14th-Ranked Baseball Takes On Cal In Three-Game Home Series
April 17, 2002
Apr. 19 vs. California, 6 p.m. PST
CAL - Brent Hale - RHP (2-2, 6.55 ERA)
ASU - Mike Esposito - RHP (6-4, 2.96 ERA)
Apr. 20 vs. California, 6 p.m. PST
CAL - Trevor Hutchinson - RHP (7-4, 3.09 ERA)
ASU - TBA
Apr. 21 vs. California, 1 p.m. PST
CAL - Matt Brown - RHP (4-1, 3.16 ERA)
ASU - Robbie McClellan - RHP (7-2, 4.10 ERA)
All three games of Sun Devil baseball games vs. Call this weekend will be broadcast over the internet (www.TheSunDevils.com) and in the Phoenix area on XTRA 910 AM. Tim Healey and Bob Eger will bring you all the action from Hohokam Stadium, including pregame and postgame radio shows. The LiveStats will return after a two-week absence on the road. The Sun Devils are 11-8 this year when games are broadcast on the radio.
SETTING UP THE SERIES:
The Sun Devils (24-13, 8-4) are in first place in the Pac-10 by a half game over USC with the first half of the 2002 Pac-10 schedule completed. ASU has won seven of the last nine games against the Cal Golden Bears and will be playing them for the first time in Arizona since a sweep in 1999. The Sun Devils have won eight straight Pac-10 series dating back to last year after taking two of three at UCLA last weekend. The Golden Bears enter weekend play with a 24-18 record overall and a 6-6 mark in conference play. Cal is 5-5 in its last five games and are coming off a midweek 9-2 win over Fresno State. Sophomore first baseman Connor Jackson is second in the league with a .396 batting average.
What's On Tap:
The 14th-ranked Sun Devils finally return home to spacious Hohokam Stadium after seven straight games on the road. Currently leading the Pac-10 by a half game over USC with a 8-4 record in league play, the Devils take on the Cal Golden Bears (24-18, 6-6) in a three-game set this weekend starting Friday at 6 p.m. The Devils have won seven of the last nine in the series with the Golden Bears, including a convincing sweep in 1999 when Cal last visited the Valley of the Sun. After the three-game series with Cal, ASU will take to the road for a single game with Oklahoma (Apr. 24) at Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City, then travel to South Bend, Ind., for a two-game series with Notre Dame (Apr. 26-27).
More Quick Hits:
Recapping The UCLA Series:
For the third straight weekend, the Devils pulled out a series win on the road with a strong performance in the series finale. After taking the opening game 4-3 in extra innings, ASU lost 10-2 Saturday before unleashing for a 15-2 victory Sunday. Rod Allen plated the game-winning hit in the 11th inning Friday to give the Devils their first extra-inning victory this year. After a disappointing effort Saturday, the Devils used several key hits from the bottom of the order and scored 12 two-out runs en route to the series clinching 15-2 win over the Bruins. Sophomore Steve Garrabrants led the team at the plate going 5-for-13 with six RBI in the series. Reliever Ryan Schroyer and Sunday starter Robbie McClellan picked up the wins on the mound for the Sun Devils.
Schroyer + Bullpen = Dominating:
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 has since been moved into the closer role where he has recorded an amazing 28 strikeouts in just 18.2 innings of work as a reliever. For the season he is 3-1 with three saves and a team best 2.35 ERA. He has struck out 54 batters in just 38.1 innings of work. In 18.2 bullpen innings, Schroyer is 2-0 with three saves and an amazing 0.48 ERA, allowing only one earned run and eight hits. He is ranked second in the Pac-10 with his 2.35 ERA, 7th with 54 strikeouts, fifth with three saves and third with 12 games finished. His 12.8 K's per nine innings is ranked seventh in the NCAA. Schroyer picked up the win in Friday's 11-inning victory over UCLA with four solid innings out of the bullpen.
Devils Take Pac-10 Lead Into Weekend Series:
The Sun Devils take a half game lead in the Pac-10 standings into this weekend's three-game set with the Cal Golden Bears. Already half through their 2002 conference slate, ASU won all four series by 2-1 margins. With three of their four road series already completed, the Devils will be looking for a strong finish against four of the top teams in the conference. ASU was a combined 5-7 vs. teams last year that remain on ASU's Pac-10 schedule this year (Cal, Stanford, USC, Oregon State).
