ASU Baseball Set For Three-Game Showdown With Rival Arizona
April 26, 2001
vs. Arizona Wildcats (28-19, 7-8)Packard Stadium * Tempe, Ariz.Friday, April 27, 7 p.m. (Radio/Live Stats)Mike Esposito (2-2, 4.46) vs. Marc Kaiser (7-4, 5.20)Saturday, April 28, 1 p.m. (TV/Radio/Live Stats)Jon Switzer (4-3, 4.33) vs. Sean Rierson (4-4, 5.45)Sunday, April 29, 1 p.m. (TV/Radio/Live Stats)(Schroyer/Torres/Doble) vs. Chris Goodman (3-1, 5.40)*Probable Pitchers/times are Arizona Standard Time
What's On Tap:
The No. 20 Arizona State Sun Devil baseball team (28-14-1, 7-8) return to Pac-10 action this weekend with a crucial weekend series with rival Arizona (28-19, 7-8) at Packard Stadium. ASU and the Wildcats will square off in a three-game set starting Friday at 7 p.m. Both team's carry identical 7-8 Pac-10 records into the series. The Sun Devils enter the heated rivalry with a four-game win streak in tact and have won six of their last seven contests. After winning a Pac-10 series with Washington State two weekends ago, the Sun Devils rattled off four wins against non-conference foes Oklahoma, Oral Roberts and Gonzaga. Mike Esposito will start for ASU in the Friday game, with junior Jon Switzer going Saturday and either Ryan Schroyer, Andy Torres or Eric Doble scheduled to get the start Sunday.
The All-Time Series:
The Arizona Wildcats and Arizona State Sun Devils have met 254 times since ASU adopted baseball as a varsity sport in 1959. During that time the Sun Devils have held a commanding 154-100 lead over the `Cats. Winning five of six last year by out-scoring Arizona 101-51, the Sun Devils are 23-13 against the Wildcats since 1995 when head coach Pat Murphy took over the helm in Tempe. Since 1998 ASU is 12-6 overall and carry a 5-4 record vs. Arizona at Packard Stadium. In addition to the head-to-head rivalry, ASU has dominated Arizona in the national picture of college baseball. Advancing to the College World Series 18 times and posting 55 wins in Omaha, Arizona State overshadows Arizona's 14 years in the CWS and 32 wins in Omaha. Over the past six years ASU has also dominated the draft, having 50 players taken in the annual MLB June Amateur draft, while during that same time period Arizona has had only 21 players drafted.
The Record Is In The Books. ASU Has Scored In 360 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 in the 2-1 loss to Washington State (4/12) marked only the eighth time during the streak that ASU has scored only one run. The record is still in tact at 360 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.
All three of the Arizona-Arizona State baseball games can be heard over the airwaves on XTRA 910 AM in the greater Phoenix Metropolitan area or over the internet at www.TheSunDevils.com. The voice of Arizona State Athletics Tim Healey will bring you all the play-by-play with ASU historian Bob Eger providing the color commentary. Saturday's game is the Pac-10/Fox Sports Net Game of the Week and can be viewed nationally on participating Fox Sports Net outlets. Barry Tompkins and legendary former Arizona head coach Jerry Kindall will call the action. Sunday's 1 p.m. game can be viewed locally on Cox Cable 9 with Doug Gerlach and George Allen handling the play-by-play duties. All three games can also be viewed using Live Stats on the official site of ASU Athletics at www.thesundevils.com.
The National Rankings:
The Sun Devils are ranked 20th by Baseball America, 19th by Collegiate Baseball and 16th in the Baseball Weekly/ESPN Coaches poll. ASU has now been ranked in the top 20 for 26 consecutive weeks in at least one of the three college baseball polls. Arizona is not ranked.
Casey Myers is Chasing 300 and 283:
One of the hottest and best hitters in college baseball and making a name for himself as one of the best Sun Devils to ever wear the Maroon and Gold, Casey Myers has 297 hits in his illustrious career at ASU and is now just three short of becoming only the third Sun Devil hitter in history to record 300 hits. Myers is a career .389 hitter in Tempe (297x763) in 204 career games. The senior All-American catcher is also chasing the Pac-10 and ASU career RBI record of 283 set by former Sun Devil Andrew Beinbrink (1996-99). Myers is 23 short of the record with 260 in his career and 54 this year. He is only three short of reaching second place in the Pac-10 record books, a spot held by former Stanford Cardinal standout John Gall (263). Myers is also ranked sixth with 38 career home run, fourth with a .389 career batting average, fourth with 471 total bases, fourth with 60 doubles and seventh with 763 career at-bats. Myers is currently second on the squad and third in the Pac-10 with a .412 batting average (72x172).
