Baseball Hits Oregon Trail, Takes on No. 12 Ducks
Arizona (15-8, 0-3 Pac-12) travels to Eugene, Ore., to battle 12th-ranked Oregon (15-5, 2-1 Pac-12) in a three-game series this weekend at PK Park.
March 20, 2013
|2013 Arizona Baseball
March 22-24, 2013 | Eugene, Ore. | PK Park
Arizona (15-8, 0-3 Pac-12) @ #12 Oregon (15-5, 2-1 Pac-12)
Friday, March 22 • 6 p.m. (PDT) • PK Park • Radio: 1290 AM
RHP Jake Reed (2-3, 3.82) vs. RHP Konner Wade (2-1, 4.41)
TV: Pac-12 Networks
GameTracker | Audio Stream
Saturday, March 23 • 2 p.m. (PDT) • PK Park • Radio: 1290 AM
LHP Tommy Thorpe (2-2, 3.72) vs. RHP James Farris (3-2, 3.82)
GameTracker | Audio Stream
Sunday, March 24 • Noon (PDT) • PK Park • Radio: 1290 AM
LHP Cole Irvin (3-1, 3.74) vs. LHP Cody Moffett (2-1, 3.52)
GameTracker | Audio Stream
|Some Series Themes
|Arizona hits the road for its first weekend road series of the season with a bitter taste in its mouth following a sweep by Oregon State to open Pac-12 play ... The Wildcats seek revenge against an Oregon club that won two-of-three in triumphant fashion at Hi Corbett Field last May ... The Wildcats seek their first series win over the Ducks since 2010 and first in Eugene since 2009 ... Coaching greats square off with three combined national titles and nearly 2,000 career victories ... UA heads into Eugene for the first time without longtime Andy Lopez assistant Mark Wasikowski, who is in his second season on George Horton's staff ... Two teams built similarly that thrive on pressuring defenses with small ball and assertive base-running ... Pitching sure to be a premium with both staff's fully rested after a clean week with no midweek tilts ... Offense favors the Wildcats on paper, though they struggled to produce runs against the Beavers ... The Ducks have an excellent defensive squad that has committed only 10 errors behind a pitching staff that boasts a 3.00 earned run average ... The Wildcats have played just two road games entering this weekend ... Out of the national rankings itself, Arizona plays a nationally-ranked foe for the second straight weekend.
||Game Notes (PDF)
|2013 Season Stats
|2013 Media Guide
|College Baseball Rankings
|Oregon vs. Arizona Statistical Comparison
||Arizona Statistical Leaders
|15-6 (2-1 Pac-12)
||15-8 (0-3 Pac-12)
||Brandon Dixon (.430)
||Brandon Dixon (37)
||Brandon Dixon (34)
||Trent Gilbert (28)
||Johnny Field (6)
||Brandon Dixon (4)
||Brandon Dixon (.500)
||Brandon Dixon (.721)
||Brandon Dixon (18)
||Mathew Troupe (0.00)
||James Farris (35.1)
||James Farris (30)
|Arizona Baseball Game Notes:
Leading Off ...
- Arizona ranked No. 2 in the Pac-12 and No. 15 nationally with a .316 batting average entering the week.
- The Wildcats are tied for the national lead with 19 triples.
- Trent Gilbert's five triples led the nation entering the week.
- Brandon Dixon's 34 runs scored led all Division I players entering the week.
- Johnny Field enters the series with a 10-game hitting streak.
- Arizona looks to avoid a fourth-straight loss for the first time since 2010.
- The Wildcats won 21 of the last 25 weekend series.
- Last weekend's sweep by OSU was the first time the Wildcats had been swept in a weekend series since 2010 (at California).
- Konner Wade is 5-1 with a 2.52 ERA over 89.1 innings pitched in his career in road/neutral games.
- In 2012, 53 percent of UA's games were started by juniors or seniors. In 2013, that figure is down to 27 percent.
- Arizona has hit .300 or better for 10 consecutive seasons.
- Closer Mathew Troupe is 2-0 with four saves and a 6:1 strikeout to walk ratio on the season.
UA-OSU Recap: Oregon State earned its program's first-ever sweep in Tucson with 6-2, 4-3 and 8-4 victories, respectively ... The Wildcats squandered opportunities in each game, stranding 22 runners and batting just .208 with runners in scoring position ... The Beavers put leadoff batters on in 13 of 27 innings played, and strung together hits to out-hit the Wildcats 31-23 on the weekend ... Michael Conforto homered twice, including a three-run shot in the opener on Friday off UA's Konner Wade, who suffered the loss after giving up six runs on 12 hits in 5.2 innings ... On Saturday, UA saw a 3-1 lead evaporate in a three-run sixth against James Farris, and the Beavers held on for a one-run victory ... On Sunday, OSU took an early lead on a solo shot by Conforto and never looked back, scoring five runs on seven hits against starter Cody Moffett ... OSU's pitching staff struck out 19 in the series and only walked eighth, while holding the Wildcats to a .237 batting average ... Freshman Kevin Newman led the Wildcats at the plate, going 5-for-12 in his first Pac-12 series ... Arizona was swept for the first time since 2010 (at California).
