The 20th-ranked Arizona baseball team welcomes Butler to Hi Corbett Field for games on Tuesday (6 p.m.) and Wednesday (1 p.m.).
March 11, 2013
|2013 Arizona Baseball
March 12-13, 2013 | Tucson, Ariz. | Hi Corbett Field
Butler (5-7) @ No. 20 Arizona (13-4)
Tuesday, March 12 • 6 p.m. (MST) • Hi Corbett Field
LHP Kevin Lenkman (0-1, 7.88) vs. LHP Tyler Crawford (2-1, 2.65)
Live Video | GameTracker
Wednesday, March 13 • 1 p.m. (MST) • Hi Corbett Field
TBA vs. RHP Tyger Talley (0-0, 1.35)
Live Video | GameTracker
|Some Series Themes
|Arizona has played baseball since 1904, yet has never met Columbia on the diamond ... A frenzied start to the season has seen the Wildcats play 15 games over three weeks, while the Lions are just four games into their young season that began a week ago ... Not much to compare on paper between the programs with no history and contrast in early season scheduled ... Columbia is sure to enjoy a respite from the cold winter storm in the Northeast, but the Old Pueblo is forecast to deal with its version of a winter storm ... Fingers are crossed Mother Nature doesn't affect the schedule ... The Wildcats try to shake a midweek loss to Texas Tech on Wednesday and avoid consecutive defeats for the first time this year ... The Lions try to put a mark in the win column after going 0-for-4 at Lamar ... Spring Break commences on the UA campus this weekend ... The final non-conference weekend for UA before Pac-12 play begins in earnest next Friday against Oregon State ... The 18-game home stand continues for the Wildcats Can the Cats win a weekend series for 21st time in the last 24 chances?
||Game Notes (PDF)
|2013 Season Stats
|2013 Media Guide
|College Baseball Rankings
|Butler vs. Arizona Statistical Comparison
||Arizona Statistical Leaders
|5-7 (0-0 A-10)
||13-5 (0-0 Pac-12)
||Zach Gibbons (.455)
||Brandon Dixon (23)
||Trent Gilbert (24)
||Johnny Field (5)
||Zach Gibbons (.528)
||Brandon Dixon (.603)
||Brandon Dixon (14)
||Mathew Troupe (0.00)
||James Farris (29.2)
||James Farris (25)
|Arizona Baseball Game Notes:
- Arizona is hitting .341 over its last nine games.
- Brandon Dixon has reached base in all 18 games.
- Dixon, Zach Gibbons and Kevin Newman currently have nine-game hit streaks.
- Arizona won its weekend series for the 21st time in the last 24 chances by taking two of three from Columbia.
- In 2012, 53 percent of UA's offensive lineup was composed of juniors/seniors. This year, only 27 percent of starts have come from upperclassmen.
- UA has 12 last at-bat victories since start of 2012.
- UA has nine last at-bat wins at Hi Corbett since start of 2012, including seven walk-off victories.
- In his last nine games, Zach Gibbons is batting .472 (17-for-36) with nine runs scored and a pair of RBI.
- UA has collected double-digit hits in five straight games.
- Arizona leads the Pac-12 with 44 stolen bases, paced by Dixon's conference-best 14 swipes.
- Closer Mathew Troupe is 2-0 with four saves and has yet to allow a run this season.
UA-Columbia Series Recap: Arizona won its fourth consecutive weekend series to open 2013 by taking two of three from Columbia (W - 4-3; L - 4-8, W - 7-5) last weekend ... Give the Wildcats credit, Columbia out-played Arizona for much of the weekend and very well could have left Tucson with a much-deserved series victory ... On Friday, UA trailed 3-0 entering the bottom of the eighth inning before scoring three runs to tie the game. Then Zach Gibbons tripled to open the ninth inning and scored two batters later when Johnny Field roped a walk-off single down the left field line for a 4-3, come-from-behind victory ... On Saturday, UA had a 4-1 lead after five innings, but the Lions scored the game's final seven runs, including five in the decisive eighth inning, to even the series ... Poised to steal a series from the defending national champs, Columbia surged to a 3-0 lead in the first inning on Sunday. But Arizona answered with three of its own in the home half of the first. After the Lions took a 4-3 lead in the third, the Wildcats again answered back and took a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the inning. Columbia re-tied the game in the fourth, before UA's bullpen shut things down. Tyger Talley and Mathew Troupe combined for six innings of shutout ball, allowing just three base runners. In the bottom of the seventh, Joseph Maggi snapped out of a 0-for-14 slump and drove in the eventual game-winning run on a two-out single. A wild pitch added an insurance run, and UA won the game and series with the 7-5 decision ... Arizona out-hit Columbia .367 to .245, but the Lions outscored the Wildcats, 16-15 for the series ... Field and Gibbons led the Wildcats offensively with eight hits apiece, while Brandon Dixon extended his reached-base streak to all 18 games with a hit each day ... Troupe earned the pitching win in each victory, combining for 4.0 innings with one hit and no walks allowed to go with seven strikeouts in two appearances.
