Arizona Baseball Notes - At Texas
March 4, 2003
Notes From the Texas A&M Series: The Wildcats took two of three from the visiting Aggies and had a chance to sweep the series minus a disastrous eight-run ninth inning in Saturday's 11-8 loss ... As a team the Wildcats hit .339 (39 for 115) to A&M's .294 (.30 for 102) and out scored the Aggies 36 to 12 for the series ... Friday: In Friday's 11-0 shutout win, junior Sean Rierson needed just 69 pitches to work seven innings of six-hit ball. Senior Brian Pemble worked the final two innings without giving up a hit and striking out three ... The 11-0 Arizona victory was the worst shutout loss for Texas A&M since an 11-0 defeat to Houston in the 1970 season ... Freshman Brad Boyer finished the Friday game 3 for 5 with two runs scored ... Brian Anderson and Moises Duran made sure the race for the team lead for home runs remained close as each belted a fence crasher in the game ... Saturday: Saturday's game was all Arizona until two outs remained for the Aggies ... Trailing 8-3 with one out in the top ninth inning, A&M strung together five consecutive hits, followed by two walks, followed by two more hits for an eight-run inning off of the Arizona bullpen ... Starter Joe Little settled down after giving up three runs in the first to innings to blank the Aggie offense over the next 3 2/3 innings, he did not figure in the decision ... Sophomore John Hardy hit his first home run of the season in the loss ... Brian Anderson finished the game 3 for 5 with two RBIs and a run scored ... The loss snapped Arizona's season-high four-game winning streak ... Sunday: Arizona rebounded from the loss with a decisive 17-1 win in the series finale on Sunday ... Redshirt freshman Kevin Guyette made his first career start in the win. The right-hander gave up just one run on eight hits in 6 2/3 innings for his first collegiate victory. Chris Frey and Wes Zlotoff closed out the win with a combined hitless 2 1/3 innings out of the bullpen ... Freshman Nick Hundley hit a three-run, bases loaded double en route to a 2 for 4, 4 RBI day at the plate ... Brian Anderson hit his team-leading fifth home run of the season to extend his hitting streak to 16 straight games in his final at-bat of the game ... Brad Boyer lead all players with a 4 for 6, three run day at the plate ... Arizona pulled to within one win in the all-time series with the two victories. A&M now leads Arizona all-time 22-21-1.
Polling Place: Arizona's series win over Texas A&M impressed the voters at Collegiate Baseball enough to earn Arizona its first ranking of the season. The Wildcats enter the publication's 2003 top 30 poll in the No. 21 slot. Arizona had a short stay in Collegiate Baseball's poll last season at No. 26 after an 11-2 start to year. However, the Wildcats went to Texas A&M that week and were swept by Aggies to drop them out of the poll. Arizona's upcoming opponent Texas is ranked 11th in the Collegiate Baseball poll and ninth in both Baseball America's rankings and the Sports Weekly/USA Today Coaches poll.
Putting Up Zeros: The Wildcat pitching staff already has three shutouts to its credit in just 16 games played this season. The 2003 tally has already surpassed the season totals for the past five years and is the most for an Arizona staff since the 1997 club shutout five opponents during the season. In Arizona's shutout wins this season, the Wildcats have limited their opponents to under four hits per game and a combined .124 batting average.
Still Streaking: Pat Reilly's carry-over hitting streak from last season lives on at 21-straight after the sophomore collected at least one hit in each of the three games he played against Texas A&M. Not only did he get one hit in each game of the series, but the left-hander led Arizona with a .500 batting average (6 for 12). He tallied three doubles, a triple, two RBIs and four runs scored against the Aggies. Reilly hit successfully in each of Arizona's final six games last season and has at least one hit in all 15 of the games he has played in 2003. The feat is even more impressive when considering that he had just one at bat as a defensive replacement in the Feb. 15 game against UC Irvine and still managed to extend the streak. The school record for consecutive games with a hit is 28, shared by Jack Daugherty (1981-82) and Ernie Durzao (2000-01). Classmate Richard Mercado also carried over a three-game hitting streak which now stands at 13 in a row after getting a hit in all 10 games he has played this season.
It Must Be Contagious: In addition to Reilly and Mercado's carry over streaks, junior Brian Anderson has collected at least one hit in all 16 games he has played in this season, while freshman Nick Hundley has at least one hit in all 11 games that he has played this year. All total Arizona has six players that have had hitting streaks of 10 games or more this season, four of which are active heading into the weekend.
