Former Sun Devil Mike Lopez Falls Home Run Short Of Hitting For Cycle In Ninth Professional Game
June 25, 2001
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Anyone associated with the Arizona State baseball program knows the guts, the hard work and the enthusiasm Mike Lopez brought to the diamond everyday when he played at Arizona State. A rock solid fixture for the Sun Devil defense at third base, Lopez was a team leader in his two years in the Maroon and Godl. And when he was passed up in the professional draft, Sun Devil faithful kept faith that he would be picked up as a free agent.
The phone call came a day after the draft from his hometown Arizona Diamondbacks, signing the talented third baseman to a free agent contract. Although passed up in the 50-round draft, Lopez was a welcome addition to the Diamondback family, enjoying a day at Bank One Ballpark with the rest of the Diamondback draftees. When asked if he was excited for the opportunity to play professional baseball, Lopez all but shined over the phone.
'This is a dream come true,' said Lopez over the phone upon hearing the Diamondbacks had signed him to a free agent contract. 'I'll tell you what, I am going to turn some heads in that organization.'
Those Sun Devil faithful have to smile at that comment. The hardest of workers who battled back several times from injury just to take the field is now embarking on a new journey, a much deserved journey. A native of Phoenix and a 1996 graduate of Maryvale High School, Lopez spent two years at Yavapai Junior College before enrolling at ASU in 1999. After sitting out that year with an injury, Lopez had a stellar season in 2000, hitting .370 with 12 doubles, two triples and six home runs, only to have his remarkable season cut short by a broken wrist.
Making a strong comeback in 2001, Lopez started 54 games during his season with 19 doubles, three home runs and 49 RBI. He was a leader on the 37-20-1 team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in the last five years. After a remarkable career at Arizona State, Lopez is now starting at the bottom of the minor leagues, hoping to one day make his appearance at Bank One Ballpark.
Starting all nine games for in the infield for the Missoula Opsrey in the Pioneer League, Lopez is heating up after a slow start at the plate. Hitting .256 (9x34) for the Opsrey, Lopez is coming off a stellar performance in which he was 3-for-5 with four runs scored, three RBI and fell just a home run short of hitting for the cycle in a 17-3 win over the Medicine Hat Blue Jays.
To follow Lopez and other former ASU baseball players, please check back to www.thesundevils.com on a regular basis. A list of former players and where they are playing this summer will be available on the website in the next few weeks. To track Lopez this summer, point your web browser to www.missoulian.com/sports or www.missoulaosprey.com.
Copy By Jeff R. Evans
ASU Media Relations