Cats Host Cardinal In Final Home Series
May 21, 2010
Stanford (28-20, 11-10 Pac-10) at Arizona (31-18, 10-11 Pac-10)
Tucson, Ariz. | Jerry Kindall Field at Frank Sancet Stadium
Series Schedule/Probable Starting Pitchers
Some Series Themes: A pivotal late-season conference that will certainly help determine the position in the Pac-10 for each school, but also could factor into the postseason fate of each program … Andy Lopez, who collected his 1,000th career win last Sunday, combines with Stanford’s Mark Marquess for 2,356 coaching wins between the two skippers … The Wildcats look to break out of a late-season funk in which they have won just three of their last nine conference games, while Stanford has just one win in its last six league contests … Arizona hits .330 as a team and has a 4.54 team ERA, while the Cardinal hit .287 as a club and have a 4.85 ERA … On Friday, the Wildcats will send RHP Kurt Heyer (6-2, 282) up against LHP Brett Mooneyham (2-5, 5.24) while RHP Kyle Simon (8-4, 3.68) and RHP Jordan Pries (3-3, 3.53) will duel on Saturday. RHP Daniel Workman (2-2, 7.11) will take the mound on Sunday with no starter announced by the Cardinal … Stanford (58) and Arizona (53) rank No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, in the Pac-10 in double plays turned … The Cats have hit 27-percent of their base hits for extra bases (105 2B, 24 3B, 27 HR out of 577 hits) while the Cardinal have also hit 27-percent of its hits for extra bases (90 2B, 12 3B, 30 HR out of 487 hits) … Arizona wraps up its home schedule of 39 games with this weekend’s three-game set, that will open with senior recognition for Rafael Valenzuela and Grayson Adams prior to Friday’s game.
What’s At Stake? For starters, Stanford and Arizona will jockey for upper-tier position in the Pac-10 standings with the third-place Cardinal holding a one-game advantage over the Wildcats in the league standings … Both teams are fighting for positioning not only in the conference, but perhaps for NCAA regional action as well … The Wildcats have won the season series in each of the past seven seasons dating back to 2003 … UA looks to win a series opener (and a weekend series for that matter) for the first time since sweeping Washington State in Tucson April 16-18 … Ace Kurt Heyer improved to 6-0 on the season at that point, but has gone 0-2 in his last four starts since with an ERA of 4.50 … Kyle Simon (8-4) is tied for No. 5 in the Pac-10 in total wins … Arizona puts its 26-11 record at home on the line against a Stanford club that is 9-11 on the road.
Cats in the Rankings: Arizona appears in two of the five major collegiate polls, but for the second-consecutive week is unranked in the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll. The Wildcats are tabbed No. 24 in the nation by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Top 30 and check in No. 26 in the Collegiate Baseball Top 30.
Andy Lopez Reaches No. 1,000: Arizona head baseball coach Andy Lopez become the 16th active and 46th all-time Division I coach to reach 1,000 career victories as his Wildcat team defeated No. 2 Arizona State 12-4 on May 16 at Kindall Field/Sancet Stadium. Arizona's 31-18 record this season has pushed Lopez's career mark to 1,000-620-7 in 28 seasons as a head coach. UA’s 11-7 victory over New Mexico on March 24 marked win No. 300 in Lopez’s nine seasons in Tucson. He holds a 313-202-1 record as the skipper of the Wildcats.
RPI Facts: Arizona checks in No. 17 in the latest RPI ratings released by the NCAA on Tuesday … The Cats have accumulated a 7-7 tally against Top 25 teams, a 12-10 record against Top 50 teams and a 17-15 mark against the Top 100 to date ... 32 of the Cats’ 49 games (65 percent) to date have been played against Top 100 teams, with only three losses coming to teams outside the Top 100 … UA is an even 5-6 against the RPI Top 11 thus far, winning two of three against No. 1 ASU, dropping two of three against No. 8 UCLA, and winning two of three against No. 10 Cal State Fullerton … Eight of the Pac-10’s schools are in the Top 43, with Washington at No. 55 and USC at No. 63 … No other conference has all of its members in the Top 70, although the SEC has 10 of its 12 programs in the Top 50.
