With six regular season games remaining -- each in Pac-10 play -- the Arizona baseball team heads to Stanford looking to build on a run of eight wins in the last nine games.
May 19, 2011
|2011 Arizona Baseball
May 20-22, 2011 | Palo Alto, Calif. | Sunken Diamond
Arizona Wildcats (32-17, 11-10 Pac-10) @ Stanford Cardinal (28-18, 10-11 Pac-10)
|Friday, May 20 5:30 p.m. (PDT) Sunken Diamond Radio: 1290 AM
RHP Mark Appel (4-6, 3.49) vs. RHP Kurt Heyer (7-3, 2.72)
Live Audio (All-Access)
|Saturday, May 21 1 p.m. (PDT) Sunken Diamond Radio: 1290 AM
RHP Danny Sandbrink (3-0, 3.19) vs. RHP Kyle Simon (9-3, 2.69)
Live Audio (All-Access)
|Sunday, May 22 1 p.m. (PDT) Sunken Diamond Radio: 1290 AM
RHP Jordan Pries (4-5, 4.11) vs. RHP Konner Wade (2-0, 4.06)
Live Audio (All-Access)
| A key conference series for Arizona (32-17, 11-10 Pac-10) and Stanford (28-18, 10-11 Pac-10), two clubs that are jockeying for a position in the top half of the Pac-10 standings ... The Wildcats have a one-game lead on the Cardinal thanks to winning five of their last six games in league play ... Stanford dropped a three-game series at Oregon last weekend after sweeping Washington in its previous conference series ... A pair of very evenly match teams on paper ... Both clubs pace the conference in batting average, with the Wildcats boasting a .326 clip and the Cardinal a highly respectable .305 mark ... Interestingly, the pitching staff's yield highly similar numbers, too. Cardinal pitchers have an opposing batting average of .257 compared to the Cats' staff mark of .258 ... Defensively, Stanford has turned 41 doubles plays to Arizona's 39 ... Each side had season-high six-game win streaks snapped a week ago ... Stanford won the season series in Tucson in 2010, snapping a string of seven straight years that Arizona won at least two of three ... The Wildcats have won the last four series in Palo Alto.
||Game Notes (PDF)
|Stanford vs. Arizona Statistical Comparison
||Arizona Statistical Leaders
|28-18 (10-11 Pac-10)
||32-17 (11-10 Pac-10)
||Joey Rickard (.383)
||Joey Rickard (77)
||Bryce Ortega (53)
||Robert Refsnyder (48)
||Johnny Field (15)
||Garcia, Refsnyder (6)
||Cole Frenzel (.491)
||Robert Refsnyder (.533)
||Bryce Ortega (23)
||Kyle Simon (2.69)
||Kurt Heyer (106.0)
||Kurt Heyer (112)
|Arizona Baseball Game Notes:
Leading Off: A quick look at notes and stats of interest for this weekend
- UA's .326 team batting average ranks No. 2 in the nation
- UA's 7.2 runs per game ranks No. 17 in the nation
- Bryce Ortega leads the Pac-10 with 53 runs scored and 23 stolen bases
- Five Wildcats are in the top-10 for batting average in the Pac-10
- Robert Refsnyder and Cole Frenzel are the only two players in the conference with 40 runs scored and 40 RBI on the season
- Frenzel's .491 on base percentage leads all conference players
- UA's 149 extra base hits are second-most in the Pac-10
- Kyle Simon has thrown a complete game in three of his last four starts
- Simon's 0.87 walks per nine innings is the 12th-best ratio in the nation
- Kurt Heyer's 112 strikeouts are third-most in the nation
- Heyer (106 IP) and Simon (103.2 IP) rank second and fifth, respectively, in the nation for innings pitched
- UA is 32-1 on the season when leading or tied after eight innings
- UA is 29-1 when out-hitting opponents
- UA is 29-5 when holding opponents to five runs or less in a game
UA-WSU Recap: Arizona earned a hard-fought road series win at Washington State last weekend in Pullman, rebounding to win the final two games of the set following a heart-breaking 7-6 loss in 10 innings in the opener ... The Wildcats bounced back with a convincing 8-1 victory in the second game thanks to a sensational complete game effort by Kyle Simon on the mound ... UA captured the series with a 6-4 win in the finale following a five-run rally in the seventh inning to overcome a 4-0 deficit ... The Cats hit just .275 in the three games, but hit .311 with runners in scoring position and picked up six two-out RBI to the Cougars' one in the series ... UA pitching limited WSU to a .245 batting average and a lowly .217 clip with runners in scoring position. The hurlers were particularly strong in two-out situations, yielding three total hits and a .107 average with just one two-out RBI allowed ... UA was aggressive on the bases, stealing eight in nine attempts led by Bryce Ortega's four swipes ... Alex Mejia led the offense with a 6-for-13 combined effort at the plate and three runs scored ... Ortega collected three hits, four walks and five runs scored, while Jett Bandy, despite just one base hit, scored five runs due in large part to being hit by three pitches ... Bryce Bandilla pitched four scoreless innings out of the bullpen in the series and earned the victory in the series-clincher ... Matt Chaffee, who suffered the loss after walking in the winning run in the opener, bounced back with the save to close out the final game.
