April 18, 2002
On the Air: Brian Jeffries and Ryan Radtke will provide Arizona baseball fans with all the play-by-play action for Arizona's three-game series with UC Riverside. Cat fans can tune in to 790 AM KNST or listen over the Internet at www.knst.com.
Next Up - UC Riverside: Playing in just its second season at the Division I level, UC Riverside comes to Tucson with a 22-17 overall record. Members of the Big West Conference, the Highlanders have gone 3-6 through the first nine games of the conference schedule. Returning 21 letterwinners and seven starters from last season's 19-35 team, UCR is led by top hitters Adam Seuss and Tony Festa. Suess tops the team with a .390 batting average in 159 at bats this season, while Festa trails by only two points at .388. Catcher Jim Anderson paces the team with six home runs and 34 RBIs this season. As a team UCR is batting .292 on the season. On the mound, the Highlanders will toss Chris Smith (6-5, 2.93 ERA), AJ Shappi (4-2, 3.58) and Julio Fernandez (3-3, 5.79). The team ERA is 4.67 and UCR has struck out 279 hitters in 352.2 innings. This weekend's three-game series is the first ever meeting between the two schools.
Probable Pitchers Friday - RHP Chris Smith (6-5, 2.93 ERA)vs. RHP Sean Rierson (6-2, 3.81 ERA) Saturday -RHP AJ Shappi (4-2, 3.58 ERA) vs. RHP Marc Kaiser (5-2, 4.25 ERA)
Sunday -RHP Julio Fernandez (3-3, 5.79 ERA) vs. LHP Joe Little (5-4, 5.17 ERA)
Wildcat Notes From Grand Canyon: For the second time in three games all nine Arizona starters had at least one hit and scored one run ... A change was made in the winning pitcher for the game. Jason Snyder has been given credit for the victory with one inning of work in the seventh inning ... Pat Reilly smacked his first career home run in the blowout win, a grand slam, in Arizona's nine-run fifth inning ... The bases loaded home run was the sixth of the season for Arizona ... Chris Cunningham needed only a triple for the cycle as he went 3 for 4 with three RBIs ... Cunningham hit his team-leading ninth home run in the fourth inning ... The two-run blast sparked an eventual seven run inning ... Brad Hassey cleared the bases with a three RBI triple in the fourth ... Hassey and Reilly each finished with four RBIs on the evening.
Wildcat Notes From The California Series: (Overall) Despite getting out-hit .272 to .324, the Wildcats defeated California two games to one at the midpoint of UA's conference season ... The series victory was the first of the season for Arizona in conference play ... The Wildcats scored 18 of their 27 runs in the series with two outs ... 10 of the 11 players that had at least one at bat in the series collected a hit and scored at least one run ... Catcher Ken Riley led the Wildcats in hitting with a .556 average (5 for 9) and also scored twice ... Arizona hit five home runs in the series, including Brian Anderson's school single-season record breaking grand slam on Saturday ... Arizona stole a season high 10 bases in the three-game series and was 10 for 12 on the weekend (Sunday) - Despite giving up only two runs in 6.2 innings of work, lefty Joe Little was saddled with his fourth loss of the season ... Senior Brad Hassey extended his hitting streak to 11 straight games and accounted for Arizona's lone run in the game with a solo homer to leadoff the sixth inning ... The four hits by Arizona tied for the third lowest output in a game this season (Saturday)- The Wildcats scored 10 runs in the first inning, the most in an inning by the Wildcats this season, en route to a 18-9 victory ... Nine of the 10 runs came after California had recorded two outs ... Brian Anderson accounted for half of the runs in the opening inning with an RBI single and his second grand slam of the season ... California pitchers walked home four runs in the first inning ... All nine starters collected at least one hit in the game and scored at least one run ... Anderson and freshman Pat Reilly each had three hits in the game ... The Wildcats hit three home runs in the game, one off the team season high ... Reliever Chris Goodman picked up his third win of the season with four innings of work after starter Marc Kaiser had been ejected (Friday)- Sean Rierson picked up his team-leading sixth win of the season with seven innings of work ... Arizona broke a scoreless tie in the top of the fifth with two runs ... The Wildcats had 13 hits in the game, all singles ... six of the eight runs scored in the game came with two outs in an inning.