The Home Stretch: The Wildcats opened the season with 25-consecutive games at home; now they will conclude their regular season home schedule this weekend against Stanford (May 21-23). The Cats are an impressive 26-11 at home this season. UA will travel to Corvallis, Ore., to take on Oregon State to finish the season (May 28-30).
Heyer on National POY Watch List: Arizona freshman pitcher Kurt Heyer is one of 25 quarterfinalists for the College Baseball Foundation 2010 Pitcher of the Year Award. Heyer is the only freshman on the list that includes three seniors, 12 juniors and nine sophomores.
Heyer in Perspective: On the season, Heyer boasts a 6-2 record with a 2.83 earned run average in 14 appearances, including 13 starts. He has allowed just 75 hits in 82.2 innings pitched while limiting opposing hitters to a .245 batting average. Perhaps most impressive, Heyer has struck out a UA freshman record 93 batters while issuing just 22 walks on the season. Heyer ranks in the top-10 in the conference in several key pitching categories, including No. 7 in ERA (2.83) and No. 3 in strikeouts (93). Heyer’s freshman season totals already rank highly on the UA freshman single season record lists with two weeks of the regular season remaining. Heyer’s tally of 93 strikeouts ranks as the most ever by UA freshman, surpassing Ben Diggins, who struck out 91 in 1999. His six wins are good enough to tie four other notable freshmen – Ed Vosberg, Joe Magrane, Mark Melancon and Eric Berger – for the sixth-most in a single season, while his 82.2 innings pitched checks in at No. 8. With at least three expected starts remaining for Heyer, he will put several current figures on the line in the coming weeks. His 2.83 ERA currently would be the top freshman mark in UA history, which is held by Vosberg’s 3.46 ERA in 1980. Heyer’s 10.12 strikeouts per nine innings pitched is ahead of Berger’s 10.03 clip in 2005, and the 2.39 walks per nine innings pitched trails Sean Rierson’s 1.88 pace in 2001.
Selsky Powering Up: Sophomore right fielder Steve Selsky has racked up 26 extra base hits in his last 38 games after hitting just two extra base hits in the first 10 games of the season. Not that Selsky was struggling at the plate to begin the season as he was actually hitting an even .400 through 10 contests. Selsky is now hitting .400 on the season and was hitting .420 prior to the USC series entering this month. In the last 38 games, he has collected 14 doubles, six triples and six homers.
More on Steve: Steve Selsky has asserted himself as one of the top offensive players in the Pac-10 through the first half of the 2010 season. In fact, in Pac-10 games only, Selsky is hitting a leagues-best .390. Selsky leads all conference players with 80 hits on the season and his .400 average is tied with ASU’s Zack MacPhee for tops in the league. The right fielder’s on-base percentage of .476 is tops for a UA player and No. 5 in the conference, while his .630 slugging percentage is No. 3 in the Pac and tops on the club. He is No. 2 in triples (6) among all league players. Selsky, who drove in only 21 runs last season, is No. 4 (tied with Joey Rickard) with 46 RBI and is No. 3 in runs scored with 52. In his career, Selsky is hitting .365 with 67 RBI, 88 runs scored, 24 doubles, eight triples and 13 home runs.
Bandy A Bench Award Semifinalist: Arizona sophomore catcher Jett Bandy is one of 16 semifinalists for the 2010 Coleman Company Johnny Bench Award, the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission announced today. Bandy is one of two sophomores in the group that also includes seven juniors and seven seniors. A native of Thousand Oaks, Calif., Bandy has started all 49 games for the Wildcats, including 42 behind the plate. He is hitting .365 on the season with a Pac-10 leading 20 doubles to go with five home runs and 38 RBI. Bandy’s .365 batting average and .457 on base percentage rank No. 8 in the Pac-10, respectively. His 49 runs scored on the season checks in No. 4 in the conference while he has been hit by a pitch a league-leading 18 times. For his career, Bandy has hit .334 in 96 games played. He has scored 73 runs and collected 77 RBI, while blasting 41 doubles and nine home runs. He has been hit by a pitch 32 times, which is the fourth-best ever for a UA player. He has walked 32 additional times and has struck out just 39 times in 353 at bats.
