Arizona Baseball Notes - Super Regional at Long Beach State
June 8, 2004
Up Next: NCAA Tournament Super Regional
Opponent: Long Beach State
National Rankings: 6th CB, 13th BA
Times: Fri. - 7 pm, Sat. - 4 pm, Sun. - 3 or 6 pm (If Necessary)
Site: Blair Field, Long Beach, Calif.
Radio: KNST 790 AM - Brian Jefferies on P-B-P
Television: All the Super Regional games will be televised on ESPN, ESPN or ESPN College Gameplan. Please consult your local listings or call your cable/satellite provider
Live Stats: www.ncaasports.com
General Postseason Notes
Postseason Odds and Ends
- Arizona has never played in a Super Regional before.
- The Wildcats are batting .280 as a team in the first three games and have hit five home runs.
- Jordan Brown has extended his hitting streak from the regular to seven straight games with at least one base knock in three postseason games.
- Richard Mercado and Jason Donald are the only two other Arizona players to have at least one hit in all three postseason games.
- Nine of the 10 Arizona players that have at least one plate appearance in the postseason have collected at least one hit. Junior John Hardy is the lone Wildcat still looking for a base knock.
- Arizona is a perfect 5 for 5 in stolen bases in three games.
- The pitching staff has recorded a 3.33 ERA and opponents are batting just .235 against them.
- Arizona opponents have committed eight total errors in three games and are fielding at a .923 clip.
Arizona In Postseason Play
The Arizona baseball program has a long and storied history in the NCAA postseason. The Wildcats have appeared in the postseason 31 times, including this year, and are 83-60 (.580) all-time in the playoffs. The 31 total postseason appearances are second in the Pac-10 only to 12-time national champion USC's 39. Arizona has won 15 district/regional titles (1954, 1955, 1956, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1963, 1966, 1970, 1976, 1979, 1980, 1985, 1986, 2004), three national titles (1976, 1980, 1986) and finished CWS runner up three other times (1956, 1959, 1963). Heading into the postseason this year, UA is eighth all-time in CWS appearances (14), seventh in CWS wins (32), eighth in CWS games played (57) and tied for sixth in titles (3).
Arizona In The 2004 Postseason
The Wildcats spent the final five weeks of the regular season just trying to qualify for the postseason. The final, must-win, 15-game stretch was more than worth it as UA swept its way to the South Bend Regional title over the weekend to advance to its first-ever super regional appearance. The Wildcats avenged a regular season series loss to UC Irvine with a 7-3 win over the Anteaters in the opening game of the regional on Friday, defeated No. 4-seed Kent State 7-4 in the winner's bracket game on Saturday and completed the sweep with a tough 7-6 win over host school Notre Dame in the final on Sunday.
Arizona vs. the Tournament Field
Arizona faced 10 of the 64 teams that advanced to the 2004 postseason and went 11-18-1 against them. Arizona won series over Stanford (2-1), UNLV (2-0) and Cal State Fullerton (2-1), dropped season series to Arizona State (1-4), UC Irvine (0-2-1), Washington (0-3) and Long Beach State (0-3), split six games with UCLA (3-3), won a single game over TCU and dropped a neutral site game to Notre Dame.
It's Been A While
The Wildcats' championship in South Bend over the weekend marked the first time since 1986 that UA has emerged as the winning team in regional play. The super regional round of play that this season's team qualified for had yet to be instituted then, and the '86 Cats went on to win their third national championship in 11 years at the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.
Super Regionals New To All
The NCAA expanded the baseball postseason field to 64 teams in 1999 and added the Super Regional round of play before the college World Series. Prior to this season, the Wildcats had qualified for the NCAAs twice since then ('99, 2003), but never advanced out of the regional round. Even the heavily postseason-experienced Arizona coaching staff of Andy Lopez, Steve Kling and Mark Wasikowski have never participated in a Super Regional, as the last time any of the coaches won a regional title was in 1998 at Florida, the year prior to the addition of the Super Regional round of the tournament.
In order to advance to the College World Series, a team needs to win two games out of three in the Super Regional. Arizona played 16 three-game series against one team in the regular season and won at least two games in 11 of them. If you toss in a three-game weekend at the Round Rock Classic (March 11-13, 2-1) and the South Bend Regional last weekend (June 4-6, 3-0), Arizona has won 13 of its 18 three-game weekends this season.
Three-Game Series Wins Three-Game Series LossesFeb. 6-8 - UC Riverside, 3-0 Feb. 20-22 - UC Irvine, 0-2-1Feb. 13-15 - Cal State Fullerton, 2-1 Mar. 18-20 - at Long Beach State, 0-3Feb. 27-28 - at Baylor, 2-1 Apr. 8-10 - UCLA, 1-2Mar. 6-7 - Sac State, 2-1 Apr. 23-25 - at Washington, 0-3Mar. 26-28 - Washington State, 2-1 May 21-23 - Arizona State, 1-2Apr. 2-4 - at Oregon State, 2-1Apr. 16-18 - UT Pan Am, 3-0Apr.30-May 2 - at California, 2-1May 7-9 - at UCLA, 2-1May 15-17 - Stanford, 2-1May 28-30 - at USC, 2-1*Mar. 11-13 - Round Rock College Classic, 2-1 (wins over TCU and Penn State, loss to Notre Dame)*June 4-6 - NCAA South Bend Regional, 3-0 (wins over UC Irvine, Kent State, Notre Dame)
Six Weeks Of Super Regionals
The pressure of coming through in the clutch, where every hit, pitch and catch matters, comes with the territory during Super Regional play. For the Wildcats that kind of win or go home postseason mentality has been a part of their lives for the better part of a month. After getting swept in a three-game series at Washington in Seattle on April 23-25, the Wildcats were teetering at 21-18-1 overall and in danger of failing to make the postseason. The final five weeks of the regular season therefore became a must-win situation and a Super Regional-like atmosphere every time UA took the field. The resilient Wildcats responded to the call to qualify for the NCAAs with a 9-6 stretch-run record that saw them win four of their five regular season series to put them on the roll they needed to sweep their way through the South Bend Regional last weekend.
