UA Baseball Heads to Stanford
April 23, 2009
Arizona (17-19, 3-12 Pac-10) at Stanford (17-16, 7-8 Pac-10)
Palo Alto, Calif. – Sunken Diamond Stadium
Friday, April 24 – 5 p.m.
(Live TV – CBS College Sports – Tom Hart and Kevin Stocker)
Saturday, April 25 – 1 p.m.
Sunday, April 26 – 1 p.m.
All three games will be carried live on 1290 A.M with Brian Jeffries calling the action.
Probable Pitching Matchups
Friday: (UA) RHP Preston Guilmet vs. (Stan) RHP Jordan Pries
Saturday: (UA) RHP Kyle Simon vs. (Stan) LHP Brett Mooneyham
Sunday: (UA) RHP Daniel Workman vs. (Stan) RHP Jeffrey Inman
Some Series Themes: Two proud baseball programs meet in a critical conference series as both look to make a late-season push … Friday’s opener will be televised by CBS College Sports, marking UA’s first televised game of 2009 … Tough-luck Friday night starter Preston Guilmet will face off against Jordan Pries, who will make his first start in the Friday spot … The Cardinal will put its 10-7 home record on the line against a UA squad that picked up just its fourth road win (4-8) on Monday at Gonzaga … The Cats and Cardinal both hope to carry non-conference momentum back into Conference play, as UA snapped a three-game losing streak on Monday and the Cardinal picked up a pair of non-conference mid-week wins.
Series History: The Wildcats and Cardinal have met 158 previous times on the baseball diamond dating back to 1923 .. Stanford owns a 96-62 advantage all-time … Arizona has won each of the regular season series dating back to 2003, posting a 12-6 record in the last 18 games.
A Quick Glance at the Cardinal: With a win over Cal on Wednesday, Stanford improved to 17-6 on the season … After playing one of the nation’s most difficult non-conference schedules with series against Vanderbilt, Cal State Fullerton and Texas, the Cardinal have won 13 of its last 20 games … Stanford is hitting .273 as a team while its pitching staff has a 4.72 ERA.
WSU/Gonz Series Recap: Arizona dropped all three games at WSU by a single run, including Sunday’s heartbreaking 8-7 loss in extra innings in which UA held a two-run lead with two outs and two strikes in the ninth inning with no one on base … Arizona received solid starting outings all three days, handing UA the lead late in the game on Friday and Sunday, and tied late into the ballgame on Saturday … Arizona’s bats continued to hit well (.314 in the series), but the Wildcats struggled to mount big scoring innings … Jett Bandy was UA’s top offensive performer, going 6-for-11 in the series with three doubles, a home run and four RBI … After dropping below .400 on Friday night, Dillon Baird raised his batting average back to .411 by the end of Sunday as he finished 5-for-13 with a home run and three runs scored in the series … In Sunday’s game, a season-high 20 UA players entered the game, and the two teams combined to play 43 players, including 15 pitchers … At Gonzaga on Monday, the Wildcats found a way to win a one-run ballgame, using a rotation of six pitchers, including Cory Burns in the ninth, as the senior earned his first save of the season … Jett Bandy and Hunter Pace homered for the Cats.
Dillon is Delivering: Junior first baseman Dillon Baird has turned in exceptional numbers during his second season with the Wildcats. The Prescott, Ariz., native is hitting a team-best .411, is second on the team with 35 runs scored, and leads all Wildcats with 33 RBI. He also leads the club in slugging (.679) and on-base percentage (.500). The left hand hitter, who was the league’s top hitter entering the week, is second tied for the club lead with five home runs and his 19 walks are second most on the team. Additionally, Baird has shown marked improvement defensively, posting a fielding percentage of .986 while committing only four errors on the season – the fewest for any regular infield player on the club.
Growing Up Quickly: The 2008 version of the Arizona Wildcats was loaded with experience. But, the Wildcats saw a school record-tying 11 players drafted last June. All but two players either departed due to graduation or left early to play professional baseball, turning over the program to a handful of hungry programs already in the program, but mostly to a crop of new players. Out of the possible 324 starting lineup positions, 219 starts have come from players in their first or second year in the program. Over half of the team’s at bats have been by first or second year players, while 60 percent of the pitching innings have come from freshman or sophomores. A total of nine players (four position, five pitchers) made their first career starts.
Childs Play: Arizona catcher Dwight Childs is turning in a breakout junior season. Through 36 games, Childs has started in 22, sharing time with classmate Daniel Butler. But Childs has made the most of his time, hitting a career best .338 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 21 RBI already surpassed his 15 from the entire 2008 season. Last month 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.
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 .360 on the season – second on club – and leads the team with 40 runs scored. Ortega, who stole 13 bases in 15 attempts a season ago, is a 13-for-15 in steals this season. Additionally, Ortega, who has spent most of his time hitting in the leadoff spot, also has 24 RBI, which ranks fourth on the team. He is slugging .500 and is reaching base at a .460 clip, thanks in part to his 21 walks and five hit-by-pitches this season. Defensively, Ortega has committed only one error in Pac-10 play and he leads all Pac-10 players with 136 assists.
