Arizona Baseball Notes at #23 USC
April 23, 2002
On The Air: KNST's Brian Jeffries will travel to the Los Angeles this weekend for Arizona's three-game series at USC. Jeffries will provide Arizona fans with all the play-by-play action live from Dedeaux Field on the radio at 790 AM or over the Internet at www.knst.com
Next Up - USC: The Men of Troy play a pair on non-conference games on Tuesday and Wednesday before returning to Pac-10 action this weekend against the Wildcats. The Trojans swept Washington State in Pullman last weekend to take a one-game lead in the conference race. USC currently leads the Pac-10 standings with a 9-3 record at the midpoint of the conference season and are 24-16 overall.
Paced by Alberto Concepcion's .399 average, eight USC hitters with 50 or more plate appearances are hitting better than .300 for the season. Bill Peavey is coming off a weekend that saw the senior first baseman go 9 for 11 with two home runs, including a grand slam, three doubles, 10 runs scored and 10 RBIs.
Staff ace Anthony Reyes has been hampered by injury this season and has pitched only 24.2 innings in six starts. He is 2-0 and has tallied a 3.65 ERA with 19 strike outs and 12 walks. Freshman lefty Matt Chico will take the mound on Saturday, sporting a 6-3 record with a 5.34 ERA, 56 strike outs and 35 walks in 55.2 innings. Sunday's starter has been listed as TBA.
A 2001 College World Series participant, USC returns 20 letterwinners, five starters and eight pitchers this season. The Trojans own a 90-66-1 advantage in 157 career meetings between the two schools, including a series sweep over the Wildcats in Tucson last season.
Probable Starting Pitchers Friday - Anthony Reyes (2-0, 3.65 ERA) vs. Sean Rierson (7-2, 3.53 ERA)Saturday - Matt Chico (6-3, 5.34 ERA) vs. Marc Kaiser (5-3, 4.45 ERA)Sunday - TBA vs. LHP Joe Little (6-4, 5.11 ERA)
Wildcat Notes From The UC Riverside Series: (Overall) Arizona wrapped up its non-conference schedule with a 2-to-1 series win over UCR ... The series victory gave Arizona wins over eight of its 10 non-conference series opponents ... The Wildcats hit .297 as a team against the Highlanders ... Nine of the 11 players that started at least one game in the series scored at least one run ... Sophomore Moises Duran led Arizona in hitting with a .400 average ... Chris Cunningham carried over his hot hitting against Grand Canyon earlier in the week, finishing the series with UCR 5 for 13 (.385) with two doubles, a triple, seven RBIs and two runs scored ... Justyn St. Clair finished the series with a team-high five runs scored (Sunday) - Duran's stolen base on Sunday tied him with Brad Hassey for the team lead at 11 ... The top four hitters in Arizona's lineup on Sunday (Hassey, St. Clair, Brian Anderson and Cunningham) went a combined 8 for 18 (.444) with nine RBIs and seven runs scored ... After giving up a single to lead off the game, Wildcat starter Joe Little retired the next 14 consecutive hitters he faced before surrendering a double to start the sixth ... The left-hander won his sixth game of the season with the six inning effort ... Freshman Jason Snyder struck out three and walked none in two innings of relief. The right-hander has struck out 28 hitters this season in 28.1 innings and walked only four ... Sunday was the first time in seven games that the Arizona pitching staff did not issue a walk ... Arizona maintained its streak of homering at least once against an opponent with a pair of home runs by John Hardy and Hassey. Arizona has gone yard at least once against its last 12 straight opponents ... (Saturday)- Starter Marc Kaiser did not allow a single hit in the game before giving up six runs on three hits in the fifth inning ... Five of the six runs in the fifth were unearned due to a pair of Arizona errors ... UCR's Chris Smith tossed the fourth complete game of the season against the Wildcats ... Hassey's season-high 13-game hitting streak came to an end with an 0 for 5 day at the plate ... Arizona stranded five runners on base, including three in scoring position ... Saturday's game was the first in six straight contests that UA did not steal at least one base ... (Friday)- Sean Rierson tossed his second complete game of the season in the 5-1 Arizona victory. The nine inning outing was the fourth of the year the Arizona pitching staff ... The right-hander struck out eight and walked just one on 122 pitches ... Rierson and the Arizona defense stranded seven UCR runners on base, including four in scoring position ... Arizona scored five runs on just six hits ... Cunningham tallied two of UA's six hits in the game ... Richard Mercado delivered just the fifth pinch hit of the season for Arizona with a two-out, two-RBI single in the eighth inning.
