Cats Open Series Against No. 16 OSU

April 9, 2009

No. 16 Oregon State (18-6, 5-1 Pac-10) at Arizona (13-14, 2-7 Pac-10)
Tucson, Ariz. - Jerry Kindall Field at Frank Sancet Stadium

Thursday, April 9 - 7 p.m.                       Gametracker | Radio - 1290 A.M., 990 A.M.
Friday, April 10 - 6 p.m.                         Gametracker | Radio - 990 A.M.
Saturday, April 11 - Noon                       Gametracker | Radio - 1290 A.M., 990 A.M.

- All home games this weekend can be heard live on the Arizona Wildcats radio network. Brian Jeffries will call the action on KCUB 1290 A.M. on Thursday and Saturday. All three games will also be broadcast in Spanish on KTKT 990 A.M. with Abelardo Oquita calling the action.

Arizona Projected Starting Pitchers
Thursday: RHP Preston Guilmet (2-3, 3.98 ERA)
Friday: RHP Kyle Simon (2-3, 6.68 ERA)
Saturday: RHP Donn Roach (1-3, 7.71 ERA)

Some Series Themes: A rare Thursday-Friday-Saturday series is being played by all Pac-10 teams to avoid an Easter Sunday conflict ... The Beavers are off to their best start in Pac-10 play in several years while the Wildcats are off to one of their worst ... The second-place Beavers travel out of the state of Oregon for the first time in Pac-10 play as they take on the Wildcats, a team looking to bounce back from a tough series loss to USC in Tucson a week ago ... The Pac-10's top hitting team (Arizona, .314) will face the third-best pitching staff (Oregon State, 3.57 ERA) in a park where the Wildcats have outscored opponents 149-119 on the season ... Scoring margin is something the Beavers are used to, outscoring their opponents 190-97 on the season ... Each team is slated to send right-handers to the mound to start each game.

Series History: The Wildcats and Beavers have met 44 previous times on the diamond entering this weekend's series, with UA holding a 26-18 advantage. After winning the series opener in 2008 by a score of 7-0, the Wildcats dropped the final two games in Corvallis by scores of 4-3 and 3-2.

A Quick Glance at the Beavers: The Beavers enter the week ranked as high as No. 16 in Baseball America after sweeping a series in Corvallis at California ... Oregon State's pitching staff is one of the best in the Pac-10, posting a team ERA of 3.57 and limiting opponents to a .230 batting average ... Offensively, Oregon State hits .290 as a team, but has outscored opponents 190-97 on the season ...A pair of run producers - Adalberto Santos (26 RBI) and Stefan Romero (28 RBI) lead the club offensively with batting averages of .352 and .337, respectively ... OSU's starting rotation (Tyler Waldron - Thursday, Greg Peavy - Firday, Jorge Reyes - Saturday) leads a staff that has recorded 100 more strikeouts than walks (192-92), and each of the three starters has pitched over 35 innings to date.

USC Series Recap: The Wildcats stole game one from the Trojans, rallying with five runs over the final two runs as Brad Glenn's two-out, two-run single to left field in the bottom of the ninth gave UA a 7-6 victory ... Arizona tried to play comeback again on Saturday after spotting USC a 10-0 first inning - yes first inning - lead, but eventually UA fell short, losing 15-14 .... The Trojans claimed the series victory with a 7-3 win on Sunday ... Arizona hit .327 in the series, but its pitching staff allowed the Trojans to hit even better -- .327 ... Hunter Pace (5-for-10, 3 runs, 5 RBI) and Dwight Childs (5-for-11, 2 runs, 4 RBI) continued their hot hitting, while Preston Guilmet (6.1 IP, 5 runs, 1 ER, 10 K's) turned in another solid Friday night start ... Defensively, the Wildcats struggled, committing five errors in the series contributing to nine unearned runs for the Trojans over the three games.

Turning Point? A season ago, the Wildcats captured the first game of the series against Oregon State by a score of 7-0 as Preston Guilmet tossed a complete game shutout to go with 10 strikeouts in the game. The outstanding pitching performance by Guilmet helped UA extend its winning streak to 13 games, but the Wildcats suffered back-to-back one-run losses on Saturday and Sunday. This year, the Wildcats hope that the series against Oregon State will start a winning streak and snap a stretch where UA has lost three consecutive series.

Dillon is Delivering: Junior first baseman Dillon Baird has turned in exceptional numbers during the first half of 2009. The Prescott, Ariz., native is hitting a team-best .425, is second on the team with 28 runs scored, and leads all Wildcats with 27 RBI. He also leads the club in slugging (.767) and on-base percentage (.532). Additionally, he is second on the club with four home runs and his 16 walks are tied with Bryce Ortega for the team lead.

