Arizona Baseball Notes - Vs. New Mexico
March 18, 2003
Notes From the Wagner Series: The Wildcats dominated the three-game series with the Seahawks, out scoring them 48-1 ... Arizona's pitching staff combined to give up just one unearned run on 11 hits in 27 innings pitched, while striking out 36 and walking only five ... As a team, Arizona posted a .409 batting average, a .490 on-base percentage and slugged at a .748 clip in the series ... Sophomore Jeff Van Houten posted an impressive weekend with six hits in seven at-bats with a double, a triple and a home run. He finished with a team-high six RBIs and four runs scored. His slugging percentage for the three games was 1.714 ... Thursday: Richie Gardner made his return from a two week absence with six innings of four-hit shutout ball. The right-hander showed no ill effects from a stress fracture in his foot as he struck out eight batters and walked two ... Relievers Brian Pemble and Derek Rodriguez pitched the final three innings to close out Arizona's fourth shutout of the season ... Pemble struck out five of the six batters he faced ... Junior Terrence Taylor went 4 for 6 with four RBIs and two stolen bases in the 15-0 win ... Friday: Jeff Van Houten hit Arizona's first inside-the-park home run in over 10 years as the Wildcats picked up their second straight shutout win 20-0 ... Van Houten finished the game 3 for 3 with four RBIs and a run scored ... Starter Joe Little struck out nine in six innings and relievers Chris Goodman and Scott Burns tallied another five K's in the final three innings ... A total of 13 of the 14 players who had at least one plate appearance in the game scored a run ... Saturday: Starter Kevin Guyette scattered four hits over eight innings to help Arizona complete the series sweep ... The right-hander struck out a career-high eight Seahawk batters for his second win of the season ... Freshmen Brad Boyer, Derek Decater and Trevor Crowe each hit a two-run homer in the win ... Van Houten closed out the series with a 2 for 2 day at the plate.
Notes From the Portland Series: Arizona swept its two-game series with Portland ... The Wildcats batted .440 as a team and out-scored the Pilots 34-17 in the series ... Richard Mercado, Moises Duran and Terrence Taylor all went 3 for 5 in the series for a .600 batting average ... Tuesday: Sophomore Jeff Van Houten swatted a pair of home runs and added a triple in UA's 19-5 win in the series opener ... Van Houten finished the contest 3 for 4 with a team-high six RBIs and three runs scored ... Starter Mark Worrell picked up his first win of the season on the mound and freshman Pat Lawler made his Wildcat debut in relief ... Sophomore Richard Mercado went 3 for 5 with five RBIs and two runs scored ... Wednesday: Arizona stole a season-high 11 bases in 14 attempts in the 15-12 win ... Terrence Taylor had a memorable first start going 3 for 4 with three stolen bases and four runs scored ... Freshman Trevor Crowe stung his hometown team with a 4 for 5, six RBI day the plate ... Sophomore Pat Reilly recorded Arizona's first straight steal of home in over a year in the win ... Senior Wes Zlotoff picked up his first win of the season out of the bullpen, while freshman Chris Frey nailed down his first career save with one inning of work in the ninth.
Polling Place: Arizona's 5-0 week against Wagner and Portland bumped it up one spot, from 21st to 20th, in the Collegiate Baseball Poll. The Wildcats still remain unranked in both the Baseball America and Sports Weekly/ESPN Coaches polls.
Game In Nogales, Ariz.: The Arizona baseball team will host New Mexico for one game in Nogales, Ariz., this week. Although it has been a while since UA made a trip south of Tucson to play, the appearance is not all together unprecedented. Looking back into the past schedules it has been found that the 1963 team played a game in the Arizona border town. The Wildcats defeated former WAC foe Wyoming, 8-1, on April 2 in the only other known game played in Nogales.
Jeff Van Houten - Pac-10 Player of the Week: Sophomore Jeff Van Houten has been named the March 18 Pac-10 Player of the Week for his dominating performance at the plate against Portland and Wagner. The outfielder finished Arizona's 5-0 week 10 for 14 (.714) with three home runs (including two in one game and an inside-the-park HR), two triples, a double, seven runs scored, a 1.714 slugging percentage and a .700 on-base percentage. The player of the week honor is the first in his career and the 38th all-time at Arizona. Former Wildcat All-American Shelley Duncan was Arizona's last conference player of the week in 2001. Current teammate Sean Rierson has been named the pitcher of the week twice already this season.
