Baseball Returns Home To Host LMU

May 8, 2009

Loyola Marymount (29-21) @ Arizona (22-23)
Tucson, Ariz. – Jerry Kindall Field

Saturday, May 9 – 7 p.m. (Radio - 1290 A.M. / Spanish - 990 A.M.)
Sunday, May 10 – 7 p.m. (Radio - 1290 A.M. / Spanish - 990 A.M.)
Monday, May 11 – 6 p.m. (No radio)

Arizona Probable Starting Pitchers:

Saturday – RHP Preston Guilmet
Sunday – RHP Kyle Simon
Monday – RHP Daniel Workman

Some Series Themes: On paper, the two teams are eerily similar in makeup … The Wildcats hold a slight edge in overall batting average (.317-.302), but the Lions cling to an edge in the ERA column (5.41-5.63) … Two of the national leaders in doubles, the Wildcats have tallied one more double (112) than the Lions (111) on the season … Both team’s are also among the nation’s leaders in triples, with UA’s total of 27 ranking No. 4 in the nation, but LMU isn’t far behind with 19 on the season … Interestingly, neither club favors the long ball, with LMU launching 38 homers on the season compared to UA’s 35 … The Wildcats are 16-12 at home while the Lions are just 11-14 away from their home ballpark, Page Stadium … Each team (Arizona’s Bobby Coyle and LMU’s Angelo Songco) has a player representing its respective conference as the most recent player of the week.

Series History: The Wildcats and Lions have met 22 previous times on the diamond, with the Wildcats holding a 14-8 record in the series that dates back to 1974. The programs last met in 2006, when UA took 2-of-3 to open the season in Tucson.

A Glance at the Lions: Loyola Marymount enters this weekend’s series in a tie for first place in the West Coast Conference … The Lions come to town after a week of rest that included no mid-week games on the heels of a three-game sweep of San Diego last weekend … Angelo Songo helped pace the Lions in the sweep, hitting .583 in the series against the Torreos to earn Co-WCC Player of the Week honors … The Lions have been impressive at home (18-7), but have seemingly struggled on the road, posting an 11-14 record away from Page Stadium … The Lions are hitting .302 as a team and have outscored opponents 362-307 on the season … But opposing teams have combined to hit .297 and hit 46 home runs against the LMU pitching staff … The Lions are coached by Jason Gill, who is in his first season as the head coach of the program.

Fullerton Series Recap: Fresh off a weekend sweep of California, the Wildcats were unable to continue the momentum into the mid-week, non-conference series at Cal State Fullerton … The tone of the series was set in the top of the first inning on Tuesday, when UA had a run on the board and the bases loaded with still no outs. But, three consecutive strikeouts ended a the potential for a big inning. Ultimately, Fullerton settled down and was able to hold the upper hand throughout the rest of the series, winning Game 1, 5-2, and Game 2 (8-4) … UA managed just six runs in the two games and hit .224 as a team … In fact, Steve Selsky (3-for-6) and Dillon Baird (3-for-8) were the only Wildcats to hit over .300 … On the mound, Joe Allison suffered the loss in Game 1 and Kyle Simon started Game 2, pitching on a limit of 50 pitches, but also suffered the loss.

Coyle Named Pac-10 Player of the Week: Bobby Coyle has been named the Pac-10 Player of the Week after he turned in a sensational weekend at the plate as he helped the Wildcats to a three game sweep of visiting California, which gave UA back-to-back Pac-10 conference series victories. In three games as UA’s designated hitter, Coyle combined to hit 6-for-13, including a triple in each game of the series, scored two runs and drove in a team-high nine RBI. Coyle was critical to the Wildcats’ success all weekend long, delivering clutch hits with runners on base. In fact, he was 5-for-7 with runners in scoring position and 2-for-2 with the bases loaded (both hits were triples). Additionally, Coyle was 3-for-4 batting with two outs in an inning and he drove in four two-out RBI. His three triples on the weekend increased his season total to six, which currently leads all Pac-10 players and is the most for a Wildcat since 2007.It is the first weekly honor for Coyle and the 51st player of the week all-time for Arizona.

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 .417, is second on the team with 41 runs scored, and leads all Wildcats with 41 RBI. He also leads the club in slugging (.662) and on-base percentage (.494). His batting average leads the Pac-10, while his slugging and on-base percentages check in at No. 4 and No. 2, respectively. The left hand hitter is second on club 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 five errors on the season – the fewest for any regular infield player on the club. He currently has a 12-game hitting streak.