Freshmen Five: Look for Arizona to have five freshmen in its starting lineup this weekend, plus a freshman on the mound to open the series on Friday night. At times, UA’s entire infield in recent weeks has been composed of freshmen with Cole Frenzel’s return from injury and his insertion into the lineup at first base. Robert Refsnyder has seen time at second base and left field at second base, while Alex Mejia and Seth Mejias-Brean anchor the left side of the infield at shortstop and third base, respectively. Meanwhile, Joey Rickard has started 48 of 49 games in centerfield. The group has produced, too, hitting a collective .333 (263-for-789) on the season. They account for over 46-percent of the team’s hits, 45-percent of the team’s RBI and 40-percent of the runs.
Freshmen on the Mound: Five of Arizona’s top eight pitchers are freshmen, including weekend ace Kurt Heyer who has emerged as one of the Pac-10’s best pitchers. The late-inning crew is mostly freshmen as well, with Nick Cunningham, Tyler Hale and Augey Bill working together to finish games. All told, freshmen pitchers have tossed over half of UA’s innings on the season and account for nearly 60 percent of the team’s strikeouts. Impressive considering most of the work has been out of the bullpen, save for Heyer’s starts. As a class, freshmen have a 4.30ERA, which checks in below the team’s 4.54 mark entering this weekend.
50 Hit Club: Alex Mejia surpassed the 50-hit mark for the season weekend. The mark is significant considering four of the previous eight teams have had at least seven players with 50 hits. Most recently, the 2008 club did so, while the 2004 and 2003 clubs each did so. The highest total of players with 50 hits came in 2005, when eight Wildcats did so, including Trevor Crowe, who had 106 base hits – the second-most ever in a single season for a UA player.
Alive With Five: One of those interesting “magic number” statistics that can indicate, to a strong likelihood, the outcome of a game this season for Arizona is the number of runs its opponent scores in a game. In 23 such games, the Wildcats are 21-2 this season when holding an opponent to five or fewer runs in a game this season. The lone blemishes on the record were a 4-3 loss at Berkeley on April 3 and a 4-2 loss to Arizona State on May 17. The statistic is complemented by the fact the Wildcats are 30-5 on the year when scoring five runs or more.
When They Win: The Wildcats are hitting .379 as a team in the 31 games that they have won, while opponents have struggled to hit .251 in such games … UA hitters have 132 strikeouts against 126 walks in those games, while UA pitchers have struck out 244 opponents and walked just 98 hitters in games won … The Wildcats have hit 21 of their 27 home runs in victories … UA is 77-for-101 in stolen base attempts in wins while opponents have just 14 steals in 23 tries … The Wildcats have committed 35 errors in wins, while the opposition has committed 62 … UA has 87 doubles, 17 triples and 21 homers in wins out of 429 total base hits … The Cats hit .404 with runners in scoring position, .340 with two outs and have 99 two-out RBI in victories, while opponents have just 32 two-out RBI and hit .214 with two outs.
When The Other Guys Win: In Arizona’s 18 defeats this season, opponents have hit .317 compared to UA’s .241 clip … UA hitters have struck out 140 times and drawn only 42 walks in those games, while UA pitchers have tallied 132 strike outs and yielded 87 walks …. The Cats have six home runs in the 18 losses … Arizona is 7-for-15 in stolen base attempts in losses, while opponents have swiped 25 bags in 41 attempts … UA has committed 35 errors to opponents’ 17 errors in losses this season … UA has 18 doubles, seven triples and six homers in such games … The Cats hit just .257 with runners in scoring position, .259 with two outs and have only 23 two-RBI, while opponents have 61 two-out RBI and hit .298 in the losses.
New Freshman Mark: Freshman reliever Nick Cunningham has pitched in 31 games this season, which not only leads Arizona but is the most appearances for any Pac-10 pitcher this season. The mark is also a new Arizona freshman record, surpassing Mark Melancon (Yankees), who appeared in 29 games in 2004, the last time the Wildcats went to the College World Series.