Doing the Streak: For the second time this season senior Brad Hassey has hit safely in 12 consecutive games. Actually, an 0 for 4 performance in the series opener against Arizona State (3/22) is all that stands between the shortstop and a 25 game hitting streak. His current streak (3/23-present) has seen him hit a team-high .455 (25 for 55) with 14 RBIs and 13 runs scored. His on-base percentage during this span is an impressive .524. During his first 12 game streak he hit .340 (18 for 53) with 11 RBIs and 10 runs scored. The consistency at the plate over the last 25 games has improved his overall batting average an astounding 98 points. Over the last 25 contests he averaging almost two hits per game, one RBI and just under a run per game. 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 '01 final tally by five. This season's team needs only 13 more stolen bases to achieve the highest theft rate in the past five seasons. The 1998 team stole 69 bases. Senior Brad Hassey, who only needs one more SB to match his career-high, leads the team with 11 stolen bases in 18 attempts. Sophomore Moises Duran trails his double play partner by just one for the overall lead.
Turning Two: The Arizona defense has turned 33 double plays this season, only three less than last season's team turned all of last year.
Hitting Notes: Arizona's team batting average went up one point after the three games with Cal ... The Wildcats have hit at least one home run against 15 of its 16 opponents this season. The only team not to give up a long ball to the Cats thus far is Texas A&M-Corpus Christi ... Sophomore Marc Kaiser and senior Brad Hassey lead the team with 37 runs scored each 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 nine home runs this season and also paces the Cats with 38 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 43 round-trippers this season, seven of whom have two or more. The 2002 team has, in fact, hit seven more home runs through 40 games than the 2001 team did (43-36). Leading the way with a career-high nine fence busters is Chris Cunningham. Cunningham has gone yard with nobody on five times, one runner on three times and with two runners on once for 14 runs batted in on homers. Jeff Van Houten, a freshman, and sophomores Moises Duran and Marc Kaiser are tied for second 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 7 of the notes for the entire team break down) The Wildcats are 18-5 this season in the 23 games when at least one player hits a homer and are 10-1 in the 11 games two or more players connect for the four-base hit.
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 .415 average in 12 games, while in 28 non-conference games this season the shortstop is hitting just .294. He has also tallied 10 RBIs and 11 runs scored in conference action. Freshman John Hardy has thrived at the plate against Pac-10 competition posting a .325 average with 12 RBIs against just a .287 average and 15 RBIs out of conference play. Others that have seen their performances improve at the midpoint of conference play are Ken Riley (.348 in Pac-10, .320 in non-conference) and Moises Duran (.278 Pac-10 v. .247 non-conference).
Pitching Notes: The Wildcats pitching staff maintains a better than two-to-one strikeout to walk ratio this season (2.4-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 2.11 ERA in 21.1 innings pitched this season ... Joe Little is the team leader in strike outs (59) and Sean Rierson leads the team in wins (7) ... Rierson also continues to lead the team in innings pitched (82.2) ... Opponents are hitting .284 against Arizona pitching this season, eight points lower than a year ago through 40 games ... The Wildcat starting staff (Rierson, Little and Kasier) is averaging better than six innings per start ... Closer Brian Anderson is now six for eight in save opportunities in his career ... Through 40 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 40 games) 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 ERA 4.51 5.28 7.48 5.69 5.93 CG 3 1 3 3 0 Sho 2 1 0 2 0 CBO 1 1 0 2 0 Sv 7 12 5 11 8 IP 361.1 365.0 350.0 362.0 344.2 H 409 431 457 436 405 R 227 261 358 275 265 ER 181 214 291 229 227 BB 99 145 211 171 173 SO 242 285 334 312 364
The 'O' In Loss Stands for Zero: Arizona's three starters, Sean Rierson, Marc Kaiser and Joe Little, have combined to lose just eight games this season, but not all of the losses are of their own doing. In fact, in both Rierson and Kaiser's two losses apiece this season the Wildcats were shutout on offense all four times. Actually, dating back to March 31 of last season against Oregon State, Rierson's last three losses have come with zero run support from the offense. In two of Little's last three starts Arizona has scored just one run, while the lefty has given up only one and two runs, respectively. The southpaw has earned a no decision (Oregon State) and a loss (California) in the those starts.
Pac-10 Stats: After last weekends action, the Wildcats, both as a team and individually, continue to rank among the conference leaders in a number of categories. Offensively, Arizona leads the conference in runs scored (304) and walks (192). Somewhat surprisingly the Wildcats are second in the conference with 41 home runs. On the mound the Wildcats are tied for first in wins (25) and given up the fewest walks (99). The pitching staff is third amongst Pac-10 teams in ERA (4.42) and second in innings pitched (352.1). Individually, Moises Duran (28), Marc Kaiser (24) and Chris Cunningham (24) are one-two in the conference in walks. Kasier is sixth in runs scored (36). Senior Brad Hassey's recent hot streak at the plate has him fifth in the conference in total hits with 54 on the season. Cunningham's nine home runs are sixth best amongst all players thus far.