Current Wildcat Hitting StreaksPat Reilly 21 Games (15 in 2003, 6 in 2002)Brian Anderson 16 GamesRichard Mercado 13 Games (10 in 2003, 3 in 2002)Nick Hundley 11 Games
Throwing Strikes: After a rough first two starts this season, junior Sean Rierson appears to have regained the normal command of his pitches. In his last three starts (all wins) the right-hander has not surrendered a walk to the opposition, a string of 22 innings pitched. In two of those three starts he has tossed a complete game, 2-hitter (2/15 at UC Irvine) and also combined with a reliever on a six-hit shutout (3/1 vs. Texas A&M). He has given up just four earned runs and struck out ten during the walk-less streak.
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 11 of 22 would-be base stealers this season for a 50 percent throw out rate. Arizona has also picked off four base runners.
Grand Larceny: On the opposite side of the stolen base issue, Arizona has been pretty successful in thievery on the base paths. The Wildcats have stolen 41 bases in 51 attempts this season for an 80 percent success rate. At this point last season, Arizona had just 27 stolen bases in 41 attempts (66 percent success rate)
What A Difference A Year Makes: Through 16 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 .259 with 133 hits, 125 runs scored, 26 doubles, seven triples, 17 home runs and 105 RBIs. This year the Wildcats are batting .349 with 220 hits, 165 runs scored, 49 doubles, 15 triples, 21 home runs and 142 RBIs. Individually, Arizona had just four players batting .300 or better through the first 16 games last season, while the Wildcats have five players hitting better than .400 this season.
2002 vs. 2003 Offensive Numbers (Through 16 games) 2002 2003Average .259 .349Hits 133 220Runs 125 165Doubles 26 49Triples 7 15Home Runs 17 21RBIs 105 142Slugging Pct. .437 .574Players Batting .300+ 4 9Players Batting .400+ 1 5Stolen Bases 27 of 41 41 of 51
Getting Offensive: The Wildcat offense has posted some impressive numbers through the first 16 games of the season. The team has a .574 slugging percentage, a .396 on-base percentage and is averaging over 10 runs, 13 hits and eight RBIs per game this season.
Taking Pictures: X-rays taken on starter Richie Gardner's right foot revealed that the right-hander has a stress fracture in his pivot foot. Although the cause of the injury is not known, the healing process has begun already and it is hoped that Arizona's leader in wins this season will miss just one start (Texas A&M). It is believed that Gardner made two starts with the injury. In those two games, Gardner went 2-0 with a 1.46 ERA in 12 1/3 innings. He struck out 10 hitters and gave up just two runs.
Lucky Seven: Already 16 games deep in the 2003 season, the seventh inning remains to be not so kind to Arizona's opponents. All total, UA has not given up a single run in the seventh inning, while the Wildcats have scored 36 times. The majority of the credit for the season-long seventh inning shutout goes to the Arizona pitching staff. The Wildcat hurlers have held their opponents to a .115 batting average in the inning (6 for 52), struck out 10 batters and allowed just two base runners get as far as third base. Arizona's pitchers and defense have recorded six three-up-three-down innings in the seventh this year. See page five of the notes for the inning-by-inning breakdown on Arizona's scoring.
Up Coming: Arizona wraps up its pseudo Big 12 schedule this week with a three-game series at Texas this Friday-Sunday ... Arizona has already taken on Texas' conference foes Baylor, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M and is a combined 4-3 in those games ... The defending national champions return home to Austin after going 1-2 at the Kia Bash in Fullerton, Calif., and are 13-5 overall for the season ... UT dropped games to UCLA and Fullerton before defeating Tulane to close out the event ... Texas returns six starters, 10 pitchers and 18 letterwinners from last season's 57-15 national championship team ... As a team UT is batting .320 18 games into the season. The Horns have out scored their opponents 149-90 and are 40 for 47 in stolen bases ... Leading the way offensively for the Longhorns this season individually is junior infielder Tim Moss. After establishing school records in both at bats (302) and hits (112) in 2002, Moss is off to a fast start in 2003 with a team-high .403 batting average and 25 runs scored ... On the mound UT has a team ERA of 3.20 with 120 strike outs against 46 walks ... USC transfer J.P. Howell has a 2-0 record and a 1.48 ERA in 24 1/3 innings to lead UT's starters ... Head coach Augie Garrido is in his seventh season as the skipper of the Longhorns and his 35th season overall as a collegiate head coach ... Heading into this weekend's play Garrido has tallied a 240-147-1 record in Austin. He, along with Arizona skipper Andy Lopez, are two of just eight coaches all-time to lead two or more schools to the College World Series ... Garrido and Lopez are also just two of seven active Division I head coaches with a national title to their credit.