Then There Was One
A strong strength of schedule and presumably lofty RPI allowed the Wildcats to become the first Pac-10 team since the league merged in 1999 to earn a postseason berth with a .500 league record. The 12-12 and fifth-place Wildcats joined conference champion Stanford, nationally-seeded Arizona State, Washington and UCLA as the five schools that moved on to play in the postseason. It seems strange now that the one team from the conference that almost didn't make the postseason is the only one left. The Pac-10 was dealt a blow when No. 5 seed Stanford dropped in the Palo Alto Regional to Arizona's upcoming foe Long Beach State, Arizona State, the No. 7 national seed, fell on Saturday to Cal State Fullerton and both Washington and UCLA were defeated in the regional finals in Oxford, Miss., and Oklahoma City, respectively. Therefore it is up to the Wildcats to extend a string of seven-straight years with at least one Pac-10 school reaching Omaha and the College World Series.
The Pac-10 In Omaha2003 Stanford2002 Stanford2001 Stanford, USC2000 Stanford1999 Stanford1998 USC (National Champions), Arizona State1997 Stanford, UCLA1996 None
The Revenge Factor
Twice already in the postseason the Wildcats have met up with schools that defeated them in the regular season. Long Beach State, which swept Arizona at Blair Field on March 18-20, will make a third. In the opening round of the South Bend Regional, Arizona ended a three-game winless skid against UC Irvine. The Anteaters defeated the Wildcats 3-1 and 6-5 in Tucson on Feb. 20-21 and had to catch a flight before the third game could be completed with it ending in a 8-8 tie in 10 innings on Feb. 22. The Wildcats also exacted revenge against host school Notre Dame in the regional final on Sunday. The Fight Irish defeated Arizona 4-2 on March 12 in Round Rock, Texas, at the Round Rock College Classic before falling to UA 7-6 to advance the Wildcats on to face Long Beach State. The win on Sunday also snapped a two-game losing streak to the Irish, as Notre Dame also beat Arizona 13-5 in the opening round of the 2003 NCAA tournament in the Fullerton Regional on May 31.
Regular Season PostseasonFeb. 20 UC Irvine 3, Arizona 1 June 4 Arizona 7, UC Irvine 3Feb. 21 UC Irvine 6, Arizona 5Feb. 22 UC Irvine 8, Arizona 8
Mar. 12 Notre Dame 4, Arizona 2 June 6 Arizona 7, Notre Dame 6
Lopez One of Three
Arizona head coach Andy Lopez is one of just three coaches in the Super Regionals with a national title on his resume. The Wildcat head man joins Texas' Augie Garrido (Cal State Fullerton 1979, 1984, 1995; Texas 2002) and Miami's Jim Morris (1999, 2001), as the only three head coaches left in this year's field to have won it all in Omaha.
An Exclusive Neighborhood
Arizona's Andy Lopez, one of just eight coaches to have taken two different schools to the College World Series, will attempt to join an exclusive club in taking a third different team to Omaha. In the history of college baseball only Oklahoma's Larry Cochelle (Oral Roberts, 1978; Cal State Fullerton 1988, '90; Oklahoma 1992, '94, '95) and Mississippi State's Ron Polk (Georgia Southern, 1973; Mississippi State, 1979, '81, '85, '90; Georgia, 2001) have taken three different schools to the final eight in Nebraska. Lopez won a national title in 1992 while at Pepperdine, led the Florida Gators to a pair of College World Series appearances in 1996 and 1998 and is just two wins away from taking Arizona to its 15th all-time appearance in Omaha.
Making An Impact
All though freshmen SS Jason Donald and RHP Mark Melancon, junior RHP Koley Kolberg, sophomore RHP Kevin Guyette and senior RHP Scott Burns are all making their first career postseason appearances this season, all five have contributed to the Wildcats' success thus far. Donald scored the game-winning run against Kent State and hit a two-run homer against Notre Dame, while Kolberg (UC Irvine) and Melancon (KSU) each won a game on the mound and Burns (UCI) and Kolberg (Notre Dame) each picked up a save. Guyette pitched very well against KSU, but did not earn a decision.
In the field and at the plate, Arizona returns 12 players, including eight starters, who gained postseason experience last season. On the mound the Wildcats are a little greener, with just two pitchers that saw a limited amount of time on the mound in the Fullerton Regional last season.
Long Beach State Notes
Long Beach State, The First Time Around
Arizona took on Long Beach in a three-game series at Blair Field from March 18-20 ... The 49ers swept the Wildcats by scores of 4-0, 10-2 and 4-2 ... The series came in the middle of a stretch that saw Arizona lose five of seven games to fall to 12-11-1 for the year ... Arizona entered the series on a poor stretch of play that saw them go 6-6-1 in the previous 13 games while averaging just 4.9 runs and 4.4 RBI per game ... The Wildcats offensive woes continued in the series against LBSU, as UA hit just .224 with only four runs scored and three RBI in the three games ... Arizona posted just 22 hits (7.3 per game), of which only three went for extra bases.
LBSU on One Hand, UA on the Other
Long Beach State is in the midst of a nine-game winning streak over the Wildcats dating back to the 2001 season. Despite that, Arizona still holds a one-game lead, 17-16, in the all-time series dating back to 1961.