2012 UA-Oregon Recap: Oregon took two-of-three games from the Wildcats to, at the time, claim a one-and-a-half game lead in the Pac-12 standings ... The Ducks won the opener, 6-1, before the Wildcats evened the series with a 12-6 victory on Saturday. Oregon then overcame a 1-0 deficit by scoring a run in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings for a 3-1 series-clinching win ... Oregon hit just .257 with runners in scoring position on the weekend, but picked up nine timely two-out RBI. In fact, 10 of Oregon's runs in the series were scored with two outs in an inning ... The Wildcats, meanwhile, put leadoff runners on base at a .346 clip and hit .348 with runners in scoring position, but were able to muster just three two-out RBI ... Alex Keudell pitched a gem in the opener, limiting the Wildcats to just one run on seven hits in a complete game ... Tyler Crawford was the winner for Arizona out of the bullpen on Saturday, pitching a marvelous 4.1 innings with just two hits and no runs allowed ... James Farris was outstanding on Sunday for the Wildcats, but a seventh-inning balk call and a two-out passed ball allowed an unearned run to score. The Ducks tacked on the go-ahead run in the eighth and Jimmie Sherfy picked up the win out of the pen for Oregon, as Farris suffered the tough-luck loss ... Johnny Field (6-for-12, HR, 3 RBI) paced UA's offense, while Alex Mejia had four hits and Bobby Brown had two, including a solo home run on Sunday that gave UA the 1-0 lead in the fifth inning.
Arizona Head Coach Andy Lopez: The Wildcats are coached by Andy Lopez, who is now in his 12th season with a 418-254-1 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 1,105-672-7 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 1,105-669-7 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 (418-254-1 from 2002-13).
Re-Building a Powerhouse: When Arizona hired Andy Lopez in the summer of 2001, the program had appeared in an NCAA Regional just once in the previous eight seasons. Further, the Wildcats had not been to Omaha since their last national title in 1986. Now in his 12th season, Lopez has restored Arizona as one of college baseball's elite programs. Over the last 10 seasons, Lopez has guided the Wildcats to a pair of College World Series appearances, eight NCAA Regionals and three NCAA Super Regionals. The 2012 national title was the school's fourth all-time (1976, 1980 and 1986) and the second for Lopez, who won his first championship at Pepperdine in 1992.
Among the Best: Arizona baseball boasts one of the most storied legacies in college baseball history. The Wildcats have made 16 all-time appearances at the College World Series, tied for the seventh-most trips for any school. Arizona's four national championships (1976, 1980, 1986 and 2012) are tied for the fourth-most all-time. And in 107 seasons on the diamond, Arizona baseball teams have won 2,636 games, which ranks eighth-most in NCAA history.
A Rich Coaching History: Over the last century, Arizona has gone more than 90 seasons with just five head coaches guiding one of the winningest programs in NCAA history. Starting in 1922, J.F. "Pop" McKale coached the Wildcats for 28-consecutive seasons through 1949. Frank Sancet then took the reins in 1950 and led the Wildcats to national runner-up finishes three times in Omaha during his 23 seasons. In 1973, Jerry Kindall took over and was the skipper for the Wildcats' first three national championships in 1976, 1980 and 1986. Kindall coached Arizona for 24 seasons, before turning the program over to assistant Jerry Stitt in 1997. After five seasons, Andy Lopez was hired and has coached the Wildcats to a national championship and two college world series appearances in his 12 seasons. That's 92 years with five total head coaches.
Developing Players: Arizona head coach Andy Lopez has an excellent track record for developing players. Since 1987, a total of 89 players Lopez has coached have been drafted in the MLB First-Year Player Draft. Of those 89, a total of 52 were not drafted out of high school. In his career, Lopez has coached eight players that were selected in the first round, including two in 2008. Lopez has coached 38 players to All-American lists, 27 to all-region teams and 76 to all-conference honors. At Arizona, he has coached a pair of Pac-10/12 Players of the Year (Trevor Crowe, 2005; Alex Mejia, 2012) and one Pitcher of the Year (Preston Guilmet, 2007).
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.
The Youthful Cats: A season ago, 53 percent (306-of-585 games) of Arizona's position starts were made by junior or seniors. After 23 games this season, only 27 percent (56-of-207) 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 23 games at shortstop, while Zach Gibbons (17), Scott Kingery (13 starts), Ryan Koziol (13), Cody Ramer (6), David Real (2) and Jackson Willeford (2) push the total to 73 starts by freshmen on this young season. On the mound, lefty Cody Moffett and righty Tyger Talley have combined for 15 appearances and five starts.