Arizona Head Coach Andy Lopez: The Wildcats are coached by Andy Lopez, who is now in his 10th season with a 348-225-1 record at the school. He has guided the Wildcats to postseason competition in six of the last eight years, including a berth in the Fort Worth Regional in 2010 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 1,035-643-7 in 29 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 16th-most among active coaches and he is just one of just 45 individuals to reach 1,000 career victories.
Getting Hot? As the regular season winds down, all teams with postseason aspirations are in search of the same thing: "Get hot down the stretch". For Arizona, it's been especially true for a team that struggled in April, losing five of six at one point and nine of 13 over a longer stretch. The Cats did get hot - at least temporarily - as they won six straight games, sparked by a weekend sweep of USC in Tucson (April 29 - May 1). Despite a loss at Washington State last weekend, UA picked up a key road series win and has won eight of nine games overall, including five of six in conference play. But as every coach and player can attest, there is still plenty of work to do over the next two weekends. So have Arizona's last nine games been merely a warming trend? Or are the Wildcats still heating up like the temperatures in Southern Arizona do this time of year? Tune in to 1290 AM in Tucson this weekend or check back next week to find out.
Fine For Nine: Arizona enters this weekend series having won eight of its last nine games. The key has been consistently strong play in all areas, including hitting, pitching and fielding. UA is out-hitting opponents .348-.249 in the nine games, while racking up an 85-30 scoring margin. The Cats have shown the ability to hit for power (31 total extra base hits), while remaining patient. Wildcat hitters have drawn 34 walks and struck out just 26 times, while being hit by 21 pitches in the nine game stretch. Timely hitting has also been key, as the Cats have hit .357 with runners in scoring position and outscored foes 24-4 in two-out situations. The Wildcats have also been aggressive on the bases, stealing 22 bags in 25 attempts, compared to opponents' three swipes in eight tries. Meanwhile, the pitching staff has a 3.05 ERA over the last nine games and has struck out 55 hitters and issued just 24 walks. Defensively, The Cats have committed just six errors in nine games and turned 10 double plays. It's a formula the club hopes to continue into this weekend.
Score Six, Give Up 5: A general break point in outcomes of games this season has been when the Wildcats score at least six runs in a game and allow no more than five runs. Thus far, Arizona has scored six or more runs in a game 30 times. The record? An impressive 26-4. On the other hand, the Wildcats have kept opponents to five runs or less in a game a total of 34 times. Their record in those games? A lofty 29-5 mark. One blip on the screen was a week ago in Pullman. Washington State outlasted the Wildcats 7-6 in 10 innings. But in UA's two victories in the series, it scored at least six runs (8 and 6) and gave up fewer than five runs (1 and 4).