Arizona And Long Beach State In the Postseason
In addition to having played 31 regular season games against each other, Arizona and Long Beach are no strangers in the postseason either. LBSU defeated one of the most talented Arizona teams in school history twice in 1989 in Tucson to take the regional title en route to its national championship in Omaha.
Arizona-Long Beach State Common Opponents
In addition to having faced each other this season, the Wildcats and 49ers have played eight common opponents this year and have recorded very similar results.
Opponent Arizona Long Beach StateBaylor 2-1 3-0California 2-1 2-1Cal State Fullerton 2-1 2-4Stanford 2-1 2-0UC Irvine 1-2-1 3-2UCLA 3-3 2-1UC Riverside 3-0 2-1USC 2-1 2-1Totals 17-10-1 18-10
Arizona vs. The Big West Conference
Including the three-game series against Long Beach State on March 18-20, Arizona played the top four schools from the Big West Conference this season, and thus far has gone 6-6-1 against them. The Wildcats began the year with three consecutive three-games series against schools from the conference that LBSU calls home and went 5-3-1 in them. Arizona opened the season with a series sweep over 2004 Big West third-place finisher UC Riverside on Feb. 6-8, took two of three from the Big West regular season champion and super regional host Cal State Fullerton the next weekend and wrapped up the three-weeks of Big West play by dropping a pair games and tying fourth-place UC Irvine. The three-game sweep by the Big West regular season runner up 49ers on March 18-20 dropped the Wildcats to 5-6-1 for the year against Big West schools, but, as noted above, the Wildcats defeated the Anteaters in their opening game of the 2004 NCAA Tournament to pull even at 6-6-1.
Arizona vs. The Big WestDate Result ScoreFeb. 6 W Arizona 6, UC Riverside 5 (11 Innings)Feb. 7 W Arizona 9, UC Riverside 8Feb. 8 W Arizona 10, UC Riverside 7Feb. 13 W Arizona 11, Cal State Fullerton 8Feb. 14 W Arizona 10, Cal State Fullerton 6Feb. 15 L Cal State Fullerton 11, Arizona 10Feb. 20 L UC Irvine 3, Arizona 1Feb. 21 L UC Irvine 6, Arizona 5Feb. 22 T Arizona 8, UC Irvine 8 (10 Innings)Mar. 18 L Long Beach State 4, Arizona 0Mar. 19 L Long Beach State 10, Arizona 2Mar. 20 L Long Beach State 4, Arizona 2June 4 W Arizona 7, UC Irvine 3
South Bend Regional Notes
All-South Bend Regional Team
As the saying goes - To the victors go the spoils. Arizona had five members named to the 11-person all-regional team after sweeping its way through the field in South Bend last weekend. Junior right-hander Koley Kolberg was named the regional MVP in a pair of outings. The Coppell, Texas, native finished the regional 1-0 with his second career save, a 2.57 ERA and five strikeouts in seven innings pitched. Joining Kolberg with regional honors were junior DH Richard Mercado (.417, HR, 2 R, 5 RBI), freshman shortstop Jason Donald (.300, HR, 4 R, 3 RBI), sophomore center fielder Derek Decater (.333, HR, 2 R, RBI) and junior right fielder Jeff Van Houten (.364, 3B, 4 R, 3 RBI).
2004 All-South Bend Regional TeamP Koley Kolberg (MVP) ArizonaP Tom Thornton Notre DameC Mark Wagner UC Irvine1B Matt Edwards Notre Dame2B Steve Sollmann Notre Dame3B Matt Sega Kent StateSS Jason Donald ArizonaOF Steve Andres Notre DameOF Derek Decater ArizonaOF Jeff Van Houten ArizonaDH Richard Mercado Arizona
South Bend Regional Recaps
Notre Dame Recap
Moises Duran scored Jeff Van Houten from second base with a one-out single up the middle in the bottom of the seven to hand Arizona back the lead after the Fighting Irish had rallied to tie the game to give Arizona its first regional title since 1986 with a 7-6 win in South Bend. Sophomore John Meloan surrendered four home runs in the game, but struck out nine and kept the Fighting Irish off balance enough to improve to a perfect 9-0 on the year in eight innings of work. After winning the regional opener as the starter against UC Irvine, junior Koley Kolberg entered the game in the ninth the with tying run on first and finished the game for his second career save. The Wildcats battled back from a two-run deficit with four runs in the fourth inning, which was highlighted by a two-run homer by freshman Jason Donald. Richard Mercado and Nick Hundley hit back-to-back homers in the sixth for a 6-3 UA advantage before UND's Cody Rizzo tied the game with a three-run homer in the top of the seventh.
Notes From the Notre Dame Game
For the second straight game Arizona did not record a hit in the first three innings ... Sophomore John Meloan improved to 8-0 in nine starts this season, he also won one game as a reliever ... Meloan's eight innings against the Fighting Irish was his ninth-straight start with six or more innings pitched ... Meloan fell one strikeout short of his career-high of 10 set earlier this year against UT-Pan Am ... Meloan gave up four HRs in the game, but three of them came with the bases empty Freshman ... Jason Donald hit his first home run since April 3, a stretch of 30 games, with his two-run blast in the fourth inning ... Mercado and Hundley's homers in the sixth inning were the second back-to-back homers hit in a game for the Wildcats this season (Jordan Brown and Moises Duran at UCLA, May 8) ...