The Home Stats: Arizona is 26-11 at home this season and it’s easy to see why: In home games, Arizona has out-scored the opposition 325-209 thanks to a .355 batting average, .424 on base percentage and .495 slugging percentage … 19 of UA’s 27 homers on the season have come at Kindall Field, as have 70 of the team’s 84 stolen bases … UA’s pitching staff has struck out 309 batters against 143 walks … Opposing hitters manage a cumulative .276 batting average and have only 88 extra base hits out of 372 total hits in Tucson … Jett Bandy (.396, 5 HR, 15 2B, 32 RBI) and Steve Selsky (.432, 3 HR, 12 2B, 6 3B, 41 RBI) have enjoyed hitting at home the most, while Robert Refsnyder and Seth Mejias-Brean are both .386 or better respectively at home …. Kurt Heyer has 83 strikeouts in 67.1 IP at home, while issuing just 15 total walks.
Frenzel’s Frenzied Return: After missing nearly two full months of action due to an operation on his right wrist, freshman Cole Frenzel has made 10-consecutive starts. The starts were his first since Feb. 27 against Long Beach State, although he made his initial return a week earlier against UCLA in a pair of pinch hit situations on April 23-24. Since returning from injury, Frenzel is 14-for-38 (.358) at the plate with eight walks and a .478 on base percentage. He is the team’s top hitter since returning from the injury.
Leading Things Off: Freshman Joey Rickard is Arizona’s regular leadoff hitter, appearing at the top of the order in 37 of the team’s 49 games. His success reaching base is a key factor in determining UA’s offensive success in games. In Arizona’s 31 victories, Rickard has reached base at a .457 clip, pacing the Cats’ to a team mark of .455 in those games. In losses, however, Rickard’s OBP drops to .295 while UA’s percentage drops to .307. A slump during the month of April for Rickard coincided with a bit of a drop off for the Wildcats, too. Rickard finished the month of March hitting .398 for the season, but bottomed out at .314 by April 30. He missed his first and only start of the season on May 4 at Arizona State. Since then, he has returned to his early season form. The right-hand hitter who throws left-handed, is hitting 12-for-27 in his last six games as he reached base at a .516 clip. He has scored eight runs, collected 7 RBI and blasted two home runs in the stretch. His batting average has improved to a current .332 mark.
Balance in the Order: Arizona has found offensive production up and down its order throughout the season. Of their seven regular starters in the batting order, the Wildcats have seven players who have scored at least 30 runs and collected 25 RBI. At the top of the order, Joey Rickard has collected a team-high 46 RBI, which is tied for fourth-most in the Pac-10. At the bottom of the order, Alex Mejia has driven in 28 runs while scoring 30. In fact, Mejia is the only regular bat in the lineup hitting below .300, but he has improved that number to .298 in recent weeks. Typically, UA will shuffle its DH and LF spots with Bobby Brown and Bobby Rinard. The two have combined to score 32 runs and collect 32 RBI. With Cole Frenzel in the mix, it’s another bat that can be counted on.
Two-Out Facts: It’s a well-known fact that driving in base runners with two outs can go a long way to helping a team win; at the same time, pitchers stranding opposing base runners is just as important. The Wildcats have found it tough in recent weeks to get out of innings and have been unable to drive home runs with two outs. In fact, in the last 13 games opponents have combined to collect 31 two-out RBI in the nine combined wins over Arizona the last three weeks. In those games, Arizona has collected just six two-out RBI of its own. And in those games, the opposition is hitting .303 with two outs, while the Wildcats have hit just .233. On the season, wins and losses break down in similar fashion. Arizona has a 99-32 advantage in two-out RBI in its 31 wins, while it has surrendered a 61-23 margin to opponents in the 18 losses. Opponents hit just .214 with two outs in games the Wildcats win, but hit at a .298 pace in games the Wildcats lose.
Turning It Up a Notch: Take a look at UA’s season total batting average and you have to scroll down past a few players to find freshman Alex Mejia; but, if you look at Pac-10 games only, Mejia is UA’s second-best hitter by average. On the season, Mejia is batting .298 (53-for-178), but in conference-only games, that clip rises to an impressive .366 (26-for-71), which is No. 7 in the league for such games. Mejia has started all 49 games for the Wildcats at shortstop and is certainly known for his range, quick hands and strong arm. While he does have 14 errors charged against him on the season, several have come on plays that many shortstops wouldn’t even have a play on. Even so, he has dramatically reduced his errors and has committed only one error in the last 16 games. He leads all Pac-10 players with 170 assists on the season.
