15th-Ranked Baseball Continues Pac-10 Play Hosting Washington At Hohokam Stadium
March 27, 2002
Mar. 28 vs. Washington, 6 p.m. MST
UW - Sean White - RHP (1-2, 4.07 ERA)
ASU - Robbie McClellan - RHP (5-2, 3.48 ERA)
Mar. 29 vs. Washington, 6 p.m. MST
UW - David Dowling - LHP (0-1, 2.63)
ASU - Mike Esposito - RHP (5-3, 2.62 ERA)
Mar. 30 vs. Washington, 1 p.m. MST
UW - Shawn Kohn - RHP (6-0, 2.25)
ASU - TBA
What's On Tap:
The 15th-ranked Arizona State baseball team returns home for a Pac-10 series against the University of Washington Huskies (11-8-1). The three-game conference series will be played Thursday through Friday to eliminate playing on the Easter holiday. The Devils are 18-9, 2-1 after taking two of three from rival Arizona last weekend in Tucson. Following the series with UW, ASU will travel to Las Vegas for a single game with UNLV and then take back to the road for a three-game set with Washington State in Pullman. ASU will play three of its first four conference series on the road this year.
Recapping Last Week:
Despite being outscored 23-20 in the three games, the Sun Devils walked away from their annual in-state rivalry with the Arizona Wildcats winning two of three games in Tucson. It was the third straight year ASU opened Pac-10 play on the road and also the third year in a row it won two-out-of-three to start the conference slate. ASU battled back from a 7-2 defecit by scoring three runs in the top of the ninth inning in a series-opening 9-7 win. On national TV, the Devils went up 2-0 by handing the Wildcats a convincing 10-6 win. Arizona salvaged the series with a strong pitching performance from starter Marc Kaiser to win Sunday's series finale 10-1. Sophomore Andre Ethier earned Pac-10 Player of the Week honors by hitting .417 in the three games, including two big hits that helped lead the Devils to both victories. Junior Dennis Wryick was 3-for-5 with two doubles in his only start and freshman Dustin Pedroia was 6-for-13 (.462) in the series.
Schroyer Strong Out of Bullpen:
Arizona State sophomore pitcher Ryan Schroyer opened his 2002 season in style by being named the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and Collegiate Baseball National Pitcher of the Week after his 11-strikeout performance against Southern Utah on Feb. 1. Schroyer, a sophomore who was 2-2 and was a honorable mention freshman All-American in 2001, allowed only three hits in 6.2 shutout innings to help lead ASU to the 12-0 defeat of Southern Utah. A high school All-American at Canyon del Oro in 2000, Schroyer was a 16th round selection of the Detroit Tigers in the MLB June Amateur Draft. Schroyer has since been moved into the closer role where he has recorded an amazing 17 strikeouts in just 9.0 innings of work out of the bullpen. For the season he is 1-1 with three saves and a 3.14 ERA. He has struck out 42 batters in just 28.2 innings of work. He has allowed only three hits and one run in his nine innings of relief.
Ethier Named Pac-10 Player of the Week:
Sophomore right fielder Andre Ethier was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week for his performance in the three-game series against Arizona. Ethier, from Phoenix, Ariz., hit .417 in ASU's series win at rival Arizona, including the two hits to lead the Sun Devils to a pair of victories. In the opening game against the Wildcats, he hit a two-run single in the ninth inning to cap ASU's five-run comeback, lifting the Sun Devils to 9-7 win. In Saturday's 10-6 win, Ethier hit a two-run home run in the seventh to break a 4-4 tie, leading ASU to a 10-6 win. For the weekend he was 5-for-12 with five runs scored, a double, a home run and five RBI. For the season he leads the 15th-ranked Sun Devils in hitting at .369 (38x103) with 10 doubles, two triples and two home runs. He has recorded 11 multi-hit games and has a hit in 20 of his 27 games played this year. The Player of the Week honor is the first for Ethier in his career, and the 64th selection all-time for Arizona State.