Selsky Steppin’ Up: Freshman Steve Selsky was one of UA’s top hitters during his first month of Division I baseball. In early March, his average was as high as .382 after nine games. But, his early season success fizzled out and he saw his average drop to .243 by April 10. Since, Selsky has been Arizona’s top hitter, batting .488 in his last 14 games with 12 runs scored and a pair of home runs. He has collected 20 hits in his last 41 at bats, which has raised his average 90 points to its current .333. Selsky is not only known for his offensive skills, as he has displayed a strong throwing arm in the outfield as evidenced by his four assists on the season.

Jett Re-Fueled: Earlier this season, Bandy approached the .300 mark when he hit .296 on March 11. Two weeks later, Bandy bottomed out at .243 on March 27. Now, Bandy boasts a .318 batting average entering the Cal series, thanks to a remarkable eight game stretch. Now one of UA’s hottest hitters of late, Bandy is hitting .442 (19-for-43) in the games game he has played dating back to the Washington Stated series (April 17-19). Of his 19 base hits, eight have been doubles, which has boosted his season total to 18 – a figure that leads all players in the Pac-10. Bandy has also ripped two home runs in his current hot streak, in which he has a career-best 12-game hitting streak. He has scored nine runs and racked up 11 RBI, while slugging .767 and reaching base at a .554 clip in the stretch. Like his teammate Baird, Bandy is riding a 12-game hitting streak.

Ace in the Pen: In 17 appearances dating back to the UCLA series (March 27-29), Cory Burns has been phenomenal in relief for the Cats. Burns boasts a team-best 0.84 ERA in the span, which includes allowing just two earned runs in 21.1 innings pitched. Opposing hitters have collected just 14 hits in the span, but more impressive, have only tallied two extra base hits. Burns has picked up two wins and a save in his last seven games, and has lowered his season ERA to 3.35. He has a current stretch of 12 consecutive scoreless innings, and has allowed only 7-of-25 inherited runners to score on the season.

Streaking: A number of Wildcats are currently in the midst of solid hitting streaks. Jett Bandy and Dillon Baird each have respective 12-game hitting streaks, while Steve Selsky is next in line with a 9-game hitting streak. Earlier this season, Brad Glenn had a team-high 13-game hitting streak.

Gotta Get Guys On Base: One can look at all sorts of statistics and breakdowns to try and explain wins and losses. One can also oversimplify things and say the team that scores the most runs will win. For UA baseball in 2009, there is a pleasant middle ground: just get guys on base. Interestingly, Arizona has left more runners on base in games that it has won (180) than it has when it has lost (167). In UA’s 22 wins, the Wildcats have reached base at a .445 clip compared to just .334 in its 23 losses. Looking further, the Wildcats have walked 87 times in the wins, while drawing just 63 walks in the losses. One could point to leadoff hitters as being a key to setting the tone each inning. In UA’s wins, leadoff hitters have reached base at a .441 pace, while in the losses that average is just .318. Lastly, in the wins, UA hitters have just 113 strikeouts compared 198 strikeouts in the losses, which shows that putting the ball in play and getting on base increases the chances of scoring runs.

Childs Play: Arizona catcher Dwight Childs is turning in a breakout junior season. Through 45 games, Childs has started in 28, sharing time with classmate Daniel Butler. But Childs has made the most of his time, hitting a career best .317 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 27 RBI already surpassed his 15 from the entire 2008 season and are a new career high. 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.

We’ll Take Two, or Three! Out of Arizona’s 509 hits on the year, 174 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 112 doubles on the season which averages out to 2.53 doubles per game. Entering the week, the per game figure ranked No. 12 in the nation. UA also has laced 27 triples on the season, which ranks No. 4 in the nation. Eight different Wildcats have tripled on the season, with four players tallying at least three triples (Dillon Baird, Bobby Coyle, Bryce Ortega and Dwight Childs). Bobby Coyle has a team-high seven triples, which is the most for a Wildcat since Jon Gaston’s eight in 2007. Coyle’s tally also ranks tops in the Pac-10 and 10th in the nation.

