Arizona Baseball Notes - 5/15
May 16, 2001
Coming Attractions:The Arizona baseball team's hope of the postseason comes down to final weekend of the regular season. The Cats are perched upon the proverbial bubble at 30-23 overall, 9-12 in the Pac-10, and will host Washington for a Cat and Dog fight in the final three games of the conference slate. The Huskies own the all-time series record with a 4-3 mark in seven games, but the Cats took two of three last season in Seattle and just might need a sweep this season to get into the field of 64.
Probable StartersFriday - RHP Marc Kaiser (7-6, 5.54)Saturday - RHP Sean Rierson (6-4, 4.87)Sunday - TBA
Wildcats on the Air: Ryan Radtke and Brian Jeffries of 790 KNST will bring all three days of the Wildcat-Husky action to the radio. KNST has been providing coverage of Arizona athletics as its flagship station for 20 seasons.
Arizona's Last Game: Stanford's Mike Gosling and two relievers held the Wildcat offense in check as the Cardinal garnered an 8-2 win in the series finale in Palo Alto last Sunday. Ernie Durazo mustered the only two hits off of Cardinal pitching in the game and scored both of their runs without the aid of a one. Joe Little once again pitched well in relief for the Cats, but an offensive blackout led to a 2-1 series win for Stanford.
One and Counting: Already the career home run leader at Arizona (53 round-trippers), junior Shelley Duncan's assault on the Arizona home run record book continues. Heading into this weekend's action, the slugger needs only one more home run to tie George Arias (1993) for the school's single-season home run record of 23. Last weekend his fourth inning, three run blast broke his and Dave Shermet's tie for the Arizona career conference home run record of 17. Duncan slugged eight his freshman year, two in the injury plagued 2000 campaign and he has hit another eight against Pac-10 foes this season for a career total of 18. See page three of the notes for a break down on Duncan's career power surge.
Anderson's On Fire: Centerfielder Brian Anderson has been on tear at the plate for the Cats. In UA's last 17 games the freshman is leading the team in batting average (.464), triples (4) and on base percentage (.513). His 24 RBIs are second to only Pac-10 leader Shelley Duncan's 29 during that span, as is his .739 slugging percentage. Anderson tripled his career home run total against Stanford's Pac-10 leading pitching staff, knock balls out of the park against Cardinal ace Jeremy Guthrie and Saturday starter Jeff Bruksch last weekend.
Enter Anderson: In addition to Anderson's expolits at the plate, he has also been impressive on the mound of late. Over the last nine games the centerfielder turned pitcher has tossed 7.1 innings with four strikouts. In Arizona's 10-inning, 12-11 win over Cal on April 22, he pitched the final two innings to earn his first career win. In the truest sense of helping oneself out, he drove home the winning run for the Cats in the home half of the tenth. A week later he entered the game in the bottom of the ninth against Arizona State with the bases loaded and no outs. Anderson struck out one and induced a ground out and a fly out to preserve the 3-1 win and pick up his first career save. A day later he was the hard luck loser of Arizona's 11-inning, 6-5 loss. Two Wildcat errors led to an unearned run in the last inning, handing the Devils the win and hanging the loss on Anderson. The freshman rebounded in his next performance, another bases loaded, no out situtation at seventh-ranked Stanford. Facing the no. 3 and 4 hitters in the Cardinal order, Anderson got Ryan Garko to pop out and induced Jason Cooper into an inning ending double play to preserve the 4-2 lead. Anderson picked up his second save with the seffort.
Viva Ernesto: Since having his school-record-tying 28-game hitting streak snapped in the second game against UCLA, Ernie Durazo has hit in 24 of Arizona's last 27 games to give him at least one hit in 49 of Arizona's 53 games this season.
