Arizona Baseball NCAA Regional Notes
May 27, 2003
Notes From the Regular Season: Arizona enters postseason play with a 35-21 overall record ... The Wildcats finished fourth in the Pac-10 with a 13-11 record ... Arizona won six of its eight Pac-10 series this season ... Arizona won 14 total series this year and was swept just once ... The Wildcats played five ranked teams in 2003 (#10 Baylor, #24 Texas A&M, #9 Texas, #4 Stanford and #4 Arizona State) and went 6-9 against them ... As a team Arizona hit .329 with a Pac-10 record 50 triples, 122 doubles, 71 home runs and 142 stolen bases ... On the mound Arizona pitchers went 35-21 with a 4.96 ERA in 502 2/3 innings ... Arizona pitchers struck out 403 while walking just 198 ... Individually, Arizona is paced at the plate by junior Brian Anderson and sophomore Jeff Van Houten ... Anderson finished the regular season with a .375 average, 12 doubles, eight triples, 14 home runs, 17 stolen bases and 61 RBIs ... Van Houten, the Pac-10's second-leading hitter, finished with a .415 batting average, nine doubles, nine triples, 11 home runs and a team-high 71 RBIs ... On the mound Arizona features a pair of nine-game winners in juniors Sean Rierson (9-2) and Richie Gardner (9-2) ... Gardner finished in the top three in the Pac-10 in strikeouts and Rierson walked just 17 batters in 97 1/3 innings ... Arizona finished the regular season leading the Pac-10 in stolen bases (142) and triples (50) ... The Wildcats feature a youthful lineup with five freshman contributing regularly in field and one on the mound.
Head Coach Andy Lopez: Andy Lopez, now in his second season at Arizona, has posted a career 756-466-6 (.618) record (Current). In his three previous coaching stops, Cal State Dominguez Hills, Pepperdine and Florida, he 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 SeasonsCSUDH Pepperdine Florida Arizona1983 15-27 (.357) 1989 41-19-1 (.680) 1995 32-24 (.571) 2002 31-24 (.564)1984 25-35-1 (.418) 1990 37-23 (.617) 1996 50-18 (.735) 2003 35-21 (.625)
Coach Lopez in the Postseason: Head coach Andy Lopez will bring his 12th team into postseason play when Arizona opens up against Notre Dame at the Fullerton regional on Friday. Lopez won a national title in 1992 when his Pepperdine team defeated 2003 regional host Cal St. Fullerton, 3-2, in Omaha. He has a career 30-23 record (.556) in 53 NCAA postseason games and is one of just seven coaches all-time to take two or more Division I schools to the College World Series (Florida 1996, '98; Pepperdine 1992). Coach Lopez is also one of seven active Division I coaches with a national title to his credit.
Lopez In the PostseasonYr. School Record1986 CSU Dominguez Hills ^ 1-31987 CSU Dominguez Hills ^ 4-2 *1989 Pepperdine 0-21991 Pepperdine 0-21992 Pepperdine 8-1 * CWS Champions1993 Pepperdine 1-21996 Florida 6-2 *1997 Florida 2-21998 Florida 4-3 *2000 Florida 3-22001 Florida 1-2^ Denotes Division II NCAA Tournament* Denotes College World Series Appearance
Arizona In Regional Play: While it has been three seasons since Arizona last played in the postseason, the program as a whole is no stranger to NCAA regional play. The Wildcats are making their 30th all-time regional appearance this season and have a 48-33 (.593) record in 81 regional games. Arizona last appeared in the postseason in 1999 and went 0-2, losing to Minnesota and Eastern Illinois in the regional at Waco, Texas.
Arizona in the Postseason: Arizona has a long tradition of NCAA postseason play. The Wildcats have appeared in the NCAA tournament 29 times previous to this season, have won 14 regional titles, won three College World Series championships and finished runner-up at the CWS three more times. Arizona is 80-58 (.580) all-time in the postseason and is tied for seventh in CWS appearances (14), seventh in CWS wins (32), tied for seventh in CWS games played (57) and sixth in championships won (3).
Teams in the Tournament: Arizona faced seven of the 64 teams that advanced to the 2003 NCAA postseason and went 10-11 against them. Arizona played Stanford (2-1), Washington (2-1), Minnesota (2-1), Texas A&M (2-1), Texas (1-2), Baylor (1-2) and Arizona State (0-3).