Rod Allen Is 'DANGER'ous:
Freshman left fielder Rod Allen has quickly making a name for himself in his rooking campaign at the collegiate level. He entered the week with the 12th best batting average in the NCAA at .441, but dropped to .429 after going 2-for-8 vs. Gonzaga. Allen currently is riding a seven-game hitting streak in which he is hitting .519 with 14 hits (27 AB), nine runs scored, 13 RBI and two home runs. In Pac-10 play he leads ASU with a .429 batting average (18x42). In his last 10 games Allen is hitting at a .474 clip and over his last 15 games is hitting .453. He has started 14 games in left field and 13 at designated hitter. He recently moved to the cleanup position in the ASU order and has paid great dividends. ASU is 6-1 when Allen bats fourth and Allen is .519 (14x27) with 13 RBI since moving to that spot in the lineup.
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 3,714 runs, averaging 9.33 runs per game. 2001 has been no different for ASU, averaging 8.44 runs per game and hitting .337 as a team.
Murphy Chasing 100 Pac-10 Victories:
ASU head coach Pat Murphy has posted an impressive 260-138-1 record during his six-plus seasons in Tempe. He has recorded 97 Pac-10 wins during that time and is within three of reaching the 100-win plateau in conference games. The Sun Devils won their first Pac-10 Championship under Murphy last year with a 17-7 record in league play.
Torres Leads Nation In Wins:
Junior college transfer Andy Torres not only leads ASU with 11 wins, but leads the nation as well. Tied with three others, Torres is 11-3 on the year with one save. Posting an impressive 3.93 overall ERA, Torres has really shined for ASU since moving to the bullpen. As a relief pitcher this year the crafty right-hander is 5-0 with a 2.31 ERA. He has struck out 27 in 23.1 innings out of the bullpen. Overall Torres has made 19 appearances, with nine coming as starts, and has struck out 59 batters in 68.2 innings. He picked up wins in both of ASU's extra inning games at Oklahoma and Oral Roberts. Torres came to Arizona State from East Los Angeles Junior College where he was 11-3 with a 2.19 ERA.
At the plate ASU is leading the Pac-10 with a .337 average. The Sun Devils are second in the league with 363 runs scored and are first with 101 doubles. In Pacific-10 Conference games ASU is hitting .287 with 30 doubles, three home runs and 64 RBI. In non-conference games ASU is hitting at a stellar .361 clip with 19 of the team's 22 home runs. Over the last five games ASU is hitting .342 at the plate with five home runs and 42 runs scored and over the last 10 games the Sun Devils are hitting .340. The bench is hitting .342 (27x79) collectively as pinch-hitters. With runners in scoring position ASU is clutching up for a .348 average (218x626). With the bases loaded ASU is 26-for-77 (.338). ASU is coming off a series with Gonzaga in which they hit .357 as a team with 16 RBI and five doubles.
The Sun Devil pitching staff is currently sporting a 4.68 ERA and has allowed 223 earned runs in 383.1 innings... in Pac-10 play the pitching staff has combined for a 5.29 ERA with 76 earned runs given up in 129.1 combined innings... Sun Devil pitchers have chalked up 412 strikeouts, with 125 of those being strikeouts looking... in the last five games in which ASU is 4-1, the pitching staff has a 4.69 ERA... ASU entered the week ranked fifth in the league in ERA... senior relief pitcher Drew Friedberg leads the team with a 2.37 ERA and is 4-1 on the mound... redshirt freshman Aaron Klusman has maintained a 2.92 ERA and junior Andy Torres has a 3.93 ERA... the starting pitchers have combined for a 16-11 record, posting one complete game and allowing 98 earned runs in 202.0 innings... the starters have combined for a 4.37 ERA and struck out 209 batters... the bullpen is 12-3 on the year with six saves in 180.1 innings of work... of the 115 first batters the bullpen has faced, ASU has retired 74 of them... the bullpen has also allowed only 41 of the 99 runners they have inherited score.
The Best Freshmen Class Ever?:
The freshman class of 2001 was ranked as the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation and have lived up to that billing with a phenomenal coming out party. Dubbed the 'Fabulous Frosh,' Rod Allen, Jeremy West, Steve Garrabrants, Aaron Klusman, Nick Walsh, Ryan Schroyer, Eric Keefner and Ryan McKenna are the future of this program who are making huge contributions immediately. Allen is second in the Pac-10 in hitting at .429 and is bidding to record the best statistical year for a freshman in ASU history. No freshman, not even Barry Bonds, Reggie Jackson, Alvin Davis, Bob Horner or Willie Bloomquist ever hit over .400 in their rookie campaigns in Tempe. Through 43 games Allen is hitting .429 with four home runs and 35 RBI. Garrabrants is hitting a solid .323 and according to ASU records has already tied the freshman record with 16 stolen bases. Jeremy West is tied for the team lead with six home runs, ranking fifth of all ASU freshman behind Bond's 11 back in 1983. Casey Myers was the last freshman to enjoy great numbers in his first year in Tempe, recording a believed freshman batting average record of .386 with eight home runs and 58 RBI in 1998 when ASU advanced to the College World Series. On the mound, true freshman Ryan Schroyer has started seven games and posted a 6.59 ERA. Redshirt Aaron Klusman is second on the team with a 2.92 ERA and has struck out 41 batters in 24.2 innings.