It's a Cycle Built For Two: For just the 10th and 11th times in school history Arizona players have hit for the cycle. Only six days apart from each other, sophomore Matt Abram and junior Shelley Duncan came up with games in which they singled, doubled, tripled and homered. Arizona now owns half of the 22 cycles hit in Pac-10 history. Abram went for the cycle first when tripled in the first, doubled in the third, homered in the fifth and singled in the seventh against Washington State on April 8. Six days later, on April 13, Duncan doubled in the first, homered in the third, singled in the fourth and fifth and hit just his second career triple in the sixth against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Amazingly, Cougar shortstop Bookie Gates was only a triple away from hitting for the cycle in the same game as Abram and Wildcat senior Erik Torres needed only a double in the game against TAMU-CC. Both Abram and Duncan were perfect at the plate, finishing their respective games 5-for-5.
Arizona's 'Cyclists'Player Date Opponent1. Chet Vasey 4/26/1950 Unknown2. Russ Gragg 3/05/1954 Unknown3. Bob Allen 3/06/1972 Texas Tech4. Marv Thompson 2/18/1974 Azusa Pacific5. Dave Stegman 5/04/1974 Texas-El Paso6. Mike Gatlin 2/21/1975 Azusa Pacific7. Scott Stanley 5/17/1979 Washington State8. Menno Wickey 2/19/1995 Hawaii-Hilo9. Kenny Huff 4/22/2000 Washington State10. Matt Abram 4/08/2001 Washington State11. Shelley Duncan 4/13/2001 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Opening Up the Record Books: A quick glance into the Arizona record books reveals that the seven home runs hit by the Cats in April 8th's game against Washington State broke a 17-year old school record for HR in a single game. The previous record of six was accomplished by the 1974 team against BYU. Of Arizona's 18 hits in the game, 11 went for extra bases. The mark ties the 1985 team for a single game. Matt Abram, who finished the game 5-for-5 with a single, a double, a triple and two home runs, ended up tied for third with Ron Hassey (1974) for the most total bases in a single game. His 14 TBs were just one shy of the school record shared by Dennis Haines (1972) and Kevin Long (1988).
At First Glance: After a quick search through the past Arizona box scores it is believed that Shelley Duncan's five-game home run streak was the third longest in school history. Duncan hit six home runs in five contests (April 7-14). George Arias hit a round-tripper in seven straight games from Feb. 27-March 12, 1993 and Jason Hendricks (1996-98) homered in six straight games from Jan. 25-Feb 6, 1998.
The Cats in the Pac: The Wildcats continue to lead the Pac-10 in a number of offensive statistical categories. UA leads the conference in hits (612) total bases (9166) and triples (28). The Cats are second in RBIs with 361 and runs with 405. They are also currently second to Oregon State in home runs (49). On the mound, Arizona is third in innings pitched (477.1) and second runners picked off (13). The relief staff is second in saves (13). Individually, Ernie Durazo leads the conference with 62 runs and 21 doubles and is second in hits (88). He ranks fifth in RBI with 55 and and is sixth in batting average (.391). Pac-10 home run leader Shelley Duncan (22) is also the leader in RBI (68). He is second in runs scored (59) and is ninth in walks (30). He also leads in slugging (.679). Erik Torres and Brian Anderson top the triples list with six each. See page four of the notes for the league leaders and where the Wildcats rank.
Impressive Improvements: Although the Arizona pitching staff is composed mostly of newcomers to the Wildcat program, they are way ahead of the UA pitching performance of last season. Through 53 games, the 2001 squad has a team ERA of 5.43 in 477.1 innings pitched, an improvement of just under two runs better than 2000's 7.14 ERA through 53 games and 462.2 innings pitched. While strikeouts are down (348 in 2001, 464 in 2000), so too are walks (197 in 2001, 276 in 2000, an improvement of 79 less free passes). Opponents are also hitting eight points lower against the 2001 staff (.294-.301). All the improvements have translated into five more victories through 53 games this season.