Overall Wins: Arizona has already surpassed its win total from a season ago and matched its highest win total in a season since the 1993 team also won 35 games. Arizona's next victory will give the 2003 Wildcats the most wins in a season since the 1989 Pac-10 championship team went 45-18-1.
Three Times The Fun: Arizona's 50 triples this season has established a new high-water mark in the Pac-10. This season's team eclipsed the 1986 Arizona team's 43 three-baggers for the most triples in a single season in conference history. However, while the 50 triples this season set a new Pac-10 record, the 2003 team has a ways to go before breaking the school record of 64 triples set in the 1960 season. The 2003 team is currently fifth all-time in Arizona's history.
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 142 bases this season, 68 more than Arizona stole the entire season last year, and are just the 10th team in school history to swipe over 100. The Wildcats currently average nearly three steals a game and stole a season-high 11 bases in their 15-12 win over Portland on March 12. The school record for stolen bases in a season is 150, set by the 1985 team.
Team Stolen Bases (Last 10 Seasons) Top Arizona TeamsYear Stolen Bases Rk. Year SB2003 142 - Through 56 games. 1. 1985 1502002 74 2. 1986 1472001 52 3. 2003 1422000 67 4. 1980 1351999 62 5. 1956 1301998 69 6. 1957 1201997 112 7. 1960 1121996 78 1997 1121995 881994 47
Grand Theft: Arizona's ability to steal bases has made the 2003 team one of the most successful in terms of stolen bases vs. attempts. The 2003 team is stealing bases at a 78-percent success rate. That figure is bettered by only a handful of Arizona teams in school history, none of which attempted as many steals as the 2003 team.
Stolen Base Percentage Leaders1. 1975 114 for 123 93%2. 1970 82 for 98 84%3. 1971 64 for 79 81% 1981 102 for 126 81%5. 1973 49 for 61 80%6. 1977 88 for 11 79% 1976 110 for 139 79%8. 2003 142 for 184 77%
Getting Offensive: The Arizona offense currently has a team .329 batting average ... Arizona has hit two inside-the-park home runs this season (Jeff Van Houten vs. Wagner 3/14 and Brian Anderson's grand slam at Stanford 4/26) ... The Wildcats have 71 home runs, 11 more than all of last season and the most since the 2000 team had 78... As a team, Arizona ranks either first or second in nearly every offensive category in the Pac-10 this season ... Heading into regional play this weekend, the Wildcats are slugging at a Pac-10-best .540 clip and have a .395 on-base percentage, third in the conference ... The Wildcats' 50 triples and 142 stolen bases not only lead the Pac-10, but nearly double up on the closest school in the conference rankings ... Heading into the weekend, sophomore Jeff Van Houten continues to lead Arizona in average (.415), RBIs (71) and slugging percentage (.707) ... Junior Brian Anderson has hit career-highs in home runs (14) , triples (8) and RBIs (61) ... Classmate Moises Duran took over the team home run lead against Oregon State with his 14th and 15th blasts of the season ... Freshman Brad Boyer has 69 runs scored, third in the Pac-10, and 24 stolen bases, best in the conference ... See pages 5-6 of the notes for the Pac-10 leaders and where Arizona ranks heading into the postseason.
On the Bump: Arizona's staff ERA sits at 4.96 heading into the postseason ... The team ERA is fourth among Pac-10 schools ... The Wildcat hurlers have recorded a better than 2-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio this season (403 to 198) ... Opponents are batting 10 points lower against Arizona pitchers this season than last year ... Junior Richie Gardner ranks among the league leaders in the conference in ERA (3.84, 7th), strikeouts (91, 3rd) and innings pitched (105.1, 2nd) ... Classmate Sean Rierson is tied with Gardner for second in the conference in wins (9) and also ranks among the top 10 in innings pitched (97.1, 3rd).
