No. 7 Arizona (8-2) hosts UC Davis (6-5) in a pair of mid-week games at Hi Corbett Field. The series begins on Tuesday at 5 p.m. and concludes with the second game on Wednesday at 1 p.m.
March 5, 2012
|2012 Arizona Baseball
March 6-7, 2012 | Tucson, Ariz. | Hi Corbett Field
UC Davis Aggies (6-5, 0-0 Big West) @ No. 7 Arizona Wildcats (8-2, 0-0 Pac-12)
|Tuesday, March 6 • 5 p.m. (MST) • Hi Corbett Field
RHP Evan Wolf (first appearance) vs. RHP Lucas Long (1-0, 3.68)
Live Video (All-Access)
|Wednesday, March 7 • 1 p.m. (MST) • Hi Corbett Field
TBA vs. TBA
Live Video (All-Access)
|Some Series Themes
|Arizona (8-2) faces another opponent for the first time on the diamond as UC Davis (6-5) visits Tucson ... The Wildcats are fresh off a weekend sweep of Harvard, while the Aggies look to bounce back after dropping two-of-three at home to Creighton, though both losses were by one run ... Pitching depth is sure to be key in each game, with UC Davis' weekend starters accounting for 56 percent of its staff innings thrown and UA's weekend starters throwing 71-percent of its total innings thus far. Some inexperienced arms will have to step up for each club ... The Cats committed just one error in three games over the weekend, while the Aggies were charged with eight in three games against Creighton ... UA base runners have stolen 29 bases in 35 attempts, while the Aggies are 10-of-17 in the department ... The teams have hit a combined three home runs this season ... UC Davis has outscored opponents 55-54 on the season, while the boast a 74-32 margin ... UA continues a season-opening 15-game home-stand, while UC Davis takes two games away from Davis, Calif., in a stretch of eight-of-10 at home ... Dollar hot dog days at Hi Corbett...
||Baseball America Rank: UA - 7th
|Game Notes (PDF)
|2012 Media Guide
Arizona Head Coach Andy Lopez: The Wildcats are coached by Andy Lopez, who is now in his 11th season with a 363-231-1 record at the school. He has guided the Wildcats to postseason competition in seven of the last nine years, including two straight NCAA regionals and highlighted by a 2004 College World Series appearance. The Wildcats have won at least 30 games in five straight years and in nine of Lopez's 10 seasons at the school. Overall, Lopez has more than 1,000 career victories, one national championship and four College World Series appearances. Lopez owns a career record of 1,050-649-7 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.
UA-Harvard Recap: After never playing before in 8,036 combined games, the Arizona swept three games from Harvard last weekend by scores of 7-1, 3-1 and 13-2 ... Kurt Heyer turned in his fourth-career complete game and matched a career high with 14 strikeouts in the opener ... Konner Wade reached double-digits in strikeouts (10) for the third straight game as the Wildcats pulled out a narrow two-run victory on Saturday ... James Farris threw seven-plus innings and four Wildcats had two runs batted in the series finale ... UA's pitching staff limited Crimson hitters to a .200 clip for the series, while the Wildcat hitters rapped out 36 hits at a .350 clip ... UA's hurlers registered 34 strikeouts against six walks, five of which were issued by Wade ... UA stole 10 bases in 12 attempts ... Defensively, the Wildcats turned four key double plays on Saturday and committed just one error in the field ... Johnny Field paced the offensive attack over the weekend, going 6-for-12 with five runs and two RBI ... Trent Gilbert turned in his most complete series as a freshman starter, batting 5-for-11 with two runs and five RBI ... Robert Refsnyder hit safely in all three games, extending his season-opening hitting streak to 10 games to go with two games from the end of the 2011 season ... Mathew Troupe made his debut as UA's closer, earning his first career save in Saturday's contest.
Ten in the Books: Head coach Andy Lopez says he breaks down the regular season into 10-game increments to gauge the progress of his team. Through 10 contests, his club has an 8-2 record, which is exactly where the Wildcats were this time a year ago en route to a 10-2 start. Lopez has led four teams to 9-1 starts, including in 2002, 2005, 2007 and 2008. The key isn't so much the start, but how teams improve over the course of the season. Consider that the '02 squad opened 9-1, but finished 31-24 and did not make the NCAA tournament. In 2004, the Wildcats started 5-4-1, but went on to the College World Series. With a steady start under their belts this season, the Wildcats will look to build one 10-game segment at a time to put themselves in contention for the postseason and beyond at season's end. Game 1 of the next 10-game segment is against UC Davis on Tuesday.
March Madness: We aren't talking about the NCAA basketball tournament, but rather UA's busy baseball schedule during the month. Starting last Friday, the Wildcats began a frenzied stretch that includes 18 games in 24 days. Arizona's only off days will be Monday's and Thursday's as the schedule is filled with Tuesday-Wednesday games in each of next three weeks. Fortunately for the Wildcats, only five of the 18 contests are on the road, including two during the mid-week at Rice (3/13-14) and three at Oregon State (3/23-25) to wrap up the stretch of games. By the time the Final Four pairings are set for New Orleans, the UA baseball team will be nearing the half-way point of its schedule at 25 (of 55) games. Three of the six "off days" in the period are scheduled travel days for the Cats.