More Baird: As impressive as his overall numbers are, junior Dillon Baird has been sensational over the last 11 games. Over the stretch, Baird is hitting .500 (20-for-40) with 17 runs scored and 16 RBI. Of his 20 hits, 13 have gone for extra bases, including seven doubles, three triples and three home runs. His slugging percentage is a staggering 1.050 and he has reached base at a .588 clip. For good measure, he as added eight walks and been hit by two pitches in the last 11 games.

Childs Play: Arizona catcher Dwight Childs is turning in a breakout junior season. Through 27 games, Childs has played and started in 17, sharing time with classmate Daniel Butler. But Childs has made the most of his time, hitting a career best .397 one year removed from his .193 campaign as a sophomore. Childs, who had one career home run through two seasons, already has three in 2009 and his 18 RBI already surpassed his 15 from the entire 2008 season. Two weeks ago at UCLA, he hit a team best .750, reached base at a .846 clip and slugged an incredible 1.625 in three starts behind the plate at UCLA. Childs, in only eight official at bats, tallied six hits, including one double and two home runs. He scored five runs and batted in seven runs to pace the Wildcats. Childs also walked four times and was hit by a pitch once and reached base an amazing 12 consecutive plate appearances.

It is a Nine Inning Game Afterall: It was written here a week ago that Arizona was a perfect 12-0 when leading after six innings and 0-12 when trailing. Well, last Friday, UA completed its first serious comeback win of the season, scoring five runs over the final two innings to steal a victory from USC, 7-6, as Brad Glenn hit a walk-off two-run single to left field with two outs in the ninth inning. The Wildcats are now 1-14 when trailing after six innings and remain 12-0 when leading after six innings.

Round Trippers: Through the first 21 games of the season, Arizona had only hit 16 home runs. But in Los Angeles two weeks ago, the Wildcats launched eight home runs to push their season tally to 24 through 24 games. Three Wildcats hit a pair of homers at Jackie Robinson Stadium, including Dillon Baird, Brad Glenn and Dwight Childs. Shaun Cooper hit his first career home run and Bobby Coyle added his third homer of the season. Arizona added only one homer to its season tally last weekend and now has 25 on the season.

Light Up the Scoreboard: In UA's first Pac-10 win last Saturday at UCLA, the 19 runs scored by the Wildcats were their most in some time. In fact, UA last scored 19 runs back on March 13, 2007 at Hawaii-Hilo in a 19-3 victory. Arizona had not tallied that many runs in a Pac-10 game since a 27-4 rout against Washington State on May 13, 2006. For Pac-10 road games, it was the largest offensive output since a 20-9 victory in Los Angeles on May 8, 2004.

Ortega Gets Offensive: Sophomore shortstop Bryce Ortega has been one of UA's steadiest offensive performers throughout the 2009 season. The Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., native is hitting .356 on the season and leads the team with 30 runs scored. Ortega, who stole 13 bases in 15 attempts a season ago, is a perfect 11-for-11 in steals this season. Additionally, Ortega, who has spent most of his time hitting in either the No. 9 hole or the leadoff spot, also has 19 RBI, which ranks second on the team. He is slugging .525 and is reaching base at a .459 clip, thanks in part to his 16 walks and four hit-by-pitches this season.

TGIF? This weekend's series starts on a Thursday, but each team will still be sending its regular Friday night starter to the mound (UA's Guilmet vs. OSU's Waldron). In the typical Friday games, the Wildcats have struggled offensively on Friday nights as team's normally throw their top pitcher. The Wildcats, who are hitting .314 overall, are hitting just .261 in seven Friday night games this season. However, a few Wildcats stand out as playing well against top pitching, most notably Bobby Coyle. The sophomore outfielder is 13-for-29 (.448) with five runs scored and six RBI against Friday night pitching. In fact, all three of Coyle's homeruns on the season have come in Friday games. Other Wildcats hitting well in first games of weekend series are Matt Presley (4-for-8, .500), Dillon Baird (7-for-19, .368) and Bryce Ortega (7-for-24, .292). Overall, Arizona is 4-3 in the first game of each weekend series this year.

We'll Take Two, or Three! Out of Arizona's 306 hits on the year, 120have gone for extra bases. UA's preferred extra base hit on the season seems to be the double. The Wildcats have hit 76 doubles on the season which averages out to 2.81 doubles per game. The two figures rank No. 7 nationally and lead the Pac-10. But, the Wildcats are also No. 4 nationally with 19 triples on the season. Seven different Wildcats have tripled on the season, with four players tallying three triples (Dillon Baird, Bobby Coyle, Bryce Ortega and Dwight Childs).

Stoffel is No. 1: Jason Stoffel continues to close out games for the Wildcats at a record-breaking clip. In fact, each save he earns the rest of the way in his career will break his own career record for saves. On Feb. 20, Stoffel earned his 19th career save to surpass Mark Melancon as the program's all-time leader in the category. Now, the Baseball American pre-season first team All-American stands alone with 23 career saves.