Regional Opponent Capsules
Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish enter their 18th postseason appearance as the Big East champions with a 43-16 overall record ... Notre Dame, which finished the regular season third in the Big East at 16-7, became the first school since 1986 to win back-to-back Big East titles with an 11-3 win over Rutgers in the conference tournament championship game last Sunday ... Notre Dame returns 17 lettermen, four starters and 12 pitchers from last season's College World Series team ... The Irish are batting .306 as a team and have 109 doubles, 24 triples, 30 home runs and 363 RBIs ... Led by junior Steve Sollmann's 33 stolen bases, ND has stolen 77 bases in 108 attempts this season (71-percent) ... At the plate, the Irish are led by sophomore Matt Edwards' .379 average, eight home runs and 65 RBIs ... Sollmann not only leads the team in stolen bases, but also tops the Irish players in runs scored (64) ... On the mound ND has a 3.51 ERA and 452 strikeouts in 518 innings pitched ... The Irish feature three formidable starters in sophomore Chris Niesel (9-1, 2.69 ERA in 14 starts), senior Ryan Kalita (6-1, 3.29 ERA in 11 starts) and sophomore John Axford (9-3, 4.31 ERA in 13 starts) ... Closer J.P. Gagne is 4-5 with 12 saves in a team-high 28 appearances this season ... The Irish are led by head coach Paul Mainieri who is in his eighth season in South Bend ... Mainieri has guided Notre Dame to a 397-158-1 record (.715) heading into the postseason.
Arizona vs. Notre Dame All-Time: Arizona and Notre Dame have met five times previous to Friday's regional-opening game. Arizona is 5-0 all-time against the Irish having first played in 1961 and last in 1993.
Common Opponents in 2003: Arizona and Notre Dame have faced a pair of common opponents during the 2003 regular season. Both the Irish and Wildcats faced Arizona State and Minnesota. Arizona went 2-4 (2-1 vs. Minnesota, 0-3 vs. Arizona State), while ND went 0-3 (0-2 vs. ASU, 0-1 vs. Minnesota.
Arizona and Notre Dame - Postseason Foes: The University of Arizona and Notre Dame seem to have their tournament planets aligned somehow. In addition to the baseball teams drawing each other in the postseason, both the men's and women's basketball teams played each other in the NCAA tournament this year. Notre Dame's women's hoops team downed the Arizona women, 59-47, in the opening round of the basketball tournament in Manhattan, Kan., while Arizona's men's team defeated the Fighting Irish, 88-71, in the regional semifinals in the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim. It seems the baseball teams were destined to break the tie.
Cal State Fullerton: Regional hosts and No. 7 national seed Fullerton heads into its 25th postseason appearance with a 43-13 overall record ... The Titans finished one game behind fellow regional host Long Beach State in the Big West Conference standings at 15-6 ... Fullerton returns 15 lettermen, six starters and five pitchers from last season 37-22 NCAA regional team ... As a team Fullerton is batting .335 with 142 doubles, 20 triples, 31 home runs, 406 RBIs and 102 stolen bases ... Junior outfielder Shane Costa leads the Titans individually with a .382 average, 48 runs scored 24 doubles, 26 stolen bases and 50 RBIs in 56 games ... On the mound Fullerton has a 2.80 team ERA with 441 strikeouts and just 109 walks in 497 1/3 innings this season ... Freshman Dustin Miller has seven wins in 15 starts in 2003. The right-hander has a team-high 81 strikeouts against just 19 walks ... Junior Jason Windsor is 8-2 with a 1.91 ERA in 199 appearances this season ... Fullerton is led by head coach George Horton, who is in his seventh season as the skipper of the Titans ... Horton has a 302-129-1 record (.700) at Fullerton.
Arizona vs. Fullerton All-Time: Arizona and Fullerton have long history with each other that dates back to 1973. In 76 all-time meetings, the Titans own a 50-26 advantage over the Wildcats. Since 1993, Fullerton has won the last 13 straight games between the two schools. The two schools have met twice in the postseason previous to this year (1978 and '79), with each team coming away with one win. Arizona and Fullerton last met in 1997.
Common Opponents in 2003: Arizona and Fullerton have played six common opponents this season. Arizona went 11-7 against the common opponents, while Fullerton went 12-4. The two schools have both taken on Stanford (UA 2-1, CSUF 3-0), Minnesota (UA 2-1, CSUF 1-2), Texas (UA 1-2, CSUF 1-0), UCLA (UA 1-2, CSUF 3-0), USC (UA 2-1, CSUF 2-1) and UC Irvine (UA 3-0, CSUF 2-1) this season.
