May 16, 2013
|2013 Arizona Baseball
May 17-19, 2013 | Tempe, Ariz. | Packard Stadium
Arizona (29-20, 10-14 Pac-12) at #10 Arizona State (33-15-1, 14-10 Pac-12)
Fri, May 17 • 6:30 p.m. (PDT) • Tempe, Ariz. • Radio: 1290 AM
Sat., May 18 • 6:30 p.m. (PDT) • Tempe, Ariz. • Radio: 1290 AM
|GameTracker | Audio Stream|
Sun., May 19 • 12:30 p.m. (PDT) • Tempe, Ariz. • Radio: 1290 AM
|GameTracker | Audio Stream|
|Some Series Themes||Quick Links|
It's rivalry weekend on the diamond across the Pac-12 Conference, and Territorial Cup rivals clash at Packard Stadium with plenty at stake ... The Sun Devils seek to bolster their postseason prospects with hopes of claiming on of 16 host sites for the regional round ... Meanwhile, the Wildcats find themselves on the outside looking in at the postseason, but a series win and strong finish to the regular season still leaves a bit of room to wiggle back into that conversation ... Most critically, Arizona needs to play good baseball. Pitching and defense have faltered in recent weeks, and timely hits have been few are far between ... To turn things around, the Wildcats will lean on veteran pitchers Konner Wade and James Farris to set the tone on the mound, while juniors Johnny Field and Brandon Dixon hope to break out of their recent slumps ... Expect runs, and perhaps lots of them, as the two sides lead the Pac-12 in runs scored, yet also rank at the bottom of the league in ERA for conference-only games ... The Sun Devils prefer power to produce runs, while the Cats lean towards a small-ball approach ... Keep an eye on the bases as the Wildcats like to run, and opponents have had success stealing bases against the Sun Devils. At the same time, UA's foes have found success running ... ASU enters the weekend having won nine of the last 12 contests, momentum that will be put on the line against an Arizona club that has dropped six of seven ... The annual Territorial Cup Series - a competition across all sports in which the schools compete - will be decided by the winner of this weekend's series (currently tied 8.5-8.5).
|Game Notes (PDF)|
|2013 Season Stats|
|2013 Media Guide|
|College Baseball Rankings|
|Arizona State vs. Arizona Statistical Comparison||Arizona Statistical Leaders|
|33-15-1 (14-10 Pac-12)||Record||29-20 10-14 Pac-12)||Avg.||Brandon Dixon (.367)|
|.297||Avg.||.300||Hits||Brandon Dixon (69)|
|315||Runs||319||Runs||Brandon Dixon (52)|
|511||Hits||481||RBI||Trent Gilbert (45)|
|23||3B||31||HR||Brandon Dixon (6)|
|39||HR||13||OB%||Brandon Dixon (.444)|
|41-59||SB-ATT||91-120||SLG%||Brandon Dixon (.574)|
|.378||OB%||.399||SB||Brandon Dixon (30)|
|.452||SLG%||.402||ERA||Augey Bill (1.46)|
|4.08||ERA||4.46||IP||Konner Wade (88.1)|
|329||K's||332||K's||James Farris (65)|
|Arizona Baseball Game Notes:|
- The last five UA-ASU games have been decided by a combined seven runs.
- Each of UA's last three wins vs. ASU has come in its final at-bat.
- Joseph Maggi is batting .333 and leads the Pac-12 with a .463 on-base percentage in conference-only games.
- Riley Moore is batting .354 and has reached base at a .508 clip over his last 15 games played.
- Moore boasts a .435 batting average and .594 on-base percentage with 12 runs scored in seven career games against ASU.
- Kevin Newman is UA's leading hitting in road contests (.351).
- UA is batting .167 with runners in scoring position over the last seven games. Opponents are batting .387 w/RISP during that span.
- Brandon Dixon is a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy, presented to the top collegiate player.
- Dixon is the fourth player in UA history with 30 stolen bases, 40 runs scored and 40 RBI in the same season.
- The first two UA-ASU games have lasted just under eight total hours (7:55) this season.