Wildcat Notes From Grand Canyon Game: For the second time in three games all nine Arizona starters had at least one hit and scored one run ... A change was made in the winning pitcher for the game. Jason Snyder was given credit for the victory with one inning of work in the seventh inning ... Pat Reilly smacked his first career home run in the blowout win, a grand slam, in Arizona's nine-run fifth inning ... The bases loaded home run was the sixth of the season for Arizona ... Chris Cunningham needed only a triple for the cycle as he went 3 for 4 with three RBIs ... Cunningham hit his team-leading ninth home run in the fourth inning ... The two-run blast sparked an eventual seven run inning ... Brad Hassey cleared the bases with a three RBI triple in the fourth ... Hassey and Reilly each finished with four RBIs on the evening.
No More Non-Conference: The UC Riverside series marked the end of the non-conference schedule for the Wildcats. Arizona tallied a 22-9 record in 31 non-Pac-10 games. The Cats won eight of 10 multiple game series, including sweeps over New Mexico, San Diego State, Southern Utah, UC Irvine and Cal State Dominguez Hills. The Wildcats won all eight non-conference series at home, but were swept in both road series (Texas A&M, Long Beach).
As a team the Arizona hit .293 in the 31-game non-conference season. Freshman Richard Mercado led the way individually with a .341 average in 91 at-bats. Senior Chris Cunningham feasted on non-conference pitching, recording team-highs in both RBIs (40) and runs scored (32). The pitching staff tossed 275.1 innings against non-conference opponents and posted a 3.76 ERA with 204 strike outs against only 68 walks. Sophomore Joe Little went 6-1 against non-Pac-10 teams in 52.1 innings pitched. Senior Wes Zlotoff recorded a 1.69 ERA in nine appearances and 16 innings.
The Streak Ends: Senior Brad Hassey's season-high 13-game hitting streak came to an end in Saturday's game against UC Riverside. The shortstop completed the streak with a .441 average (26 for 59) 14 RBIs and 13 runs scored. He also walked eight times, helping him to a .507 on-base percentage.
Despite the streak coming to an end, Hassey has still hit safely in 26 of his last 28 games. During this 28-game span he is batting .363 (45 for 124) with 25 RBIs, 26 runs, four homers and 14 walks.
Swiping Them Silly: While the Wildcats don't necessarily possess a ton of team speed, Arizona has already surpassed the stolen base output from a season ago. The Wildcats' 10 stolen bases against California (4/12-14) pushed the team total to 57 for the season and past the '01 final tally by five. Now with 59 SBs, this season's team needs only 11 more stolen bases to achieve the highest theft rate in the past five seasons. The 1998 team stole 69 bases.
Double play partners Brad Hassey and Moises Duran share the individual team lead with 11 each. The figure is a career high for Duran and just one away from matching Hassey's.
Turning Two: The Arizona defense has turned 35 double plays this season, just one less than last season's team turned all of last year.
Hitting Notes: Arizona's team batting average went up three points after the four non-conference games last week ... The Wildcats have hit at least one home run against 16 of their 17 opponents this season, including the last 12 straight. The only team not to give up a long ball to the Cats thus far is Texas A&M-Corpus Christi ... Senior Brad Hassey leads the team with 39 runs scored this season ... 11 of the 13 players that are averaging at least one at-bat per game have hit one or more home runs this season ... Of the returning players that have at least one at bat per game (seven total), five have recorded career high numbers in home runs ... Senior Chris Cunningham has hit a team-high nine home runs this season and also paces the Cats with 45 RBIs ... 10 of the 13 players that average an at-bat per game have 15 or more RBIs, six of whom have 25 or more.