A Sweeping Feeling: Oregon State's three-game sweep last weekend was its first-ever in Tucson. For Arizona, it was the first time it had been swept in any three-game series since April 1-3, 2010, at California. In Andy Lopez's 12 seasons at the helm, the Wildcats have been swept only 10 times, including only four times over a span of seven seasons since the start of the 2007 campaign. In the previous three occasions, the Wildcats have come back to win their next series twice (at Washington in 2010 and at Stanford in 2009).
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 55-20 (.733) in regular season games played during three-game weekend series. They have won 21-of-25 such series, including 10 sweeps. Prior to last weekend's sweep against Oregon State, Arizona had 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.
Three Is Enough: Arizona's current three-game losing streak matches its longest streak over the last three seasons. The 2011 and 2012 clubs each had three-game losing streaks on two occasions throughout the season. The last time the Wildcats dropped four in a row coincides with the last time they were swept. In 2010, Oregon snapped Arizona's 15-game winning streak on Sunday, March 28. The following week, the Wildcats were swept at California to mark four losses in a row. Arizona looks to avoid matching that number on Friday night.
The Oregon Trail: Arizona hits the road for the first time since a midweek trip to Long Beach State on Feb. 19 and 20, which came before an 18-game home stand commenced. The Wildcats have played 21 of their 23 games at home - which came in a span of 31 days. This weekend's trip to the Willamette Valley is Arizona's first of five road series in Pac-12 Conference play. Last season, the Wildcats won all four of their conference series away from home.
Turning Points: Arizona has dropped its last two series against Oregon, but each meeting marked a major turning point in the Wildcats' respective seasons in 2011 and 2012. In 2011, Oregon claimed two-of-three to win the series in Eugene as Arizona fell to 4-8 over its last 12 games and was struggling at 6-9 in the Pac-10. After the series, the Wildcats turned things around, going 15-6 to end the regular season, including 9-3 in the Pac-10, and winning 4-of-5 weekend series with three sweeps. A year later, Arizona and Oregon were battling for first place in the Pac-12 Conference when the Ducks again won the series two games to one, this time in Tucson. But once again, the Wildcats turned their season around. Arizona went on to 18 of its next 20 games en route to a conference title and a national championship. While the Wildcats don't want to drop this weekend's series, perhaps another showdown with Oregon will ignite another hot streak for Arizona.
Top Six Swinging Sticks: In recent weeks, Arizona's top six hitters in the lineup have solidified in the batting order. Zach Gibbons has led off for 14 straight games, while Riley Moore, Johnny Field, Brandon Dixon, Trent Gilbert and Kevin Newman have filled the Nos. 2-6 spots, respectively, for most of those contests. Collectively, those six boast a .366 batting average (178-for-486) and account for 126 runs scored (74 percent of team total) on the season. In last week's three losses to Oregon State, the top six combined for 18 of the club's 23 hits for the weekend. They batted .265 while the rest of the squad hit .172 for the three games.
Johnny vs. The Ducks: In six career games against Oregon, Johnny Field has made the most of his opportunities. Field is 10-for-23 (.435) against the Ducks' pitching staff in his two previous seasons with four runs scored and six RBI. Of his 10 hits, five have gone for extra bases, including two doubles, a triple and two home runs to give him an .870 career slugging percentage against the Ducks. Last season, Field had three hits, including a homer, to go with three RBI in a May 5 victory over Oregon.
Field Days: Junior Johnny Field continues to do what he does best: hit the ball. The 2012 Pac-12 batting champion, Field is currently hitting .370, a mark that ranks in the top-10 in the Pac-12. Buoyed by six doubles, two triples and three home runs, Field is slugging .576 - another top-10 mark. Field has drawn nine walks and been hit by a pitch twice, raising his on base percentage to .433. A preseason All-American and Golden Spikes Award candidate, Field boasts a .345 career average to go with 181 hits, 134 runs scored and 96 RBI in his three seasons.
Blastin' Brandon: A native of Murrieta, Calif., Brandon Dixon is turning in a breakout junior campaign. After 23 games, Dixon leads all Pac-12 players in batting average (.430), slugging (.721), runs scored (34), base hits (37), hit by pitches (7), and stolen bases (18). Not mention, he ranks No. 2 in on base percentage (.500), runs batted in (26) and triples (4). Dixon has four home runs - all at spacious Hi Corbett Field - to lead the club and rank third in the conference. Dixon, who reached base in the first 21 games this season, has already set season career highs in runs scored, triples, home runs, RBI and stolen bases.