Kent State Recap
The Wildcats overcame a disastrous four-run seventh inning to advance to its first postseason regional final in 11 years with a 7-4 win over Kent State in the winner's bracket of the South Bend Regional on Saturday. Freshman Jason Donald scored the game-winning run from second with two outs in the bottom of the seventh on a single by teammate Richard Mercado. Donald bounced back to score the winning run after committing a costly error on potential double play ball in the top of the inning that helped lead to three KSU runs. The Wildcats tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth to move on to their first regional championship since 1993. Freshman reliever Mark Melancon picked up the win with 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. UA starter Kevin Guyette did not factor in the decision despite giving up just two earned runs on six hits in 6 1/3 innings.
Notes From The Kent State Game
The game marked the first ever meeting between the two schools ... The win bumped Arizona's nonconference record to 20-12-1 for year ... Arizona improved to 8-2 all-time against teams from the Mid-American Conference with the victory and 3-0 against MAC schools in the postseason (2-0 vs. Eastern Michigan, 1-0 vs. KSU) ... The win was Arizona's fifth in its last six games ... Junior Richard Mercado scored Jason Donald with the game-winning run with his team-best fourth RBI of the postseason ... The Wildcats went hitless over the first 3 1/3 innings against the Golden Flashes, but still managed to put four runners on base ... Pitchers Kevin Guyette and Mark Melancon combined to end Chad Kinyon's 21-game hitting streak. Kinyon finished the game 0 for 4 with a RBI and a run scored ... Melancon improved to 5-4 for the year with 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. The victory was the first for the freshman right-hander since April 3 at Oregon State (Nine appearances) ... Sophomore Trevor Crowe improved to 23 for 24 for the year in stolen base with a pair of swipes against the Golden Flashes on Saturday ... Sophomore Jordan Brown extended hits team-high hitting streak to six straight games.
UC Irvine Recap
The Wildcats opened the 2004 postseason with a 7-3 win over UC Irvine at Eck Stadium in South Bend, Ind. Arizona rapped out 10 hits in the game, including two doubles and two home runs, to snap a three-game winless streak (2 losses, 1 tie) against the Anteaters. The Wildcats scored two runs in the first before UCI tied the game with a pair of scores in the third. Arizona's Derek Decater (2 for 4, HR, RBI, R) snapped the tie in the fourth with a solo home run to right and sophomore classmate Jordan Brown (2 for 5, HR, 2 R, RBI) added another solo shot in the fifth to extend the lead to 4-2. The Wildcats tacked on three runs in the top of the seventh and weathered numerous UCI scoring threats to open the postseason with a victory. Junior Koley Kolberg picked up his team-leading ninth win of the year with six innings of work. He gave up just a pair of runs on six hits while striking out three and walking four. Senior Scott Burns worked the final three innings for his third career save.
Notes From the UC Irvine Game
The win improved Arizona to 6-6-1 against Big West Conference teams ... Derek Decater's home run was his first since April 28, 2003, when he hit a pair of homers at Sacramento State ... Decater entered the game just 1 for his last 21 and was 0 for 16 in Arizona's final six games of the regular season ... Decater, an outstanding defensive outfielder, committed his first error of the season in the third inning and just his third career fielding miscue in 130 chances ( a .977 fielding percentage) ... Brad Boyer's RBI double in the seventh inning was hit first hit since April 16 against UT Pan American. Heading into the pinch-hit at bat he was 0 for his last 17 ... Irvine's Brett Smith defeated the Wildcats earlier this season after limiting the Wildcats to just one run on six hits in a 3-1 victory ... Jordan Brown extended his hitting streak to five-straight games with a 2 for 5-night at the plate ... Brown's solo home run in the fifth was his third in the last two games and his team-leading 11th of the year ... Trevor Crowe and Nick Hundley each saw their four-game hitting streaks come to an end ... Arizona improved to 24-11-1 for the year when recording multiple hits in a game.Overall Notes
General Notes Of Interest:
- Arizona's next victory will the 100th for Andy Lopez at UA.
- Arizona's game on Friday will be the 59th of the year. The most for any Arizona team since 1993 (61).
- Arizona is 15-2 when scoring 10 or more runs in a game
- The Wildcats are averaging 9.1 runs per game in their wins and just 4.5 in their losses
- The average margin of victory for Arizona this season is 4.1 runs, the average margin of defeat is 3.0
- The Wildcats have won over three times more one-run games this season (10) then it did all of last year (3)
- Arizona has posted double-digit hits in 36 of its 58 games and has gone 24-11-1 when doing so
- Junior John Hardy has played in 113 straight games for Arizona, including 53 consecutive starts.
- UA's 13 saves this year are tied for the seventh-most in a single season.
- Koley Kolberg and John Meloan's nine wins this season tie them with last year's team leaders Richie Gardner and Sean Rierson. Ben Diggins in 2000 was the last Arizona pitcher to record double digit wins (10)
- Kevin Guyette tied Scott Erickson for the third-most starts in a season in school history against Kent State on June 5 with 20. His next start will move him into a tie with Joe Magrane on the all-time list, just one away from Gil Heredia's single season record of 22.
- Mark Melancon has made 25 appearances on the mound for the Wildcats this season, the second-most for any freshman in school history (Tony Sulser, 27 in 2001).
- John Meloan is 13-1 all-time on the mound at Arizona.
Oh So Close
Of the 24 games Arizona has lost this season, 14 have been by two or fewer runs. The Wildcats are 10-7 overall in one-run games and are 2-7 in two-run games.
Arizona's Loss Total by Runs1 run 7 Losses2 runs 7 Losses3 runs 0 Losses4 runs 4 Losses5 runs 3 Losses6 runs 1 Loss7 runs 0 Losses8 runs 2 Losses
Out of the Pen
Junior Koley Kolberg has become a fireman for the Wildcats over the past two weeks. The right-hander has worked out a pair of jams where the tying run has been on base late in the game for his first two career saves. In three relief appearances this season, Kolberg has yet to give up a hit or a walk while striking out six of the nine hitters he has faced in 3 1/3 innings.