Last Year vs. The Huskies:
Arizona State swept a three-game series from the Washington Huskies last year in Seattle. The Devils opened the series with a thrilling 11-6 win in 10 innings on May 12, 2001. Chris Duffy highlighted a five-run 10th frame with a grand slam home run. ASU took the second game 7-3 behind a strong game from second baseman Brooks Conrad and then earned the series sweep with a 17-1 pounding in the rain-soaked finale. Ryan McKenna led ASU, going 5-for-8 (.625) in the three games.
The All-Time Series vs. The Washington Huskies:
Arizona State leads the all-time series with the Huskies 9-3. The two schools met for the first time in a three-game series at Husky Ballpark in Seattle. The Huskies took two of three in that series, but have only one one since in the last nine games. Winning eight of the last nine games, ASU also has a streak of two-straight Pac-10 series sweeps.
Scouting the Huskies:
The Huskies enter the three-game series with a 11-8-1 record and are off to a 2-0 start after defeating in-state rival Washington State in a pair of non-conference victories Monday and Tuesday. UW will start Sean White (1-2, 4.07) Thursday, freshman lefty David Dowling (0-1, 2.63) Friday and staff ace Shawn Kohn (6-0, 2.25) in the series finale Saturday. The Huskies are led offensively by shortstop Tila Reynolds who is hitting .412 with seven doubles, two triples, one home run and 11 RBI. Jay Garthwaite is coming off a solid series vs. the Cougars and is second in hitting at .377 with a team-leading seven home runs.
A Very Young Team Indeed:
The Sun Devils feature a very young team in 2002, with 22 of the 33 players on the roster listed as underclassman. Losing seven of its top position players from the 2001 team and several top pitchers, a very young team Sun Devil team will take the field this year. The normal starting lineup has five sophomores, two true freshman and at least one senior on the field. When the Devils made the cross country trek to Tallahassee for the FSU series, 13 of the 27 on the travel roster were making their first road trip as a Sun Devil. The starting lineup this weekend figures to have three freshman, five sophomores and one senior. The starting rotation figures to have one sophomore and two juniors, one of which is a newcomer after transfering from a junior college. To show how young ASU really is, when they played at Arizona last weekend, only two players (Wyrick and Kartler) had played in Tucson before with the last series in 2000.
McClellan Strong in Starting Role:
Despite having his roughest outing of the year Friday vs. Arizona, junior Robbie McClellan has been solid so far this year. McClellan is 3-0 as a starter with a 2.93 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 27.2 innings. McClellan, from Liberal, Kan., became the first Sun Devil to notch back-to-back complete games since 1999, striking out a career-high 10 batters in a seven-inning win against UNLV. He allowed just four hits and did not allow a run in the 10-0 win over the Rebels. He also went all nine innings in a 7-2 win over Loyola Marymount (3/2). McClellan is tied for the team lead in wins with a 5-2 record and has a 3.48 ERA in 44.1 innings pitched. Has struck out 51 batters and walked 22. He became the 43rd selection all-time for Arizona State as Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week. McClellan is nicknamed 'The Child' by his teammates for his boyish looks.
Home Sweet Home:
The Devils return home this weekend for a three-game set with Washington before taking to the road for a stretch of 13 out of 17 games on the road. The Devils are 2-5 this year on the road, enduring a three-game sweep at Florida State and losing a 8-7 tilt against New Mexico State in Las Cruces. ASU is 16-4 at home this year, going 13-4 at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa and 3-0 at Packard Stadium on the ASU campus. While the hitting has been similar with a .304 batting average at home and a .279 mark on the road, the difference seems to lie in the pitching, with a combined 7.06 ERA on the road and a stellar 2.53 mark in home games. ASU was 25-9-1 at home last year and 11-9 on the road.
Sun Devils About To Become Road Warriors:
After the three-game series this weekend at Hohokam Stadium, the Devils will then endure a tough stretch of 13 of their next 17 games on the road. After playing Thursday-Saturday at home, ASU will play a single game Monday at UNLV, then travel to the Palouse for a three-game Pac-10 series with Washington State in Pullman. After a another Pac-10 series at UCLA, the Devils return home to play Cal (Apr. 19-21) before taking to the road again for a non-conference road trip for a single game at Oklahoma (Apr. 24) and two games at Notre Dame (Apr. 26-27).