Hello, Newman: Perhaps no freshman position player has made a more immediate impact on his club than Arizona's Kevin Newman. The Poway, Calif., native was tasked with taking over for departed Pac-12 Player of the Alex Mejia, and Newman hasn't disappointed. The heady ballplayer has started all 23 games at shortstop and solidified his spot at No. 6 in the batting order. To date, Newman is hitting an impressive .379 for the season with 16 runs scored and 18 runs batted in. Perhaps most impressive, Newman is showing an ability to put the ball in play and get on base. In 87 official at-bats, Newman has struck out only four times, while his seven walks and two hit by pitches raise his on-base percentage to .424. Further, Newman is 5-for-6 in stolen bases and has committed just three errors to date.
Gritty Gibby: It's not easy being a freshman penciled into the lineup of the defending national champions, especially in the leadoff spot. But it's a role that Zach Gibbons has thrived in over the last month. A native of Scottsdale, Ariz., Gibbons has started each of the last 14 games as the club's leadoff man. For the season, Gibbons is hitting a nifty .387 with 14 runs scored and four runs batted in. He's doing exactly what coaches want him doing at the top of the order: see a lot of pitches and get on base. In addition to his 24 base hits, Gibbons has drawn 12 walks to raise his on base percentage to .480 - No. 3 in the Pac-12.
Free Gilly: Sophomore second baseman Trent Gilbert continues to swing a hot bat for the Wildcats. A starter in all 23 games, Gilbert is batting .349 with 18 runs scored and a Pac-12-leading 28 runs batted in. The Torrance, Calif., native also leads the league with five triples, and has drawn 10 walks to go with a .426 on base percentage. Defensively, Gilbert leads the club with 68 assists and has committed only one error on the season.
Back For Moore: A preseason candidate for the Johnny Bench Award, catcher Riley Moore has started 21 games this season for the Wildcats. A former switch-hitter, Moore is hitting solely from his natural left-handed side as a sophomore. Through 21 games, the Santa Barbara, Calif., native is batting .274 with 17 runs scored and 13 runs batted in. Hitting out of the No. 2 spot in the order, Moore has reached base at a .415 clip thanks to 15 walks, which leads the club and is tied with two other players for most in the conference.
Wade's World: In his three seasons as a Wildcat, pitcher Konner Wade has been at his best away from home. The right-hander has a career 5-1 record and a 2.52 earned run average away from home. In 89.1 innings pitched in road/neutral games, Wade has racked up 51 strikeouts and owns an impressive 0.94 WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched). He strikes out 5.14 and walks just 2.01 per nine innings pitched away from home.
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 14.1 innings over 10 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 24 strikeouts. Opponents are mustering a .104 batting average against him. In his career, Troupe has appeared in 34 games and boasts an 8-1 record, 10 saves and a 2.49 earned run average. He has 68 strikeouts against 23 walks in 50.2 innings pitched.
Aligning the Bullpen: Now that four-consecutive weeks of midweek contests are out of the way, Arizona can settle into a standard Friday through Sunday routine for much of the remaining schedule. This will help Arizona pare down its pitching staff and use its most consistent arms in the bullpen. Right-hander Mathew Troupe (2-0, 0.00 ERA, four saves) has done an outstanding job as the closer, while lefty Augey Bill (2-0, 0.66 ERA) has served as a reliable setup man in nine appearances. Sophomore southpaw Tyler Crawford (3-1, 1.88 ERA) has made four midweek starts, but now will serve as a valuable long-reliever and matchup arm out of the bullpen. Righty Tyger Talley (0-0, 1.59 ERA) has right total appearances, including two recent midweek starts, and will also fall into a similar role as Crawford. Veterans Nick Cunningham (0-2, 4.50 ERA, 1 save), Stephen Manthei (1-1, 5.82 ERA) and Tyler Hale (0-0, 13.50) are each right-handers that have combined for 299.1 innings pitched over 177 appearances since 2010.
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 345 games, the Wildcats boast a 312-32-1 (.906) record. In 2013, Arizona is 11-2 in such games.
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).
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 2-0 record and a 0.66 earned run average over 13.2 innings in nine total appearances from the bullpen. Bill has held opposing hitters to a .188 batting average, while allowing just four walks to go with eight 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.
On the Tube: Friday's series opener against Oregon will mark Arizona's first televised game this season and the baseball program's first-ever appearance on the Pac-12 Networks. The Wildcats will appear on the conference network four other times this season, including on April 16 against Arizona State in Tucson, on April 19 and 21 at Stanford, and on May 26 against USC in Tucson. The Arizona-California series finale in Tucson on April 7 will be televised on ESPNU.
Up Next: Arizona will return home for a six-game home stand when it hosts Utah (March 28-30) and California (April 5-7) in a pair of Pac-12 Conference series. The series against the Utes gets underway on a Thursday night at 6 p.m. and continues on Friday at 6 p.m. before concluding on Saturday at noon. March 31, is Easter Sunday.