Step Away From League Play: In non-conference games, the Wildcats have notched a 14-10 overall record, including an 11-8 mark at home. A handful of Wildcats have been keys to UA’s success in such games, with Kyle Stiner leading the way offensively. Stiner is batting .371 (13-for-35) in non-league games, and has scored 10 runs and driven in six runs. Steve Selsky, who has raised his season average to .333 in recent weeks, is batting .355 (22-for-62) in non-Pac-10 games. Hunter Pace, who is a .369 hitter overall, has seen a modest decline in his batting average in non-conference games, but is still hitting .355 (22-for-62) with 12 RBI and 18 runs scored. A third Wildcat with stellar numbers is Rafael Valenzuela, who has compiled a .367 average with nine doubles, a triple, 11 runs scored and nine RBI in non-conference games.

Slowly But Surely: The Arizona pitching staff if slowly but surely making a turnaround after a rough first half of the season. Pitching has certainly been a season long limitation for the Wildcats, but if the last nine Pac-10 games are any indication, the staff has been making significant strides. In its last nine Pac-10 games, the UA pitching staff has posted a 3.86 team ERA, much improved from its overall 5.58 ERA on the season. Opposing hitters are hitting just .261 in those games, again, much improved from the .298 season average. The Wildcats are 5-4 in the last nine Pac-10 games, including wins in five of the last six.

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 26 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. The junior is also competing with teammate Cory Burns for most appearances on the season (currently 30), as both are within reach of breaking the school record for appearances in a season. With 92 career appearances, Stoffel now holds the UA record for most appearances in Wildcat history.

Feeling the Burns: Senior RHP Cory Burns has been one of the club’s top options out of the bullpen in 2009, having pitched in 33 of UA’s first 45 games. Burns, who has a 2-0 record and one save, has pitched 40.1 innings and struck out 44 batters. At his current pace (appeared in 73 percent of UA’s games), he will surpass the UA’s all-time mark for appearances in a 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 87 career games, which is No. 3 all-time at UA (Top-10 can be found on page 61 of UA media guide). He needs one more appearances to tie Ron Sismondo as UA’s No. 2 all-time pitcher for appearances. He also trails teammate Jason Stoffel, who currently has 92 appearances and recently topped the all-time chart.

Turning Two: Arizona is turning double plays at a remarkable pace entering this week 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 55 (1.23 per game) projects to nearly 70 on the season, which would fall short of breaking the school record of 81 in a season set by the 1979 club. But, the highest total in the Lopez era is the 60 turned by the 2003 team. UA’s per-game mark was No. 8 in the nation entering the week, and it has turned six in its last five games.

Glenny Hits No. 40: With his six home runs on the season, senior Brad Glenn has a total of 40 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.

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.       .317                  1
Slugging %        .486                  2
On Base %       .391                  2
Runs Scored     343                   2
Hits                  509                   1         
RBI                   312                   2
Doubles            112                   1
Triples               27                     1
Homeruns         35                     7

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 40 different lineups (out of 45 possible), using the same lineup multiple times on five occasions. 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 45 games, Arizona has stolen 66 bases, which ranks second in the Pac-10 and trails only Arizona State (70). Bryce Ortega (15-for-175) and Hunter Pace (both 13-for-18) 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 .326 on the season with runners in scoring position, .328 with runners in scoring position and two outs, and is scoring runs at a .628 clip with runners on third and less than two outs, which includes scoring 98 runs in 156 chances. On the season, the Cats have driven in 127 runners with two outs in an inning.

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.

Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week: Preston Guilmet was named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week last week after leading the Wildcats to an 11-1 victory at Stanford. A right hander, Guilmet picked up his first road win of the season and pushed his overall record to 3-4 on the season and lowered his ERA to 3.63. Ranked No. 4 in Pac-10 history and No. 3 at Arizona for career strikeouts (385), Guilmet fanned only three Cardinal hitters last Friday, but turned in season lows for hits (5) and runs allowed (1). The native of Citrus Heights, Calif., stifled Cardinal hitters all evening long, preventing any chance of a Stanford rally as opposing hitters were 0-for-7 on the night with runners on base. The weekly award is the sixth-all-time for Guilmet, who was honored as the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year in 2007 when he boasted a 12-2 record and a 1.87 ERA. He was recognized four times in his sensational sophomore season and once a year ago as a junior. Earlier this season, junior Jason Stoffel was tabbed Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week on March 17 after tallying a pair of saves in three dominating performances against Oklahoma State and Michigan. All-time, Arizona pitchers have been tabbed 42 times for the weekly award.

On Deck: Arizona will resume Pac-10 play with a three-game set against Washington May 16-18. The Saturday-Monday series will begin at 7 p.m. on Saturday as UA honors its four seniors – Preston Guilmet, Brad Glenn, Hunter Pace and Cory Burns – prior to the game.


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