Sun Devil Baseball Successful in March:
The Sun Devil Baseball program has an all-time 622-245-1 record in the month of March dating back to the 1959 baseball season. Head Coach Pat Murphy, who recently picked up his 600th career Division I victory, is now 74-52-1 in the month of March in his eight years at ASU. Looking ahead to the month of April where the Devils will play the meat of their Pac-10 schedule, ASU is 514-217 dating back to 1959.
A Tough Schedule in 2002 For ASU:
The Sun Devils face a tough schedule in 2002, with 12 combined games against teams that participated in the 2001 College World Series (3 - Tennessee, 3 - USC, 3 - Stanford, 3 - Cal State Fullerton). ASU will play 22 of its 55 (40%) scheduled games against teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament last year. The Devils schedule includes road contests against Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Florida State, Stanford and UCLA. Arizona State is listed as having the ninth toughest schedule in the nation on www.Boydsworld.com. So far this year the Devils are 5-5 against teams ranked in at least one of the national polls at the time they played.
The Streak Continues. ASU Enters Weekend With Scoring Streak at 402:
The Arizona State baseball program made history on April 7, 2001 when they scored at least one run in its 350th consecutive game. The Devils broke the 12-year-old NCAA 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 Sunday's 11-1 loss to Arizona marked only the 12th time during the streak that ASU has scored only one run. The streak continues at 402 consecutive games with ASU scoring in each of the 27 games this year. The Devils have extended the streak early in a majority of its games, with a run in the first inning 16 times in 2002. ASU was neck-in-neck for the record with Wichita State, which had not been shutout in 332 games, but had its streak ended with a 1-0 loss to Louisiana-Lafayette in the middle of the 2001 season. Coastal Carolina previously held the NCAA 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 shutout in three games dating back to 1990.
One, Two and Three-Run Misery:
Playing one of the nation's toughest schedules this year, Arizona State has had a handful of close games that haven't gone their way. In fact, of the squad's nine losses this year, seven have come by three or less runs. ASU is 2-2 in one-run games and 2-4 in two run games this year.
The Sunday Story:
If Arizona State took away Sunday, they would only have five losses on the year. But as it is, the final day of the week and each series for ASU does exist, but the 4-4 record could be drastically better. ASU has led in two of its crucial Sunday games vs. Florida State and Cal State Fullerton that could have drastically changed its position in the national polls. The team is hitting only .246 and pitching for a 4.63 ERA on Sunday's... each time wearing the 'Maroon ASU' jersey. The Sun Devils will not play this Sunday due to the Easter Holiday!
Devils Better Score Early and Often:
The Sun Devils have had good success this year when scoring before their opponent, going 13-5 in those games. Even more importantly, when ASU scores in the first inning they are 13-3. Five runs or more seem to be the magic number for the Devils, as ASU is 18-3 in games when scoring five or more runs.
You're The Best, Mike Esposito:
While not claiming to be the best, sophomore Mike Esposito comes out to the song from the Karate Kid soundtrack labeled, 'You're the best,' before each of his starts. A song held special to his heart because the man singing the song is his father, Joe Esposito, who is currently a lounge singer in Las Vegas and has numerous other songs to his credit. Espo, a fifth-round pick by the Cincinnati Reds out of high school, is off to a strong 5-3 start and leads ASU with a , 2.62 ERA in 48.0 innings pitched this year. The hard-throwing right-hander has really turned it up a notch as of late,allowing only three earned runs in his last 25.0 innings pitched in his last four games. Over that stretch he is 3-1, including a career-high nine strikeout performance in a 11-1 win over St. John's. Esposito pitched for Team USA last summer where he was 3-1 with a 1.56 ERA.
Now That's The Way to Start the Game.... And An Inning:
The Sun Devil leadoff hitter in the game is off to a great start in 2002, and a main reason why the Devils have scored at least one run in the first inning in 15 of their 24 (63%) games this year. The Sun Devil leadoff hitter, 18 times being Steve Garrabrants, four times being Dustin Pedroia and one time each being Doug Schutt and Jon Sheaffer, has recorded a hit in the first at-bat of the game in 14 of ASU's 24 games. Garrabrants is 10-for-17 (.588) with five singles, four doubles, a walk and a home run to his credit, while Pedroia is 3-for-4 and Schutt is 1-for-1 with a single. Garrabrants has also had great success when he is the leadoff batter in an inning, not jut the start of the game, going 15-for-30 (.500) with five doubles and both of his home runs.
