Cats Return to Pac-10 vs. Washington
May 15, 2009
Washington (24-25, 12-9 Pac-10) @ Arizona (25-23, 8-13 Pac-10)
Tucson, Ariz. – Jerry Kindall Field
Saturday, May 9 – 7 p.m. (Radio – 1290 A.M. / Spanish – 990 A.M.)
Sunday, May 10 – 6 p.m. (Radio – 1290 A.M. / Spanish – 990 A.M.)
Monday, May 11 – Noon (Radio – 1290 A.M. / Spanish – 990 A.M.)
Arizona Probable Starting Pitchers:
Some Series Themes: Two of the hottest teams in the Pac-10 square off in a critical series as both make a late-season push for a possible postseason bid … The Wildcats have won five of their last six Pac-10 games, while the Huskies have won eight of their last nine … Arizona’s offensive prowess will be tested against a UW squad that has allowed five runs or fewer in 13 of the last 18 games … While UA has the upper hand in overall offensive numbers, the Huskies have blasted 59 homers on the season compared to UA’s total of 36 … The two programs have quite contrasting roster makeups, with every UW player having graduated from the state of Washington and UA having just 12 players from the state of Arizona.
Series History: The Wildcats and Huskies have met 33 previous times on the diamond, with the Wildcats holding an 18-15 record in the series that dates back to 1992. The programs met last season in Seattle, with UW taking two of three in the series.
A Glance at the Huskies: Don’t let the 24-25 record fool you. This is a good Washington team that is playing its best baseball of the season. The Huskies are tied for fourth place in the Pac-10 and have won 14 of their last 20 games … The Huskies climb up the Pac-10 standings is undoubtedly thanks to much-improved pitching in recent weeks. UW boasts a 4.64 team ERA, but the staff has limited opponents to five runs or fewer in 13 of the last 18 games … As a team, UW hits .267 on the season, but has struggled more so in Pac-10, hitting at a .241 average … UW ranks third in the Pac-10 with 59 home runs on the season, but the pitching staff has yielded 40 home runs – also third most in the league … Offensively, Kyle Conley leads the Huskies with a .321 average, 17 home runs and 49 RBI … The weekend rotation has only one announced starter – Jason Erickson (4-4, 4.91) – as head coach Ken Knutson, who is in his 17th season, and his staff will take a one-game-at-a-time approach this weekend in regards to the staff.
LMU Series Recap: Thanks to Brad Glenn’s walk-off sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth last Monday, Arizona completed a second consecutive weekend series sweep … The Wildcats dominated the Lions in nearly all phases of the game during the three-game series … Arizona hit .358 as a team and outscored LMU 28-13 … Arizona rapped out a total of 18 extra base hits, including 13 doubles, four triples and a home run in the series … The UA pitching staff turned in a 4.00 staff ERA on the weekend, and issued just six total walks compared to 19 strikeouts … Defensively, Arizona committed just one error … Dillon Baird continued his hot hitting, batting .615 (8-for-13) in the series with five doubles, a triple and five RBI … Preston Guilmet earned a third consecutive victory on Saturday, accomplishing the back-to-back-to-back feat for the first time since his sophomore season.
Senior Salute: Prior to Saturday’s game, Arizona will honor its four seniors – Cory Burns, Brad Glenn, Preston Guilmet and Hunter Pace. Each enters his final home Pac-10 series with just a single non-conference home game against ASU to play after this weekend.
Dillon is Delivering: Junior first baseman Dillon Baird has turned in exceptional numbers during his second season with the Wildcats. The Prescott, Ariz., native is hitting a team-best .433, is second on the team with 45 runs scored, and leads all Wildcats with 46 RBI. He also leads the club in slugging (.701) and on-base percentage (.508). His batting average leads the Pac-10, while his slugging and on-base percentages each check in at No. 2, respectively. The left hand hitter is second on club with five home runs and his 20 walks are second most on the team. Additionally, Baird has shown marked improvement defensively, posting a fielding percentage of .985 while committing only six errors on the season – the fewest for any regular infield player on the club. He currently has a 15-game hitting streak, which is the team’s longest in 2009.