Refsnyder Rollin’: Freshman Robert Refsnyder is one of four regular freshman starters for the Wildcats and he as quietly put together a sensational rookie season. In fact, Refsnyder has become one of the Pac-10’s top hitter as his .372 batting is No. 5 in the league. Refsnyder, who can play various positions including left field, third base and second base, is second among UA regulars with that .372 batting average to go with 34 runs scored and 39 RBI. His 70 hits are second-most on the club and fourth-most in the conference. Refsnyder has also stolen six bases in nine attempts on the season and has been hit by a pitch nine times, which is tied for third-most on the squad.
Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Arizona players have been hit by a pitch a total of 64 times to date this season. The tally is approaching UA’s top-5 single season mark, all of which have been posted by teams in the 2000s. The top marks are held by the 2006 (96) and 2007 (90) teams that each reached 90 or more HBPs. The 2008 and 2009 teams each were hit 74 times. The next-highest tally is 69 held by the 2002 club. This year, Jett Bandy (18) leads the Wildcats with the most HBPs, while Joey Rickard has been plunked 10 times. Robert Refsnyder and Steve Selsky have each been hit nine times.
‘K’urt Heyer: Entering this week’s action, freshman Kurt Heyer is No. 3 amongst all Pac-10 pitchers with 93 strikeouts. Of his 93 strikeouts, 32 have been looking, which checks in No. 2 in the league. Heyer’s arm has accounted for 93 of UA’s 376 strikeouts as a team (24.7 percent) despite throwing just 18.6 percent of UA’s innings as a team. On the year, Heyer has a 6-2 record in 13 starts with an ERA of 2.83, which is No. 7 in the Pac-10. He has allowed just 22 walks on the season and has a 2.3 walks per nine innings ratio.
Heyer Standards: Arizona freshman pitcher Kurt Heyer set the bar pretty high for himself in his collegiate debut. He was named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week and one of “Louisville Slugger’s” National Player’s of the week as announced by Collegiate Baseball for his effort against Utah Valley. Additionally, CollegeBaseballInsider.com named Heyer as its West Region Pitcher of the Week. In just six innings of work, the 6-foot-2 right hander struck out 13 batters, tying for second-most ever in a single game by a UA freshman pitcher. A native of Huntington Beach, Calif., Heyer struck out 13 of the 22 batters he faced, allowing just one run on three hits and only one walk. Heyer’s performance paced the Wildcat pitching staff to 17 strikeouts, the most for a UA staff in a single game since the Wichita Regional opening game against Oral Roberts in 2007. Heyer’s 13 strikeouts were the most for a UA pitcher in over two seasons, dating back to Preston Guilmet’s masterful 15-strikeout performance against Stanford in 2007. Heyer surpassed the 13-strikeouts with a 14-strikeout performance on April 16 against Washington State.
Simon Says: Arizona sophomore right-hander Kyle Simon has steadied himself after an up-and-down start to the season and turned in the best performance of his career at Washington on April 11. In the game against the Huskies, Simon tossed a complete game as he allowed just one run on three hits. Earlier this year, Simon won his first decision of the year on Feb 21 against Utah Valley in an eight-inning effort in which he allowed just one run and struck out seven. He then struggled in his next two starts and saw his ERA peak at 5.06 following a second-straight loss on March 6 against Cal State Fullerton. Since, Simon has been brilliant, picking up six wins in 10 starts. The recent run of success has pushed his record to 8-4 on the season with a 3.68 ERA. In his last 77.0 innings pitched, Simon has allowed just 39 runs – 28 earned (a 3.27 ERA) – and has 44 strikeouts against 20 walks.
Joltin’ Joey: Freshman centerfielder Joey Rickard has kicked off his collegiate career in impressive fashion. Through 49 games – all but one start – Rickard is hitting .332 with eight doubles, three triples and a team-high seven home runs, including a grand slam against Sacramento State on March 20. The Las Vegas native’s 46 RBI not only ranks tied for the most on the club, but ranks tied for No. 4 for all Pac-10 players. His 68 hits are No. 8 in the Pac-10, as are his 103 total bases. He was named Pac-10 Player of the Week on March 15 following a sensational five-game stretch. In the field, he’s patrolled the spacious Kindall Field outfield like a veteran, serving as a key component in the middle of UA’s defense.