Limiting the Damage
While the 17 home runs surrendered by Arizona starter John Meloan this season are nothing to brag about, he has limited the damage suffered from them. Of the 17 home runs giving up, 12 of them have come when the bases were empty.
The Wildcats have taking a liking to the number seven:- Arizona won all three games in the South Bend Regional with seven runs (7-3, 7-4, 7-6).- The Wildcats have won five of their last six games and have scored seven runs all five times in victory (All three wins in the regional plus a pair of 7-6 triumphs at USC to close out the regular season).- The Wildcats are 5-1 when scoring seven runs in a game this year.
Freshman Record Book
For the second straight season a Wildcat newcomer is making an assault on the freshman record book at Arizona. Last year Brad Boyer broke five frosh records at Arizona and is being chased by this year's rookie sensation Jason Donald.
Freshman Record BookCategory Donald LeaderGames Played 58 - t4th Dwight Taylor (1979) - 65At Bats 236 - 3rd Damon Mashore (1989) - 250Runs 55 - 4th Brad Boyer (2003) - 71Hits 76 - 4th Brad Boyer (2003) - 83Doubles 11 - t11th Brad Boyer (2003) - 16Home Runs 8 - 3rd Shelley Duncan (1999) - 20RBI 43 - t5th Shelley Duncan (1999) - 68Extra Base Hits 20 - t6th Shelley Duncan (1999) - 33Total Bases 113 - 5th Shelley Duncan (1999) - 135
Driving Them In
Heading into the season, Arizona's offense was thought to be the main driving force that would make the Wildcats go. A number of slow starts by key individuals and a propensity for leaving runners on base and, more importantly, in scoring position caused the Wildcats to be somewhat inconsistent with the bats. The last five series of the regular season and the postseason changed all that. Since UA's three-game trip to Cal on April 30-May 2 the Wildcats have posted very similar offensive numbers in its last 18 game to its first 40, with the exception of three major differences. Arizona is averaging better than two more RBIs and runs per game now then earlier in the year and almost more than a home run more per game.
The Last 17 Games vs. The First 40 Last 18 First 40Record 12-6 21-18-1Avg. .308 .307Runs 155 (8.6) 259 (6.5)Hits 194 (10.8) 427(10.7)2Bs 37 (2.1) 68 (1.7)3Bs 6 (0.3) 25 (0.6)HRs 28 (1.6) 30 (0.8)RBI 145 (8.1) 230 (5.8)Numbers in () are per game averages
Starting It Off
Arizona's Trevor Crowe and Jeff Van Houten, the No. 1 and 2 hitters in the Wildcat order, have been producing runs at a steady rate. Crowe has scored at least one run in 11 of UA's last 14 games, including five with two or more, for a total of 21 runs scored and a very impressive .485 on-base percentage. Meanwhile, Van Houten has crossed home at least once in 16 of Arizona's last 19 contests, including seven games with two or more runs, for a total of 26 during the 19-game span and a .468 on base percentage.
Just Getting It Done
With all the credit due to head coach Andy Lopez, who also serves as the pitching coach, and the hurlers who have gutted it out throughout the season, for the Wildcats to have made it this far into the postseason with the limited number of arms available on the pitching staff is nothing short of impressive. Meaning no disrespect to the current pitchers on the staff who have made it possible for Arizona to advance to its first-ever Super Regional, the Wildcat rotation was shaping up differently just two days before the start of classes last August then the one that will take the mound this weekend. It was in late August that the Cincinnati Reds made a final push and were able to lure 2003 ace Richie Gardner into the professional ranks. Then, just a couple or weeks later, three-year starter Sean Rierson left the team with a season-ending injury with hopes of returning in 2005. The pair of arms lost in that short span of weeks accounted for 18 of UA's 35 wins (51%), 212 of the 519 2/3 innings pitched (41%) and 159 of 413 strikeouts (38 %) in 2003, not to mention a ton of experience. Add in the loss of last year's third starter and senior-to-be Joe Little to the pros and injuries to freshman Donald Veal, an 11th-round draft pick, Tyler Tiedeman and Griffin Phelps, and the Wildcats pitchers that have taken the mound in 2004 can take great pride in all that they have accomplished this year.
Inexperienced ArmsPitcher, Year Notes prior to this season/2004 StatsScott Burns, Sr. 5th-yr Sr, 12 career IP/21 app., 30 IP, 0-1, 3 saves, 25 KsLuis Cortez, So. Texas Transfer, 0 career IP/11 app., 9 starts, 3-3Kevin Guyette, So. 50 2/3 innings pitched/20 starts, 6-6, 106 1/3 IPSean Jarrett, So. Mid-yr JC transfer/7 app., 12 IPKoley Kolberg, Jr. JC Transfer/22 app. 19 starts, 9-6, 2 saves, 132 1/3 IP, 112 KMark Melancon, Fr. Freshman/25 app., 1 start, 5-4, 1 save, 41 KsJohn Meloan, So. 1 career start, 43 1/3 IP/16 app., 9 starts, 9-0, 78.0 IP, 64 KBrad Mills, Fr. Frosh, only walk on to make team from fall try-outs/12 app., 3.00 ERADerek Rodriguez, Jr. 15 1/3 career IP/23 app., 24 2/3 IP, 7 saves
Just a simple glance at Arizona's stats and one will see that there isn't any one player on the roster that has carried the team. The 2004 season has been a total team effort. Each week, each game, each inning a different Wildcat has stepped up and helped the UA advance to the Super Regionals. Just looking back over the final five weeks of the year and the opening round of the NCAAs can show that the team effort has carried the Wildcats.