Probable Pitching Rotation vs. TexasFri. - RHP Sean Rierson (3-0, 4.66 ERA) vs. Danny Muegge (3-1, 5.49 ERA)Sat. - LHP Joe Little (3-2, 4.40 ERA) vs. Sam LeCure (2-0, 2.40 ERA)Sun. - RHP Kevin Guyette (1-0, 0.77 ERA) vs. TBA
Arizona vs. Texas All-Time: Arizona and Texas have a baseball history that dates back to 1950. The Cats and Horns have played 26 times over the past the 52 years with UT holding a 16-10 advantage all-time. Surprisingly, Arizona and Texas have played just one regular season series against each other prior to this weekend (four games in 1979), with the other 22 games having taken place in the postseason (three at the CWS, 19 in regional play). Arizona and UT last met up in the 1986 NCAA Regional in Austin where Arizona defeated Texas 9-3 en route to Omaha and eventually the national title. Arizona is 6-9 all-time in Austin.
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.
Holding 'Em Down: UC Irvine's one run scored in three games was the fewest allowed by an Arizona team in a three-game series since the 1997 team shutout California for three straight games April 4-6. The 1997 squad gave up just 14 hits to the Golden Bears, while the 2003 team surrendered just 13 to UCI in three games. The 1997 series against Cal was the last time Arizona posted back-to-back shutouts as well.
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.
Going Yard The First Time Out: Nick Hundley placed himself in some good company in his first game as an Arizona Wildcat. Hundley hit a home run in his first official at bat in the Cardinal and Navy on Jan. 30 against BYU, making him the first player to do so since former All-American Shelley Duncan did the same in his freshman season in 1999.
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.
Waving Them In: Of the 15 players that had at least one plate appearance in the three-game series with BYU (Jan. 30 -Feb. 1), 14 of them scored at least one run. A total of 12 of those players scored at least two runs and of which seven players came around to touch home five or more times ... Almost same thing happened in Arizona's series against Texas A&M Feb. 1 - March 2. Of the 12 players that had at least one plate appearance, 10 of them scored at least once with eight scoring two or more runs and of which six scored four or more times in the series.
Record Tying Afternoon: Arizona's 32-3 win against BYU on Feb. 1 tied a number of aged records at UA. The Wildcats sent 61 hitters to the plate and rapped out 32 hits in the win. Both marks tied school records for a nine inning game set 38 years ago (5/7/65) against New Mexico.
Starting Spots To Be Tough To Come By: It appears coach Lopez will face a 'good' problem this season. A couple of different spots in the lineup will be hotly contested this year, with playing time coming as the big reward. Freshman Nick Hundley and sophomore Richard Mercado both made a strong claim to the starting catcher role. Hundley has made 11 starts behind the dish this season and has hit .386 with a home run, seven doubles and 10 RBIs. Mercado, who started eight games as catcher and DH, is currently fifth on the team in average (.400) and has nine RBIs and 12 runs scored. The outfield situation also appears to be up for grabs. Freshman Derek Decater, who is limited to the DH role early on due to off season shoulder surgery, has played in nine games, making eight starts. The first-year Wildcat is batting .361 with six RBIs and nine runs scored. Joining Decater in the mix is sophomore Jeff Van Houten. The second-year starter is taking full advantage of Decater's rehab with a .422 average, 21 RBIs and 18 runs scored in 16 games. Starting center fielder Brian Anderson is hitting .368 with 19 runs and 15 RBIs, while freshman Trevor Crowe is batting .423 with eight RBIs and 11 runs scored in his first 14 games.
Game In Nogales, Ariz.: The Arizona baseball team will host New Mexico for one game in Nogales, Ariz., this season. 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.
Head Coach Andy Lopez: Andy Lopez, now in his second season at Arizona, has posted a career 729-447-6 (.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)
Surpassing 2002 Early On: Arizona's opening series provided the Wildcats an opportunity to surpass a number of single game highs from last season. In just three games, the Wildcats either equaled or went by the game highs of last season in team runs in an inning, runs scored, team hits, team RBIs, individual at bats, individual hits, individual doubles, individual triples, stolen bases and total bases for a single game. (All the single game marks can be found on page five of the notes)
Single Game Highs - 2002 vs. 2003 2002 2003Team Runs (inning) 10 10Team Runs scored 23 32Team Hits 17 32Team RBIs 20 25Extra Base Hits 8 8Individual Runs 4 5Individual Hits 5 6Individual Doubles 2 2Individual Triples 2 2Individual Stolen Bases 3 3Individual Total Bases 9 11
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.