Baird in Pac-10 Perspective: Not only is Dillon Baird batting a league-best .433 on the season, he holds a commanding lead over the Pac-10’s next best hitter, ASU’s Jason Kipnis, who is hitting .391. If Baird went hitless in his next 17 at-bats, he would still have a better average than Kipnis, at .392. Considering Pac-10 games only, Baird is hitting an unbelievable .470, which is 65 points better than OSU’s Ryan Ortiz, who is batting .405 in conference games. Additionally, Baird currently stands in some highly prestigious territory in Pac-10 history. Only 61 players have ever hit .400 or better in Pac-10 history. If Baird’s .433 average could hold up, it would be the eighth-best single season mark ever in the Pac-10 and the best for a Wildcat player in the Pac-10 era. Previously, Jeff Van Houten’s .413 season in 2003 stands as the best for an Arizona player. The last UA player to hit .400 in a season was Trevor Crowe, who hit .403 in 2005.
2 x 20: Jett Bandy leads all Pac-10 players with 20 doubles on the season, but teammate Dillon Baird is nipping at his heels with 19 two-baggers of his own. Baird’s next double will give him 20 for the season, which would mark the first time two UA players each hit 20 doubles in the same season since Trevor Crowe (25) and Jeff Van Houten (23) did so in 2005.
Selsky Steppin’ Up: Freshman Steve Selsky was one of UA’s top hitters during his first month of Division I baseball. In early March, his average was as high as .382 after nine games. But, his early season success fizzled out and he saw his average drop to .243 by April 10. Since, Selsky has been Arizona’s top hitter, batting .415 in his last 17 games with 14 runs scored and a trio of home runs. He has collected 22 hits in his last 53 at bats, which has raised his average over 70 points to its current .317. Selsky is not only known for his offensive skills, as he has displayed a strong throwing arm in the outfield as evidenced by his four assists on the season.
Jett Re-Fueled: Earlier this season, Bandy approached the .300 mark when he hit .296 on March 11. Two weeks later, Bandy bottomed out at .243 on March 27. Now one of UA’s hottest hitters of late, Bandy is hitting .389 (21-for-54) in the games game he has played dating back to the Washington State series (April 17-19). Of his 21 base hits, 10 have been doubles, which has boosted his season total to 20 – a figure that leads all players in the Pac-10. Bandy has also ripped two home runs in his current hot streak, in which he had a career-best 12-game hitting streak. He has scored 10 runs and racked up 13 RBI, while slugging .685 and reaching base at a .500 clip in the stretch.
One More To Go For Burns: Cory Burns needs just one more appearance to surpass Tod Brown (1993) for the most pitching appearances in a single season. Currently, Burns has tied Brown with 35 appearances this season. Interestingly, teammate Jason Stoffel is in line to surpass the 16-year old mark, as the junior closer has tossed in 34 games.
Ace in the Pen: In 19 appearances dating back to the UCLA series (March 27-29), Cory Burns has been phenomenal in relief for the Cats. Burns boasts a team-best 1.16 ERA in the span, which includes allowing just three earned runs in 23.1 innings pitched. Opposing hitters have collected just 16 hits in the span, but more impressive, have only tallied four extra base hits. Burns has picked up two wins and a save in his last nine games, and has lowered his season ERA to 3.40. He had a stretch of 13 consecutive scoreless innings snapped last weekend, and has allowed only 8-of-26 inherited runners to score on the season.
Gotta Get Guys On Base: One can look at all sorts of statistics and breakdowns to try and explain wins and losses. One can also oversimplify things and say the team that scores the most runs will win. For UA baseball in 2009, there is a pleasant middle ground: just get guys on base. Interestingly, Arizona has left more runners on base in games that it has won (202) than it has when it has lost (167). In UA’s 25 wins, the Wildcats have reached base at a .440 clip compared to just .334 in its 23 losses. Looking further, the Wildcats have walked 92 times in the wins, while drawing just 63 walks in the losses. One could point to leadoff hitters as being a key to setting the tone each inning. In UA’s wins, leadoff hitters have reached base at a .466 pace, while in the losses that average is just .318. Lastly, in the wins, UA hitters have just 136 strikeouts compared 198 strikeouts in the losses, which shows that putting the ball in play and getting on base increases the chances of scoring runs.
