Baseball Heads To Fullerton, Calif., to take on Texas Tech Friday In First Round Of 2001 NCAA Tournament
May 22, 2001
2001 Sun Devil Baseball Regional Media Center
Miscellanious Regional Information:
What's On Tap:The Arizona State Baseball team finished the 2001 regular season with a 36-18-1 overall record and with seven wins in their last eight Pac-10 games, improved to take possession of third place in the league with a 14-10 overall record. The Devils have been a mainstay in the polls this year, not leaving the top 20 and spending 10 weeks inside the top 10. ASU closed out the regular season by taking two of three from the UCLA Bruins. The Sun Devils will take on No. 3 seed Texas Tech to open their 25 appearance in postseason play. Cal State Fullerton and Temple are also in the regional bracket that will be played Friday through Sunday at Cal State Fullerton's Goodwin Field. ASU will head into the postseason playing their best baseball of the year, finishing strong with 14 wins in its last 20 games. The 36 wins marks the 39th consecutive year a Sun Devil squad has reached at least 30 wins and the ninth straight year with at least 35 wins. ASU will be playing in familiar territory when they open Regional play with Texas Tech, having split a pair of games already this season at Goodwin Field. ASU and Cal State Fullerton were to play a three-game series in late February, but rains washed out all but one of those games. The Sun Devils carry an all-time 121-47 record in postseason play into the 2001 regional and will be aiming for a 19th trip to the College World Series.
Success in the Classroom As Well As On The Field: ASU has long enjoyed much success on the diamond, and with 18 College World Series appearances, it is known as one of the gems of college baseball. But lately academics, as well as on-field talent, have shown its true colors in the storied program. Pat Murphy's Sun Devil squads have produced four Academic All-Americans over the past two years (Willie Bloomquist, Mark Ernster, Jeff Phelps, Casey Myers), including Myers being named the Academic All-American for college baseball in 2000. The four players honored as National Academic All-Americans is the most by any college baseball program in the nation over the last two years. The 2001 squad also features two players, Ty Johnson and Mike Lopez, who have already received their undergraduate degrees and are pursuing their master's. Myers, Phelps, Eric Doble and Jonah Martin all graduated last week during commencement. Myers was named the ASU Academic Athlete of the Year.
Arizona State in Postseason Play:The Sun Devil baseball program has created a dynasty in college baseball that has been matched by few. With 18 appearances in the College World Series, ASU ranks fourth for the most trips to Omaha. Arizona State has advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 24 of the program's 42 seasons, amassing an incredible 116-43 (.730) record. ASU's five National Championships rank as the second most of any NCAA school. In addition to ASU's five national championships, the Sun Devils have also turned in five second-place teams and three third-place finishes. Pat Murphy is 21-14 in his career in postseason play, including an amazing 19-12 on the road during regional action. He has coached one team to a College World Series (1998).
The Record Is In The Books. ASU Has Scored In 372 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 3-1 loss to UCLA last Saturday marked only the 10th time during the streak that ASU has scored only one run. The record is still in tact at 372 straight games after scoring in each of ASU's four games on the road last week. 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 not scored a run in a game only three times dating back to 1990.
The National Rankings And RPI:The Devils enter postseason play with a national ranking of No. 17 in the country by Baseball America. ASUis ranked 19th by Baseball Weekly and 16th by Collegiate Baseball. The Sun Devils have spent 30 consecutive weeks in the top 20, dating back to the start of the 2000 season. The Devils have not left the top 20 this year and were a mainstay in the top 10 for the first half of the season. The Devils finished with a project RPI of 18 and a schedule that was rated as the 11th toughest in the nation by www.boydsworld.com. Texas Tech heads into the postseason ranked 22nd by Baseball Weekly and Collegiate Baseball. They are not ranked by Baseball America. Cal State Fullerton is ranked fourth by Baseball America, sixth by Baseball Weekly and fifth by Collegiate Baseball. ASU is 5-8-1 vs. ranked opponents in 2001 and played 13 games against teams that are currently ranked in at least one of the national polls.
Casey Myers Reached 300, Now Eyes 283 Career RBI:One of the 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 recently became only the third Sun Devil in history to pass 300 hits in a career. With 308, he is now just has 14 hits short of the school record of 322 set by Clay Westlake (1973-76). Myers is a career .382 hitter in Tempe (308x807) in 216 career games. Myers recorded his 300th career hit in his 200th career start two weeks ago vs. Tennessee. 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 now just 11 short of the record with 272 in his career and 66 this year. He passed former Stanford Cardinal standout John Gall (263) to move into second place in Pac-10 history. Myers is also ranked sixth with 38 career home runs, eighth with a .384 career batting average, fourth with 485 total bases, fourth with 63 doubles and fifth with 807 career at-bats. Myers has recorded 28 multi-hit games in 2001 and has 94 in his career. For the first time since Feb. 13, Myers batting average has dipped below the .400 mark.