Hammer Time: Junior closer Jason Stoffel seems to be at his best when the pressure is at its highest. In his career, Stoffel has blown only one save and the righty is 5-for-5 in save opportunities this season. While his overall numbers aren't bad, they are still bit a un-Stoff-like. But looking at those 'pressure' situations when he has come on to save a game, Stoffel has been nearly untouchable. In his five saves, Stoffel has pitched a total of 10.0 innings and boasts an ERA of just 0.90. In those innings, UA's all-time saves leader has allowing just one run on five hits. He has struck out a staggering 20 batters and walked only three.

Turning Two: Arizona is turning double plays at a record pace entering this weekend's series and the Wildcats lead the nation with 36 doubles plays turned. A season ago, the Wildcats turned only 47 on the entire season. This season's tally of 36 (1.33 per game) projects to 73.2 on the season, which would come close to breaking the school record of 81 in a season set by the 1979 club. In fact, the highest total in the Lopez era is the 60 turned by the 2003 team. UA's per-game mark is No. 3 in the nation, while the 36 total double plays is No. 10 in the nation.

Feeling the Burns: Senior RHP Cory Burns has been one of the club's top options out of the bullpen early in 2009, having pitched in 20 of UA's first 27 games ... Burns, who has yet to earn a decision on the season, has pitched 25.1 innings and struck out 33 batters ... At his current pace (appeared in 74 percent of UA's games), he would break the UA record for appearances in a single season, which is currently held by Tod Brown, who pitched in 35 games in 1993 (Top-10 can be found on page 63 of UA media guide) ... Burns has been one of UA's most reliable relievers in recent years and he is quickly moving up the UA career chart for career appearances ... To date, Burns has appeared in 74 career games, which is tied for No. 6 all-time at UA (Top-10 can be found on page 61 of UA media guide). He needs 14 more appearances to tie Ron Sismondo as UA's all-time leader for appearances.

Glenny Moves Up: With his five home runs on the season, senior Brad Glenn has a total of 39 round-trippers in his four seasons at Arizona. That mark is No. 2 all-time at Arizona, trailing only Shelley Duncan, who blasted 55 home runs as a Wildcat. Glenn also has been hit by 40 pitches, which is also good for No. 2 all-time at Arizona. Again, he'll have a tough time catching the leader, Colt Sedbrook, who was hit by a pitch 55 times in his career. Interestingly, 55 is the all-time mark in the two categories. Lastly, look for Glenn to move into the UA Top 10 for all-time games played later this season. To date, he has played in 187 games as a Wildcat and trails Kenny Corley's 201 games played, which ranks No. 10 at Arizona.

Shutting `Em Out: The Arizona pitching staff has combined to throw three shutouts in the last nine games. The Wildcats shutout UMass in the series finale (9-0) and completed bookend shutouts of Michigan last weekend (2-0, 14-0). The 2008 club, which set a school record with 34.2 scoreless innings at one point, threw seven shutouts on the season.

Setting the Pace: One of the pleasant surprises early in 2009 has been the steady play of senior Hunter Pace. The veteran outfielder, who was relegated to a reserve role primarily as a pinch runner early in his career, has started 15 games to date in center field. Pace, who is hitting .419, is second on the club behind Dillon Baird for the top hitting mark on the club and has hit three doubles, a pair of triples and blasted his first career homer - a grand slam - against USC on April 4. The speedster has stolen 8-of-11 bases and scored 15 runs.

Stacking Up the Pac: Despite the struggles at the plate last weekend at ASU, the Wildcats still rank favorably in the Pac-10 in several offensive categories. Entering the weekend, UA is near the top of the league in almost every offensive category. Here's a look at the numbers:

Category          Stat                  Rank
Batting Ave.       .314                  1
Slugging %        .508                  1
On Base %       .386                  3
Runs Scored     223                   2
Hits                  306                   2         
RBI                   198                   2
Doubles            76                     1
Triples               19                     1
Homeruns         25                     6

Taking Form: After a couple of un-Preston-like performance to open 2009, senior RHP Preston Guilmet has begun to take to his old form that has made him one of the top pitchers in Arizona history. In his last fivestarts, Guilmet has lasted into the sixth or seventh innings but has posted a 2-2 record. His ERA has lowered to 3.98 and he has struck out 44 batters in 40.2 innings on the season. Guilmet currently ranks No. 3 in UA history with 370 strikeouts and needs 52 strikeouts to surpass Carl Thomas as the top strikeout pitcher in Wildcat history. He has pitched 366.0 innings in his three seasons plus at UA, and has a chance to become UA's all-time leader in the category (Ed Vosberg, 405.1). He stands at No. 6 in program history in fewest walks per nine innings at 2.46. Additionally, his 23 career wins are five shy of breaking into the Top 10 at UA. Here's a look at Guilmet's career numbers:

ERA         W-L         App.        GS           CG           IP             H              R              ER            BB           SO
3.52         23-16       60            54            6              366.0       366          176          143          110          370

Mix and Match: Due to a handful of nagging injuries, head coach Andy Lopez has been forced to shuffle his lineup on nearly a daily basis. In fact, no player has started all 27 games this season. In all, 15 different position players have started a game and all 15 have made at least six starts. Additionally, UA has used 26 different lineups, using the same lineup multiple times only once. That occurred in the Friday and Saturday games against USC as UA used the same lineup in back-to-back games. Otherwise, UA has never had the same lineup more than once. On the mound, Arizona has used 12 different pitchers, with 11 making at least three appearances.

Swipin' Bags: The Wildcats were second in the Pac-10 in stolen bases with 91 in 2008, and this 2009 version may be in line to challenge that mark. Through 24 games, Arizona has stolen 41 bases, which ranks third in the Pac-10. Bryce Ortega (11-for-11) and Hunter Pace (both 8-for-11) lead Arizona in the category, but 13 different players have stolen at least one base.

Hitting in the Clutch: While the season is young, the Wildcats have proven clutch at the plate with runners in scoring position. Arizona is hitting .341on the season with runners in scoring position, .360 with runners in scoring position and two outs, and .628 with runners on third and less than two outs, which includes scoring 54 runs in 86 chances. On the season, the Cats have driven in 86 runners with two outs in an inning.

Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week: Junior Jason Stoffel was named the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week on March 17 following his dominating work out of the bullpen a week earlier against Oklahoma State and Michigan. Against the Wolverines, Stoffel earned a pair of saves, including a three-inning appearance in the Friday game to help UA to a 2-0 victory, and a five-up, five-down via strikeout affair in the Saturday game to give the Cats a 9-7 win. The right hander pitched 6.1 innings in three appearances on the week, allowing no runs on only hit. He struck out 10 batters and walked none. The weekly honor was the first of his career and the 40th all-time for a UA pitcher.

Young, But Talented: A total of 12 players with no prior Arizona experience have already played key roles for the Wildcats this season either as starters or key reserves. Offensively, Steve Selsky and Jett Bandy have found every day roles in the lineup, while newcomers are in the regular pitching rotation. That does not include Matt Chaffee or Joe Allison, each who are in their second year in the program but making their most significant contributions. Ryan Doyle also made his season debut against Oklahoma State, marking his second career appearance.

Flying Under the Radar: Since Andy Lopez took over the Arizona baseball program the Wildcats have made a return to the national scene. After disappearing nationally nearly all together from 1994-2001, Arizona has made five postseason appearances (2003-05, 2007-08) in the last six seasons, has played for four regional championships (2004-05, 2007-08) - winning two of them (2004 and 2008), won a super regional title (2004), and made its 15th trip to Omaha (2004). Impressive feats on that very basic level, but when you factor in that UA still hasn't hosted a postseason game at home since 1992, the simple fact that Lopez and Wildcats have been able to achieve so much on the road makes it just that more impressive.

Head Coach Andy Lopez: Arizona head coach Andy Lopez enters his eighth season as the Wildcats' skipper with a 265-173-1 record at UA. Now in his 27th season as a collegiate head coach, Lopez has compiled a career record of 952-591-7. Last season, Lopez notched his 900th career victory against Sacramento State and guided the Wildcats to consecutive 40+ win seasons -- a feat the UA program had not accomplished since 1985-86.

24 No More: With the addition of Oregon to mix of Pacific-10 baseball, the Conference season has been extended to a 27-game schedule from its previous 24-game slate. All league teams will play each other three times during the season. Like football, the home-away split will be unbalanced with nine opponents, meaning half the league will have five conference home series, while the other half will only play four at home.

Early Recognition: Several Wildcats have received some notable pre-season media attention and are on watch lists for some of the nation's top honors. Here is the list:

Pre-Season Honors

Jason Stoffel ('09 Junior) - Baseball America Preseason First Team All-American; Pre-Season Second Team All-American; Louisville Slugger Pre-Season All-American (Third Team), Preseason NCBWA All-American (Third Team), 2009 Brooks Wallace Player of the Year Watch List; Pre-Season All-Conference

Preston Guilmet ('09 Senior) - Preseason Top 10 Returning Senior, 2009 Brooks Wallace Player of the Year Watch List

Bryce Ortega ('09 Sophomore) - 2009 Brooks Wallace Player of the Year Watch List

On Deck: Arizona will wrap up an eight-game home stand with two mid-week games against New Mexico on April14-15. Each game is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Jerrry Kindall Field. The Wildcats will then travel to the Pacific Northwest to take on Washington State on April 17-19 and a single game at Gonzaga on April 20.

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