Chris Duffy Makes An Immediate Impact:
Junior Chris Duffy started the season with some bad news by spraining his right MCL before the Alumni game. After a month of intense rehab, the highly touted JC transfer from South Mountain CC saw his first action of his ASU career in the Creighton series and has faired well since his return by racking up a team-high 19-game hitting streak. During the streak, Duffy hit .378 (28x74) with 19 runs scored, 16 RBI, four doubles and a triple. Duffy, who was the nation's top base stealer at the JC level last year with 59, is described as a five-tool player and will play center field for ASU. Duffy is rated as one of the top 100 prospects in the nation by Baseball America (62) and earned the distinction of having the best outfield arm and best speed in the Pac-10's preseason outlook by Baseball America. Duffy hit .409 at South Mountain last year and was a 43rd round draft choice of the Boston Red Sox. Duffy also has three outfield assists, cutting down runners at home plate each time, and has recorded at least one hit in 28 of his 34 games played. Duffy also has 18 multi-hit games and three multi-RBI affairs. He clubbed his first collegiate home run Tuesday vs. Gonzaga. For the season he is third on the team with a .358 batting average (48x134) with 42 runs, four doubles and 18 RBI.
The Espo Report:
Possibly the best news of the season for the Sun Devils is the fact the RHP Mike Esposito (Las Vegas) is back in the starting rotation. A reliever on strict pitch counts through much of the early season, Esposito made his return as a starter vs. LSU. Leaving the game with a lead against the Tigers, Esposito made good in his second start of the year, picking up the win against South Florida with 3.1 solid innings. Only 11 months from successful Tommy John surgery, Esposito turned in possibly ASU's most impressive pitching performance of the season. Despite picking up the no-decision vs. Cal, the hard-throwing right-hander allowed only four hits and two runs in seven innings against California. He struck out six and did not walk a better in his start. Esposito is 2-2 on the year with a4.46 ERA. He is coming off a strong outing at Oklahoma in which he struck out six and scattered three hits in five innings. He has struck out at least six batters in four of his last six starts and has 39 on the year. His start vs. Stanford (3/30) came exactly one year to the day after his Tommy John surgery. Esposito was a fifth-round draft pick by the Cincinnati Reds in 1999 and was ASU's opening day starter in 2000 before going down with the injury.
42 Years of Sun Devil Baseball:
While the history of baseball at Arizona State University goes back all the way to the early 1900's, the school officially began sponsoring varsity baseball in 1959. In 42-plus years of varsity baseball at Arizona State, the program has built a legacy matched by few in the college baseball world. With a 1,885-750-1 all-time record, Arizona State has recorded winning seasons in all but one year, advanced to the College World Series 18 times, won five national championships, won six Pac-10 titles, produced 13 Players of the Year and three Golden Spikes Award winners, and has gone to the NCAA Tournament 24 times. Under current head coach Pat Murphy, the Sun Devils have finished in the top 12 in three of the last four years and finished second in the nation in 1998. They have been ranked in the top 20 since the start of the 2000 season.
Switzer Chasing 300 K's:
Junior starting pitcher Jon Switzer needs only one more strikeout for 300 in his career. The hard-throwing left-hander leads ASU and is second in the Pac-10 with a 100 K's on the year. He is averaging 11.11 strikeouts per nine innings to rank in the top 20 in the NCAA.
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 25 of 41 games this year and leads the team with six home runs. He is hitting .341 (43x126) with eight doubles, four 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 32 games during his freshman campaign, with 25 coming at first base and seven at designated hitter. West has 12 multi-hit games and leads ASU with two, four-hit affairs. He also has six multi-RBI games to his credit. He provided the game-winner with a two-run triple in the 11th inning vs. Oral Roberts (4/19).
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 260-137-1 (.652) 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:
Dennis Wyrick has had his ups and downs so far in 2001, but the ups have far outweighed the downs. 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, entered last week with an 0-for-17 slump. He broke out of that in a big way with three hits vs. New Mexico State and is now hitting .381 over his last five games to raise his season average to .356. 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 .356 (42x118) with 19 runs scored, seven doubles and 20 RBI. His seven 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. Wyrick provided the game-winning, two-run single in ASU's 5-3 win over Oklahoma in 11 innings (4/18).
Bobby Winkles Field:
The Baseball Field at Packard Stadium was officially named Bobby Winkles Field April 3 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 9-4-1 on the newly named Bobby Winkles Field. ASU recently played its 1,000th career game at Packard Stadium, posting an all-time 781-226-1 record at the home of Sun Devil baseball dating back to April 7, 1972.
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