Myers, Phelps, Switzer Named Academic All-Americans:Casey Myers, Jon Switzer and Jeff Phelps were named to teh 2001 Verizon Academic All-District VII Baseball Team when it was announced Thursday. Myers is a three-time selection to the team and was last year's Academic All-American in the University Division. He holds an impressie 3.98 GPA in Math/Economics. He graduated with honors this week. Teammates Switzer and Phelps were also announced to the team. Phelps, a senior infielder for ASU, is a two-time selection, carrying a 3.40 GPA in Communications. Switzer, a junior majoring in Marketing, earned his first academic honor with a 3.44 GPA in his major. The ASU baseball program has now produced seven Academic All-Americans in the last three years.
Media Exposure:All postseason games will be broadcast over the airwaves in the Phoenix area on the home of all Sun Devil sports, XTRA 910 AM. The voice of ASU Athletics, Tim Healey, will bring you all the action from Goodwin Field and ASU historian and longtime ASU baseball beat writer Bob Eger will provide the color analysis. Eger and Healy can also be heard worldwide over the internet at www.TheSunDevils.com. The Live Stats feature that has been added for the 2001 season will also be up on running on the official site of ASU Athletics. In addition to the normal coverage on www.TheSunDevils.com, and official regional website can be found by pointing your browser to http://sports.fullerton.edu/Baseball/2001/regional.html. Up-to-date statistics, scores, quotes and game recaps can be found on that website in addtion so ASU's detailed information source.
Rod Allen Is 'DANGER'ous:Rod Allen has proven to be one of the best freshmen hitters in the nation and he is almost assured to be a freshman All-American when the teams are announced in the next month. Allen was only one of two freshman to be named to the All-Pac-10 team. Batting .387 heading into postseason play, Allen leads the team and is fifth in the Pac-10. in hitting and sixth in the Pac-10. Allen is hitting .380 in Pac-10 play and finished with a .393 in non-conference games. He has recorded a hit in 38 of 47 games played this year and his 47 RBI rank third on the team behind seniors Casey Myers and Mike Lopez. During the recent four-game roadtrip at Washington and Nevada, Allen was 5-for-16 with five runs scored and four RBI. He was 5-for-13 vs. UCLA to close out the regular season. He is currently riding a seven-game hitting streak (.345). He started his ASU career with a bang, tabbing hits in 17 consecutive games. During his 17-game streak Allen was a .450 hitter (27x60). A reserve designated hitter to begin the season, Allen moved into a starting role during his 17-game hitting streak and started 13 games at designated hitter. He has since made the transition as ASU's everyday left fielder and has faired well with five outfield assists. In addition to his .387 average, Allen has fivehome runs, 12 doubles and one triple.
Myers Repeats As Pac-10 Player Of The Year:Casey Myers became only the third player in Pac-10 history to be named Pac-10 Player of the Year two times. The senior All-American catcher joins former Stanford catcher A.J. Hinch and UCLA slugger Torey Lovullo who also were repeat winners of the award. Since the Pac-10 North and Pac-10 South joined in 1999, ASU has won all three POW awards with Willie Bloomquist in 1999 and Myers in 2000. Myers is ASU's 10th all-time Player of the Year Award. He is also candidate for National and Pac-10 Player of the Year, has been named a semifinalist for the Dick Howser National Player of the Year Award, Rotary Smith National Player of the Year Award and the Johnny Bench National Catcher of the Year Award. Myers is currently ranked sixth in the Pac-10 in hitting and second in the Pac-10 in RBI.
Murphy Picks Up Pac-10 Wins No. 100, 101 and 102 At Washington. Adds More vs. UCLA:ASU head coach Pat Murphy needed one win in the Pacific Northwest to gain his 100th Pac-10 victory. Instead he picked up three, left Seattle with 102 career wins in league play, and even more importantly assured his 2001 squad at least a .500 finish in the Pac-10 this year. Murphy's squads have picked up at least 12 wins in Pac-10 play in each of his seven seasons at the helm of the Sun Devils. Murphy added two more wins vs. rival UCLA to finish the 2001 regular season.
Leadoff Man Walking, Nick Walsh:Redshirt Freshman Nick Walsh has proven to be a key sparkplug for the Sun Devils at the of the order this season. ASU 12-4-1 this year when Walsh starts and hits leadoff. For the season the Alamo, Calif., native is hitting .287 with one home run and 15 RBI. The most amazing of Walsh's statistics is his 29 walks and .496 on-base percentage. He has recorded 14 walks in the last seven games, including four in the Saturday game vs. UCLA. Walsh has also proven to be a clutch hitter for ASU this year, tabbing three game-winning hits in 2001, including one at Cal State Fullerton, and is hitting .345 with runners in scoring position.