Starting second baseman and leading hitter Steve Garrabrants has sat out the last five games before the Arizona series with a shoulder/upper back injury that he developed after being hit by a pitch in the St. John's game (3/9). He played in the first two games vs. U of A, but sat out Sunday. ASU is 2-4 without Garrabrants during that stretch. The sophomore is expected to play this weekend. Freshman Miguel Sanchez (1-0, 2.38) underwent successful Tommy John surgery last week and will be out until next April. Freshman Matt Leaf is also recovering from Tommy John surgery and should be ready by opening day in 2003.
Jeff Larish Makes Strong Sun Devil Debut:
Freshman infielder Jeff Larish had not dressed for a game this year and was in the stands as a redshirt candidate before finding out he would be the starting third baseman in ASU's Mar. 16 game vs. Oklahoma. Larish made the most of the opportunity, going 3-for-4 with a triple and run scored in his ASU debut vs. the Sooners. For the season he is hitting .417 (5x12) with two triples. The freshman starred at Tempe McClintock High School last year and was a 32nd-round draft choice of the Chicago Cubs last June.
Going Young At Catcher:
ASU head coach Pat Murphy experimented with junior Dennis Wyrick behind the plate, but after 10 starts, appears to be leaning towards freshmen Joel Bocchi and Tuffy Gosewisch. Wyrick had five passed balls in his 10 starts, as ASU's starting shorstop the last two years never looked completely comfortable behind the plate. Gosewisch is hitting .156 with 10 starts behind the plate and Bocchi is 2-for-18 in his five starts. Senior Cesar Castillo has also started two games behind the dish and has been a great late-inning substitution for ASU this year.
Murphy Picks Up Career Division 1 Victory #600:
With a convincing 10-0 win over UNLV in seven innings on March 8, Sun Devil Head Coach Pat Murphy reached the 600 plateau for Division I victories in his 15 years of coaching at the top level of collegiate baseball. Murphy has now fashioned a career 660-323-4 record in his 18 seasons as a head coach, with 55 of those wins came at Maryville (Tenn.) College and Claremont-Mudd Scripps. In his 15 years at the D1 level, Murphy has averaged nearly 40 wins per year and is 288-152-1 in his eight-year ASU career. He will coach in his 1,000th career game on April 27, 2002 when he returns to play his former school, Notre Dame, in South Bend, Ind.
Sparkplug Garrabrants Expected Back in Starting Lineup:
Sophomore Steve Garrabrants was off to a torrid start to the 2002 season before being sidelined and is hoping to bounce back from a shoulder injury this weekend. Starting ASU's first 19 games, Garrabrants sat out a string of five straight games before the Arizona series after being hit by a pitch vs. St. John's. He was unable to play Sunday vs. the Wildcats, but is expected to play this weekend against Washington. He is currently second on the team in hitting at .358 and has five doubles, two home runs and 12 RBI. He is second with 10 multi-hit games and has nine extra base hits. As ASU's leadoff hitter, Garrabrants is an amazing 10-for-18 to lead off the game for the Devils.
Wyrick Comes Up Clutch in Pac-10 Play:
Junior Dennis Wyrick is ASU's most veteren play with 387 career at-bats. While battling for playing time this year and learning a new position at catcher, Wyrick has still maintained a solid .333 (18x54) batting average in 20 games this year. A career .339 hitter, Wyrick has been even more amazing in Pac-10 play. After going 3-for-5 with a career-high two doubles in Saturday's 10-6 win over rival Arizona, he is now hitting .378 (51x135) in his Pac-10 career.
