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I was checking out the CSTV Game Tracker for the live stats and probable starter for Arizona about 30 minutes before pregame today and noticed something pretty interesting about the Wildcats. So far this season they have averaged 0.7 triples a game. After some quick math, I find that is 11 triples in 15 games, which seems really high.
I went to do some investigating, and the first stop was a google search for their home stadium. Jerry Kindall Field has a very descriptive wikipedia page. I can tell you that the groundskeepers “overseeds the field in November with a Perennial Rye, Arnold Palmer II, to prepare it for the season.” Interesting.
Looking at the dimensions, part of the reason may be the length of the foul poles. It’s a paltry 360 feet down each line, about 30-35 feet longer than most parks. This long line, particularly down the right field line can lead to more opportunities. Left handed hitters, such as their Bobby Croyle who has three triples on the season, can pull pitches down the line and send them to the far corner for extra bases.
Looking at the stats provided by ArizonaWildcats.com, the GameTracker was slightly off, as the Wildcats only have 10 triples on the season, which is still impressive. Hunter Pace and Matt Presley also have a pair of triples each, but ArizonaWildcats.com doesn’t provide their handedness. I’d bet at least one of them is a lefty.
Bryce Ortega has one as well, but I can see through GameTracker that he is indeed right handed. With his high batting average, I’m going to guess he’s one of those that sprays the ball around the field, including the soft shots down the right field line. Its the sign of a good hitter when you can take the outside pitch where it wants to go.
Childs and Valenzuela each have a triple, but like Pace and Pressley, I’ve got no clue if they bat from the port side or not.
It’ll be interesting to see if Cislo, Fellows, and Dufek can garner a few triples this weekend – well at least Cislo and Fellows. I don’t see Mike Dufek stretching too many doubles to triples, but then again, he’s not that slow either. I don’t expect homerun numbers to go down that much either. The gaps and dead center are the same as most other parks we’ve played in to date. There just may be one or two to straight away right or left that would normally clear but don’t.