- The Territorial Cup Series is tied 8.5-8.5 and will be decided by the winner of this weekend's series.
- Arizona is 14-8 in games decided by two runs or less this season.
Arizona Head Coach Andy Lopez: The Wildcats are coached by Andy Lopez, who is now in his 12th season with a 432-266-1 record at the school. A three-time national coach of the year, including in 2012, Lopez has reestablished Arizona as one of the nation's elite baseball programs, guiding the school to the 2012 NCAA National Championship, two College World Series appearances, and eight postseason berths in the last 10 seasons. Last year, Lopez became just the second NCAA Division I head coach to win a title at two schools (Arizona, Pepperdine). He is one of just three coaches to lead three different schools (Pepperdine, Florida and Arizona) to the College World Series. Further, he is one of just four coaches to take two schools to Omaha on multiple occasions (Arizona, Florida). Under Lopez, 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 owns a career record of 1,119-684-7 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 (twice) to College World Series appearances. His total victories are 12th-most among active coaches.
Lopez Wins No. 1,100: With a 5-2 victory over San Francisco on March 2, 2013, Andy Lopez became the 38th head coach in NCAA history to reach the 1,100-win benchmark. The three-time national coach of the year now boasts a career record of 1,119-684-7 in a career that includes head coaching gigs at four-year schools at Cal State Dominguez Hills (168-152-2 from 1983-88), Pepperdine (241-107-3 from 1989-94), Florida (278-159-1 from 1995-2001 at Florida) and now Arizona (432-266-1 from 2002-13).
UA-UCLA Series Recap: Arizona was swept by 10th-ranked UCLA last weekend at Jackie Robinson Stadium in Los Angeles ... The Bruins outscored the Wildcats 29-8 in the series, getting timely hits to complement dominant pitching in each contest ... UCLA overcame a two-run deficit to win the opener, 10-2, behind a strong start from Adam Plutko. Cody Regis belted a pair of three-run doubles to spark 10 unanswered runs by the Bruins, who spoiled UA starter James Farris' first career Friday night start ... In Game 2, Regis went 4-for-4 with three runs scored and Nick Vander Tuig cruised on the mound, opposing UA starter Konner Wade who took the loss despite pitching into the eighth inning of the 7-1 defeat ... In the finale, three Bruins homered and a six-run second inning paved the way to a 12-5 victory ... Arizona struggled offensively, batting just .238 for the series including a paltry .196 (10-for-51) with runners on base ... The Bruins, meanwhile, hit .367 (22-for-60) with runners on base, including .395 (15-for-38) with runners in scoring position ... UCLA outscored Arizona 15-5 in two-out RBI ... Joseph Maggi (4-for-10) and Kevin Newman (5-for-13) had solid weekends despite the team struggles.
Territorial Cup Series: Arizona and Arizona State participate in an annual competition that pits 18 men's and women's sports against each other to determine the winner of the Territorial Cup Series (tied 8.5 to 8.5). Arizona has won the first three yearly competitions, which began in the 2009-10 academic year, and enters this weekend needing a series victory in baseball to claim a fourth overall title. The multi-sport competition gets its name from the football game - The Territorial Cup - which is recognized by the NCAA as the nation's oldest rival trophy game. The first Territorial Championship Cup was present to Tempe Normal School after its 11-2 victory over Arizona at Tucson's Carrillo Gardens field downtown on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 30, 1899. Now, more than a century later, the schools have broadened the namesake to include all sports, mostly to engage fans in the rivalry throughout the year. Ultimately, the Territorial Cup Series winner gets bragging rights - not the actual cup, which remains designated to the winner on the gridiron.
Nail-Biters: Fans of the two programs can only hope this weekend's series is as hotly contested as the previous five meetings, which have all been decided by two runs or less. The five games, which date back to the regular season series in Tucson last May, have been decided by a combined seven runs. In those games, the Sun Devils hold a 32-31 scoring margin, yet the Wildcats have won three of the five games thanks to a trio of one-run victories.