Long Ball Stats: At the beginning of the year, the position of Arizona's long ball leader was up for grabs. With the departure of UA's all-time home run king, Shelley Duncan, and only six home runs returning to the current roster, the role could have gone to any number of players. And, in a way, it has. A total of 11 different Wildcat players have hit at least one of UA's 43 round-trippers this season, seven of whom have two or more. The 2002 team has, in fact, hit five more home runs through 43 games than the 2001 team did (45-40).
Leading the way with a career-high nine fence busters is Chris Cunningham. Cunningham has gone yard with nobody on five times, one runner on three times and with two runners on once for 14 runs batted in on homers. Jeff Van Houten, a freshman, sophomores Moises Duran and Marc Kaiser and senior Brad Hassey are tied for second on the team with six each. Van Houten has hit two solos shots, three two-run homers and a grand slam for 12 RBIs on home runs. Duran has gone yard with the bases loaded once, with one on twice and hit three solo shots for a total of 11 RBIs. Kaiser has smashed five solo home runs and one two-run shot for seven home run RBIs. Hassey has 10 RBIs on four solo shots and two three-run blasts. (See page 8 of the notes for the entire team break down)
The Wildcats are 19-5 this season in the 24 games when at least one player hits a homer and are 11-1 in the 12 games two or more players connect for the four-base hit.
Getting Started: Senior Brad Hassey has hit a career high six home runs this season, while that in and of itself is very noteworthy, it is also prudent to point out that three of his fence crashers has led off innings for the Wildcats.
As a team, the Wildcats have hit 12 of their 45 home runs (27 percent) this season leading off an inning.
No Pac-10 Swoon For Some: The conference season is the time of the year that some players see their stats take a turn downward. Not so for many of the Wildcats, as four players are posting better numbers against Pac-10 opponents this season then they are against non-conference competition and many others are maintaining a steady pace against both.
Senior Brad Hassey has torn up the Pac-10 with a .415 average in 12 games, while in 31 non-conference games this season the shortstop hit just .282. He has also tallied 10 RBIs and 11 runs scored in conference action.
Freshman John Hardy has thrived at the plate against Pac-10 competition posting a .325 average with 12 RBIs against just a .298 average and 18 RBIs out of conference play. Others that have seen their performances improve at the midpoint of conference play are Ken Riley (.348 in Pac-10, .321 in non-conference) and Moises Duran (.278 Pac-10 v. .264 non-conference).
Pitching Notes: The Wildcats pitching staff maintains a better than two-to-one strike out to walk ratio this season (2.6-to-1) ... In Marc Kaiser's two complete games this season the sophomore has had to toss only 93 pitches both times ... Senior Wes Zlotoff continues to lead the team with a 2.11 ERA in 21.1 innings pitched this season ... Joe Little is the team leader in strike outs (59) and Sean Rierson leads the team in wins (7) ... Rierson also continues to lead the team in innings pitched (91.2) ... Opponents are hitting .283 against Arizona pitching this season, eight points lower than a year ago through 41 games ... The Wildcat starting staff (Rierson, Little and Kaiser) is averaging better than six innings per start ... Closer Brian Anderson is now six for eight in save opportunities in his career ... Through 43 games the 2002 Arizona pitching staff is on pace for one of the better statistical seasons in last five years:
Year-By-Year Comparison (through 43 games) 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998ERA 4.45 5.15 7.39 5.55 5.84CG 4 1 3 4 0Sho 2 2 0 2 1CBO 1 2 0 2 1Sv 7 12 5 11 8IP 388.1 388.0 375.0 389.0 371.2H 432 449 485 464 435R 245 277 376 286 281ER 192 222 308 240 241BB 101 153 233 188 187SO 265 300 358 335 390
The 'O' In Loss Stands for Zero: Arizona's three starters, Sean Rierson, Marc Kaiser and Joe Little, have combined to lose just nine games this season, but not all of the losses are of their own doing. In fact, in Rierson's two losses this season, the Wildcats were shutout on offense both times. Actually, dating back to March 31 of last season against Oregon State, Rierson's last three losses can be attributed to zero run support from the offense. Kaiser has lost three games this season and the Wildcats have failed to score at least one run in two of the three.