Going The Distance: Marc Kaiser's second consecutive complete game performance of the season against Arizona State (3/24) makes him the first Arizona pitcher since 2000 to toss two or more complete games in a season. Ben Diggins went all nine three times in 2000. Arizona's three complete games this season (two by Kaiser, one by Rierson) ties this year's team with the 2000 pitching staff for the second most CGs in the last five years. Both the 1999 and '97 pitching staffs tossed five complete games each. The school 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 four 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.
Stick Around For the Stretch: Arizona has out-scored its opponents 44-20 in the seventh inning this season. The 24 run difference is the most of all innings for the Wildcats this year. The first inning is the closest, in which Arizona holds an 20 point discrepancy with a 40-20 advantage. (See page 9 of the notes for an inning-by-inning breakdown of runs scored)
Wearin' It: It's painful to be a Wildcat batter in 2002. Opposing pitchers have plunked Wildcat hitters 50 times already in just 40 games (1.25 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 50 HBP this season have surpassed the season totals all but two previous Arizona teams (1997 and '98).
Manufacturing, Inc.: Arizona has scored a total 321 runs this season and 83 of them (26 percent) have come without Arizona recording a hit to score the run. In 31 of the 36 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, straight steals and even batters being hit by pitches.
Game-By-Game Breakdown of Runs Scored Without a Hit 1/25 vs. New Mexico 5 of 6 1/26 vs. New Mexico 7 of 23 1/27 vs. New Mexico 0 of 8 2/1 vs. Utah 2 of 3 2/2 vs. Utah 3 of 17 2/3 vs. Utah 2 of 5 2/4 vs. Southern Utah 6 of 10 2/5 vs. Southern Utah 3 of 11 2/7 vs. San Diego State 0 of 1 2/8 vs. San Diego State 1 of 6 2/9 vs. San Diego State 2 of 7 2/13 at Texas A&M-CC 2 of 4 2/16 at Texas A&M 2 of 4 2/17 at Texas A&M 2 of 6 2/22 vs. UC Irvine 2 of 14 2/23 vs. UC Irvine 2 of 7 2/24 vs. UC Irvine 3 of 13 2/26 vs. New Mexico St. 5 of 14 3/2 vs. CSUDH 6 of 12 3/3 vs. CSUDH 3 of 13 3/9 at Long Beach State 1 of 6 3/15 vs. UNC Wilmington 1 of 7 3/16 vs. UNC Wilmington 2 of 9 3/17 vs. UNC Wilmington 2 of 14 3/22 vs. Arizona State 1 of 7 3/23 vs. Arizona State 3 of 6 3/24 vs. Arizona state 2 of 10 3/27 at Oregon State 5 of 13 3/28 at Oregon State 0 of 1 4/5 vs. Stanford 1 of 4 4/6 vs. Stanford 1 of 1 4/7 vs. Stanford 2 of 15 4/12 at California 0 of 8 4/13 at California 6 of 18 4/14 at California 0 of 1 4/16 vs. Grand Canyon 0 of 17
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 .291 (134 for 461) and have scored 144 of their 321 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 .386 and .393, respectively, with two outs. St. Clair has 15 RBIs in the situation and Reilly 11. Freshman John Hardy leads the team with 21 two-out RBIs, he has 27 total RBIs for the season.
The More The Merrier: Arizona is doing a fine job of hitting with runners on base, posting a .333 batting average at the plate. However, that average increases significantly when all three bases are occupied. In 47 official at bats with the bases loaded, Arizona is hitting .468 (22 for 47) with six grand slams (see note that follows), 78 RBIs and a 1.000 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 10 bases loaded RBIs apiece.
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.
900 All-Time Wins: Arizona achieved its 900th victory at Frank Sancet Field in a 14-2 win over UNC Wilmington (3/17) earlier this season. Located on the corners of Enke and National Championship Drives, Sancet Field has been the home of Arizona baseball for over 35 seasons. Known originally as Wildcat Field, it was renamed and dedicated Frank Sancet Field on April 19, 1986 to honor Arizona's longtime head coach. Coach Sancet put Arizona on the collegiate baseball map, posting a 831-283-8 (.744) record in 23 seasons as head coach. His Wildcat teams made 16 postseason appearances during his tenure and nine trips to Omaha. He finished runner-up at the College World Series three times. Since moving to its current location, the Arizona team has gone 903-391-3 in 1,297 games for a .697 winning percentage (Current through 4/18/02). The Wildcats have suffered only three losing seasons on their home turf and nearly reach perfection in former head coach Jerry Kindall's second season with a 37-1 home record. Frank Sancet Field has been the site of four NCAA Regionals (1979, '80, '89, '92).
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 40 games at Arizona, his career record now stands at 712-433-6 (.621).
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 creditand one of eight men to ever lead two or more schools to the College World Series.