2013 UA-ASU Game 1 Recap: In a non-conference game between in-state rivals, Arizona rallied to defeat Arizona State, 10-9, on April 16 at Hi Corbett Field in Tucson. The visiting Sun Devils built an 8-2 lead by the sixth inning, before the Wildcats scored eight runs over the final three innings, including the final five runs unanswered. Aided by several of Arizona State errors (five in the game), the Wildcats scored three runs in the sixth, three in the seventh and two in the eighth en route to a 10-9 victory. In the decisive bottom of the eighth, Brandon Dixon led off with a single, was bunted to second and stole third, drawing an errant throw that allowed him to score the tying run. Then with two outs, Riley Moore reached on an infield single and scored in Scott Kingery's double to the left field wall. Mathew Troupe, who followed up two scoreless innings of relief from Augey Bill, pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning to earn his ninth save of the season ... Johnny Field went 2-for-3 with two runs scored as he collected his 200th career hit, and Kevin Newman went 2-for-5 with two runs scored, each starting the three-run innings in the sixth and seventh, respectively ... The Wildcats held a moment of silence before the game for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings Monday ... The crowd of 5,396 was the largest of the season at Hi Corbett Field, surpassing the 5,145 that passed through the gates on Opening Day (2/15).
2013 UA-ASU Game 2 Recap: Arizona dropped a midweek game to rival Arizona State on Tuesday, April 30, falling 7-5 ... Wildcat pitchers struggled to find the strike zone, issuing eight walks and hitting five batters in the game ... In a seesaw battle, the Sun Devils pulled ahead for good with two runs in the top of the eighth, despite getting just one hit - an infield single at that. Closer Mathew Troupe came on with two on and two out to give up the infield single, which loaded the bases. His wild pitch allowed the go-ahead run to score, then consecutive walks forced in a second run to give ASU it's 7-5 lead ... Arizona had jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first, but saw ASU wrestle back to a 4-3 lead by the fourth inning ... Riley Moore's two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the fifth gave UA a 5-4 edge, but the Sun Devils would tie the game in the top of the sixth ... Four shutout innings by the ASU bullpen was capped by a perfect 1-2-3 ninth inning from closer Ryan Burr to shut down the conference's top offense in the late stages ... Trent Gilbert went 4-for-5 for the Wildcats, while Kevin Newman and Moore each had two hits.
Against the Devils: No Wildcat has enjoyed more success against Arizona State than catcher Riley Moore. In seven career games against the Sun Devils, Moore is batting .435 with 12 runs scored and three runs batted in. He's also drawn nine walks and has a .594 on-base percentage in those seven games ... In few opportunities, freshman shortstop Kevin Newman is 4-for-8 with two runs and an RBI ... Sophomore second baseman Trent Gilbert is batting 11-for-30 (.367) with four runs and five RBI in seven contests against ASU ... Sophomore OF/1B Joseph Maggi, whose older brothers Drew and Beau played at ASU, bats .318 (7-for-22) with a run scored and four RBI against the rivals ... Junior Johnny Field has played more games against the Sun Devils than any current Wildcat (11) and is a .310 hitter (13-for-42) with 10 runs scored and two RBI. Last season, his walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth inning propelled Arizona to a series win which captured a share of the Pac-12 Championship in Tucson on May 27 ... See page 27 of this release for complete individual career stats against ASU.
They've Had Enough: Arizona needs two of its offensive leaders to break out of slumps. Brandon Dixon and Johnny Field each rank in the top four of the Pac-12 rankings in batting, but their averages have been dropping in recent weeks. Over their last seven games, Field and Dixon have combined to hit 7-for-49 (.143). They have come up empty in RBI situations, going 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position in those games. Suffice it to say, they are a big part of the Wildcats' offense and when they are producing, Arizona is a dangerous lineup to face for opposing pitchers. On the season, the juniors have combined to score 102 runs and tally 81 runs batted in.
Time to Get Timely: One of the ingredients to Arizona's recent slump is a lack of timely hitting, which has been compounded by opponents delivering their own timely hits. Over the last seven games, Arizona is batting 10-for-62 (.161) with runners in scoring position, while its opponents are hitting 36-for-93 (.387) in those situations. The two-out hit has alluded the Wildcats, who have been outscored 24-10 in two-out RBI over those games. On the season, Arizona enjoys a .319 average with runners in scoring position and a 117-80 edge in two-out RBI.