More Pac-10 Awards:In addition to Myers Pac-10 Player of the Year Award, several other Devils received accolades from the conference office when they were handed out Monday. Freshman Rod Allen was not the recipient of the Freshman of the Year Award, but was only one of two freshman to be named to the All-Pac-10 team. Junior second baseman Brooks Conrad repeated as the leagues best second baseman and junior center fielder Chris Duffy was named to the first-team after hitting .374 with three home runs and 25 multi-hit games in 45 starts. Mike Esposito, Drew Friedberg, Aaron Klusman, Mike Lopez, Jon Switzer, Andy Torres and Dennis Wyrick were all named to the All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention team.
ASU Team Banquet Awards:Monday was a day of awards for the ASU baseball team. In addition to finding out where the team would be playing in the NCAA Tournament, the team held its annual banquet on Bobby Winkles Field. Ryan McKenna was awardd the Development MVP award, Rod Allen and Chris Duffy shared the Newcomer of the Year Award, Drew Friedberg and Aaron Klusman split the Mr. Fireman Relief Pitcher Award, Mike Esposito received the Jim Henderson Courage Award, Nick Walsh won the Bobby Winkles Award, Andy Torres and Jon Switzer received the Pitcher of the Year Award, Dennis Wyrick was named the Defensive Player of the Year and Casey Myers was named the Offensive MVP.
Offensive Breakdown:Overall: .328 (640x1950)vs. LHP: .323 vs. RHP: .331w/Runners in Scoring Position: .340w/Bases Empty: .323 w/Bases Loaded: .330w/Two Outs: .307 2-Out RBI: 149In A Win: .362, 22 HR and 341 RBIIn A Loss: .258, 7 HR and 66 RBI
Pitching Breakdown:Overall: 36-18, 4.42, 490.2 IP, .263 Opp/BAStarters: 22-13, 4.12, 259.2 IP, 267 SOBullpen: 14-5, 4.75, 9 S, 231.0 IP, 252 SOvs. Righties: .258 vs. Lefties: .273w/Runners On: .264 w/Bases Empty: .261In A Win: 2.84 ERA, 352 K's, .229 Opp/BAIn A Loss: 7.73 ERA, 160 K's, .323 Opp/BA
Torres Still Ranks High in NCAA With 12 Wins:Junior college transfer Andy Torres not only leads ASU with 12 wins, but is also among the national leaders in the NCAA. Tied for eighth in the NCAA, Torres is 12-4 on the year with one save. Posting an impressive 4.16 overall ERA, Torres has really shined for ASU since moving to the bullpen. As a relief pitcher this year the crafty right-hander is 6-1 with a 3.46 ERA in 16 appearances out of the bullpen. He has struck out 40 in 39.0 innings out of the bullpen. Overall Torres has made a team-high 25 appearances, with nine coming as starts, and has struck out 72 batters in 84.1 innings. He picked up wins in both of ASU's extra inning games at Oklahoma and Oral Roberts. He was named to the Pac-10 Honorable Mention team this week. Torres came to Arizona State from East Los Angeles Junior College where he was 11-3 with a 2.19 ERA.
Esposito Named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week:Arizona State freshman starting pitcher Mike Esposito has been named the Pac-10 Baseball Pitcher of the Week for April 30-May 7, Commissioner Tom Hansen announced today from Walnut Creek, Calif. Esposito, a redshirt freshman from Las Vegas, earned the win in ASU's 15-1 route of then No. 19 Tennessee. The hard-throwing right-hander threw six shutout innings at the Volunteers, striking out six and allowing only two infield singles. The start for Esposito vs. Tennessee, who is coming off Tommy John surgery last March, was his 10th in 2001, but it was ironically scheduled to be his initial return from the arm injury. The fifth round draft choice of the Cincinnati Reds in 1999 is now 5-2 on the year with a 4.10 ERA. In his 12 starts this year Esposito has a 3.99 ERA with opposing hitters batting only .259 off of him. He has struck out six batters in seven of his 12 starts this year.
42 Years of Sun Devil Baseball Tradition: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 1,893-754-1 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.
Recruiting Class Draws Rave Reviews:The recruiting class that makes up the freshman class on the diamond this spring was rated as the top class of recruits in the nation by Baseball America. Highlighted by seven players who were selected in the annual Major League Draft, the group includes several players who are expected to contribute immediately. The recruiting class was also ranked third in the nation by Collegiate Baseball. The class has definitely lived up to its large billing, having several players in contention for Freshman All-America honors.