Childs Play: Arizona catcher Dwight Childs is turning in a breakout junior season. Through 48 games, Childs has started in 30, sharing time with classmate Daniel Butler. But Childs has made the most of his time, hitting a career best .321 one year removed from his .193 campaign as a sophomore. Childs, who had one career home run through two seasons, already has three in 2009 and his 28 RBI surpassed his 15 from the entire 2008 season and are a new career high. In March at UCLA, he hit a team best .750, reached base at a .846 clip and slugged an incredible 1.625 in three starts behind the plate at UCLA. Childs, in only eight official at bats, tallied six hits, including one double and two home runs. He scored five runs and batted in seven runs to pace the Wildcats. Childs also walked four times and was hit by a pitch once and reached base an amazing 12 consecutive plate appearances.
We’ll Take Two, or Three! Out of Arizona’s 547 hits on the year, 192 have gone for extra bases. UA’s preferred extra base hit on the season seems to be the double, as they have hit a double in every game of the season except the April 14 game against New Mexico. The Wildcats have hit 125 doubles on the season which averages out to 2.57 doubles per game. Entering the week, the per game figure ranked No. 15 in the nation. UA also has laced 30 triples on the season, which ranks No. 3 in the nation. Eight different Wildcats have tripled on the season, with four players tallying at least three triples (Dillon Baird, Bobby Coyle, Bryce Ortega and Dwight Childs). Bobby Coyle has a team-high seven triples, which is the most for a Wildcat since Jon Gaston’s eight in 2007. Coyle’s tally also ranks tops in the Pac-10 and 9th in the nation.
Slowly But Surely: The Arizona pitching staff if slowly but surely making a turnaround after a rough first half of the season. Pitching has certainly been a season long limitation for the Wildcats, but if the last nine Pac-10 games are any indication, the staff has been making significant strides. In its last nine Pac-10 games, the UA pitching staff has posted a 3.86 team ERA, much improved from its overall 5.58 ERA on the season. Opposing hitters are hitting just .261 in those games, again, much improved from the .298 season average. The Wildcats are 5-4 in the last nine Pac-10 games, including wins in five of the last six.
Stoffel is No. 1: Jason Stoffel continues to close out games for the Wildcats at a record-breaking clip. In fact, each save he earns the rest of the way in his career will break his own career record for saves. On Feb. 20, Stoffel earned his 19th career save to surpass Mark Melancon as the program’s all-time leader in the category. Now, the Baseball American pre-season first team All-American season stands alone with 26 career saves. In mid April, Stoffel was named a mid-season watch list honoree for the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award. The junior is also competing with teammate Cory Burns for most appearances on the season (currently 30), as both are within reach of breaking the school record for appearances in a season. With 92 career appearances, Stoffel now holds the UA record for most appearances in Wildcat history.
Feeling the Burns: Senior RHP Cory Burns has been one of the club’s top options out of the bullpen in 2009, having pitched in 35 of UA’s first 48 games. Burns, who has a 2-0 record and one save, has pitched 42.1 innings and struck out 46 batters. He has tied Tod Brown (1993) with 35 appearances on the season for the most single season appearances in UA history. Burns, who leads all Pac-10 pitchers in appearances this season, has been one of UA’s most reliable relievers in recent years and he is quickly moving up the UA career chart for career appearances. To date, Burns has appeared in 89 career games, which is No. 3 all-time at UA (Top-10 can be found on page 61 of UA media guide). The mark surpasses Ron Sismondo as UA’s No. 2 all-time pitcher for appearances. Sismondo previously held the career mark before it was broken by Jason Stoffel this season.
Turning Two: Arizona is turning double plays at a remarkable pace entering this week and actually was the top club nationally in turning double plays earlier in the year. A season ago, the Wildcats turned only 47 on the entire season. This season’s tally of 57 (1.23 per game) projects to nearly 70 on the season, which would fall short of breaking the school record of 81 in a season set by the 1979 club. But, the highest total in the Lopez era is the 60 turned by the 2003 team. UA’s per-game mark was No. 11 in the nation entering the week.