Stayin' Out Late: Anyone attending the UA-ASU games this weekend should plan on staying late - really late. The first two games this year combined for nearly eight full hours (7:55) of game time in Tucson, including a season-high 4:13 affair on April 30. Both contests were decided by two runs or less and featured midweek pitching, two factors that contributed to the length. While starting rotations will be intact, don't be surprised to see more close games this weekend's The last five UA-ASU games have been decided by a combined seven runs.
Flirting With 30: Arizona has been within reach of 30 wins for a couple of weeks now, but remains one win shy of the mark heading into the ASU series. The Wildcats have won at least 30 games in six straight seasons and in 10 of Andy Lopez's first 11 seasons (2006) at the school. The current run of six-straight 30-win seasons is the longest for the program since doing so in 29-consecutive years from 1954-82 under coaches Frank Sancet and Jerry Kindall.
Playing Beyond His Years: Arizona freshman shortstop Kevin Newman has played like anything but a freshmen this season. A starter in all 49 games, Newman leads the Wildcats with 21 multi-hit games on the year which has helped produce a .339 batting average that ranks No. 9 in the Pac-12. Equally as impressive, Newman is batting .351 in 14 road games this season and is one of only two UA players hitting above .300 away from home. Newman is also one of just two players batting over .300 in Pac-12 Conference games (.302). Additionally, Newman, who has struck out only 12 times in 192 official at-bats, ranks as the toughest player to strike out in the Pac-12. Defensively, he has committed only four errors in 227 chances (.982 fielding percentage). Newman is one of only two freshmen on the Brooks Wallace Shortstop of the Year Award Watch List.
Joe Knows: Arizona's hottest hitter over the last 24 games is sophomore Joseph Maggi, who is batting .368 (25-for-68) with 17 runs scored and 12 runs batted in since March 24. It's a stretch of play that has mostly come against Pac-12 competition, and with a .333 batting average, Maggi leads the club in batting during Pac-12-only games. Additionally, Maggi has reached base at a .463 clip during conference-only games, a mark that leads all Pac-12 players. His season batting average has risen nearly 100 points from .186 on March 23 to its current .282.
Johnny Baseball: Despite a sluggish two weeks at the plate, junior Johnny Field continues to contend for the Pac-12 batting crown. The reigning batting champ, Field enters this weekend with the fourth-highest batting average in the conference (.351). Field also checks in No. 4 for both slugging (.552) and on-base percentage (.431), and ranks in the top five for runs scored (50), hits (68) and RBI (38). He's spent the last 24 games batting in the leadoff spot after holding down the No. 3 spot in the order for the first 25 games. In his 166-game career (160 starts), Field owns a .343 batting average with 215 total hits, 157 runs scored and 114 RBI. He is also 29-for-44 in stolen bases tries in three seasons.
Dixon On Watch List: Junior third baseman Brandon Dixon has been named a semifinalist for the 2013 Dick Howser Trophy, presented annual to the top collegiate player. Dixon leads all Pac-12 players with a .367 batting average and also ranks at the top in runs scored (52) and stolen bases (30), plus ranks second in both slugging percentage (.574) and on-base percentage (.444). In 49 games played - all starts - Dixon has collected the second-most hits (69) and the third-most runs batted in (43) among all conference players.
Dixon In Select Company: With his 30 stolen bases, Brandon Dixon is already tied for No. 9 in Arizona single-season history. What is more impressive, however, is that Dixon has become only the fourth player in school history to steal at least 30 bases, score 40 runs and drive in 40 runs in the same season. The first to do so was Dave Stegman in 1975 when he swiped 36 bags, scored 90 runs and collected 53 RBI. Five years later, in1980, John Moses stole 37 bases, scored 74 runs and tallied 46 RBI. Prior to Dixon, the last Wildcat to accomplish the 30-40-40 feat was Mike Senne in 1986 after he racked up 32 steals, 80 runs scored and 80 RBI. Over 49 games this season, Dixon has scored 52 runs and added 43 RBI.