Seth Steps Up: One of UA’s top performers during the first half of the season is freshman third baseman Seth Mejias-Brean. The first-year Wildcat has improved his season batting average from .176 on March 6 all the way to its current .333. Mejias-Brean has also been a steady run-producer during the stretch, collecting 27 RBI over the last 36 games while scoring 25 runs. Included was his first career home run on March 14 against Northern Colorado, a solo shot to center field. The week prior, Mejias-Brean began to break out of his early-season slump as he delivered a clutch game-winning single in the 11th inning of opener of the Cal State Fullerton series on March 5. Two days later, Mejias-Brean drove in three runs in the 10-1 series clincher. For his performance, Mejias-Brean was named to the Primetime Performer Weekly Honor Roll by collegebaseball360.com.
Pac-10 POWs: A pair of freshmen – Joey Rickard and Kurt Heyer (twice) – have been named Pac-10 Player/Pitcher of the Week this season, along with sophomores Jett Bandy and Steve Selsky … Selsky was named Pac-10 Player of the Week on March 29 after hitting 10-for-20 on the week and accounting for 17 total runs to go with two home runs … Bandy was named Pac-10 Player of the Week on March 22 after hitting .600 over a five-game stretch in which the Wildcats improved their winning streak to 11 games … Rickard helped lead the Wildcats to a pair of sweeps last week over Saint Joseph’s (March 10) and Northern Colorado (March 12-24). The 6-foot-1 native of Las Vegas hit .579 for the week, scored six runs and collected nine RBI in five games. Additionally, Rickard reached base five times with a walk and was twice hit by a pitch, yielding a .692 on base percentage, to go with five stolen bases … Heyer, in just six innings of work, struck out 13 batters against Long Beach State on Feb. 25, tying for what was then the second-most ever in a single game by a UA freshman pitcher. A native of Huntington Beach, Calif., Heyer struck out 13 of the 22 batters he faced, allowing just one run on three hits and only one walk … Heyer was again named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week on April 19 after striking out 14 hitters in 8.2 innings against Washington State. The 14 K’s are the second-most ever by a UA freshman.
Top 25 Wins: On the season, the Wildcats are 5-6 against teams ranked in the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll at the time of the game. In 2009, Arizona was just 1-14 against Top 25 teams, including 1-9 against such teams in Tucson.
UA’s 15-Game Winning Streak: Arizona mounted a 15-game winning streak from March 7 – March 27, the sixth-longest winning streak in program history and the seventh-longest home winning streak. Included in the streak were wins over Cal State Fullerton (1), Saint Joseph’s (2), Northern Colorado (3), Wichita State (2), Sacramento State (3), New Mexico (2) and Oregon (2).
Turning Two: The Wildcats have turned 53 double plays (45 on ground balls) on the season which is third-most in the Pac-10. The total double plays ranks No. 24 in the entire nation entering this week and has been a pitcher’s best friend throughout the season. Alex Mejia – one of the prime suspects in the double plays – leads all Pac-10 players with 170 assists on the season.
2,500-Win Club: Arizona’s 8-1 season-opening victory over Utah Valley was the 2,500th win as a program dating back to its first season in 1904. Only six other schools have reached the milestone, including Fordham,Texas, Southern California, Michigan, Stanford, and Arizona State. All-time, Arizona is 2,530-1,342-22.
Young Cats: With only two seniors and 17 freshmen, Arizona is the youngest team in the Pac-10 conference this season. In fact, the Wildcats have 23 underclassmen on their roster, which doesn’t include three junior college transfers to the program. A look around the rosters at other league schools finds that UCLA and California have 15 freshmen apiece. While the Conference is thin on seniors at most every school, only Oregon State has as few seniors as the Wildcats do.
.300 Club: Through 49 games, the Wildcats are hitting .330 as a team, in line with recent UA clubs that have finished the season over .300. In fact, Arizona’s last seven teams have hit .300 or better for the season. The best figures were turned in by the 2003 and 2005 clubs, which each hit .328 respectively. Last year’s ’09 team was next in line with a .314 average. The 2004 College World Series team hit .305 as did the 2006 team. The Wildcat clubs of 2007 (.306) and 2008 (.301) also were above .300.