Arizona Head Coach Andy Lopez: The Wildcats are coached by Andy Lopez, who is now in his 12th season with a 416-251-1 record at the school. A three-time national coach of the year, including in 2012, Andy 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 1,103-669-7 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 1,103-669-7 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 (416-251-1 from 2002-13).
Winning Weekends: The success of any college baseball team is predicated on winning weekend three-game series, which explains Arizona's recent success. Since May of 2011, the Wildcats are 55-17 (.764) in regular season games played during three-game weekend series. They have won 21-of-24 such series, including 10 sweeps. Arizona has won seven straight series, with the last series loss coming in the first week of last May when Oregon won two-of-three in Tucson.
Youthful Cats: A season ago, 53 percent (306-of-585 games) of Arizona's position starts were made by junior or seniors. After 18 games this season, only 27 percent (44-of-162) starts have been made by upper classmen. In fact, the Wildcats' starting lineups this season have seen as many as six freshmen penciled into positions. Kevin Newman has started all 18 games at shortstop, while Scott Kingery (13 starts), Zach Gibbons (12), Ryan Koziol (11), Cody Ramer (4), David Real (2) and Jackson Willeford (2) to push the total to 62 starts by freshmen on this young season. On the mound, lefty Cody Moffett and righty Tyger Talley have combined for 10 appearances and three starts.
Hi Corbett Magic? Since moving into Hi Corbett Field for the start of the 2012 season, Arizona baseball has produced some thrilling come-from-behind victories. In fact, Arizona fans have mafficked nine Wildcat wins in the final at-bats of games, including two already this season. Of those nine final at-bat victories, seven have come in walk-off fashion. In 2013, Brandon Dixon's three-run triple in the bottom of the ninth handed UA an 8-7 win over San Jose State on Feb. 22, and Johnny Field's single to left plated Zach Gibbons in the ninth to complete a 4-3 victory over Columbia on March 8.
Nine Is So Divine: They say cats have nine lives, but for Arizona, some of the Wildcats have been living pretty well over the last nine games. Zach Gibbons (.472, 17-for-36), Brandon Dixon (.471, 16-for-34), Kevin Newman (.441, 15-for-34) and Johnny Field (.429, 15-for-35) are hitting a combined .453 (63-for-139) in those games, with all but Field hitting safely in all nine contests. Their production has helped Arizona hit .341 as a team, nearly 100 points higher than the opponents' .254 clip in that span. The club's batting average has risen from .286 to its current .314 mark - the second-highest for any Pac-12 school to date.
Eye of the Tyger: Freshman right-hander Tyger Talley, who will make his second midweek start on Wednesday, turned in a sensational week on the mound in two appearances against Texas Tech (March 6) and Columbia (March 10). In his first career start against the Red Raiders, Talley pitched into the seventh inning and allowed just one run on two hits and two walks, while he struck out three. However, he didn't receive much run support and the bullpen didn't back up his effort as UA lost the game, 5-2. Then on Sunday, Talley came out of the bullpen and tossed three shutout innings without a hit allowed. He struck out two and walked one. For the week, Talley pitched 9.0 innings, allowed just one run on two hits, walked three and struck out five. For the season, Talley has a 1.35 earned run average, having surrendered only two earned runs on four hits to go with seven strikeouts. Opponents have hit just .095 against him - the lowest opponent average for any UA pitcher.
Tuesday Tyler: For the third straight Tuesday, left-hander Tyler Crawford is slated to take the hill for the Wildcats. The sophomore has done a solid job as a midweek starter for Arizona, posting a 2-1 record and a 1.69 earned run average in his three previous starts this season. In those three outings, Crawford has allowed six runs, but just three earned, on 16 hits and four walks over 16.0 innings to go with 11 strikeouts. Crawford has two additional appearances for an additional inning pitched, giving him a 2.65 ERA over 17.0 innings this season.