The Streak Ends: Senior Ernie Durazo's 28-game hit streak came to an end in the second game of the UCLA series (May 19, 2000 -March 9, 2001) to earn him a tie with Jack Daugherty for the top spot on the all-time list at Arizona. Durazo finished his streak with 42 hits in 117 at bats for a .359 average. The No. 3 hitter in Arizona's lineup also drove in 30 runs and scored 24 times himself during the streak.
Arizona's LongestHitting Streaks Player Years Games1. Ernie Durazo 2000-01 281. Jack Daugherty 1981-82 282. Marty Hurd 1957-58 253. Dave Stegman 1974-75 24Arizona's Longest Single-SeasonHitting Streaks Player Year Games1. Ernie Durazo 2001 252. Todd Trafton 1985 23 Willie Morales 1992 233. Jim Morley 1978 22
Streak Notes: Durazo's 25-game hitting streak was the longest streak for any Wildcat single season ... Among the two-season hit streaks, Durazo is the only player to extend the majority of his streak further into the next season (three in 2000 - 25 in 2001). Daugherty had at least one hit in the final 23 games of `81 and first five of `82. Hurd had a hit in the final 23 games of `57 and first two of `58 and Stegman hit in the last 18 games of `74 and the first six of `75.
Doin' It With Two:The Wildcats have scored 405 runs in 53 games this season, an average of 7.6 runs per game. Impressively, nearly half, 175 runs and 43% to be exact, have come with two outs in an inning. The Wildcats have scored as many as ten in a single game (1/26 vs. BYU) and have plated all their runs in a game with two outs four times (1/19 at Hawaii-Hilo, 1/31 vs. St. Mary's, 2/2 vs. Long Beach State, 3/9 at UCLA). Last Weekend's series with Stanford was the first three game set all season the Cats did not score a run with two outs.
Tops With Two Out: Senior Ernie Durazo, junior Shelley Duncan and sophomore Matt Abram lead the way for the Cats with two down in an inning. Durazo and Duncan, who lead the team with 55 and 68 RBI overall, have knocked runners home 28 and 32 times, respectively, with two out, including Durazo's three run homer against Long Beach (2/2) and Duncan's six in three games against Washington State. Abram is close behind with 21 two-out RBI. Durazo sports a nifty .433 batting average with two gone while Abram checks in at .318 and Duncan at .333. As a team Arizona is hitting .313 with two out.
One Way To Score: Ernie Durazo made his way around the bases in the game against Houston (3/14) in a rather unusual way. Durazo walked in first and then proceeded to advance to second, third and eventually score on three wild pitches by Houston starter Michael Reiss. Reiss would finish the game with four wild pitches to his credit.
Cycling Part Two - Pac-10 Player of the Week- Shelley Duncan: Junior Shelley Duncan was named the April 9-15 Player of the Week by the Pac-10 Conference for his efforts against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. In addition to hitting for the cycle, the second in six days, the slugger wrapped up the three game series with 10 RBI and eight runs scored on .615 hitting (8-for-13). He hit a home run in each game and improved his overall batting average 22 points. Duncan led the team with an outstanding 1.538 slugging percentage against the Islanders. It was the third time this season an Arizona player had been honored and the second consecutive week.
Two of Every Kind - Pac-10 Player of the Week- Matt Abram: Pac-10 Player of the Week for April 2-9 Matt Abram hit .533 (8-for-15) with two singles, two doubles, two triples and two home runs for the weekend. He also chipped in with six RBI and six runs scored. It was the second time this season (Ernie Durazo - 3/19) that a Wildcat player has been named to the honor and the 35th all-time for an Arizona player.Dependable Durazo - Pac-10 Player of the Week - Ernie Durazo: Senior Ernie Durazo became the first Arizona Pac-10 Player of the Week this season for his exploits in the week of March 12-18. The first baseman hit .667 in four games (10-for-15) with nine RBI and nine runs scored. He hit two home runs and a triple, assisting him to a 1.200 slugging percentage against Houston and Southern Utah.