Comeback Cats: While not a notorious comeback club, Arizona has shown the ability to claw back in games recently. Here's a look at three such games: UA-WSU (May 16) - The Wildcats trailed 4-0 going to the seventh inning in Pullman. Jett Bandy is hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and UA goes on to score five runs on five hits, including a pinch-hit RBI single by Josh Garcia and a two-out, run-scoring triple by Johnny Field to give the Cats the lead. UA adds a run in the ninth inning and Matt Chaffee picked up the save to preserve a 6-4 victory and a series victory by taking two of three games ... UA-USC (May 1) - UA trailed 5-0 after three innings of play, but put a pair of runs on the board in the fourth inning to cut the deficit to 5-2. In the sixth inning, Johnny Field led off with a triple and Robert Refsnyder homered to put the Cats within a run. Jett Bandy restarted the rally with a triple and Bobby Brown tied the game with an RBI single. Seth Mejias-Brean eventually put the Wildcats ahead 6-5 in the inning with a single that drove in Brown. UA added a pair of runs in the eighth inning to win 8-5 and finish off a three-game sweep. It was the club's biggest comeback since overcoming a 6-0 deficit at USC almost exactly one year earlier when the Wildcats earned a hard-fought 9-7 victory at Dedeaux Field on May 2, 2010 ... UA-Cal (April 8) - The visiting Golden Bears scored two runs in the top of the ninth inning to break open a 2-2 tie and take a 4-2 lead. But the Wildcats rallied with three runs of their own in the bottom of the ninth. With one out, pinch-hitter Bobby Brown doubled and Alex Mejia drew a walk. Pinch-hitter Josh Garcia followed with a two-run double down the left field line that tied the game. With Bobby Rinard in the game as a pinch-runner at second base and two outs, Jett Bandy drove in the game-winning run to give the Wildcats a 5-4 walk off victory. UA won the second game of the series to capture the club's first Pac-10 series win of the year.
Miscellaneous Diamond Notes: Alex Mejia enters this weekend's series with an 11-game hitting streak, while Joey Rickard looks to build on a current eight-game streak ... After failing to reach base for the first time this season on April 23 at Oregon, Cole Frenzel has reached base in each of the last games. That gives him a streak of reaching base in 69 of the last 70 games he has played dating back to 2010 ... A total of nine Wildcats have tallied at least 20 RBI and 20 runs scored in 2011 ... UA hitters did not strike out at the plate in a 15-2 victory over Alcorn State on May 8. The club followed that without a strikeout through nine innings at Washington State the next outing. Combined with the final few frames of the May 7 game against the Braves, UA hitters went to the plate 100 consecutive times without striking out ... UA's bullpen has allowed just three runs - all earned - in the last 22 innings pitched (1.23 ERA) which covers the team's last nine games (8-1 record) ... Arizona has stolen 22 bases in 25 attempts in the last nine games, paced by Bryve Ortega's perfect 9-for-9 slate in steal attempts ... On the season, UA is hitting .357 with runners in scoring position, while opponents are hitting .272 ... The Cats have outscored foes 123-71 in two-out RBI on the season ... UA's 49 baseball games this year have last an average of two-hours, 43-minutes, which is 19 fewer minutes than the 2010 average ... Jett Bandy has been hit by a pitch in five straight games, raising his season total to 14 and his career total to 48.
Aces of the Staff: Arizona's regular Friday and Saturday starters, Kurt Heyer and Kyle Simon, have done an outstanding job of turning in strong performances in 2011. They have a combined 16-6 record and a 2.70 ERA on the season with 185 strikeouts against 34 walks in 209.2 combined innings to date. Heyer's 106.0 innings pitched are second-most for any hurler in the country, while Simon is right behind at No. 5 with 103.2 innings pitched. Both have been highly efficient with their pitch counts most of the season, which has allowed them to work deep into games, and they have tallied five complete games.
Relentless Attack: With the way head coach Andy Lopez has penciled in his lineup cards this year, Joey Rickard, Cole Frenzel and Bryce Ortega have all hit consecutively in the order in each game this season. For the first 40 games, that usually included Ortega batting No. 9 and turning over the lineup to the leadoff hitter Rickard and the No. 2 hitter Frenzel. Recently, the Wildcats have shuffled Frenzel to No. 3 and moved Ortega to No. 2 batting behind Rickard, the leadoff hitter. Suffice it to say, it's been a relentless offensive attack no matter which order they have been in. As a trio, Rickard-Frenzel-Ortega are hitting a combined .370 on the season and reaching base at nifty .451 clip. They have registered 136 runs scored and collected 101 RBI while stealing 44 bases.