San Diego: The University of San Diego enters its second postseason appearance as the 2003 West Coast Conference champions ... USD has a 31-28 overall record after defeating Pepperdine two-games-to-one in the WCC tournament championship game on Sunday ... The conference title is the second straight for the Toreros ... Offensively, USD has a .295 team batting average with 144 doubles, seven triples, 46 home runs, 334 RBIs and 50 stolen bases this season ... Junior outfielder Joey Prast leads the Torero attack with a team-high .360 batting average, 25 doubles, 12 home runs, 15 stolen bases and 56 RBIs ... Senior Tony Perez chips in with a team-high 65 runs scored, 11 doubles, seven home runs and 34 RBIs ... On the mound USD has a team ERA of 5.32 with 375 strikeouts in 520 2/3 innings pitched this season ... Individually, junior Kyle Collins is 9-4 with a 3.68 ERA in 15 starts this season. The right-hander has a team-high 69 strikeouts in 95 1/3 innings ... USD is led by coach Rich Hill who is in his fifth season in San Diego ... Hill has tallied a 167-126-2 record (.569) as the skipper of the Toreros.
Arizona vs. San Diego All-Time: Arizona and USD have met 15 times prior to a potential match up in the Fullerton regional. Arizona owns a 14-1 advantage in the series and have won the last 14 straight. UA and USD first met in 1980 and last played each other in 1999.
Common Opponents: Arizona and San Diego have played six common opponents in 2003. Arizona went 12-5 against the six schools, while USD went 10-6. Arizona and USD both played Texas (UA 1-2, USD 0-3), UC Irvine (UA 3-0, USD 1-2) Washington (UA 2-1, USD 1-0), Oregon State (UA 2-1, USD 1-0), USC (UA 2-1, USD 1-1) and Portland (UA 2-0, USD 6-0)
Van Hitting: Perhaps Jeff Van Houten should request a name change. From the first game played this season, the sophomore outfielder has done nothing but hit. In 55 games (he missed one game at UCLA with sore ribs) he is batting a team-high .415 while leading the team in RBIs (71). After reaching a season-high of .445 on April 12, Van Houten went into a 'slump' over the next 14 games in which he hit 'only' .302 and saw his average dip down to .403. A solid final two weeks of the regular season bumped the sophomore back up .415 for the year. No Arizona player over the past 12 seasons has been hitting over .400 this late into the season. Robbie Moen is the last Arizona player to hit .400 or better in a season when he finished at .403 in 1991. This season Van Houten has posted 21 multi-hit games and 19 multiple RBI games. His season-low for batting average came on March 8 at Texas when it 'dropped' to .373. He has collected at least one hit in 47 games this year, and when he has gone hitless he has still managed to put the ball in play. In eight hitless games he has struck out just nine times, while recording three RBIs.
Ninth Inning Woes: The Wildcats have picked a particularly bad inning to be out-scored in this season. Arizona is out-scoring its opponents in the first eight innings by a combined 228 runs this year. The ninth inning however has proven to be a different matter. With big innings being the main culprit, the Wildcats are getting out-scored by over a 2-to-1 margin (42 to 20) in the final frame. The good news is that Arizona has won 11 of the 16 games that it has surrendered runs in the ninth, including an 11-inning win over Washington State on April 18. The bad news is that the Wildcats have blown five ninth-inning leads that have eventually led to losses.
Anderson Adding Up: Junior Brian Anderson has bounced back nicely from a down year in 2002. The third-year starter has already surpassed his career home run total of nine in just this season alone with a team-high 14 and has also topped his single-season-bests in runs scored (58 in 2003, 40 in 2001) and RBIs (61 in 2003, 38 in 2001). His eight triples this season are also one more than his freshman and sophomore seasons combined.
Doing the Streak: Brian Anderson has put together three impressive hitting streaks this season. The third-year starter has gone hitless in consecutive games only once this year and has at least one hit in 50 of the 55 games he has played. Only USC (3/22), Washington State (4/19), Oregon State ( 5/18) and Arizona State (5/23-24) have managed to keep Anderson from collecting a hit. He has hitting streaks of 26, 13 and nine games this season.