Glenny Hits No. 40: With his six home runs on the season, senior Brad Glenn has a total of 40 round-trippers in his four seasons at Arizona. That mark is No. 2 all-time at Arizona, trailing only Shelley Duncan, who blasted 55 home runs as a Wildcat. Glenn also has been hit by 42 pitches, which is also good for No. 2 all-time at Arizona. Again, he’ll have a tough time catching the leader, Colt Sedbrook, who was hit by a pitch 55 times in his career. Interestingly, 55 is the all-time mark in the two categories. Lastly, look for Glenn to move into the UA Top 10 for all-time games played later this season. To date, he has played in 202 games as a Wildcat, which ranks ninth in UA history.
Stacking Up the Pac: The Wildcats continue to be one of the top offensive teams in the Pac-10 Entering the weekend, UA is near the top of the league in almost every offensive category. Here’s a look at the numbers entering the weekend series:
Category Stat Rank
Batting Ave. .320 1
Slugging % .492 2
On Base % .392 2
Runs Scored 371 2
Hits 547 1
RBI 338 2
Doubles 125 1
Triples 31 1
Homeruns 36 7
Mix and Match: Due to a handful of nagging injuries, head coach Andy Lopez has been forced to shuffle his lineup on nearly a daily basis. In fact, no player has started all 48 games this season. In all, 15 different position players have started a game and all 15 have made at least seven starts. Additionally, UA has used 41 different lineups (out of 48 possible), using the same lineup multiple times on seven occasions. On the mound, Arizona has used 12 different pitchers, with 11 making at least three appearances.
Swipin’ Bags: The Wildcats were second in the Pac-10 in stolen bases with 91 in 2008, and this 2009 version may be in line to challenge that mark. Through 48 games, Arizona has stolen 68 bases, which ranks second in the Pac-10 and trails only Arizona State (85). Bryce Ortega (16-for-18) and Hunter Pace (both 13-for-18) lead Arizona in the category, but 13 different players have stolen at least one base.
Hitting in the Clutch: The Wildcats have proven clutch at the plate with runners in scoring position in 2009. Arizona is hitting .333 on the season with runners in scoring position, .337 with runners in scoring position and two outs, and is scoring runs at a .629 clip with runners on third and less than two outs, which includes scoring 105 runs in 167 chances. On the season, the Cats have driven in 139 runners with two outs in an inning.
Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week: Preston Guilmet was named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week last week after leading the Wildcats to an 11-1 victory at Stanford. A right hander, Guilmet picked up his first road win of the season and pushed his overall record to 3-4 on the season and lowered his ERA to 3.63. Ranked No. 4 in Pac-10 history and No. 3 at Arizona for career strikeouts (385), Guilmet fanned only three Cardinal hitters last Friday, but turned in season lows for hits (5) and runs allowed (1). The native of Citrus Heights, Calif., stifled Cardinal hitters all evening long, preventing any chance of a Stanford rally as opposing hitters were 0-for-7 on the night with runners on base. The weekly award is the sixth-all-time for Guilmet, who was honored as the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year in 2007 when he boasted a 12-2 record and a 1.87 ERA. He was recognized four times in his sensational sophomore season and once a year ago as a junior. Earlier this season, junior Jason Stoffel was tabbed Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week on March 17 after tallying a pair of saves in three dominating performances against Oklahoma State and Michigan. All-time, Arizona pitchers have been tabbed 42 times for the weekly award.
Coyle Named Pac-10 Player of the Week: Bobby Coyle was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week after he turned in a sensational weekend at the plate as he helped the Wildcats to a three game sweep of visiting California May 1-3. In three games as UA’s designated hitter, Coyle combined to hit 6-for-13, including a triple in each game of the series, scored two runs and drove in a team-high nine RBI. Coyle was critical to the Wildcats’ success all weekend long, delivering clutch hits with runners on base. In fact, he was 5-for-7 with runners in scoring position and 2-for-2 with the bases loaded (both hits were triples). Additionally, Coyle was 3-for-4 batting with two outs in an inning and he drove in four two-out RBI. His three triples on the weekend increased his season total to six, which currently leads all Pac-10 players and is the most for a Wildcat since 2007.It is the first weekly honor for Coyle and the 51st player of the week all-time for Arizona.
On Deck: Arizona will step aside from Pac-10 play for the final time during the regular season to host Arizona State on Wednesday, May 20. First pitch is set to begin at 7 p.m. at Jerry Kindall Field.