Leading the Pac: Several Wildcats are either leading or near the top of the Pac-10 in various offensive categories, notably Joey Rickard who leads all hitters with 77 base hits to date. Rickard also ranks second in batting average (.383), while Cole Frenzel (.375) and Bryce Ortega (.350), who rank Nos. 3 and 7 respectively. Frenzel's .491 one base percentage is tops in the conference, paced by his 28 walks and 16 hit by pitches, which is No. 2 in the league. Ortega is the league's top run scorer with 53 runs scored to date, and Josh Garcia and Robert Refsnyder are tied for third in the home run race with six apiece. Refsnyder also ranks third in slugging (.533) and triples (5). Refsnyder and Frenzel are the only conference players with 40 runs scored and 40 RBI to date. Johnny Field, who ranks fourth with a .529 slugging percentage, is third with 15 doubles on the year. On the mound, Kyle Simon's 10 walks allowed are the second-fewest of any Pac-10 pitcher despite pitching the third-most innings (103.2 IP). Kurt Heyer has thrown the second-most innings (106.0 IP) and has the second-most strikeouts thrown (112). Matt Chaffee's 30 appearances are the most for any Pac-10 pitcher, while his five saves in Pac-10 games are the second-most.
Table-Setter: Sophomore centerfielder Joey Rickard has been instrumental to Arizona's success as a leadoff hitter in his first two seasons at the school. Often times, the Wildcats' success comes and goes with Rickard's ability to get on base from the top of the order and score runs, while driving in his share in RBI situations. Consider that in the 66 games UA has won the last two years (34 in 2010 and 32 to date in 2011), Rickard hits .407, reaches base at a .469 clip, has scored 73 runs and tallied 67 RBI. Those numbers include 16 doubles, three triples and nine home runs, to go with 20 stolen bases. Compare those outrageous numbers to his .230 average, .297 on base percentage, 17 runs and 17 RBI in 37 losses accumulated (24 in 2010, 17 in 2011). Certainly Rickard's performances do not single-handedly lead to wins or losses, but it's pretty obvious as a general trend that UA's leadoff hitter can set a tone.
XBH: The Wildcats have blasted 149 extra base hits on the season, a figure that ranks second among Pac-10 teams. Arizona has hit the second-most doubles (102), the most triples (22) and the third-most home runs (25) in the league. Overall, the club leads the Pac-10 with a .455 slugging percentage. Individually, Robert Refsnyder and Johnny Field lead the team with 22 extra base hits apiece. Not surprisingly, each is near top of the league individually in slugging percentage. Field, who ranks third in slugging (.529) has hit the third-most doubles (15) of any Pac-10 player. Meanwhile, Refsnyder has the third-highest slugging percentage (.533), has hit the second-most triples (5) and checks in tied for third with six home runs.
RPI Facts: The Arizona Wildcats are ranked No. 29 in this week's official Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) released by the NCAA on Tuesday. The ranking is four spots lower than last week's No. 25 figure, but it also does not included UA's series-clinching road victory at Washington State on Monday, since results were calcualted through Sunday's action. Arizona's 32-17 overall record and strong schedule strength have helped boost the team to the Top 30. Thus far, the Wildcats have played 29 of 49 games against teams in the Top 100, with a record of 12-17 in those contests. Arizona has an 8-11 record in 19 matchups with Top 50 opponents. The Wildcats' résumé does not include a "bad loss", as the club is 20-0 against teams ranked outside the Top 100. UA has a 6-0 record against USC and San Francisco, two squads currently flirting with the Top 100.
Simon Named Pac-10 POW: For the first time in his career, Kyle Simon was named the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week on Monday, May 16. The right-hander keyed the Wildcats to an important 8-1 victory over Washington State on Sunday afternoon as Arizona evened the three-game series at one win apiece entering today's series finale. Simon pitched his fourth complete game of the season against the Cougars and the third in his last four starts. Simon scattered six hits and allowed just one run. He surrendered just one hit through the first six innings and did not walk a batter in the game. In all, Simon faced just 30 batters, three over the minimum, to earn his career-best ninth win on the mound this season. The win was also the 20th of his career.