Gilly Delivers: Sophomore second baseman Trent Gilbert has emerged as one of the league's top run-producers. A starter in all 49 games, Gilbert is batting a clean .333, which ranks 11th in the Pac-12. His 65 base hits are tied for fifth-most in the conference, and he is second in runs batted in (45) and seventh in runs scored (38). The Torrance, Calif., native is batting .423 (33-for-78) with runners in scoring position this season. In his career, Gilbert has played in 113 games (all starts) and is batting an even .300. He has 129 hits, 72 runs scored and 87 RBI in those games.
Getting Moore: Catcher Riley Moore has safely reached base in 21-consecutive games that he has played. Included is a sizzling 15-game stretch of play where he leads the team with a .354 batting average, eight runs scored and 13 runs batted in. Along with 17 base hits, he's drawn 12 walks and been hit by a pitch three times to produce a .508 on-base percentage over the last 15 contests. The hot streak has raised his batting average from .248 entering the Washington State series on April 13 all the way to the current .282 mark. Moore is second among all Pac-12 players with 32 walks and his .432 on-base percentage is No. 3 in the league.
Rotation Shuffle: For the second-straight weekend, Arizona will shuffle its starting rotation. This time, however, the Wildcats will revert back to their customary 1-2 punch with Konner Wade getting the nod on Friday and James Farris taking the hill on Saturday. That was the order for the first 12 weekends of the season before the Wildcats switched things up last weekend at UCLA with Farris earning the Friday start and Wade following up on Saturday. Tyler Crawford is also scheduled to make his eighth-straight Sunday start.
The Phoenix Five: More than 70 percent of the innings pitched this season by Wildcat hurlers have been thrown by players from the Phoenix Area. Arizona's starting rotation includes three of the players, including Konner Wade (Scottsdale, Ariz.), James Farris (Gilbert, Ariz.) and Tyler Crawford (Glendale, Ariz.). Meanwhile, freshmen Cody Moffett (Gilbert, Ariz.) and Tyger Talley (Scottsdale, Ariz.) are two of the top options out of the bullpen. Collectively, the five pitchers have thrown 304.1 innings this season and have a 4.05 ERA.
Wade's World: Right-hander Konner Wade will return to the Friday night role after shuffling back to Saturday last week at UCLA. In 13 starts this season, Wade is 4-6 with a 4.38 earned run average and 65 strikeouts in 83.2 innings pitched. He has dropped four straight games against Pac-12 Conference teams, but he's received little offensive support. In fact, in his last three starts against conference foes, Arizona has scored a total of five runs. Moreover, in his eight starts in league play to date, he has received more than three runs of support just three times, and on three occasions UA has mustered only one run (at Oregon, vs. Washington and at UCLA). He will enter this weekend hoping to turn in a strong start of his own coupled with some run support.
Wade's World Part II: Junior Konner Wade hopes to continue a trend of strong starts away from home. In his career, Wade is 5-5 with a 3.01 ERA in 15 starts and 19 total appearances in road/neutral games. He has 69 strikeouts and only 27 walks in 116.2 innings pitched in those games. In his entire career, Wade has pitched in 51 games with 40 starts and owns an 18-9 record with a 3.93 ERA. He has 191 strikeouts against 76 walks in 286.1 total innings.
Saturday Night Guy Again: Right-hander James Farris will return to his customary Saturday night spot after a one-week stint as a Friday starter at UCLA. Farris fared well for four innings in Los Angeles, before running into trouble in the fifth, which snapped a string of four-consecutive starts in which he worked into the seventh inning. Still, the junior is 4-5 with a 4.20 earned run average on the season and he has 65 strikeouts and only 21 walks in 83.2 innings of work. In his career, Farris has appeared in 32 games and made 30 starts, boasting an 11-8 record and 4.23 ERA. He has 139 walks against 44 strikeouts in 191.1 career innings.