Anderson's Hitting StreaksJan. 30-Mar. 21 (26 Games*) .375 (39 for 104), 27 runs, 7 2B, 6 3B, 7 HR, 23 RBIMar. 23-Apr. 18 (13 Games) .456 (26 for 57), 15 runs, 5 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 19 RBIApr. 22-May 17 (9 Games) .410 (16 for 39 ), 13 runs, 0 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 18 RBI* Set Arizona's Single-Season Record
One-Two Punch: Arizona's junior tandem of Richie Gardner and Sean Rierson have provided the Wildcats with a potent one-two punch on the mound this season. The classmates are a combined 18-4 (.900) in 32 appearances. They have 154 strike outs against just 54 walks in 202 2/3 innings pitched and opponents are hitting only .279 against them. Should both of the them win another game this season, they would become the first duo of 10-plus game winners in the same season for Arizona since Craig Lefferts and Ron Sismondo went 10-3 and 11-6, respectively, in 1979. Should either of the right-handers reach the double-digit win plateau they would be just the 12th pitcher in the last 25 years to win 10 or more games in a season at Arizona.
10-Plus Game Winners Since 19781978 Craig Chamberlain - 10-11978 David Crutcher - 11-51979 Craig Lefferts - 10-31979 Ron Sismondo - 11-61980 Ron Sismondo - 10-51983 Ed Vosberg - 10-21985 Joe Magrane - 13-81986 Gil Heredia - 16-31987 Gil Heredia - 10-81989 Scott Erickson - 18-32000 Ben Diggins - 10-4
Working Late: Junior right-hander Richie Gardner has taken the ball deep into the game for Arizona all season long. The junior college transfer is averaging around 6 2/3 innings pitched per start this season. He has worked seven or more innings in 10 of his 15 starts (67-percent) and has failed to last more than five innings just once (not surprisingly it was his one of his two losses of the year). Twice he has pitched nine innings, but has not received credit for a complete game either time as both nine-inning starts went extra innings.
Gardner's Innings Pitched Per StartIP # Gardner's Record Arizona's Record9.0 2 0-0 0-2 (Both Losses Were In Extra Innings)8.0 + 3 3-0 3-07.0 + 5 4-1 4-16.0 + 2 1-0 2-05.0 + 2 1-0 2-04.0 + 1 0-1 0-1
Going The Distance: Junior Sean Rierson has tossed four complete games for Arizona this season, the most for a Wildcat pitcher since Ryan Frace went all nine innings five times in 1996.
Rierson Moves Up In Career Numbers: While his record-tying 30 hit batters probably isn't the highlight of his career, junior Sean Rierson is also climbing up the career record books in both games started and innings pitched. With 49 career starts, Rierson is firmly entrenched in the No. 3 spot on Arizona's career list behind all-time leader Ed Vosberg (60) and No. 2 Joe Magrane (53). His 314 2/3 career innings pitched places him 10th all-time top at Arizona. A five inning-plus outing in the NCAA tournament this weekend would bump him up to seventh on the list.
Sevens Up: If recent starts are any indication, junior Sean Rierson should move into the No. 7 slot on the afore mentioned career innings pitched list. The right-hander has worked seven or more innings in six of his last seven starts.
Hitting His Spots: Junior Sean Rierson has always shown impressive control in his pitching, but never so much as this year. If the season ended today, Rierson would be second on Arizona's single season record for the fewest walks per nine innings. Rierson's 17 walks this season in 97 1/3 innings pitched gives him an average of 1.57 BB/9 IP. Mike Crawford, Arizona's current single-season record holder, walked just 1.54 batters per nine innings pitched in 1999. For his career, Rierson has not allowed a free pass in 13 of his 49 starts (27-percent). His career game-high for walks is just four.
Rierson's Control In 49 Career Starts0 Walks 13 Starts (4 in 2003)1 Walk 14 Starts (5 in 2003)2 Walks 17 Starts (6 in 2003)3 Walks 4 Starts (0 in 2003)4 Walks 1 Start (0 in 2003)
Freshmen Phenoms: Offensively Arizona knew it was going to have to rely on its youth to produce this season, and so far it has. As a class, the seven freshmen that have played this season have 259 hits, 197 runs, 55 doubles, 18 triples, 16 home runs, 164 RBIs and 54 stolen bases. Brad Boyer is currently fifth on the team with a .345 average and leads all players with 24 stolen bases and 69 runs scored. Classmates Nick Hundley and Derek Decater are fourth and eighth in average (.359, .309) and Trevor Crowe is second on the team with 14 doubles.