April 30- May 2 at Cal Jordan Brown - 2 HR, 6 RBI Scott Burns - First Two career savesMay 7-9 at UCLA Jordan Brown - 3 HR 10 RBI John Meloan - CG, 2-hitterMay 16-18 Stanford Richard Mercado - 3-run double in ninth inning in 19-18 win Trevor Crowe - 7 for 12, 9 RBI, 7 R, 3 2B, 2 3B, HRMay 21-23 Arizona St. John Meloan - Series-saving win on the mound despite being illMay 28-30 at USC Nick Hundley - GW HR in the 8th to help Arizona into postseason Koley Kolberg - CG win on Friday, 1st career save on SundayJune 4-6 NCAA Regional Derek Decater - 1st HR in over a year against UCI Richard Mercado - Team-high 5 RBI in three games Koley Kolberg - Win on Friday, save on Sunday Jason Donald - First HR in 30 games on Sun., GW run on Sat.
A Quick Look At Arizona From the Regular Season
The Wildcats entered the postseason with a 30-24-1 overall record and a 12-12 mark in the Pacific-10 Conference ... Arizona finished fifth in the Pac-10 behind Stanford, Washington, UCLA and Arizona State ... Arizona won four of its eight conference three-game series ... The Wildcats went 18-12-1 in nonconference games against a very tough schedule ... UA played 30 of its 55 games in the regular season against teams that advanced to the postseason, including eight against nationally seeded teams ... Arizona faced six nationally ranked schools and went 7-10 against them ... As a team, Arizona batted .309 in the regular season with 102 doubles, 30 triples, 53 home runs, 69 stolen bases and 355 RBI ... On the mound the Wildcats tallied a 5.37 team ERA with 364 strikeouts in 486 1/3 innings pitched ... Individually, Arizona's year at the plate was a team effort. Nine Wildcat regulars hit over .300 in the regular season, 10 finished with two or more home runs, eight finished with 25 or more runs scored and seven had 30 or more RBI ... The Wildcats regularly played a young but seasoned lineup that featured just one senior, three juniors, four sophomores and two freshmen ... On the mound junior Koley Kolberg and sophomore Kevin Guyette held down two of the three starting roles throughout the year, while John Meloan provided a huge boost as the No. 3 starter for the second half of the regular season.
The Wildcats are averaging 7.1 runs, 10.7 hits, 4.4 walks and 1.8 doubles per game this season.
Overall Non Conf. Pac-10 NCAAsGames 58 34 24 3Avg. .308 .303 .314 .280Runs 414 (7.1) 231 (6.8) 183 (7.6) 21(7.0)Hits 621 (10.7) 357 (10.5) 264 (11.0) 28(9.3)2Bs 105 (1.8) 53 (1.6) 52 (2.2) 3 (1.)3Bs 31 (0.5) 21 (0.6) 10 (0.4) 1 (0.3)HRs 58 (1.0) 33 (0.9) 25 (1.1) 5 (1.7)RBI 375 (6.5) 212 (6.2) 163 (6.8) 20(6.7)Stolen bases 74 (1.3) 49 (1.4) 25 (1.1) 5 (1.7)
Numbers in ( ) are per game averages
In The Nick Of Time
Sophomore Nick Hundley has rebounded from a rough first half of the season. After batting just .211 in his first 14 games this year, the second-year starter has gone 33 for 86 (.384) over his last 24 games to improve his season average 120 points (from .211 to its current .331). During the 24-game hot streak, Hundley has driven in 22 runs, hit 10 doubles, a triple, three home runs and has scored 20 times.
Sophomore Trevor Crowe has put together an impressive season to follow up his Freshman All-America year from 2003. The second-year starter is currently tied for the team lead in batting average (.335), second in runs scored (48) and first in triples (7). He also has a team-leading 23 stolen bases this season and has been caught only once. Over the last 13 games, Crowe is batting .415 (22 for 53) with 15 RBI, 19 runs scored, four doubles, three triples, two home runs and seven stolen bases.
Donald Bounces Back
Freshman shortstop Jason Donald has certainly carried more than his fair share of the offensive load for the Wildcats this season, However, after leading the team in home runs, RBI and runs scored through the first 14 games of the year, a midseason slump from March 13-April 14 saw him hit just .206 (14 for 68) to drop him to a season-low average of .290. Since then though, the first-year Wildcat has bounced back nicely over the last 24 games with a .374 average (34 for 91 ) with seven doubles, 16 RBI and 25 runs scored. The latest hot streak has improved his overall batting average from .290 to .322 for the year.
The Wildcats appear to have found their power stroke. Over the course of the last 18 games Arizona is averaging over a home run per contest (28 HR for a 1.6/per game average). Individually, sophomore Jordan Brown (8 HR), senior Moises Duran (4 HR) and sophomores Trevor Crowe and Nick Hundley (3 HR each) have accounted for 18 of the 28 fence busters.
Jordan Brown vs. The State of California
California native Jordan Brown (Vacaville) has hit 10 of his team-high 11 home runs this season against schools that hail from the Golden State. The southpaw slugger has ripped off five homers against UCLA, two against Cal, two at USC and one in the regional against UC Irvine. He has hit multiple homers in a game twice against the Bruins and once against the Trojans.