Crafty Crawford: Arizona's Sunday starter will be left-hander Tyler Crawford, who has done a steady job in the role over the last seven weekends. Crawford is 5-2 with a 4.02 ERA this season in 15 appearances, which includes 11 starts (four midweeks to go with seven Sunday starts). In his two-year career, Crawford has shown he is comfortable as a starter. The Glendale, Ariz., native boasts a 5-3 record and 3.63 ERA in 13 career starts. He has 37 strikeouts and 17 walks in 69.1 innings pitched in those starts.
Troupe on Stopper of the Year List: Mathew Troupe is one of 51 players named to the mid-season watch list for the ninth annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year award, given to the top relief pitcher in NCAA Division I baseball. A sophomore right-hander, Troupe boasts a 5-0 record, a 2.08 earned run average and a team-leading nine saves in 24 appearances out of the bullpen this season. He has struck out 45 and walked 16 in 34.2 innings pitched, while limiting opponents to a .180 batting average. Troupe's nine saves rank fourth-most among all closers in the Pac-12 Conference. The saves tally is already sixth-most in school single-history and only four off the program record (13) set by Jason Stoffel in 2008.
Troupe Moving Up: Sophomore Mathew Troupe is quickly moving up Arizona's career chart for saves. In two seasons, the right-hander already has 15 saves and is tied for third-most in school history with Daniel Schlereth (2006-08), who has three years of Major League service. Mark Melancon, now a Pittsburgh Pirate in his fourth year of Major League action, collected 18 saves from 2004-06. The school career record is held by Jason Stoffel, who tallied 29 saves from 2007-09. Stoffel is currently in the Houston Astros organization and led the Texas League (Double-A) with 27 saves for the Corpus Christi Hooks last year. Interestingly, Trevor Hoffman, who ranks No. 2 in Major League Baseball history with 601 career saves, played shortstop as a Wildcat.
The Big Unit: Senior left-hander Augey Bill has emerged as one of the club's most reliable setup guys to bridge to closer Mathew Troupe. The 6-foot-9 lefty has posted a 4-0 record and a 1.46 earned run average over 24.2 innings in 23 total appearances from the bullpen. Bill has held opposing hitters to a .207 batting average, while allowing just 11 walks to go with 12 strikeouts. Already Bill has surpassed his season totals from last season, when he appeared in five games and tossed 6.2 innings with seven strikeouts. The Danville, Calif., doesn't possess the rocket speed fastball of the more famous Big Unit (Randy Johnson), but Bill has a different claim to fame: an aspiring rocket scientist. As an aerospace engineering major, Bill has a keen interest in space travel. In 2012, Bill was a Pac-12 All-Academic honorable mention selection.
Save the Day: Paced by closer Mathew Troupe's nine saves, which are fifth-most in the Pac-12, Arizona has already surpassed its saves total from last season. In 2012, the Wildcats had only 10 saves in 48 victories, with Troupe accounting for six of them. This year, Arizona already has 14, with Nick Cunningham (2), Cody Moffett (1), Tyger Talley (1) and Augey Bill (1) registering the five saves that Troupe did not earn.
Talley the W's: Freshman RHP Tyger Talley has emerged as key setup man out of the bullpen, and he has the numbers to prove it. In 19 appearances, Talley is 4-0 with a 3.82 ERA in 33.0 innings pitched. The Scottsdale, Ariz., native has held opposing hitters to a 218 batting average - third-lowest on the club - to go with 32 strikeouts against 14 walks. In addition to his four victories, Talley has one save to his credit.
Leading the Pac: Arizona joined the Pac-10/12 Conference in 1978. Since that time, Arizona has won three national championships, including in 1980, 1986 and 2012. That is more titles than any other school in the conference during that span. Oregon State (2006 and 2007), USC (1978 and 1998) and Stanford (1987 and 1988) each have won twice. Arizona State won its last title in 1981, giving the Wildcats a pair of championships since their rival's most recent one.
