No. 15 ASU Baseball Makes Southwest Tour With Three Games In Three Days In Three Different Cities
April 16, 2001
What's On Tap:
The No. 15 Sun Devil baseball team appears to be back on track after winning a Pac-10 series over the Washington State Cougars, 2-1 last weekend. After falling in the series opener 2-1 to the Cougars, ASU rebounded for a 4-3 win Friday and a 14-4 rout Saturday to take their first series win since the Pac-10 opening series vs. Cal. The Sun Devils stand at 24-13-1 on the year and a half game out of third place in the conference at 7-8. ASU will take the week off from its busy Pac-10 slate to play five non-conference games before hosting rival Arizona to a weekend Pac-10 series at Packard Stadium Feb. 27-29. The Sun Devils will make a three-city tour of the Southwest this week, playing at New Mexico State (Apr. 17), at Oklahoma in Oklahoma City (Apr. 18) and at Oral Roberts (Apr. 19). The Sun Devils have defeated both New Mexico State and Oral Roberts at home this year, and will have won four of their last five vs. Oklahoma. The rotation for the three games has not been set, but ASU will likely throw the usual starters of Jon Switzer, Mike Esposito and Ryan Schroyer/Andy Torres during the week. ASU will log 2,432.4 miles during the road trip through the Southwest United States.
The Record Is In The Books. ASU Has Scored In 355 Straight Games:
The Arizona State baseball program made history on April 7 when they scored at least one run in its 350th consecutive game. The Devils broke the 12-year-old record in a 5-1 loss to USC exactly six years to the day when they were last shut out. ASU was shut out 9-0 on April 7, 1995 at Dedeaux Field. The one run scored Friday in the 2-1 loss to Washington State marked only the eighth time during the streak that ASU has scored only one run. The record is still in tact at 355 straight games. ASU was neck-in-neck with Wichita State who was not shutout in 332 games, but when the Shockers fell 1-0 vs. Louisiana-Lafayette ASU took over the national lead. Coastal Carolina held the record at 349 games set from 1983-1989. ASU also had a stretch of 278 games without being shut out from 1990 to 1994, meaning the program has only been limited to no runs three times dating back to 1990.
None of this week's games will be available over the radio or the internet, but all three games can also be viewed over the internet with Live Stats at ASU's official athletic site, www.thesundevils.com. All three games can be heard over the internet by visiting each opponent website. For the New Mexico State game, please point your browser to http://nmstatesports.fansonly.com, while the Oklahoma game can be heard at http://soonersports.fansonly.com. The Oral Roberts game can be heard over the internet at either www.oruathletics.edu or at www.kcfo.com.
The National Rankings:
The Sun Devils are ranked 14th in the recent Baseball Weekly/ESPN college baseball poll, 15th by Baseball America and 17th by Collegiate Baseball. This week's rankings end a string of 25 consecutive weeks in which ASU was listed in the top 12 in at least one of those three polls. ASU has now been ranked in the top 20 dating back to the preseason poll for the 2000 season. Oral Roberts (28-6) comes into the weekend with a No. 25 ranking by Collegiate Baseball and received seven votes in the Baseball Weekly Coaches Poll. They have won 13 straight games and dating back to last year are 37-1 in Mid-Continent Conference play. Oklahoma (15-25) was a preseason Top 25 team, but are currently unranked by all three polls. The Sooners have dropped three of their past four games. New Mexico State is also unranked, but carry a 25-17 record into Tuesday's game. The Aggies are among the NCAA leaders in scoring with an average of 10.76 runs per game in 2001.
Casey Myers Having Banner Senior Season:
One of the hottest and best hitters in college baseball, Casey Myers was 6-for-11 (.545) in the weekend series with WSU and with two multi-hit games over the weekend leads ASU with 24 on the year and now has 90 in his career. His 50 RBI is second in the Pac-10 and with 256 in his career is within 27 of tying the Pac-10 and ASU career record of 283. Myers has recorded a hit in 29 of ASU's 38 games this year and is hitting .378 with runners in scoring position. Myers is also climbing the career record charts at ASU. Besides the RBI record, Myers has 37 home runs (7th), 60 doubles (4th), 289 hits (3rd), 181 runs, 460 total bases (6th) and 745 at-bats (7th). His career .388 batting average (289x745) is currently tied for the sixth best in school history. Over his last 10 games he is hitting .436 (17x39) and over his last five games is connecting at a .500 clip (10x20). For more on Casey Myers and his illustrious career, please see related notes in this release.