Zach on the Attack: Freshman Zach Gibbons, inserted into the leadoff spot nine games ago, has made the most of his opportunities early the in the season. The Scottsdale, Ariz., native now leads the club and all Pac-12 players with a .455 batting average. Gibbons was at his best last week, batting 12-for-22 (.545) over five games, while collecting a double and a triple to go with five runs scored. In last Friday's come-from-behind victory over Columbia, Gibbons led off the bottom of the ninth with a triple down the right field line and scored the game winning run on Johnny Field's walk-off single. In his nine games as the leadoff guy, Gibbons has tallied a hit in each contest and is batting .472 (17-for-36) with nine runs scored and a pair of RBI. For the season, the Saguaro High School product has 11 runs scored and is 4-for-5 in stolen base tries. He has started six games in left field, two in right field and four at designated hitter.
Making Them Pay: Arizona is hitting a steady .314 on the young season, but that average climbs to .362 with runners in scoring position. Out of Arizona's regular starting players, only Zach Gibbons has a lower batting average in RISP situations compared to his overall batting average. But that's not a knock of Gibbons, whose .429 RISP average is third-best on the club but slightly below his .455 overall average. Arizona's top run producers are Trent Gilbert (24 RBI) and Brandon Dixon (19 RBI), who rank Nos. 1 and 2 in the Pac-12, respectively. Gilbert is a highly opportunistic 15-for-32 (.469) with runners in scoring position, while Dixon is 12-for-24 (.500).
Dixon Delivers: Third baseman Brandon Dixon is batting .413 and has reached base in all 18 games this season for Wildcats, including a current nine-game hitting streak. The Murrieta, Calif., native has hit out of the cleanup spot in 16 of the team's 18 games to date, and has racked up a conference-leading 23 runs scored and 19 RBI, which is second in the Pac-12 behind teammate Trent Gilbert. Dixon has shown a balance of hitting for average and power, evidenced by his team-leading .603 slugging percentage boosted by three doubles, three triples and a home run. Just as impressive, Dixon leads all Pac-12 players with 14 stolen bases (in 15 attempts), which has already surpassed his career total of eight stolen bases entering the season.
Hello, Newman: Freshman Kevin Newman is off to a sensational start as the everyday starting shortstop for the Wildcats. In 18 games, Newman ranks fourth on the team with a .348 batting average, while he has 47 assists and just one error committed defensively. The Poway, Calif., native is riding a nine-game hitting streak in which he is batting .441 (15-for-34) with five runs scored and eight runs batted in. For the season, Newman is tied for third on the club with 14 runs scored and is third in runs batted in. Additionally, the 6-foot-1, 175-pounder is 5-for-6 in stolen base tries.
Mr. RBI: Sophomore second baseman Trent Gilbert has emerged as the Wildcats' top run producer early in the season. The Torrance, Calif., native leads all Pac-12 players with 24 runs batted in, a tally buoyed by an impressive .469 (15-for-32) average with runners in scoring position. In 18 starts, Gilbert is batting .319 overall with a double and a Pac-12 leading five triples. He is 3-for-4 in stolen base tries and has committed just one error defensively.
Johnny Baseball: A preseason candidate for the Golden Spikes Award, outfielder Johnny Field isn't disappointing. The Las Vegas, Nev., native has hit out of the No. 3 spot in the batting order in all 18 games and is hitting .366 entering this week's action. The reigning Pac-12 batting champions, Field is second in the Pac-12 with 21 runs scored and he has added 13 RBI. He ranks third on the team in slugging with a .507 mark that has been boosted by a team-leading five doubles, one triple and a homer. On the bases, Field is 6-for-8 in stolen base attempts. Now in his junior season, Field boasts .344 average, 173 total hits, 128 runs scored and 89 RBI in his 135-game career.
Don't Blink: When an Arizona player reaches base, don't expect him to be standing around long. A total of 10 Wildcats already have a stolen base this season, and the club leads the Pac-12 with 44 stolen bases in 57 attempts. Brandon Dixon is the primary culprit, swiping 14 bags in 15 attempts to lead all conference players. Johnny Field and Scott Kingery are each 6-for-8, respectively, while Kevin Newman is 5-for-6.