Simon At His Best: Kyle Simon has been particularly dominant for the Wildcats in his last four starts, a stretch in which he has a 3-0 record with a 1.62 ERA over 33.1 innings pitched. He has worked in to the seventh inning in each of those games and in 11 of his 13 weekend starts on the season. In the last four outings, Simon has issued just two walks in those 33.1 innings to go with 18 strikeouts. Opponents are hitting .195 against him and have scored just seven total runs - six earned. The four-game stretch began with a complete game at Oregon on April 22. Since that game, the Wildcats have won eight of their last 11 games and improved their overall record to 32-17 and their conference mark to 11-10. On the season, Simon (9-3) has allowed just 10 walks, which is second fewest in the league despite the fact he has thrown the third-most innings of any pitcher. Simon also ranks third in the league with his nine wins and is in the top-10 with 73 total strikeouts. Simon's recent hot stretch over four games has lowered his ERA from 3.34 down to 2.69, the best figure on the club and a top-10 mark in the Pac-10.
Heyer Standards: Arizona Friday night starter Kurt Heyer has picked up right where he left off a year ago following an All-Pac-10 season. In 16 starts this year (includes three mid-week outings), Heyer has turned in a 7-3 record with a 2.72 ERA. He has 112 strikeouts on the year, which ranks No. 3 in the nation, and has walked just 24 batters. Those numbers have come in 106.0 innings pitched, the second-most for any player in the country. In 2010, Heyer finished the season with a 7-4 record and a team-best 3.26 ERA in 17 appearances that included 16 starts. He struck out a UA freshman record 109 hitters on the season while walking just 29 in 102.0 innings pitched. A member of the Pac-10 All-Conference team, Heyer etched his name into several top categories for UA freshman pitchers. Along with the record-low 3.26 ERA, Heyer's tally of seven wins ranks tied for No. 4 amongst all freshman pitchers at the school. He tied for the fifth-most starts and tied for No. 3 in freshman winning percentage with a .636 mark in 11 decisions. His 102.0 innings pitched are the fourth-most while he was one of just four pitchers to throw a shutout in a rookie season. Heyer's remarkable strikeout to walk ratio was a key to his success throughout the season. Heyer struck out 9.62 batters per nine innings, which is the second-best ratio in program history for a freshman. His 2.56 walks per nine innings were the third-lowest for a Wildcat. For his career, Heyer has a 14-7 record and a 2.99 ERA. He has struck out 221 batters against 53 walks in 208.0 innings pitched.
Simon Says: Arizona Saturday starter Kyle Simon has turned in a strong junior campaign. With a 9-3 record, Simon has a 2.69 ERA in 103.2 innings pitched, the fifth-most by any pitcher in the country. The 6-foot-5 right-hander has registered 73 strikeouts (including a career-best 13 in season debut against North Dakota State on Feb. 19) while issuing just 10 walks on the season. On April 22, Simon turned in his best collegiate performance in a complete game three-hitter as he pitched the Wildcats to a 2-1 victory. In that game, Simon faced just 29 batters - two over the minimum - and threw 94 pitches in nine innings with five strikeouts and no walks. As a sophomore, Simon led the Wildcats with 109.2 innings pitched on the year and eight victories on the mound. When he was on, he was one of the top pitchers in the Pac-10. But, he struggled with control at times. Simon is poised for a more consistent junior campaign after a breakout summer season in the Cape Cod league. Pitching for the Orleans Firebirds, Simon was selected to the league All-Star game as he accumulated a 0.92 ERA and limited hitters to a .159 average in 39 innings pitched. Perhaps most impressive, Simon hit just two batters and issued eight walks. For the Wildcats, Simon hit a team-high 16 batters and allowed a team-high 37 walks in 2010. In his career, Simon has a 20-14 record with a 4.16 ERA. He has 177 strikeouts and 73 walks in 288 innings pitched.