In two of Little's last four starts Arizona has scored just one run, while the lefty has given up only one and two runs, respectively. The southpaw has earned a no decision (Oregon State) and a loss (California) in the those starts.
Pac-10 Stats: Despite a week off from conference action, the Wildcats, both as a team and individually, continued to rank among the conference leaders in a number of categories.
Offensively, Arizona leads the conference in runs scored (344), RBIs (302) and walks (204). Somewhat surprisingly the Wildcats are third in the conference with 43 home runs. On the mound the Wildcats are tied for first in wins (27) and given up the fewest walks (101). The pitching staff is third amongst Pac-10 teams in ERA (4.45) and second in innings pitched (388.1).
Individually, Moises Duran leads the Pac-10 in walks (29). Marc Kaiser (25) and Chris Cunningham (25) are tied for fourth in the category. Senior Brad Hassey is tied for seventh in runs scored (39). Hassey's recent hot streak at the plate has him tied for fourth in the conference in total hits with 59 on the season. Cunningham's nine home runs are seventh best amongst all players thus far.
Going The Distance: Sean Rierson's complete game against UC Riverside (4/19) was the second for the sophomore right-hander this season and the fourth total for the Wildcat pitching staff this year. Rierson previously went the distance in UA's 1-0 win over San Diego State on Feb. 7. Classmate Marc Kaiser tossed back-to-back complete games against UNC Wilmington and Arizona State earlier this season. The two CGs apiece for Rierson and Kaiser mark the first time since 1999 that more than one Wildcat hurler has gone the distance more than once in a year. Former Wildcats and top professional prospects Josh Pearce and Ben Digggins each tossed a pair of complete games during the 1999 season. Arizona's four complete games this season is the second most CGs for a pitching staff in the last five years. Both the 1999 and '97 staffs tossed five complete games each. The school single-season record is 38 by the 1956 team.
Coming Through In A Pinch: Ken Riley has produced in the pinch this season. Pinch hitting that is. The junior has three of Arizona's five pinch hits this year. In four pinch hit at bats, Riley is batting .750 with two singles, a triple and an RBI that scored the game tying run in the 10th inning of Arizona's come-from-behind win over UC Irvine on Feb. 23.
Freshman Richard Mercado is the only other player to tally a pinch hit this year with two. The first-year Wildcat entered a game at the plate against Oregon State and delivered a single to right and most recently the designated hitter/catcher scored a pair of runners with a two-out single through the left side in the eighth inning against UC Riverside (4/19).
Get there Early, But Stick Around For the Stretch: Arizona's offensive explosions in the fifth inning of last week's games against Grand Canyon (nine runs on Tuesday) and UC Riverside (seven runs on Sunday) has turned this loyal note on its ear. The fifth inning, in which Arizona holds a 32-point discrepancy (55 to 23), has taken over as the most productive inning on offense this season for the Wildcats. However, the first and seventh innings maintain their presence with 23-point Arizona advantages each. (See page nine of the notes for an inning-by-inning breakdown of when Arizona scores its runs).
Wearin' It: It's painful to be a Wildcat batter in 2002. Opposing pitchers have plunked Wildcat hitters 52 times already in just 43 games (1.21 HBP per game). In comparison, last year Arizona batters were hit 'just' 35 times in 56 games (0.63 HBP per game). Should the Wildcats' opposition continue to assail batters at the current rate, Arizona will end up with nearly 70 hit bats men, smashing the current school record of 59 (1.02 HPB per game) set in 1997. The 52 HBP this season have surpassed the season totals all but two previous Arizona teams (1997 and '98).
The More The Merrier: Arizona is doing a fine job of hitting with runners on base, posting a .336 batting average at the plate. However, that average increases significantly when all three bases are occupied. In 48 official at bats with the bases loaded, Arizona is hitting .479 (23 for 48) with six grand slams (see note that follows), 80 RBIs and a 1.000 slugging percentage. The Wildcats have also hit seven sac-flies, walked nine times and been hit by pitches five times in bases loaded situations. Freshman Jeff Van Houten has cleared the bases twice with the sacks full, tallying a three-run triple and a grand slam. He has also been hit by a pitch with the bases loaded for eight RBIs. Classmate John Hardy and senior Justyn St. Clair lead the team with 10 bases loaded RBIs apiece.