Rod Allen Is Hotter Than Hot:
Freshman Rod Allen and senior Casey Myers continue carry a hot bat at the plate, tying for the team lead with a remarkable .418 batting average. Allen's aggressive style at the plate has him tied for second with Myers in the Pac-10 batting race at .418.After hitting .444 (4x9) last week vs. the Cougars, he is arguably the hottest Devil hitter with a team-leading .429 average in Pac-10 play, a .471 mark over his last five games and a .438 average over his last 10 games. For more on Allen see related notes in this release.
Offensive Powerhouse ASU Tops In Scoring in NCAA Last Two Years:
Arizona State has led the NCAA in scoring each of the last two years, averaging 11.32 runs per game in 1999 and 10.97 runs per game last year. ASU also led the nation in batting average with a team total of .356 in 1999. The Sun Devils .346 average in 2000 fell just percentage points shy of matching that feat a second year in a row, trailing Stony Brook by one point. ASU out-hit Stony Brook 738-500. During Pat Murphy's seven seasons in Tempe, the Sun Devils have been a scoring machine with 3,672 runs, averaging 9.39 runs per game. 2001 has been no different for ASU, averaging 8.45 runs per game and hitting .337 as a team.
The Sun Devils have struggled a bit at the plate, seeing their team batting average drop from .370 to its current mark of .337 in the last 15 games. ASU broke out of the hitting funk with a season high 22 hits in a 14-4 win over the Washington State Cougars on Saturday. Seven ASU players recorded multi-hit games with six tabbing three or more hits. ASU is still leading the Pac-10 in hitting at .337, but have fallen to second place in scoring with 321 runs. ASU hit .340 as a team during the WSU series and are collectively hitting .287 in Pac-10 play. Over the last five games ASU is hitting .339 and over the last 10 games the Devils are hitting .293.
The Sun Devil pitching staff picked it up over the weekend with three games of holding the opponent under four runs. Combining for a team ERA of 3.00 over the weekend, ASU hurlers allowed only nine runs in 27.0 innings. Aaron Klusman, Andy Torres and Jon Switzer were all phenomenal. Switzer struck out 13 while earning a no-decision in a 2-1 loss to WSU Thursday night. Torres threw five inning of shutout ball to pick up the win Friday and Klusman struck out 10 in a career high six innings Saturday to lock down the series win. The starting pitching corps is a combined 15-10 with a 4.33 ERA, while the bullpen is 9-3 with five saves and a 5.12 ERA. The entire pitching staff has combined for 355 K's.
Blame It On The Rain:
Rain in Arizona, yeah, that's right, and it has put a damper on the 2001 baseball season so far. Record amounts of rain in the Southwest have forced three cancellations at Packard Stadium, with two more being cancelled when ASU traveled to Fullerton to play the Titans. ASU has already made up one game with St. Mary's (6-4, L) and have a make-up game with Cal State Fullerton scheduled for April 9. The Sun Devils have also added a game with Nevada in Reno on May 16 at 3 p.m. ASU switched the game with New Mexico State from April 19 to April 17 so they can play Oral Roberts in Tulsa after the Oklahoma game. The Sun Devils will play three games in three different cities during that stretch of games with New Mexico State, Oklahoma and Oral Roberts. ASU was lucky to get all three games in at Oregon State. A 41-minute rain delay marred Saturday's game, and both the Sunday and Monday games were delayed at the start because of rainy conditions.
How ASU Faired Vs. New Mexico State Earlier This Year:
New Mexico State came in riding the best start in school history at 9-1, but that was quickly halted by a decisive 16-2 rout by the Sun Devils on Feb. 13. ASU played errorless ball en route to the demolishing, while NMSU committed seven errors and gave up 15 hits to give ASU its ninth win of the year. Freshman Steve Garrabrants tallied three hits for ASU and senior Casey Myers picked up four RBI to help pace the ASU offense. Andy Torres improved to 4-0 on the year with a strong, five inning shutout performance. The Sun Devils are still perfect vs. the Aggies in the all-time series, going 20-0.