.300 Club: In 2012, Arizona led the Pac-12 and ranked No. 4 nationally with a .329 team batting average, their highest-single season mark in the Andy Lopez tenure, and the highest for the school since 2000 (.331). Under Lopez, the Wildcats have now hit .300 or better in a season for 10-consecutive years. Only his first club, in 2002 (.289), failed to reach the .300 mark. Otherwise his teams have posted averages of .320 (2011), .321 (2010), .314 (2009), .301 (2008), .306 (2007), .305 (2006), .328 (2005), .305 (2004) and .329 (2003) over the last 10 seasons. After 49 games, the 2013 club is hitting an even .300.
Close Calls: Of Arizona's 49 games played this season, 22 have been decided by two runs or less. In those games, the Cardinal and Navy is an impressive 14-8, including a mark of 9-6 in one-run contests. Over the last 20 games, the Wildcats are 7-2 in one-run contests. A year ago, the Wildcats were 9-4 on the season and 6-3 in conference games decided by one run.
Cardiac Cats: Arizona has developed a knack for nail-biting wins over the last two years. Since March of 2012, Arizona has 15 last at-bat victories, including five already this season. Of the 15 thrillers, 11 have been at Hi Corbett Field, where large, supportive crowds have proven to be a key factor. Here's a look at each of the 15 games:
- March 7, 2012 vs. UC Davis (UA scores three runs in Bot. 8, wins 6-4)
- March 11, 2012 vs. E. Michigan (UA scores run in Bot. 9, wins 9-8 in walk-off fashion)
- March 24, 2012 @ Oregon St. (UA scores two runs in Top 9, wins 5-4)
- March 30, 2012 vs. Stanford (UA scores four runs in Bot 9, wins 8-7 in walk-off fashion)
- April 13, 2012 vs. UCLA (UA scores one run in Bot. 8, wins 4-3)
- May 25, 2012 vs. Arizona St. (UA scores run in Bot. 9, wins 1-0 in walk-off fashion)
- May 27, 2012 vs. Arizona St. (UA scores run in Bot. 9, wins 8-7 in walk-off fashion)
- June 8, 2012 vs. St. John's (UA scores twice in Bot 10, wins 7-6 in walk-off fashion)
- June 15, 2012 vs. Florida St. (UA scores once in Top 12, wins 4-3)
- June 25, 2012 vs. South Carolina (UA scores three runs in Top 9, wins national title 4-1)
- Feb. 22, 2013 vs. San Jose St. (UA scores three runs in Bot. 9, wins 8-7 in walk-off fashion)
- March 8, 2013 vs. Columbia (UA scores run in Bot. 9, wins 4-3 in walk-off fashion)
- April 16, 2013 vs. Arizona State (UA scores two runs in Bot. 8, wins 10-9)
- April 20, 2013 @ Stanford (UA scores run in Top 9, wins 10-9)
- April 27, 2013 vs. Alabama State (UA scores run in Bot. 10, wins 4-3 in walk-off fashion)
Plate Discipline: Here's a formula to lead the Pac-12 in on-base percentage: lead the conference in most walks drawn and lead the league in fewest strikeouts. That's exactly what Arizona is doing 49 games into the season and the result is a .399 on base percentage that is tops in the Pac-12. Wildcat hitters have drawn a Pac-12 leading 219 walks, paced by Riley Moore (32) who leads the league. Meanwhile, Kevin Newman and Zach Gibbons are among the toughest players to strikeout in the league, combining for only 29 strikeouts in 348 at-bats on a club that has struck out only 236 times all year. Arizona hitters have also been hit by a pitch 63 times, which is the fourth-most for any Pac-12 school.
Unselfish Approach: Arizona very much relies on its ability to move runners. The Wildcats have 60 sacrifice bunts (second-most in Pac-12) on the season and they lead the conference with 28 sacrifice flies over 49 games. It's a total team effort with 15 players contributing at least one sacrifice bunt this season and 13 driving in a run with a sacrifice fly. UA's 13 players with a sac fly are more than the team season totals of Utah (10) and Washington (11).
On Deck: Arizona closes the regular season with a three-game set against USC in Tucson, Ariz. The series begins on Friday, May 24, at 6 p.m. at Hi Corbett Field. Arizona will honor six seniors before the second game of the series on Saturday, May 25, at 6 p.m. The series will concluded on Sunday, May 26, in a game that will be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks beginning at noon.