2003 Arizona Freshmen Numbers (Boyer, Brown, Crowe, Decater, Franklin, Frey, Hundley)Category Combined Total Percent of Team TotalAB 802 39%Runs 197 38%Hits 259 38% (The freshmen have class .323 BA)2B 55 45%3B 18 36%HR 16 23%RBIs 164 35%SB 54 38%
Freshman Record Book: As far as freshmen Wildcats are concerned, first-year starter Brad Boyer is posting numbers that rival some of the best in school history. Boyer already owns four freshman records at UA and is on pace to break several more in Arizona's NCAA postseason run:
Stat Freshman Record Boyer's Numbers/RankRuns Brad Boyer (2003) - 69 69/1stHits Keoni DeRenne (1999) - 81 80/2ndDoubles Brad Boyer (2003) - 16 16/1stTriples Brad Boyer (2003) - 8 8/1stStolen Bases Brad Boyer (2003) - 24 24/1stExtra Base Hits Shelley Duncan (1999) - 33 29/t2ndTotal Bases Shelley Duncan (1999) - 135 127/3rdBatting Average Dave Page (1981) - .374 .345/54thSlugging % Shelley Duncan (1999) - .640 .547/4th
More Freshman Records: Boyer, Trevor Crowe, Derek Decater and Nick Hundley are all on pace to finish in the top 10 for freshmen in batting average ... Decater and Hundley are currently ranked among the top 10 Arizona freshmen in slugging percentage ... Freshman right-hander John Meloan is currently tied for fourth on the first-year saves list with two.
Speed Kills: Arizona has already surpassed 2002's totals in both doubles (122 this season, 89 in 2002) and triples (50 this season, 25 in 2002). Including Jeff Van Houten and Brian Anderson's inside-the park home runs, the Wildcats have 174 hits that have gone for extra bases and are not traditional over the fence homers (122 doubles, 50 triples, two inside-the-park home runs) which accounts for over 26-percent of all of Arizona's hits for the season. Toss in the 69 traditional home runs and 36-percent of UA's hits are for extra bases.
Double Digits: The Wildcats have found success this season when scoring double digit runs. Arizona is 19-4 (.826) when scoring 10 or more runs in a game this season.
Open Up The Record Books: With 99 years of baseball in the history books, it hasn't been easy to match single game records set in Arizona's illustrious past. However, the 2003 team is doing just that. After April 28's record-setting game against Sac State, this year's team has set or equaled a number of records:
2003 Single Game Mark School RecordAt Bats (9 inn. game) 61 - vs. BYU 2/1 61 - vs. New Mexico 5/7/65Hits 32 - vs. BYU 2/1 32 - vs. New Mexico 5/7/65Triples 5 - vs. Wagner 3/14 5 - Seven timesHome Runs 7 - vs. Sac State 4/28 7 - at Wash St. 4/8/01Fewest Left On Base 0 - vs. Sac State 4/28 1 - Three TimesHits (Player) 6 - Richard Mercado vs. BYU 2/1 6 - Five TimesRuns (Player) 6 - Brad Boyer at Sac St. 4/28 6 - Cliff Myrick vs. Colo. 3/19/51Doubles (Player) 3 - Brad Boyer at Sac St. 4/28 3 - 24 Times
Most Grand: In addition to the numerous single game records this season, junior Moises Duran also etched his name in the record books for a career mark. The third-year starter hit his fourth career grand slam at Sac State on April 28 to tie him with 1986 College World Series hero Dave Shermet for the most bases loaded home runs in school history. Duran hit two last season and has one at UC Irvine and Monday's blast this year. Duran's two slams this season ties him with himself and eight others for the second-most grand slams in a single season. Only former Wildcat Jason Thompson, who had three GS in 1993, has hit more in a single year in an Arizona uniform.