Tough to Strikeout: Arizona hitters have proven to be tough to strikeout early in the season, collecting the third-fewest strikeouts (85) of any conference team. But the Wildcats have played three more games than any other teams, leaving UA as the club with the fewest strikeouts per game (4.72). In 2012, Arizona struck out the second-fewest times per game of any conference team (4.89). Interestingly, that number has been going down each of the last four seasons. In 2009, UA struck out 7.05 times per game, and then dropped to 5.81 in 2010 and 4.9 in 2011. If the current 2013 clip held up, it would continue the trend of reducing strikeouts.
Throw Strikes: Arizona pitchers have done a solid job in the early part of the season avoiding free passes, but it's also an area the group wants to clean up this weekend and going forward. For the season, UA pitchers have 132 strikeouts and 50 walks allowed - a 2.65:1 ratio that averages out to 2.7 walks per game. Over the last eight games, that figure has crept up to 3.0 with 24 walks. Add in eight hit batsmen, and opponents are getting 4.0 free passes per game in the last five contests.
Gettin' On Base: No Pac-12 team gets on base more often than Arizona, and the school leads the conference with a current .417 on-base percentage. The Wildcats have a Pac-12-leading 180 base hits, but they've also a league-high 85 walks and been hit by a pitch the second-most times (29). That adds up to 114 free passes earned by UA hitters this season. Zach Gibbons leads the conference with a .528 on-base percentage, and Brandon Dixon in checks in the top five with a .500 on base percentage. Dixon has drawn six walks and been hit by a pitch a team-leading seven times. Meanwhile, catcher Riley Moore leads the club with 13 walks drawn and three hit by pitchers, raising his on base clip to .452.
Troupe Time: Sophomore closer Mathew Troupe is off to a dominating start in 2013. The right-hander has yet to allow an earned run in 12.2 innings over nine total appearances. The Northridge, Calif., native has a 2-0 record out of the bullpen and has converted all four of his save chances. He has surrendered only five hits and four walks all season, while racking up 22 strikeouts. Opponents are mustering a .116 batting average against him. In his career, Troupe has appeared in 33 games and boasts an 8-1 record, 10 saves and a 2.57 earned run average. He has 66 strikeouts against 23 walks in 49.0 innings pitched.
Double Digit Hits: The Wildcats tallied 10 or more hits in each of the last five games and in seven of the last nine contests. On the season, Arizona has a dozen double-digit base hit games, buoyed by a season-high 14 knocks on Feb. 27 against Utah Valley. The Wildcats have a 180 hits through 18 games, an even 10.0 hits per game to pace a .314 batting average.
Last At-Bat Wins: Since March of 2012, Arizona has 12 last at-bat victories, including on Feb. 22 this season against San Jose State and most recently on March 8 against Columbia. Here's a look at those dozen ballgames:
- 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).
A Rare Win: Trailing after eight innings of play is an ominous position for a baseball team to be in. Winning such games is hard, but how hard? Well for Arizona in 2012, the Wildcats were just 1-17 in such games, with their one win coming on March 30 in the Friday night game against Stanford. That evening, UA rallied with four runs in the ninth to win by a familiar score: 8-7. Going back even further, Arizona had a record of 12-304 since the start of 1998 when trailing after eight innings of play. In that span, the Wildcats had 533 total victories, but just the dozen when entering the ninth down a run or more.
Rare Losses: Since 2003, leading after six innings gives Arizona better than a 90-percent chance it is going to win a ball game. But that always leaves 10-percent chance things won't go the way of the Wildcats in the late stages, and that's exactly what has happened in each of UA's last two losses. On March 6, Arizona led Texas Tech, 1-0, after six innings. The Red Raiders scored five times in the seventh inning and won the game, 5-2. Then on March 9, the Wildcats led Columbia, 4-3 after six, but the Lions scored five times in the seventh to hand UA an 8-4 defeat. Those are two of just 32 losses over the last 11 seasons when Arizona lost a game it led after six innings. In that span of 343 games, the Wildcats boast a 310-32-1 (.905) record. In 2013, Arizona is 9-2 in such games.
.300 Club: Arizona led the Pac-12 and ranked No. 4 in the nation in 2012 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 18 games, the 2013 club is hitting a slick .314.
Up Next: An 18-game home stand comes to a close as Pac-12 Conference play commences with a three-game set against fourth-ranked and undefeated Oregon State. The series begins on Friday, March 15, at 6 p.m. (MST) at Hi Corbett Field. The two clubs continue on Saturday at 6 p.m. and conclude on Sunday at noon.