TGIF? In the typical Friday games against top pitching, Arizona has struggled offensively posting a .264 average in such games compared to the .314 mark overall. However, several Wildcats standout against the top pitching, including Dillon Baird and Bobby Coyle. Baird, UA’s top overall hitter, is hitting .370 on the first game of each weekend series. Coyle, a sophomore outfielder, is hitting .424 in such games and has hit all three of his home runs on Friday nights. Bryce Ortega has also thrived in the games, hitting .303 on Friday’s. No other Wildcats who have played in half of the games is hitting over .300 in the first game of the weekend series.
We’ll Take Two, or Three! Out of Arizona’s 403 hits on the year, 144 have gone for extra bases. UA’s preferred extra base hit on the season seems to be the double, as they have hit a double in every game of the season except the April 14 game against New Mexico. The Wildcats have hit 92 doubles on the season which averages out to 2.63 doubles per game. Entering the week, the per game figure 20 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). Interestingly, Arizona only hit four extra base hits in the entire Oregon State series – all doubles.
Stoffel is No. 1: Jason Stoffel continues to close out games for the Wildcats at a record-breaking clip. In fact, each save he earns the rest of the way in his career will break his own career record for saves. On Feb. 20, Stoffel earned his 19th career save to surpass Mark Melancon as the program’s all-time leader in the category. Now, the Baseball American pre-season first team All-American season stands alone with 25 career saves. In mid April, Stoffel was named a mid-season watch list honoree for the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award
Turning Two: Arizona is turning double plays at a record pace entering this weekend’s series and actually was the top club nationally in turning double plays earlier in the year. A season ago, the Wildcats turned only 47 on the entire season. This season’s tally of 45 (1.39 per game) projects to 75 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 was No. 9 in the nation entering the week, and UA turned three in the two game series against New Mexico.
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 27 of UA’s first 36 games … Burns, who has yet to earn a decision on the season but has one save, has pitched 32.0 innings and struck out 33 batters … At his current pace (appeared in 75 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, who leads all Pac-10 pitchers in appearances this season, has been one of UA’s most reliable relievers in recent years and he is quickly moving up the UA career chart for career appearances … To date, Burns has appeared in 81 career games, which is tied for No. 3 all-time at UA (Top-10 can be found on page 61 of UA media guide). He needs seven 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 42 pitches, which is also good for No. 2 all-time at Arizona. Again, he’ll have a tough time catching the leader, Colt Sedbrook, who was hit by a pitch 55 times in his career. Interestingly, 55 is the all-time mark in the two categories. Lastly, look for Glenn to move into the UA Top 10 for all-time games played later this season. To date, he has played in 199 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 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 24 games to date in center field. Pace, who is hitting .356, is third on the club behind Dillon Baird and Bryce Ortega 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. He added a second homer at Gonzaga on April 20. The speedster has stolen 11-of-15 bases and scored 26 runs.
Stacking Up the Pac: The Wildcats continue to be one of the top offensive teams in the Pac-10 Entering the weekend, UA is near the top of the league in almost every offensive category. Here’s a look at the numbers entering the weekend series:
Category Stat Rank
Batting Ave. .314 1
Slugging % .490 3
On Base % .389 3
Runs Scored 282 2
Hits 403 2
RBI 253 2
Doubles 93 1
Triples 20 1
Homeruns 31 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 seven starts, Guilmet has lasted into the sixth or seventh innings but has only posted a 2-2 record thanks in part to a lack of run support. His ERA has lowered to 3.93 and he has struck out 56 batters in 55.0 innings on the season. Guilmet currently ranks No. 3 in UA history with 382 strikeouts and needs 40 strikeouts to surpass Carl Thomas as the top strikeout pitcher in Wildcat history. He has pitched 380.1 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
3.53 23-16 62 56 6 380.1 381 185 149 116 382
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 36 games this season. In all, 15 different position players have started a game and all 15 have made at least seven starts. Additionally, UA has used 34 different lineups (out of 36 possible), using the same lineup multiple times only twice. That occurred in the Friday and Saturday games against USC and the Thursday and Saturday games against Oregon State. 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 36 games, Arizona has stolen 58 bases, which ranks second in the Pac-10 and trails only Arizona State (59). Bryce Ortega (13-for-15) and Hunter Pace (both 11-for-15) 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 .335 on the season with runners in scoring position, .354 with runners in scoring position and two outs, and is scoring runs at a .645 clip with runners on third and less than two outs, which includes scoring 69 runs in 107 chances. On the season, the Cats have driven in 113 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.
Light Up the Scoreboard: In UA’s first Pac-10 win last month 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.
Head Coach Andy Lopez: Arizona head coach Andy Lopez enters his eighth season as the Wildcats’ skipper with a 269-178-1 record at UA. Now in his 27th season as a collegiate head coach, Lopez has compiled a career record of 956-596-7. 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:
Jason Stoffel (’09 Junior) – Baseball America Preseason First Team All-American; BaseballInsider.com 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; Rivals.com Pre-Season All-Conference
Preston Guilmet (’09 Senior) – Rivals.com 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 return home to host Arizona State in a mid-week, non-conference game on Wednesday, April 29. The Wildcats will then host California May 1-3 at Jerry Kindall Field.