Putting Up Zeros: The Wildcat pitching staff already has five shutouts to its credit in just 24 games played this season. The 2003 tally has already surpassed the season totals for the past five years and is tied for the most for an Arizona staff since the 1997 club also shutout five opponents during the season. The school record for shutouts in a season is 14 by the 1974 team. In Arizona's shutout wins this season, the Wildcat pitching staff has limited their opponents to under four hits per game, including a pair of two-hitters, and a combined .121 batting average.
Touchin' 'Em All In A Hurry: Sophomore Jeff Van Houten hit his fifth home run of the season against Wagner on March 14, but didn't have much of an opportunity to savor it. The outfielder became the first Arizona player in over 10 years to circle the bases on an inside-the-park home run. Van Houten smacked a ball down the right field line, circled the bases in a dead sprint and crossed home plate standing up for a home run. Jason Thompson was the last Arizona player to circle the bases with the ball still in play on Feb. 1, 1992 against New Mexico.
Home Burglery: Standing on third against Portland last week, sophomore Pat Reilly saw an opportunity that happens very rarely. Reilly executed a straight steal of home in the third inning of Arizona's 15-12 victory. The straight steal was the first for an Arizona player this season and the first since former Wildcat Brad Hassey stole home against New Mexico on Jan. 26 last season.
Still Streaking: Pat Reilly's carry-over hitting streak from last season came to an end at 23-straight games at Texas on March 9. However, his roommate Brian Anderson has successfully matched his 23-game mark this season and is looking to better it this week against New Mexico. Anderson has hit successfully in all 23 games he has played in this season. Two more games with a hit would tie him with Ernie Durazo for the longest single season hit streak in school history at 25 and five more games would match Durazo (2000-01) and Jack Daugherty's (1981-82) all-time school record of 28.
Stealing Them Silly: Head coach Andy Lopez and his staff put an emphasis on improving Arizona's team speed. It appears they did just that. The Wildcats have already stolen 71 bases this season and are just three swipes away from equalling the season total from last year. The Wildcats are currently 71 for 90 in stolen bases this season and stole a season-high 11 bases in their 15-12 win over Portland on March 12.
Team Stolen Bases (Last 10 Seasons)2003 71 - Through 24 games.2002 742001 522000 671999 621998 691997 1121996 781995 881994 47
Speed Kills: Along the same lines of improved team speed is the ability to take extra bases. Arizona has consistently turned single into doubles this season (68 total doubles for the year, just 21 behind 2002's 56-game total) and has already matched its triples total from last season with 25. Including Jeff Van Houten's inside-the park home run, the Wildcats have 94 hits that have gone for extra bases and are not traditional over the fence homers (68 doubles, 25 triples, one inside-the-park home run) which accounts for nearly 30-percent of all of Arizona's hits for the season. Toss in the 30 traditional home runs and 38-percent of UA's hits are for extra bases.
Trip(le) Up: Arizona recorded a team single-game-tying five triples in its 20-0 win over Wagner on March 14. The feat, last accomplished against New Mexico in 2000, has be done seven time previous to this season.
Five Triples in a Game1955 vs. Pepperdine1955 vs. Utah1962 vs. Cal Poly1969 vs. UTEP1986 vs. Hartford1987 vs. Cal2000 vs. New Mexico2003 vs. Wagner
Tread Lightly: Arizona's battery of pitchers and catchers have made running on the Wildcats a dangerous proposition for their opponents this year. Wildcat pitchers and catchers have caught 18 of 34 would-be base stealers this season for a 47 percent throw out rate. Arizona has also picked off four base runners.
Scoring Trend Reverses: Early in the 2003 season, the Wildcats often found themselves falling behind in games early and having to fight their way back. In fact through the first 10 games of the season, Arizona was out-scored 16-10 in the first inning alone. That trend has seemingly reversed itself lately with Arizona jumping out to early leads. In the last 14 games the Wildcats have out scored their opponents 31-5 in the first inning alone and hold a 41 to 21 advantage in the frame for the season.
What A Difference A Year Makes: Through 24 games this season, Arizona's offense has blown away the 2002 team's numbers by a considerable margin. At this point a year ago Arizona was batting a meager .277 with 219 hits, 190 runs scored, 44 doubles, 14 triples, 25 home runs and 165 RBIs. This year the Wildcats are batting .353 with 323 hits, 255 runs scored, 68 doubles, 25 triples, 31 home runs and 223 RBIs. Individually, Arizona had just three players batting .300 or better through the first 24 games last season, while the Wildcats have two players hitting better than .400 this season and nine at .300 or better.