40 RBI Club: Arizona's top two run-producers are sophomores Robert Refsnyder and Cole Frenzel. The classmates are the only two players in the Pac-10 to have 40 RBI and 40 runs scored on the season. Refsnyder is a .333 hitter who leads the Pac-10 with 48 RBI and has a team-high 22 extra base hits. Meanwhile, Frenzel is the league leader in on-base percentage with a .491 clip. But he's also adept at driving in runs as evidenced by his 40 RBI on the year. The first baseman has a .439 batting average with runners in scoring position on the year. The two sluggers lead the club in two-out RBI, with Refsnyder leading the way with 22 and Frenzel not far behind with 18.
Something About Pac-10 Arms: Sophomore shortstop Alex Mejia seems to like facing Pac-10 pitching. For the second straight season, Mejia is leading the Wildcats in batting average in conference-only games. This year, he has a .350 average in 21 games, which is the ninth-best mark among all league players so far. A season ago, Mejia also led the club with a .360 average in 28 games played in conference action. Combined, Mejia has a .355 career batting in average in 47 Pac-10 games. Mejia, who went 5-for-11 against the Cardinal in Tucson a year ago, will put those numbers to the test this weekend.
Go Johnny, Go! Arizona freshman outfielder Johnny Field has turned in a strong start to his inaugural campaign in the Cardinal and Navy. In fact, Field leads the club and ranks third in the Pac-10 with 15 doubles on the season, while adding four triples and three home runs. His .529 slugging percentage is second on the club and checks in fourth in the Pac-10. It's helped net him a .325 batting average and a place in the every day lineup. Field has 31 runs scored and 31 RBI to his credit thus far all while helping fill the void in the lineup of Steve Selsky, who has battled a series of injuries this season. Perhaps no hit has been bigger for Field than his seventh inning solo home run at Oregon on April 22 that provided the winning margin in a 2-1 victory.
Closing Time: Junior left-hander Matt Chaffee has emerged as Arizona's closer in 2011, and he's done little to disappoint. While a quick look at his numbers may not reveal dominance (a fluky inning at UNLV and a couple non-save situations inflated Chaffee's ERA), Chaffee has been one of the best in the league at closing out games. Chaffee has a 4.97 season ERA with all games included, but when narrowing it down those numbers are significantly better. Counting the nine games that Chaffee has pitched in as a save situation or in a tie ball game (when entering the game), he has a 3-1 record and is a perfect 6-for-6 in save opportunities. He has a 1.84 ERA in 14.2 innings pitched, which is just three earned runs allowed, and all three came in a loss at UCLA on April 16. Otherwise, Chaffee hasn't allowed an earned run in a save situation or tie ball game in the other nine contests. The key has been showing command and throwing strikes. Chaffee has issued just six walks and struck out 22 batters in the 10 games featured above. Perhaps the only game not include above that is noteworthy was a 7-6 loss in 10 innings at Washington State on May 14. Chaffee walked in the winning run to suffer the loss. But Chaffee had entered the game with the Wildcats trailing by a run in the eighth inning. He induced a bases-loaded inning-ending double play, which kept the Wildcats within a run of the Cougars and allowed them to tie it in the ninth inning.
Konner's Starts: Konner Wade was inserted into the weekend rotation two weeks ago for a start against USC on April 30th. A week later, Wade got his first win as a starting pitcher with seven good innings against Alcorn State on May 8. Earlier this year, Wade made two mid-week starts which gave coaches the confidence he'd be able to handle the gig as the No. 3 starter on the weekends. In all five of his starts, Wade has done a solid job of throwing strikes, as evidenced by his 14 strikeouts and six walks allowed in 26.2 innings pitched. With a 1-0 record as a starter, Wade boasts a 3.38 ERA and a .245 opposing batting average in his five outings.
Making the Most of It: After starting 25 games a year ago, senior Bobby Rinard has started just five games all season long. But with injuries to Steve Selsky and Bobby Brown, Rinard became a valuable part of the Wildcats' lineup recently as the starting left fielder. In the last six games, Rinard has hit 10-for-24 (.417) at the plate with five runs scored, three RBI and three of doubles. Added with a start the weekend before against USC, Rinard is 11-for-27 with seven runs scored over seven recent starts. That's good work, and it's much-welcomed for the Wildcats.