The All-Time Series With Fullerton and Texas Tech:The Sun Devils are 20-13 vs. Cal State Fullerton in the all-time series after splitting a pair of games with the Titans at Goodwin Field earlier this year. ASU won the first game 5-3, but lost the second game 13-6. The second meeting fell on a Monday after ASU had just completed a hard-fought three-game series with USC at Dedeaux Field. ASU and Texas Tech have met 14 prior times, with ASU holding a commanding 12-2 lead in the series. ASU and the Red Raiders have not met since 1995 (Murphy's first year at ASU), when the Devils took two off three in a series held at Packard Stadium in early February.
Casey Myers An All-American On The Field And In The Classroom:One of the best hitters in college baseball, Casey Myers, has not disappointed in living up to that title this year. Recording hits in 41 of his 55 games this year, plus 28 multi-hit games, Myers is second on the team with a .386 batting average... He has 16 doubles, six home runs and 62 RBI. Myers hit .330 in Pac-10 play and was a .425 hitter in non-conference games. He became only the third player in Pac-10 history to earn Player of the Year twice.... Myers has 62 RBI on the year to place second in the Pac-10 and is quickly approaching the school and Pac-10 career record. With 272 in his four-year career, he is just 11 short of breaking both records set by former Sun Devil Andrew Beinbrink. He moved into second place in the Pac-10 record books last week vs. Tennessee, passing former Stanford standout John Gall who had 263 RBI from 1997-2000. In addition to Pac-10 Player of the Year honors, he is a semifinalist for the Rotary Smith Player of the Year Award, Dick Howser Player of the Year Award and for the Johnny Bench Catcher of the Year Award. Myers is quickly reminding players why he is one of the best players in all of college baseball. A legitimate candidate for Player of the Year honors. Myers, who hit .412 last year and was a finalist for the National Player of the Year award, is now within one of second place in the ASU record books for career RBI. Behind the plate Myers has been instrumental in the success of the ASU pitching staff, calling all the pitches. Myers will end his career less than 25 RBI short of ranking among the top seven run-producers in college baseball history, a list that includes Robin Ventura, Joe Carter and Pete Incaviglia. Defensively, the 2000 Collegiate Baseball Defensive Player of the Year has also been solid, carrying a .991 fielding percentage into this weekend's action. In addition to his 28 multi-hit games this year, he has 94 in his career, including 38, three-hit games. He hit 18 home runs (second on the team) behind teammate Mitch Jones last year and now has 38 in his career to tie for sixth in school history. The school record is 56 set by Bob Horner. Myers has also done an excellent job behind the plate as well, calling the pitches himself and making the pitching staff step up to the next level. For the second year in a row is on the Johnny Bench Cather of the Year Watch List. He has been named conference player of the week three times during his career at ASU. He reached base safely (hit, walk, HBP) in 54 of 59 games in '00. Myers led the squad in multiple-hit games (31) and multi-RBI games (29). His multi-hit games included three, four-hit affairs. He hit safely in 50 of 59 games. Myers was clutch with 26 two-out RBI and hit .417 with the bases loaded. He hit .466 (48x103) with runners in scoring position and .459 with runners on base. Myers finished his junior campaign ranked 30th in the nation in batting average (.412), third in RBI (97), and 35th in home runs (.31 per game). Myers recently became only the third Sun Devil in history to surpass 300 hits in a career and is now just 16 off the school record of 322.
More On Myers: As asset for the program throughout his career in Tempe, Myers has also been stellar in the classroom. The math whiz that scored a perfect 800 on the math portion of the SAT out of high school, Myers has maintained a near-perfect GPA as a math/accounting major at ASU. He was an Academic All-American in 1999, 2000 and became a three-time recipient of the award this yar. He received college baseball's highest academic honor last year when he was named the GTE/CoSida Academic All-American of the Year. In addition to being named the Academic All-American of the Year, All-American and Pac-10 Player of the Year in 2000, Myers was also named the Collegiate Baseball National Defensive Player of the Year with a .996 fielding percentage. In November, Myers was named the top amateur athlete in the state of Arizona by the March of Dimes. Myers is once again a candidate for Pac-10 Player of the Year and has been nominated for Academic All-America honors.
Jon Switzer Is Firing On All Cylinders:His 5-5 record does not show how well he has pitched this year, but his 3.75 ERA is the lowest of any of his three years at ASU and his 124 strikeouts are second best behind Mark Prior in the Pac-10... Switzer has also been a victim of hard luck, with the Devils scoring only one run in four of his five loses... a master of the strikeout, Switzer has tallied six games with more than 10 strikeouts, including a career high vs. Southern Utah (2/2)... Switzer also had 12 strikeouts in a pair of loses to Washington State (2-1) and UCLA (3-1)... he pitched his only complete game of the year and the third of his career at Oregon State in a 10-2 win over the Beavers... he pitched for Team USA over the summer and maintained a 2.41 ERA before leaving the team because of illnesss... he is the only native Texan on the roster for ASU when they matchup with the Red Raiders.