Mo Muscles Up
It took a while, but senior Moises Duran finally broke into UA's top 10 list for career home runs. The four-year starter came into the season needing just three home runs to break into the exclusive group with 28. He started the year quickly, winning the series opener against UC Riverside with a walk-off solo homer and hitting his second HR of the year in UA's sixth game, but cooled off considerably through the middle part of the year. In fact, it was another 38 games before he finally hit the 28th home run in his career. Part of a five home run barrage at UCLA on May 8th, Duran hit a solo home run in the sixth to join Arizona's all-time power hitters. To prove that it was no fluke he hit two more a day later against the Bruins to vault all the way into a tie for sixth with former Wildcat Robert Woodside with 30. He hit a solo home run against USC on May 29 to move into a tie for fifth all-time with Todd Trafton.
Arizona's All-Time Home Run LeadersRank Player Years HRs1. Shelley Duncan 1999-2001 552. Kenny Corley 1995-98 363. David Shermet 1985-88 344. Les Pearsey 1975-78 335. Todd Trafton 1983-86 31 Moises Duran 2001-04 316. Robert Woodside 1975-78 30
They're Not Cal Ripken, but....
Freshman Jason Donald is the lone Wildcat to start all 58 games this season. The first-year infielder, who has made 54 starts at shortstop and four at third base, has not missed a play in any of Arizona's contests this year. Junior John Hardy has also played in all 58 games, including 52 straight starts, but entered the Feb. 15 game against Cal State Fullerton as a pinch hitter and defensive replacement for his lone non-start appearance of the season.. Hardy currently has the longest streak of consecutive games played at 113-straight. The last time he did not appear in a game was on Feb. 1, 2003 against BYU.
The Kindall Field Comeback
A bases-loaded walk by Stanford closer David O'Hagan to John Hardy in the bottom of the ninth inning on May 16 capped off a win that probably saved Arizona's season. All totaled, Stanford and Arizona combined for 37 runs, 42 hits, eight home runs, 10 doubles and two triples over four hours and 11 minutes, but it was the eye of Hardy that scored the game-winning run. Trailing 15-12 after eight innings, the potent Cardinal offense rose up to retake the lead with six runs on four hits (including a solo home run and a grand slam) to all but put the game away in the top of the ninth at 18-15. The Arizona offense, however, had other ideas. Having already rallied to overcome a three-run deficit earlier in the game and numerous Stanford attempts to regain the advantage, Moises Duran got things started on an improbable comeback with a leadoff double down the right field line off of O'Hagan (5-0 for the year with six saves). Bill Rhinehart was hit by a pitch in the next at bat and Jason Donald followed with a single to center field to load the bases for Richard Mercado. The junior catcher, who entered the at bat 0 for 2 with a pair of walks in the game, drilled O'Hagan's 1-0 offering down the left field line and to the wall for a base-clearing, game-tying three-run double. After speedy pinch runner Terrence Taylor replaced Mercado at second, O'Hagan intentionally walked Chris Frey and gave up a bunt single to Derek Decater to re-load the bases for Hardy. The third-year starter, who had gone 0 for 4 with four strikeouts the night before, battled the Cardinal closer to a full count before taking an ever-so-close pitch for ball four to force Taylor in from third with the winning run. The final ninth inning tally for the Wildcats - seven batters, seven base runners, zero outs, two doubles, two singles, one intentional walk, one hit by pitch and one bases-loaded, game-winning John Hardy walk.
Nick Hundley - June 1 Pac-10 Player of the Week
Sophomore Nick Hundley garnered his first career weekly conference award after leading the Wildcats to a series victory at USC May 28-30. The second-year Wildcat batted .500 (6 for 12) with all six of hits going for extra bases. He finished with four doubles and his first two home runs of the year to post a 1.333 slugging percentage for the weekend. Capping off the impressive series, Hundley hit a game-winning three-run homer in the eighth inning on Sunday to cement Arizona's postseason berth.
Trevor Crowe - May 18 Pac-10 Player of the Week
Sophomore Trevor Crowe was named the May 18 Pac-10 Player of the Week after torching the top-ranked Stanford Cardinal pitching staff for a .583 average (7 for 12) with three doubles, two triples, a home run, nine RBI and seven runs scored in three games. Six of Crowe's seven his against the Cardinal went for extra bases as he finished the series with a very impressive 1.417 slugging percentage. In Sunday's come-from-behind win, Crowe went 4 for 4 with two doubles, two triples, a school Pac-10 record tying five runs scored and three RBI. His run and RBI total accounted for 42 percent of UA's 19 runs in the game.
Jordan Brown - May 11 Pac-10 Player of the Week
Sophomore Jordan Brown was named the May 11 Pac-10 Player of the Week after lighting up the UCLA pitching staff for a .455 average, three home runs, 10 RBI and five runs scored in the three games last week. The left-handed first baseman went 4 for 5 with two HRs and a career-high seven RBI in Saturday's 20-9 win and added his team-leading eighth HR of the season a day later. In six games against UCLA this season Brown went 12 for 25 (.480) with five HRs, 16 RBI, 10 runs scored and 1.125 slugging percentage.
Arizona pitchers are 33-24 with a 5.26 ERA in 513 1/3 innings this season ... UA's starting staff is 25-15 with this year, while the bullpen has tallied a 8-9 record with 13 saves ... Opponents are averaging 9.9 hits per game against Wildcat pitchers ... Arizona relievers have allowed 51 of their 119 inherited runners to come around and score (43%).