How ASU Faired Vs. Oral Roberts Earlier This Year:
In a two-game series that was cut short by rain, ASU scored enough runs (17) to last both games if they were to be played. ASU hammered Oral Roberts 17-3 by way of a solid starting pitching performance from Andy Torres and a great game from All-American catcher Casey Myers. Torres picked up his sixth win of the year by allowing only five hits and two runs in six and a third innings, striking out four and walking four. Redshirt junior Angel Ramirez added a solid relief outing to put away the Golden Eagles. Knocking out a then season-high 21 hits, the potent ASU offense was led by Chris Duffy's 2-for-4 game with four RBI. Myers was 4-for-5 with two RBI, two runs scored and his third home run of the year. Freshman Jeremy West added a home run and two runs scored. In all, seven ASU hitters had multi-hit games. ASU now leads the all-time series 2-0 vs. Oral Roberts.
With a tough schedule to start the Pac-10 season with three of their first four league series on the road, the Sun Devils will traveled to USC for a tough three-game series in which ASU dropped two of three. ASU played the top two Pac-10 teams in the standings in consecutive weeks. Last weekend's series with Washington State started a stretch of games in which ASU will play four teams and seven games in eight days. After the WSU series, ASU takes back to the road to play three mid-week games in three different cities. The Sun Devils will play Tuesday (Apr. 17) in Las Cruces, NM at New Mexico State, then Wednesday (Apr. 18) at Oklahoma in Oklahoma City and then finally at Oral Roberts on Thursday (Apr. 19) in Tulsa, Okla. ASU will also travel to Knoxville, Tenn., to play the Volunteers May 1-2. After the four games last weekend on the road, ASU is 5-6 on the road, with nine more games to be played away from Packard Stadium.
Nick Walsh Knows Game Winners:
Redshirt freshman Nick Walsh has a knack for the game-winning hit. Three times this year the Alamo, Calif., native has lifted the Sun Devils to wins with late-inning hits in clutch situations. The first came with a two-out, two-run single in the seventh inning in a 5-3 win over Cal State Fullerton (2/23). In front of several friends and family, Walsh gave ASU a 3-2 lead over Cal with a two-out, ninth inning single to right field to score two runs. ASU went on beat the Bears 4-2 (3/17). The latest clutch hit for Walsh came Friday vs. Washington State when the left-handed swinger knocked his first career home run in the seventh inning to break a 3-3 tie. ASU went on to beat the Cougars 4-3. Walsh is hitting only .267 (8x30), but has scored nine runs, knocked home nine and is ASU's leading pinch-hitter at 6-for-16. The Sun Devils are 3-0-1 when Walsh starts.
Pitching Reigns Supreme In Washington State Series:
While the Sun Devil bats exploded for a season-high 22 hits in the series finale Saturday vs. the Cougars, it was the pitching over the weekend that deserves the most attention. The Sun Devil pitching staff allowed only nine runs in 27.0 IP for a combined ERA of 3.00. Jon Switzer took a hard-luck no-decision when he struck out 13 in eight innings in a 2-1 loss to WSU. After a solid Mike Esposito start Friday, Andy Torres came in and threw five shutout innings of relief while striking out seven to improve to 9-3 on the year. Saturday was a day Aaron Klusman will never forget. The hard-throwing redshirt freshman right-hander struck out 10 batters in a career-high six innings to pick up his first collegiate decision. Klusman is 1-0 on the year with a team-leading 2.45 ERA. He has struck out 32 and walked only 12 in 18.1 innings pitched. Opponents are hitting only .164 off Klusman this year.
The Wild, Wild West, Jeremy West:
Freshman first baseman Jeremy West has wasted little time making himself one of the most feared hitters in the ASU lineup. The product of Silverado High School in Las Vegas, Nev., West has recorded a hit in 22 of 36 games this year and leads the team with six home runs. He is hitting .361 (39x108) with seven doubles, three triples and six home runs. He was 4-for-12 (.333) in the WSU series with all four of his hits coming in the series final Saturday vs. the Cougs (4x5, 4 RBI). West had a career night at the plate March 9 vs. South Florida, going 4-for-5 with two RBI that night, falling just a double short of the elusive cycle. West has started 28 games during his freshman campaign, with 19 coming at first base and seven at designated hitter. Despite hitting just .256 in Pac-10 play, West is hitting .316 over his last five games. West has 11 multi-hit games and leads ASU with two, four-hit affairs. He also has seven multi-RBI games to his credit.