Slow To Heat Up: Arizona hitters got off to a slow start this year, hitting .242 in their opening three games against North Dakota State. Since, they've begun to turn things around with a .344 batting average and 61 runs scored over the last seven games. Included has been the club's first two home runs of the year (both hit by Alex Mejia) and 21 total extra base hits. Leadoff runners have reached in 24 of the 57 innings the Cats have gone to bat the last seven games, and the club is hitting .352 with runners in scoring position. All are relatively modest numbers for a "hot streak", but certainly an improvement over the opening three games. UA's overall batting average has risen to .317.
Heyer Standards: Junior Kurt Heyer enters his third season as the Friday starter for the Wildcats. He is a two-time All-Pac-10 honoree and has been tabbed as preseason third-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball and is on the preseason watch list for the Golden Spikes Award. As a sophomore, Heyer tied for the most starts in the nation (20) and ranked fourth nationally with 134 strikeouts. The 6-foot-2 right-hander tallied double-digit strikeouts six times in 2011, and has done so 10 times in his career. In 2012, Heyer is 3-0 with a 0.78 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 23.0 IP.
Heyer Rings `Em Up: Kurt Heyer matched his career high set during his freshman season with 14 strikeouts last Friday night against Harvard. The 14 punchouts pushed his season tally to 25 strikeouts in his first three tarts of the season, building upon one of the best careers of any active pitcher in the nation. The 25 strikeouts has moved his career tally to 268, which is believed to be the second-most in the nation for active pitchers (research courtesy Troy Prendergast at Troy University). Heyer's 268 strikeouts in two-plus seasons are 15 shy of breaking into the school's career top-10 list in the category. The Huntington Beach, Calif., native boasts an 18-9 record and a 2.60 ERA in his career.
`K'onner Wade: Sophomore RHP Konner Wade, the club's Saturday starter, has reached double-digit strikeouts in all three starts this season, and his total of 33 leads the Pac-12 Conference That's a bit surprising since he racked up just 28 strikeouts in 61.2 innings as a freshman. Wade, whose career high was seven punch-outs entering the season, shattered the previous mark with 13 in his season debut against North Dakota State on Feb. 18. He followed that up with another 10 strikeouts a week later against Auburn on Feb. 25 and 10 more versus Harvard on March 3. The strong start backs up an impressive summer that saw Wade become a Cape Cod League All-Star mostly as a closer. At Arizona, he'll remain a starter, a spot he's had success in during his first two years. In his career as a starter (4-0, 11 career starts), Wade has thrown 65.2 innings with a 2.06 ERA (15 ER), including just five earned runs in his last six starts dating back to the end of last season.
Field Days: Sophomore left fielder Johnny Field is off to a blistering start in 2012. Through 10 games, Field leads the club in overall hitting (.457), slugging (.657) and on base percentage (.578). He collected two doubles and a triple as part of a four-hit opening day against North Dakota State. He's continued the torrid pace even when opposing pitchers have opted to pitch around him. Field has drawn a team-high nine walks and has been hit by one pitch in his 45 plate appearances so far. He is tied for the team lead with 12 runs scored and is second in hits (16).
Fearsome Foursome: Juniors Alex Mejia, Seth Mejias-Brean, Robert Refsnyder and Joey Rickard have combined to make 500 starts in 509 total games played. They have missed a combined three games in their careers, with Rickard playing in all 128 games and missing only one start. It's been a very consistent a productive group that has helped guide the Wildcats to consecutive NCAA Regional appearances. Together they have accumulated 636 base hits and 359 runs scored, hitting .325 (636-1955) as a group.
Troupe Time: Freshman RHP Mathew Troupe earned his first career save in Arizona's 3-1 victory over Harvard last Saturday. Holding the two-run margin, UA called on Troupe to replace starter Konner Wade with two outs and two runners in scoring position. The freshman right-hander struck out pinch-hitter Robert Wineski to get the Wildcats out of the jam. In the ninth inning, Troupe allowed a lead-off single, but bounced back quickly with his second strikeout. He then got Kyle Larrow to line into a double play to first baseman Brandon Dixon to end the game. On the season, Troupe has thrown 6.0 innings over four appearances with no runs allowed. He has scattered six hits, struck out eight and walked none.
A Long Day: Freshman RHP Lucas Long hopes to turn in a long outing in his first collegiate start on Tuesday. Thus far, Long has thrown 7.1 innings in two relief appearances for the Wildcats. He has seven strikeouts and one walk to go with a 3.68 ERA. Against Utah Valley on Feb. 21, Long relieved starter Tyler Hale and went on to earn his first collegiate pitching victory in five innings of work out of the bullpen. Long gave up two runs, scattered four hits, struck out six and walked none in his collegiate debut.
Fast Cats: Arizona may not have great team speed, but the Wildcats have plenty of players that can steal bases. In fact, eight players have stolen a base for the Wildcats, who are 29-for-35 on stolen base attempts this season. Robert Refsnyder is a perfect 7-for-7 to pace the club, while Joey Rickard is 6-for-7 and Johnny Field is 5-for-7. Arizona's 29 stolen bases lead the Pac-12 Conference and are 19 more than it has allowed to opponents this season.