Bandy Hits Top-10 Chart: Junior catcher Jett Bandy tallied the 57th double of his career on May 15 at Washington State. That pushed him past Chip Hale and into sole possession for the No. 5 spot in school record books. Next in line are Terry Francona and Todd Trafton, who are tied for third in school history with 61 doubles apiece. The school record holder is Dave Stegman, who hit 72 doubles from 1973-76. Bandy also ranks No. 2 in school history with 48 career hit by pitches. The all-time leader is Colt Sedbrook, who was hit 55 times from 2006-08.
Ortega Moving Up: Senior 2B Bryce Ortega leads the Wildcats with 23 stolen bases on the season. That has pushed his carry tally up to 62, which has moved him past Charles Shoemaker (1959-61) for a spot in the career top-10 charts. Next up are Russ Gragg (1952-55) and John Moses (1979-80), who are tied for No. 8 all-time with 63 stolen bases. Trevor Crowe (2003-05) would be next at 66 swipes. Arizona's career leader is Dwight Taylor, who stole 90 bases from 1979-81. Ortega is also challenging the school record for stolen base percentage. Thus far, Ortega is 62-for-69 in stolen base attempts, which checks out to a .899 percentage. That would be good enough for No. 2 all-time, slightly behind T.J. Steel's .900 clip from 2006-08 and ahead of John Glenn's .872 percentage from 1970-72.
Frenzel's Streak In Perspective: Indeed, all good things must come to an end. On April 23 at Oregon, Cole Frenzel failed to reach base via a base hit, walk or hit by pitch. That snapped a streak of 59 straight games that Frenzel reached base safely dating back to the final 21 games of 2010. Consecutive games reached base is not a streak that has been tracked officially by the NCAA or most schools. So a glance into box scores from the past 35 years revealed that Todd Trafton strung together 59 straight games of reaching base over the course of the 1984-85 seasons. Frenzel now shares that mark that stands as the "believed-to-be" modern day record for Arizona baseball, an era that includes all three of the school's national championships and its transition into the Pacific-10 Interestingly, Kansas State's Nick Martini recently saw a 93-game streak snapped. That became what is now believed to be the NCAA record in the category.
Seth Surging: Sophomore third baseman Seth Mejias-Brean has battled through a wrist injury that has plagued him much of the season, but he's found ways to contribute all season long, particularly on defense. Offensively, Mejias-Brean has turned in a strong stretch of games in the last two weeks. In fact, he is hitting 10-for-25 (.400) with two doubles and a triple in his last five games. He has scored five runs and picked up eight RBI in the stretch. The current hot streak has raised his average from a season-low .265 to its current .286. He's also been valuable in the field making a handful of defensive gems in recent weeks.
Tough to Strikeout: One thing UA hopes to continue to do is be a tough offensive team to strikeout. So far, Wildcat hitters have struck out 100 fewer times than opponents (247 compared to 379). That is just about 5.0 strikeouts per game, a pretty good clip that goes nicely with a .329 team batting average to date. In fact, the 247 total strikeouts are the fewest for a team in the Pac-10 so far. A year ago, Arizona's hitters proved to be tough to strikeout, too, fanning just 337 times in 58 games. That was the fewest strikeouts in a season since 2001, when the Wildcats struck out 332 times in 56 games. On a per game basis, the 2005 club was the best in recent memory, going down on strikes just 5.7 times per game. Last year's squad averaged 5.81 strikeouts per game, while the early 2011 figure checks in at 5.0 per game. On May 8 against Alcorn State, Arizona did not strike out once in the game. In fact, counting the last strikeout from the previous game and the next strikeout after that game, UA hitters went 100 straight plate appearances without a strikeout. That was the first time the Cats did not strike out since March 12, 2010, against Northern Colorado.
.300 Club: Through 49 games, the Wildcats are hitting .326, something that should bode well for the club if it wishes to extend its run of .300 seasons. Arizona hit .321 as a team in 2010, extending the program's streak to eight consecutive seasons with an overall batting average of .300 or better. Last year's clip was the best 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.
On Deck: Arizona will conclude its regular season schedule with a final Pac-10 series against Washington in Tucson (May 27-29). The Wildcats will honor four seniors in their final home series, before turning their attention to the postseason. The NCAA Tournament selection show will be on Monday, May 30, when the 64-team field will be unveiled.