Making the Most of his Senior Year, Jon Sheaffer:
Senior center fielder Jon Sheaffer is making the most of his final year as a college student-athlete. Sheaffer, who played football and baseball for ASU last year after transferring from South Mountain CC, played in only 30 games last year, making three starts. This year is a different story though, as Sheaffer has started 22 of ASU's 27 games in center field and is currently third on the team in hitting with a .351 batting average with five doubles and 17 RBI. He has recorded a hit in 20 of his 25 games this year, including a streak of 18 of his last 21 games. He recently had a career-high 13-game hitting streak snapped in which he combined to go 17-for-40 (.425) with 11 runs scored and 10 RBI.He has been clutch this year hitting .444 (8x18) with runners in scoring position and an even more amazing .556 (5x9) with runners in scoring position with two outs. He is also 1-for-1 with four RBI with the bases loaded this year.
The Wild, Wild West:
Sophomore first baseman Jeremy West has been swinging a hot bat all season, ranking third with a .351 batting average and leads the team with six home runs. He has 32 RBI (1.19 avg. per game) and also leads ASU with 19 extra base hits. He tied a career high with four RBI vs. LMU (3/2) and has recorded a hit in 20 of his 26 games played this year. West leads all Sun Devils with 12 career home runs and is a combined 76-for-234 in his career. He is in the midst of a career-high seven-game hitting streak in which he has gone 10-for-28 (.357).
Why Not #9 Murphy:
Most who are close to the ASU Baseball program know what the No. 9 means to head coach Pat Murphy. Often his slogan to 'Play all 9 Innings', Murphy and No. 9 are synonymous with each other... until this year. In a preseason meeting with team, Murphy gave a speech on how you have to be able to give up anything for the team. In this case, he even offered up his prize No. 9, knowing no one would take it. That is, until ASU's sophomore Steve Garrabrants raised his hand and said, I'll take it, and with that, the leader of the Devils is willing to give up anything for the team and will wear No. 7 this year.
Is it HoHoKam or Hohokam... Stadium... or Park:
While it can be up for debate on the actual spelling of Hohokam Stadium, the City of Mesa has recognized the official spelling of Hohokam Park to be without the capital H and capital K in the middle of the word. The group that call themselves the HoHoKam's use the capital letters, but the actual group of Native Americans that the park is named after is spelled 'Hohokam.' To extend the debate, is it Hohokam Park or Hohokam Stadium. While both are acceptable, the games are played in Hohokam Stadium, which is located in Hohokam Park.
Hitting For The Cycle... in the First Inning:
In what may be one of the rarest feats of Arizona State baseball history, the Devils led off the Feb. 9 game vs. Tennessee in grand fashion with the first four hitters combining to hit for the cycle in the first inning. Leadoff hitter Steve Garrabrants led off the game with a first-pitch home run, then Dustin Pedroia followed with a double, then Rod Allen singled and to cap off the amazing event, Jeremy West tripled to give ASU the early 2-0 lead.
True freshman third baseman Dustin Pedroia has been a sparkplug at the plate and nearly flawless in the field. With his average well above .350 before the Florida State series, Pedroia had a good series vs. Arizona (6x13) to improve his average to .314 on the year with seven doubles, one triple and a home run. The slick-fielder has made only one error in 93 total chances for a .989 fielding percentage. At the plate he has recorded hits in 19 of ASU's 27 games and has nine extra base hits (7 2B/1 3B/1 HR). Pedroia has already started three positions this year and figures to be ASU's starter at shortstop the rest of the way. He has started 14 games at third base, eight games at second base and the last five at shortstop this year. He recently had a nine-game hitting streak snapped in which he hit .353 (12x34).
Ethier At Bat:
Newly named Pac-10 Player of the Week Andre Ethier came to ASU, left ASU, and is now back at ASU, and boy, ASU is happy. The sweet-swinging Ethier leads the team in hitting through 27 games with a .369 (38x103) batting average. Ethier has 11 multi-hit games on the year, five of which have been three-hit affairs and one a four-hit game. After earning All-State honors at St. Mary's High School as a senior in 2000, Sun Devil right fielder Andre Ethier followed his dreams and came to Arizona State University to play baseball. With playing time not working out, Ethier decided to play his freshman year at Chandler-Gilbert CC. Making a name for himself by hitting .468 at the JC level last year, Ethier spurned an offer from the Oakland Athletics after being drafted in the 37th round and came back to Arizona State. He is one of only three Devils to start all 27 games for the Sun Devils, with 26 coming in right field and one start coming at first base. He has a hit in 20 of 27 games this year.