Koley Saves Meloan, The Game and The Postseason
Junior Koley Kolberg has spent the year as Arizona's No. 1 starter. He has won a team-high tying eight games and chewed up a Pac-10 high 125 1/3 innings as the main arm on the Arizona starting staff. However it was his second relief performance of the year that quite possibly saved Arizona's postseason hopes. Holding a tenuous 7-6 lead with one out in the eighth inning of Arizona's regular season finale at USC, Kolberg entered the game with the tying run on second and the Trojans' No. 2 and 3 hitters up next. The right-hander got the Blake Sharpe to fly out for the second out in the inning and induced a comebacker from Jeff Clement to end the inning and the USC threat. Clement entered the eighth inning AB 2 for 3 with five RBI in the game. Kolberg retired the side in order in the ninth with a ground out and pair of strikeouts to pick up his first career save. The effort allowed John Meloan to remain undefeated on the year and tie Kolberg for the team lead with eight wins.
Day In, Day Out
Sophomore Kevin Guyette and junior Koley Kolberg have combined to start 39 of Arizona's 58 games this year. Neither pitcher has missed a start during the season to help them work 46 percent of Arizona's innings this season. The pair have combined to amass 2382/3 innings of UA's 513 1/3 innings pitched this season.
Meloan Remains Unbeaten
Since taking over Arizona's No. 3 spot in the weekend rotation on April 10, sophomore John Meloan has been nearly unbeatable. The right-hander has been rejuvenated with a 8-0 record as a starting pitcher this season and has gone six or more innings in all nine starts. He twice helped Arizona avoid conference series sweeps during regular season and has failed to earn a win in just one start (at Washington, April 30).
Meloan's Starting Numbers vs. Bullpen Numbers in 2004Stat Starts Bullpen SeasonGames 9 7 15Record 8-0 1-0 8-0ERA 4.24 9.90 4.89IP 68.0 10.0 70.0H 68 15 76R 37 12 43ER 32 11 38BB 29 8 32K 57 7 55Meloan's Career Starting Numbers (2003 and 2004)11 GS, 9-0, 3.93 ERA, 77.2 IP, 61 H, 40 R, 34 ER, 34 BB, 62 K
Big John's Two-Hitter
It was only a matter of time before the Wildcats got a complete-game victory this season. With four losses in complete games through the first 45 games of the year (see note below), sophomore John Meloan finally broke through with a CG win. The 6-foot-5 right-hander went the distance at UCLA on May 9th and did so in convincing fashion. Meloan struck out six, walked just two on 99 pitches. At one point, he retired 18-straight Bruin batters from the end of the first inning through the first out in the seventh. The only two hits he gave up were solo home runs, but the offense supported him with four homers of it own and nine runs to make the issue a non-factor .
Koley Gets His CG Win
After four attempts, junior Koley Kolberg finally got a complete game win. The unlucky right-hander was 0-3 when going the distance heading into his final start of the regular season at USC. The team-leader in strikeouts recorded just one K over nine innings against the Trojans, but got USC to hit into 20 ground ball outs while stranding six runners in scoring position for the win.
Complete Games - A Losing Proposition For UA?
Prior to John Meloan's complete game victory at UCLA on May 9, Arizona starters Koley Kolberg (UC Irvine, Long Beach St., Washington ) and Kevin Guyette (UCLA) tossed at least one complete game apiece... and lost. While none of the four complete game losses were dominating performances by the two Wildcat arms, all four gave Arizona an opportunity to win. Kolberg and Guyette have an 0-4 record in their complete game efforts, combined for 3.97 ERA, struck out 25, walked just 12 and limited opponents to a .265 batting average when going all nine. The Wildcat offense certainly did not help either's case for a win in the situation. The Arizona bats produced just a .156 average (19 for 122) with one extra base hit and just five runs in support of Kolberg and Guyette in the four games.
Going the Distance
The four complete game losses mark the first time since Shawn Barrington in 1996 that a UA pitcher has worked all nine innings and been saddled with a loss. Barrington was on the losing end of a 4-3 decision at UCLA nine years ago. Former Wildcat Richie Gardner went the distance twice last season without recording a win, but he also did not earn a decision in either contest as both games carried over into extra innings.
Koley's Among The Pac-10 Best
Junior Koley Kolberg ranks among the top pitchers in the Pac-10 in a number of statistical categories. Heading into the week of play as the leader in innings pitched (132.1), the right-hander is third in strikeouts (112), second in games started (19) and tied for seventh in wins (9).
March 2 Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week
Junior right-hander Koley Kolberg was named the Feb. 24-March 2 conference pitcher of the week after limiting Baylor to just one unearned run on three hits in UA's 2-1 victory over the Bears in Waco. Kolberg picked up his first win of the season with eight Ks in seven innings pitched. Earlier in the week, Kolberg entered Arizona's 4-0 loss to Arizona State with one out and the bases loaded in the eighth inning and struck out ASU's No. 3 and 4 hitters to keep the Devils from extending their lead.
May 4 Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week
Fifth year senior Scott Burns was named the conference pitcher of the week on May 4 after his outstanding performance at Cal. The right-hander picked up two saves in five innings of work. Cal collected just one hit (.063 average) while striking out four times against him. In Sunday's series clinching win, Burns entered the game with the bases loaded and the Wildcats clinging to a one-run lead. He got out of the inning with a liner to short to preserve the Arizona advantage. Burns, who entered the 2004 season with just 12 career innings pitched, earned his first two career saves.
Head Coach Andy Lopez
In his third season with the Wildcats, Andy Lopez has already made a huge impact in revitalizing the program. In two-plus seasons he has put together an 99-71-1 (.582) record at UA, led the Wildcats to two straight postseason appearances for the first time since 1992-93 and tallied a pair of top 10 recruiting classes. One of only eight coaches in Division I history to lead two different schools to the College World Series, Lopez is on track to join the select group of skippers to take three clubs to Omaha. Currently only Larry Cochelle (Oral Roberts, Cal State Fullerton, Oklahoma) and Ron Polk (Georgia Southern, Mississippi State, Georgia) can make a claim of that feat.
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