Unselfish Play: Arizona’s 5-4 victory in 13 innings over UNLV on March 3 included a record-tying performance by the Wildcats. UA executed five different sacrifice bunt plays to move runners up, tying the school single-game record previously establish at California on April 1, 2006. Interestingly, that game also lasted 13 innings. The last of this year’s five sacrifice hits proved to be the game winner as Alex Mejia successfully put a bunt down with a runner a second and an errant throw to first allowed the winning run to come in to score from second. On the season, UA has 37 sacrifice bunts in 49 games.
Finally A Long Ball: Joey Rickard’s two-run homer on May 9 not only tied him for the team lead in home runs at the time, but it snapped a 13-consecutive game drought between homers for the Wildcats, which tied for the longest since 1994. The last time a UA team went 10 or more games without hitting a long ball was in the 1994 season and it happened twice – once for 10 games and another for 13 games. For the 10-game stretch, Chris Cooper homered on March 27 in a 27-4 loss to Stanford. UA’s next home run came on April 22 as Rob Frisbee homered in an 8-3 loss to Stanford (coincidence?). In between were 10 games without a home run. Earlier that season, Ron Tegland hit a home run on Feb. 11 in a 12-9 loss to NMSU. UA’s next home came on March 15 when Menno Wickey and Matt Lake each hit a home run against Sacramento State. Otherwise, 13 games were played in between without a home run. An interesting note to the 2010 home run slump is the fact that Arizona hit seven home runs in the four games immediately prior to the current drought and had hit at least one homer in 13 of the previous 15 games.
Wildcats in the Majors: Earlier this week, former Wildcat shortstop Jason Donald was called up to the major leagues and debuted with the Cleveland Indians. Interestingly, ex-Cat Shelley Duncan was called up two days later by the Indians and both players joined Trevor Crowe, who had been called up by the organization a week earlier. The recent call-ups give Arizona seven former players who have joined a MLB club this season. The others include Mark Melancon (Yankees), Ryan Perry (Tigers), Nick Hundley (Padres) and Trevor Hoffman (Brewers). Last year, Brad Mills (Blue Jays) and Daniel Schlereth (Diamondbacks) made their debuts, and Jon Meloan (A’s) saw time in his third season.
Home Sweet Home: The Arizona Wildcats are in the midst of a 26-game homestand to open the season at Jerry Kindall Field. That’s right, the Cats don’t hit the road until their Pac-10 opener at California on April 1 – and that’s no April Fools’ joke. It’s the longest stretch of home games in over 30 years for Arizona, which has stretches of 11 (2002) and 16 games (1998) to open seasons in recent years. The 1979 club opened its season with 24-straight games, but even that pales in comparison to the school’s longest streak. In 1967, the Wildcats hosted 39 home games before ever going on the road. As it relates to this year’s group, the Wildcats hope to continue success at home. Since the current Jerry Kindall Field at Frank Sancet Stadium opened in 1967, the Wildcats have emerged victorious in 1,074 games overall, having won nearly 70 percent of the games played. UA has posted 39 home winning seasons since 1967 with an average of 25 wins per year at the field. In 1974 the Wildcats were nearly perfect in Tucson, posting a 37-1 home record, and they went 28-4 at home in 2007 to record the best home winning percentage (.875) since 1976.
Hitting in the Pac-10: Here’s a look where Arizona ranks statistically in the Pac-10 in offensive categories (all games) entering this weekend:
Category Stat Pac-10 Rank
Batting Avg. .330 2
Slugging % .464 3
On Base % .405 2
Runs Scored 372 2
Hits 577 2
RBI 331 2
Doubles 105 3
Triples 24 2
HR 27 9
Walks 168 9
Strikeouts 272 10 (fewest)
HPB 64 5
Stolen Bases 84 2
On Deck: Arizona will conclude its 2010 regular season schedule with a three-game road series at Oregon State May 28-30. NCAA Regional sites will be announced on Sunday, May 30, with the NCAA Tournament field being revealed on Monday, May 31. Regionals will be played June 4-7.