Arizona in Non-Conference Action: The Wildcats finished their non-Pac-10 schedule with a 22-10 (.688) record. As a team, Arizona hit .348 in 32 games with 324 runs scored (10.1 runs per game), 289 RBIs, 93 stolen bases, 43 home runs, 83 doubles and 29 triples. Individually, sophomore Jeff Van Houten finished the non-conference slate with a .431 batting average and 47 RBIs, both team-highs. Junior Brian Anderson hit nine of his 13 home runs against non-conference opponents, while freshman Brad Boyer led all Arizona players with 45 runs scored and 16 stolen bases. The Arizona pitching staff tallied a 4.08 ERA away from the Pac-10 with an impressive 256 strikeouts against just 98 walks. Non-conference foes hit just .279 against UA pitchers. Juniors Richie Gardner and Sean Rierson combined to go a perfect 10-0 with a 3.23 ERA. The pair walked just 21 batters in 97 2/3 innings, while striking out 81.
Stringing Them Together: Junior Brian Anderson snapped former Wildcat Ernie Durazo's longest single-season hitting streak in school history on March 21 against USC. The third-year starter hit safely in the first 26 games he played this season to break Durazo's 2-year-old 2001 mark. His streak ended a day later with an 0 for 3 performance, but he then went on to hit safely in Arizona's next 13 games for at least one hit in 39 of the first 40 games he played this year.
Single-Season Hitting Streaks All-Time Hitting Streaks26 Brian Anderson (2003) 28 Jack Daugherty (1981-82)25 Ernie Durazo (2001) 28 Ernie Durazo (2000-01)23 Todd Trafton (1985) 26 Brian Anderson (2003)
Putting Up Zeros: The Wildcat pitching staff already has five shutouts to its credit in 56 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.
Tread Lightly: Arizona's battery of pitchers and catchers have made running on the Wildcats dangerous proposition for their opponents this year. Wildcat pitchers and catchers have caught 36 of 87 would-be base stealers this season for a 41-percent throw out rate. Arizona has also picked off six base runners.
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.
Touchin' 'Em All In Hurry II: Brian Anderson one-upped his outfield teammate Van Houten in Arizona's April 26 game at Stanford. The junior hit a line drive off the wall in left field with the bases loaded at Sunken Diamond for an inside-the-park grand slam, the only one of its kind in school history.
What A Difference A Year Makes: Arizona's 2003 regular season offense surpassed the 2002 team's numbers by a considerable margin. At the end of the regular season a year ago Arizona finished with a .289 batting average with 555 hits, 433 runs scored, 89 doubles, 25 triples, 60 home runs and 380 RBIs. This year, the Wildcats batted 40 points higher with 122 more hits, 84 more runs scored, 33 more doubles, 25 more triples, 11 more home runs and 86 more RBIs. Individually, Arizona finished with five players batting .300 or better last season, while the Wildcats had a player hitbetter than .400 this regular season and nine at .300 or better.
Final Regular Season 2002 2003Average .289 .329Hits 555 677Runs 430 514Doubles 89 122Triples 25 50Home Runs 60 71RBIs 380 466Slugging Pct. .455 .540Players Batting .300+ 5 9Players Batting .400+ 0 1Stolen Bases 74 of 108 142 of 184
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.
Jeff Van Houten - Pac-10 Player of the Week: Sophomore Jeff Van Houten was 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.
Richie Gardner - Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week: Junior Richie Gardner was named the March 25 Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week. The right-hander went 2-0 in a pair of starts against New Mexico and USC with 17 strike outs and a 1.80 ERA. The week improved Gardner to a team-best 6-0 for the season.
Jeff Van Houten - Pac-10 Player of the Week Part II: Arizona sophomore Jeff Van Houten was named the April 8 Pac-10 Player of the week. The honor was the second of the season for Van Houten and the fifth weekly award for an Arizona player/pitcher this season. Van Houten garnered his second recognition of the year for his 9 for 13-weekend against Miami (Ohio). The second-year starter batted .692 with two triples, his seventh home run of the season, five runs scored and a team-high eight RBIs. He posted a .714 on-base percentage and tallied a 1.231 slugging percentage in helping Arizona win its final non-conference series of the season. In Sunday's 9-4 win he finished 3 for 4 with a career-high-tying six RBIs and needed just a double to hit for the cycle. He was recognized by the Pac-10 previously this season for the week of March 10-17. The Player of the Week honor is 39th all-time for an Arizona player and the second in Van Houten's career. UA's five weekly award winners this season (three pitchers, two players) are the most for a Wildcat team since the 1992 club also had five members (four pitchers, one player) recognized. The 1991 Arizona team tallied a school record eight Player/Pitcher of the Week honorees.
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.
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