Stat Comparison (Through 24 Games) 2002 2003Average .277 .353Hits 219 323Runs 190 255Doubles 44 68Triples 14 25Home Runs 25 31RBIs 165 223Slugging Pct. .463 .584Players Batting .300+ 3 9Players Batting .400+ 0 2Stolen Bases 33 of 51 71 of 90
Getting Offensive: The Wildcat offense has posted some impressive numbers through the first 16 games of the season. The team has a .584 slugging percentage, a .414 on-base percentage and is averaging over 10 runs, 13 hits and nine RBIs per game this season.
Don't Forget To Close The Door: Arizona's bullpen has gotten some unwanted attention for its handling of games in the ninth inning. What has been missed with three blown saves and two extra innings losses, has been the four innings leading up to the ninth that the Wildcat staff has been dominating. In innings five through eight the Wildcat starters and relievers have combined to surrender a microscopic 20 runs combined to their opponents. Arizona has give up just five runs in the fifth inning this season, six in the sixth, four in the seventh and five in eighth. Meanwhile, the Arizona offense has exploded for 135 runs of its own during that same four-inning span.
Innings Five Through Eight Scoring 5 6 7 8 TotalsArizona 44 29 34 28 135Opponents 5 6 4 5 20
Up Coming: The Wildcats will attempt to continue a 17-game winning streak over New Mexico in a two-game series with the Lobos ... UNM last defeated Arizona in back in 1997. Since then Arizona has dominated, winning six consecutive season series between the two schools, including last season's opening series in Tucson ... During the winning streak UA has out scored UNM 181-66 ... There have been a pair of one-run wins for Arizona during the streak (5-4 in 1999 and 9-8 in 1998) ... New Mexico returns 19 letterwinners, eight starters and 10 pitchers from last season's 22-35 team ... Junior outfielder Sean Murray leads the Lobos with a .488 batting average and 30 runs scored heading into play this week ... Classmate Chris Alexander has 14 home runs and a team-high 39 RBIs in 22 games played ... On the mound the Lobos top starter is Tucsonan James Vermilyea who is 2-1 for the season with a 4.10 ERA in seven starts. The junior has struck out 39 and walked 16 in 48 1/3 innings ... The Lobos are led by 14th-year head coach Rich Alday, who has amassed a 386-364-2 record in Albuquerque.
Arizona Probable Pitching Rotation vs. New MexicoTuesday - Richie Gardner RHP (4-0, 2.36 ERA)Wednesday - John Meloan RHP (1-0, 4.80 ERA)
Arizona vs. New Mexico All-Time: Arizona and New Mexico share a baseball history that dates back all the way to 1917... Arizona holds a 152-28 (.844) advantage in the all-time series and has won 17 straight dating back to 1997 ... 2003 marks the 13th straight season that the two former WAC schools will meet on the field ... Arizona enjoys a 29-7 lead in the series during the previous 12-year span.
Keeping 'Em Down: Arizona's series with Wagner marked the second time this season that Arizona has limited an opponent to just one run in a three game series, while also posting back-to-back shutouts. In addition to keeping Wagner off the scoreboard for most of the weekend, Arizona also limited UC Irvine to just one run in 27 innings earlier this season. The two series are strikingly similar in their dominance by the Arizona pitching staff. The two, one-run series by the Arizona pitchers are the fewest runs given up over a three-game span since the 1997 team shutout California three in a row.
UC Irvine Wagner Wins 3 3Team ERA 0.33 0.00Hits 13 11Runs 1 1Earned Runs 1 0Strikeouts 26 36Walks 5 5
Sean Rierson - National, Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week: Junior Sean Rierson's complete game 2-hitter against UC Irvine on Feb. 15 earned the right-hander Collegiate Baseball/Louisville Slugger National and Pac-10 Conference Pitcher of the Week honors. His national recognition was the seventh all-time at UA and the first for an Arizona pitcher since former Wildcat Ben Diggins was honored the week of Feb. 28, 2000. The conference honor was the 25th all-time for a Wildcat pitcher and the first in Rierson's career. Rierson became the first Arizona pitcher to toss a complete game 2-hitter in nearly 20 years. Former Major Leaguer Joe Magrane was the last Arizona pitcher to go the distance on the strength of a 2-hitter in a 10-1 win over UNLV on Feb. 4, 1984. Rierson's 2-hitter also had the added bonus of being a shutout which was last done by David Carley, James McDonald and Jeff Hird in a combined 1-0 shutout of Pepperdine on two hits on Feb. 6, 1986. Interestingly, the Wildcats got only one hit in that game, which was Todd Trafton's game-winning solo home run in the seventh inning.