Much Improved: In three games against Harvard, the Wildcats committed just one error. Entering the weekend, UA had made 13 errors in the first seven games of the season to rank second to last in the Pac-12 in fielding percentage. The Wildcats didn't make any progress up the standings, but their team fielding percentage improved from .956 to .966 in three games. A year ago, the Wildcats were one of the top fielding teams in the nation (No. 14) based on percentage at a .976 clip.
No Bruises: Wildcat hitters have been hit by a pitch just six times in the first 10 games of 2012. In 2011, UA hitters were plunked 80 times, which was the third-highest single season total in school history. Brandon Dixon is the only Wildcat that has been hit multiple times this season. A year ago, catcher Jett Bandy paced the club with nine HBPs. Bandy finished his UA career one HBP shy of matching the school record of 54 set by Colt Sedbrook (2006-08).
Driving Them In: Switch-hitting catcher Riley Moore, who is hitting .267 overall, has been the team's hottest hitter over the last two weekends (six games against Auburn and Harvard). The Santa Barbara, Calif., native is hitting a team-best .412 during the stretch with two doubles, a triple and six RBI (five have come with two outs). On the year, Moore's is hitting .357 with runners in scoring position, including 4-for-10 during the current stretch.
Closing the Deal: Under Andy Lopez, the Wildcats have been dominant in games when they have had a lead late in games. In fact, the Wildcats are 270-24-1 (.918) in the last 295 games when they have a lead after the sixth inning. That covers the last nine full seasons of Lopez's teams that have won at a 92-percent clip in such games. Certainly it has helped having Major League arms in the bullpen. Consider that three players - Mark Melancon, Daniel Schlereth and Ryan Perry - have reached the big leagues in recent years, and another - Cory Burns - may get a chance this season with the San Diego Padres. In 2011, Arizona was 31-4 when leading after six innings. So far in 2012, the Wildcats are 8-0 in such games.
Rob is Rollin': Junior right fielder Robert Refsnyder ranks second on the club behind Johnny Field in batting (.415), slugging (.585) and on-base percentage (.478). Refsnyder has a swiped a team-best seven stolen bases (in seven attempts), and is tied for the club lead with 12 runs scored. With 10 RBI, he is the only Wildcat with double-digits in runs scored and RBI through 10 games. The Laguna Hills, Calif., native has a base hit in each of UA's first 10 games to open the season, and has an overall 12-game streak dating back to the end of 2011.
Table-Setter: Joey Rickard has been the team's leadoff batter and starting centerfielder since he arrived on campus. He's been a speed-guy at the top of the lineup that also can provide some power and run-producing abilities, evidence by 39 extra base hits and 93 RBI in his career. A .330 career hitter, once on base, Rickard is a threat to steal and has 35 career stolen bases.
Mejia Muscles Up: Arizona's first home runs - yes plural - at Hi Corbett Field came off the bat of junior shortstop Alex Mejia, who went 371 at-bats between home runs. Mejia homered just once in his first two seasons - a grand slam against New Mexico on March 24, 2010. His second career homer was a two-run shot that capped a five-run inning for the Cats, who went on to down Auburn, 8-1, on Feb. 24. Mejia's third career round-tripper came less than 24 hours when he hit another two-run home run against Auburn in a 15-4 victory. The two home runs for Mejia are the club's only gopher balls of the season to date. On the year, Mejia is hitting .333 with a team-high 11 RBI to go with seven runs scored.
2Bs for 22: Sophomore first baseman Brandon Dixon is hitting .229 through 10 games, but he leads the club with five doubles thus far. In fact, five of Dixon's eight hits this season have gone for two bases. The Murrieta, Calif., native has scored six runs and driven in three runs in 10 starts. He has played errorless defense at first base.
Turnstiles Turning: Arizona baseball games have drawn an average of 2,199 fans to the first 10 home games at Hi Corbett. That's 21,995 total fans through the gates after 36,412 attended 33 home games at Kindall Field/Sancet Stadium a year. The Wildcats are on pace to draw more than 75,000 fans to their games this year at the current rate. Opening Weekend (Feb, 17-19 vs. North Dakota State) was a huge success for the Wildcats as 3,997 fans were on hand for the opener and nearly 9,000 turned out for the three-game series. Arizona's smallest crowd thus far - 1,362 for the second game of a double-header against Auburn - would have checked in as the sixth-largest home crowd of the season last year.
.300 Club: Arizona led the Pac-10 and ranked No. 3 in the nation in 2011 with a .320 team batting average, which extended the program's streak to nine consecutive seasons with an overall batting average of .300 or better. In 2011, UA hit .321 as a team which 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's second 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.
Up Next: Arizona closes out a 15-game homestand with a three-game series against Eastern Michigan March 9-11. The series opens on Friday at 6 p.m., continues on Saturday at 6 p.m. and concludes on Sunday at 11 a.m. All three games are at Hi Corbett Field.