in 25 of the last 32 contests ... The Wildcats are 37-4 when out-hitting opponents in games this season and 1-12 when opponents outhit the Wildcats (3-1 when hits are tied) ... Nine players have at least 10 multi-hit games in 2012 ... Five players have had an 11+ game hitting streak, including Seth Mejias-Brean'steam-high 21-game streak earlier this year.
Leaders of the Pac: Arizona finished the season as the top offensive team in the Pac-12 in several categories (regular season stats), including batting average (.325), runs scored (390), hits (625), RBI (351), triples (29), total bases (849) and sacrifice flies (36). The Wildcats ranked No. 2 in slugging (.441), on-base percentage (.394), stolen bases (73) and finished with the second-fewest strikeouts (262). Pitching-wise, UA hurlers struck out the second-most hitters and issued the third-fewest walks.
40 Wins: Arizona has won 40 games (actually 41) for the third time in the last six seasons under coach Andy Lopez. Should the Wildcats win a pair of games this weekend, they would surpass the total of 42 set by the 2007 and 2008 clubs. Prior to those years, Arizona last had a 40-win season in 1989 (45). All-time, the Wildcats have won 40 games in a season 20 times now dating back to 1954, the first season UA appeared in the College World Series.
30 Wins: Arizona has reached the 30-win plateau for the sixth straight season and for the 10th time in Andy Lopez's11 seasons at the school. The last Wildcat club to miss the 30-win mark was 2006 team, which finished 27-28 and is one of just two Lopez-coached squads to miss postseason play in the last nine years. A year ago, the Wildcats finished 39-21, their best record since going 42-19 in 2008. Lopez coached the Wildcats to back-to-back 40-win seasons in 2007 and 2008.
.300 Club: Arizona boasts a .333 batting average that leads the Pac-12 and ranks No. 4 in the nation. That clip has the Wildcats poised for a .300 or better team batting average for the 10th consecutive season. In 2011, the Wildcats hit .320 as a team and finished No. 3 nationally. That mark was the best clip for a Wildcat team since 2005, when a veteran squad turned in a blistering .328 average. The 2003 club - Andy Lopez'ssecond year - also hit .328, while the 2009 club hit .314. Other marks include .306 in 2007, .305 in 2006 and in the 2004 College World Series season, and .301 in 2008.
Pac-12 Champs: Arizona won a share of the Pac-12 Championship with a 20-10 mark in league play, tying with UCLA. The conference crown is the school's first since 1992 when Hall of Fame Coach Jerry Kindall led the Wildcats to an 18-12 mark in the Pac-10 South. Arizona also won Pac-10 South titles in 1989 and 1980 in addition to winning five WAC championships before moving into the Pac-10 for the 1979 season. Andy Lopezhas coached Arizona to a pair of second-place finishes, and this year's Pac-12 championship marks the ninth time he has led a school to a conference title, including twice at Florida in the SEC. Also of note is Arizona's 20 conference wins in 2012, which is the second-highest win total the school has ever accumulated in league action. The 1989 Pac-10 South championship club went 23-7.
Pac-12 Coach of the Year: Andy Lopezwas named the Pac-12 Coach of the Year for the first time in his 11 seasons in Tucson. Lopez has guided the Wildcats to a 38-17 overall record and a Pac-12 co-championship in 2012. The league title is Arizona's first conference crown since 1992, and the school is hosting an NCAA Regional for the first time since that same season. Interestingly, Lopez's Pepperdine club won the Tucson Regional in 1992 and advanced to the College World Series, where it won the national championship. Under the guidance of Lopez, the Wildcats have advanced to an NCAA Regional in eight of the last 10 seasons, including in 2004 when the school advanced to the College World Series for the first time since 1986. In the eight seasons prior to Lopez becoming the head coach, Arizona qualified for just one NCAA Regional (1999).
Pac-12 Player of the Year: Shortstop Alex Mejia was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year, becoming just the sixth player in school history to earn the award. Mejia's spectacular defensive play, improved offensive skills and leadership on and off the field drew attention from the league coaches to earn him the top honor. Mejia, who was also named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, has been Arizona's starting shortstop in all 175 games he has played at the school. In 2012, Mejia turned in a career-best season. He finished third on the team and No. 5 in the Pac-12 with a .357 batting average and led all Pac-12 players with 81 hits during the regular season. Mejia ranked No. 9 with 47 runs scored and tied for No. 10 with 46 RBI, while he was tied for No. 3 in conference with five triples and ranked third on club with three home runs. Other Pac-10/12 Players of the Year at Arizona include: Trevor Crowe(2005), Scott Erickson and Alan Zinter (co-MVPs 1989), Chip Hale (1987) and Terry Francona (1980).
All-Conference: Arizona placed six players on the Pac-12's 25-member all-conference team announced this week. In addition to being named Pac-12 Player of the Year and Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, shortstop Alex Mejia is joined by designated hitter Bobby Brown, outfielder Johnny Field, pitcher Kurt Heyer, third baseman Seth Mejias-Brean and outfielder Robert Refsnyder. The six players on the all-conference team matched UA's total from 2011, which was the most a Wildcat team had placed on the all-league list since 1993. Mejia and Refsnyder earned all-conference honors for the second year in a row, while Heyer became a three-time selection. Outfielder Joey Rickard, an all-conference pick as a sophomore, was named honorable mention.
Last At-Bat Wins: Seven of Arizona's 38 victories, including five of its 20 Pac-12 wins, have come with a rally in its final at-bat of game, but perhaps none bigger than the two in the final weekend of the regular season over rival Arizona State to secure the Wildcats a share of their first Pac-12 Championship since 1992. On May 25, the Wildcats and Devils were locked in perhaps the pitching duel of the year in the conference. UA's Kurt Heyer and ASU's Brady Rodgers had kept each side scoreless until the bottom of the ninth. That was when with one out Rodgers gave up a single to Robert Refsnyder, before Jake Barrett was called on to replace Rodgers. Seth Mejias-Brean ripped the second pitch he saw from Barrett for a double down the left field line. Refsnyder was given the stop sign to hold up at third base, but he ran through it and scored the winning run in a thrilling 1-0 victory. Two days later, after UA surrendered a 7-1 lead when ASU tied the game in the 8th, Johnny Fieldstepped to the plate in the bottom of the 9th with two outs and runners at the corners. He pulled a single into left field for another walk-off win over the rivals, this time securing the conference crown with the 8-7 decision. Here's a look at Arizona's seven final at-bat wins:
- March 7 vs. UC Davis (UA scores three runs in Bot. 8, wins 6-4)
- March 11 vs. E. Michigan (UA scores run in Bot. 9, wins 9-8 in walk-off fashion)
- March 24 @ Oregon St. (UA scores two runs in Top 9, wins 5-4)
- March 30 vs. Stanford (UA scores four runs in Bot 9, wins 8-7 in walk-off fashion)
- April 13 vs. UCLA (UA scores one run in Bot. 8, wins 4-3)
- May 25 vs. Arizona St. (UA scores run in Bot. 9, wins 1-0 in walk-off fashion)
- May 27 vs. Arizona St. (UA scores run in Bot. 9, wins 8-7 in walk-off fashion)
On Deck: Two wins this weekend in the best-of-three Super Regional would hand Arizona a berth in the College World Series (June 15-25/26) in Omaha. The Wildcats have made 15 all-time College World Series Appearances, including most recently in 2004.