Sean Rierson - Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week Part II: Rierson was named the conference pitcher of the week for the second time in 2003 after a dominating performance at Texas in which he limited the defending national champion Longhorns to just one run on seven hits in a complete game performance. He struck out nine and walked two in his fourth win of the year.
The Last Time...: ...Arizona played two extra inning games in a series was back in 1997 against California in Berkeley. Unlike the 2003 version against Baylor, Arizona went on to win both of those contests, defeating the Bears 8-7 in 15 innings on February 28 and again 2-1 in 10 innings a day later on March 1.
Individual Record Setting Game: Richard Mercado's six-hit afternoon against BYU on Feb. 1 was the first for an Arizona player in 10 seasons and tied the school record for base knocks in a single game. The sophomore backstop tied former UA greats John Glenn (1972), Ron Hassey (1974), Les Pearsey (1978) and Chris Gump (1993) for the record. His five runs scored on the afternoon tied him with 21 other former players for the second-most in a single game ... Freshman Derek Decater's 11 total bases in the blowout win placed him tied for sixth in school history.
Six-Hit Games At ArizonaJohn Glenn vs. Iowa 3/30/1972Ron Hassey vs. Colorado 3/22/1974Les Pearsey vs. Azusa Pacific 2/20/1978Chris Gump vs. Cal (10 inn.) 4/18/1993Richard Mercado vs. BYU 2/01/2003
Scoring At Will: Arizona's 52 runs scored in the three games against BYU is tied for the third-most in a series in school history. Arizona posted 64 runs in two games against St. Francis in 1995 to establish the school record and the 1965 team scored 56 times in three games against New Mexico. In 1998 Arizona scored 52 total runs in a three-game series with Portland State. The 32-run game marks the third-highest run total for a single game at Arizona. The Wildcats tallied a school record 40 runs in a game against St. Francis in 1995 and put up 36 against the Lobos in 1965. The 29-run margin of victory against the Cougars ties for the second-largest ever at Arizona, trailing only the 30-run advantage the 1995 team enjoyed over St. Francis.
Runs in a Series Most Runs in Game1995 64 vs. St. Francis (2 games) 40 vs. St. Francis (2/22/95)1965 56 vs. New Mexico (3 games) 36 vs. New Mexico (5/7/65)1998 52 vs. Portland State (3 games) 32 vs. BYU (2/1/03)2003 52 vs. BYU (3 games) 31 vs. Colorado (3/19/51)
Road Series Sweep: Arizona's three-game sweep at UC Irvine Feb. 14-16 was the first road series sweep for Arizona since the 1999 team swept three games at Washington State on April 17-18.
Head Coach Andy Lopez: Andy Lopez, now in his second season at Arizona, has posted a career 735-449-6 (.619) record (Current). In his three previous coaching stops, Cal State Dominguez Hills, Pepperdine and Florida, he has averaged eight more wins in his second year than in the first. At Florida his second-year team won a school record 50 games, 18 more than the year before, and advanced to the College World Series.
Andy Lopez's First vs. Second SeasonsCal State Dominguez Hills Pepperdine Florida1983 15-27 (.357) 1989 41-19-1 (.680) 1995 32-24 (.571)1984 25-35-1 (.418) 1990 37-23 (.617) 1996 50-18 (.735)
100 Years Of Arizona Baseball: This year will mark the 100th year of Arizona baseball. Since beginning with a 6-1 record in 1904 under head coach B.L. Cosgrove, the Wildcat program has found enormous success in its first 99 seasons. Arizona has recorded 2,248 victories (seventh all-time among Division I teams), won three national championships, finished second three other times, appeared in 14 College World Series, made 29 NCAA regional appearances, had 128 players get drafted and sign professional contracts (of which 52 reached the Major Leagues) and placed 73 players on 54 different All-America teams.