Not Since...: Shelley Duncan and Matt Abram's back-to-back home runs against Washington State (4/8) were the first consecutive jobs for the Wildcats since Duncan and Ernie Durazo did it against Long Beach this season (2/3). Erik Torres and Kenny Huff hit back-to-back home runs against Washington State last season ... Ernie Durazo's five hit game against Southern Utah (3/16) was the first for a Wildcat since April 22, 2000 when Kenny Huff hit for the cycle against Washington State. Matt Abram and Shelley Duncan matched Huff's feat with their five-hit cycles against Washington State (4/8) and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi... Marc Kaiser's complete game performance against Oregon State (3/30) was the first since Ben Diggins went all nine against Cal on March 17, 2000.
Now Batting... Brian Anderson: Freshman Brian Anderson accomplished a rare feat against Texas A&M (2/18) when he led off an inning four consecutive times. The No. 7 hitter in the Arizona batting order, Anderson got his first opportunity to bat in the third inning, he singled and score a run. His hit that inning would start a string of three straight innings of Arizona sending nine hitters to the plate. In the fourth Anderson reached on an error and scored. In the fifth he tripled to leadoff the inning and again scored and finally in the sixth he singled again and again come around to score. For those of you keeping track, credit Anderson with three hits and four runs scored in four consecutive innings as a leadoff hitter.
He's Got Clout: With two round trippers against Long Beach (2/4) outfielder Shelley Duncan became the all-time home run leader in Arizona history. Duncan tied the record with a two-run blast to left in the first inning. The record would be the Tucson native's alone six innings later when he muscled a 1-0 pitch over the center field wall for a three run dinger. Duncan also set a personal best with seven RBI in the game. The junior swatted a freshman record 20 home runs in 1999 and tallied 11 in 32 games last season. Kenny Corley, who played for Arizona from 1995-98, was the all-time leader with 36 prior to Duncan. Corley's brother, Klent, is a redshirt freshman right-hander for the Wildcats this season and is Duncan's roommate.
Best Of: Baseball America has announced its 'Best Tools' in the Pac-10 for 2001. Shelley Duncan is listed as having the best raw power in the conference. He is also projected as the Pac-10's most draftable position player. Freshman Marc Kaiser is noted as one of the top three high school players to bypass the pros and enroll in school. The publication has also ranked Duncan as the 19th best college prospect for the 2001 draft, teammate Kenny Huff is listed at no. 97.
Preseason Honors: Junior outfielder Shelley Duncan has been named to two preseason All-America teams in 2001. A second-team All-American by Baseball America and a third-team Collegiate Baseball honoree, it is the second consecutive year that he has been named All-America by both publications. Duncan hit .332 in 32 games last season while tying for the team lead in home runs with 11.
Round Trip Airfare: Outfielder Shelley Duncan tied an Arizona school record with three home runs in consecutive at-bats against Utah (2/23). Three other Wildcats had three HRs in a game prior to Duncan. Dennis Haines was first in 1972, followed by Arizona Hall of Famer Ron Hassey in 1974 and finally Duncan's teammate Erik Torres last season. He finished the game 4-for-4 with four runs and five RBI. Duncan's three at-bats, three home runs ties him with Ron Hassey for the most consecutive four baggers in a row.
In Dedication to Kelsey: The Wildcats have dedicated the 2001 season to their teammate Kelsey Osburn. Osburn, an infielder for Arizona the past two seasons, passed away on July 17, 2000 after being struck by a ball during batting practice in a summer league game in New York. The Wildcats have his number, 41, stitched into the back of their caps and retired his jersey in a ceremony at Sancet Field on Jan. 27. The Osburn family has established a scholarship fund in Kelsey's honor for future Wildcat athletes. Please contact the UA Development Office at (520) 621-8081 for more details about the scholarship fund.
Retired Jerseys: Kelsey Osburn joins a select group on the left field wall of Frank Sancet Field. Arizona has retired only four jerseys in its history, former head coach Jerry Kindall, former assistant coach Jim Wing, All-American Terry Francona and Osburn's.