Danger...Rod Allen On Deck:
One of the biggest surprises of the 2001 season has been the stellar production of freshman designated hitter Rod Allen. A likely redshirt candidate to begin the season, Allen caught fire at the plate in non-conference action and has since been a regular producer in the Sun Devil lineup. Allen currently is tied for the team lead with a .418 batting average with senior catcher Casey Myers. Much of his success came when Allen built up a 17-game hitting steak that was snapped March 24 vs. Oregon State. Allen was 27-for-60 during that stretch of games and had his batting average up to as high as a team-leading mark of .452. After having his streak ended at 17 games, Allen went into a 0-for-10 slump, before ending it with a 3-for-4 game against Stanford last Sunday. He continued his hot hitting vs. USC, going 6-for-10 vs. the Trojans in front of several family and friends. He grew up in Culver City, Calif., and his mom still resides in southern Calif. While hitting .418, he has with 41 hits (98 AB), nine doubles, two home runs and 25 RBI. After going 4-for-9 in the WSU series, Allen is ASU's leading hitter in Pac-10 play at .429 (18x42) and is hitting .471 over his last five games. His two-run blast vs. Creighton (2/17) cleared both fences in left field and landed on Rio Salado Drive for his first collegiate home run. He added a two-run homer vs. South Florida. The son of former major leaguer Rod Allen, Sr., who is also a broadcaster for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Allen hit .419 his senior year at Desert Vista while leading them to a state championship. With seven multi-hit games, Allen has started 19 games with 13 coming at designated hitter and six in left field. He has hits in 22 of 27 games and ranks fifth on the Sun Devils with 12 extra base hits. He is hitting .424 in Pac-10 play (14x33) with two doubles.
Pat Murphy at ASU:
Arizona's State has had only three coaches in its illustrious history. The latest to join the legacy is Pat Murphy who has enjoyed great success since arriving in Tempe six years ago in 1995. Murphy has guided ASU to a 256-136-1 (.653) and posted an impressive 97-85 record in the tough Pac-10. ASU has advanced to postseason play in three of the six years under Murphy, including a 2nd place finish at the College World Series in 1998. With his 254 wins at ASU, Murphy has the third best winning percentage of Pac-10 coaches. Murphy is three wins shy of 100 career Pac-10 victories . Of all active Division I coaches, Murphy entered 2001 ranked 14th with a career .675 winning percentage.
The Ultimate Team Player, Dennis Wyrick:
Slumps come and go, and for Sophomore shortstop Dennis Wyrick the slump is here. After entering the weekend series in Southern California, Wyrick was hitting .425, but after going hitless in 14 at-bats vs. the Trojans and Cal State Fullerton and 0-for-3 vs. Washington State, Wyrick is now hitting .351. Wyrick has had his ups and downs in 2001 so far, riding a hot bat at the plate and suffering through some rough patches in the field. When the rest of the ASU lineup was slumping, Wyrick hit .500 (6x12) during the Oregon State series with a double and a RBI, Wyrick followed that with a stellar series against top-ranked Stanford. In the three games he hit .556, going 5-for-9 with two doubles, two runs scored and three RBI. Over the last five games before USC he was hitting .500 (8x16). For the year the Azusa, Calif., native is hitting .362 (34x94) with 16 runs scored, six doubles and 13 RBI. His six doubles are already four more than his 2000 season total of two in which he earned freshman All-America honors. Wyrick had a career-long seven-game hitting streak snapped vs. USC. He collectively went 12-for-24 (.500) with four runs scored and three doubles during the streak.
Bobby Winkles Field:
The Baseball Field at Packard Stadium was officially named Bobby Winkles Field last Saturday as part of a special weekend honoring ASU's first varsity baseball coach. Winkles Field was officially named during a special ceremony before Saturday's game with LSU. Around 90 of Winkles former players joined a sellout crowd at Packard Stadium to honor Winkles and his tremendous strides to put ASU baseball on the map. Winkles was ASU's first varsity coach, compiling an impeccable 524-173 record during his 13-year career at ASU. He guided the Sun Devils to three national championships (1965, 67,69) and tutored future major league greats Rick Monday, Reggie Jackson and Sal Bando. ASU is 7-4-1 on the newly named Bobby Winkles Field. ASU recently played its 1,000th career game at Packard Stadium, posting an all-time 779-226-1 record at the home of Sun Devil baseball dating back to April 7, 1972.
Copy By Jeff R. Evans
ASU Media Relations
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