Having A Grand Time: Pat Reilly's first career home run against Grand Canyon on April 16 came with the bases loaded for a grand slam. The bases loaded fence buster extended Arizona's school single-season record to six for the season. Reilly, Jeff Van Houten, John Hardy and Moises Duran have all hit a grand slam apiece this season. Sophomore Brian Anderson has smashed two. The six slams mark the first time since 1999 that an Arizona team has had two or more bases loaded home runs in a season. Anderson's second GS of the season, against California on April 13, broke the previous school record of four shared by Arizona's 1955, '56, '61, '88, '93, '98 and '99 teams. Former Wildcat Dave Shermet holds the all-time individual career record with four.
Manufacturing, Inc.: Arizona has scored a total 344 runs this season and 84 of them (24 percent) have come without Arizona recording a hit to score the run. In 32 of the 39 games in which Arizona has scored, at least one run was plated without the benefit of a hit.
The Wildcats have manufactured runs via ground ball outs to the left side of the infield, wild pitches, walks, balks, sacrifice flies, errors, straight steals and even batters being hit by pitches.
Using All Three Outs: Brian Anderson's grand slam at California (4/13) was just one of many two-out hits the Wildcats have posted this season. Arizona is hitting .293 (145 for 495) and have scored 154 of their 344 runs (45%) as a team with two down in an inning this season. Leading the way individually is senior Justyn St. Clair and freshman Pat Reilly. The duo are hitting .391 and .400, respectively, with two outs. St. Clair has 15 RBIs in the situation and Reilly has 11. Freshman John Hardy leads the team with 24 two-out RBIs, he has 30 total RBIs for the season.
700 and Counting: When Andy Lopez signed on with the Wildcats last summer he had accumulated 687 wins in 19 seasons as head coach at Cal State Dominguez Hills, Pepperdine and Florida. Arizona's win over UC Irvine on Feb. 23 propelled the first year Arizona skipper to his 700th career win. Through 43 games at Arizona, his career record stands at 715-434-6 (.622).
Head Coach Andy Lopez: First-year Arizona skipper Andy Lopez makes his return to the Pac-10 where he played collegiality at UCLA in 1974-75. Entering his 20th season as a head coach Lopez takes over as the head man at his fourth school.
Starting out at Cal State Dominguez Hills in 1983, Lopez has also coached at Pepperdine and the University of Florida. While in Malibu, he led the Waves to the only team national championship in school history, winning the 1992 College World Series title in Omaha. He twice led Florida to Omaha and in the process doubled the Gators number of trips from two in 82 years to four in just seven more.
Just the fifth head coach in the last 80 years at Arizona, he is also one of only seven active coaches with a national championship to his credit and one of eight men to ever lead two or more schools to the College World Series.
Arizona Player Career Stats vs. USCHitter G BA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SBMarc Kaiser 1 1.000 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0Brian Anderson 3 .333 12 1 4 1 0 0 0 0 1Brad Hassey 6 .286 14 3 4 1 1 0 2 2 1Justyn St. Clair 3 .273 11 2 3 0 0 0 0 1 1Ken Riley 4 .222 9 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 0Pitcher G GS W-L Sv. IP H R ER BB K ERAMarc Kaiser 1 1 0-1 0 7.0 9 8 0 3 4 0.00Brian Anderson 1 0 0-0 0 1.0 0 0 0 1 3 0.00Tony Sulser 1 0 0-0 0 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 0.00Joe Little 1 0 0-0 0 1.1 1 2 1 2 0 6.75Sean Rierson 1 1 0-1 0 5.1 7 5 5 2 1 8.44Wes Zlotoff 1 0 0-0 0 4.2 10 7 7 1 3 13.50Chris Goodman 1 1 0-0 0 1.2 3 4 4 1 0 21.60