Looking Ahead To Next Weekend:
Heading into this weekend the Devils have 18 games remaining on their 2002 regular season schedule. After the weekend set with Cal, the Devils will take a two-week break from Pac-10 play, next traveling to Stanford after the completion of final exams (May 10-12). After the Cal series, ASU will play seven of its next 10 games against non-conference opponents. The Devils travel to Oklahoma City for a single game next Wednesday vs. Oklahoma (21-15) at Bricktown Ballpark, the Triple-A home of the Oklahoma Redhawks. ASU will then continue on to South Bend, Ind., for a two-game series with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The series at Notre Dame will mark the first time since his coaching days at ND that head coach Pat Murphy will return to the program he built into a national power.
When Murph Returns To Notre Dame...:
When ASU head coach Pat Murphy returns to Notre Dame next weekend, it will mark the first time he will step foot in South Bend since leaving for the head job at ASU in 1994. In seven seasons at Notre Dame, Murphy turned the program into a national power, going 318-116-1 during his tenure. He led the Irish to its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 19 years in 1989 and averaged over 46 wins per season. ASU assistant coach Mike Rooney also played for Murphy at Notre Dame.
Devils Prove To Be Clutch With Two Outs:
Arizona State scored 12 of its 15 runs vs. UCLA last Sunday with two outs. Looking back at all 37 games this year, ASU has scored just about half of their runs with two outs. The Sun Devils have tabbed 62 runs with no outs, 85 with one out and a remarkable 146 of 293 with two outs. As a team the Sun Devils are hitting .304 (122x401).
West Continues Season Trend By Being Named Pac-10 Player of the Week:
Jeremy West became the fourth ASU player to earn a Pac-10 Player of the Week honor when he earned the award after the Washington State series. West, from Las Vegas, helped lead ASU to a series win over WSU by hitting a home run in each game against the Cougars. Despite going only 1-for-12 in the UCLA series, West leads the team with 29 extra base hits (15 2B/3 3B/11 HR), 46 RBI and is fourth on the team in hitting at .350 (48x137). West has started 36 of ASU's 37 games this year, recording hits in 27 of those games. He has also tabbed 17 multi-hit games and 11 multi-RBI games. The Player of the Week honor is the first for West in his career. It is the 65th selection all-time for Arizona State. ASU has now had two Pac-10 Player of the Week awards this year in addition to two Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week awards. Andre Ethier has also been named the Pac-10 Player of the Week this year (Mar. 26), while Mike Esposito (Apr. 1) and Robbie McClellan (Mar. 12) have been named Pac-10 Pitcher's of the Week.
The Sun Devils have been through four catchers this year, but seems as if they have found their match in senior Cesar Castillo. The senior backstop from Yuma, Ariz., has started the last eight games and now has 10 career starts under his belt. While hitting .243 (9x37) on the year, Castillo has been stellar in the last two Sunday series finales vs. Washington State and UCLA. Castillo, who is 11-for-44 in his two-year career as a Sun Devil, has combined to go 5-for-7 (.714) with five RBI and two doubles in the last two Sunday games.
Looking to find the perfect starting lineup as the Sun Devils play their final 18 regular season games, head coach Pat Murphy has used a different starting lineup in 21 consecutive games and 29 different lineups in the 2002 season. Mixing and matching with a number of players earning starts, not one starting batting order has remained the same since back-to-back games vs. Loyola Marymount (3/3) and New Mexico State (3/5). ASU has also mixed and matched for 22 different starting lineups by position.
Eight Pac-10 Series Wins and Counting:
The Sun Devils will be looking to extend an impressive streak this weekend with eight straight Pac-10 series wins under their belt. Starting last Apr. 12-14 with a 2-1 series win over Washington State, the Devils have since rattled off series wins against Arizona (2-1), Washington (3-0), UCLA (2-1), at Arizona (2-1), Washington (2-1), at Washington State (2-1) and at UCLA (2-1).
Series Finales All of a Sudden Worth Watching:
The Devils have won three straight series finales to help them into a half game lead over USC in the Pac-10 standings. While they dropped several key Sunday games early in the season (at Florida State, CS Fullerton, Oklahoma), ASU has rebounded to earn three straight series wins in impressive fashion. Starting with the 13-6 win over Washington (3/30), the Devils have scored 50 runs behind 55 hits in the last three series finales. ASU earned its most impressive victory of the year with a 22-4 win over Washington State (4/7) and are coming off a 15-2 win over UCLA on Sunday.
The All-Time Series vs. the Cal Golden Bears:
Arizona State leads the all-time series against the Cal Golden Bears by a margin of 87-48. ASU has won seven of the last nine in the series, with the last two series played at Evans Diamond in Berkeley. ASU swept Cal in a three-game series at Packard Stadium in 1999 when the Bears last visited Arizona to face the Sun Devils. ASU head coach Pat Murphy is 23-9 vs. Cal since 1995.
Last Year vs. The Golden Bears:
Arizona State took two of three from the Golden Bears last year to open conference play in a three-game conference series at Evans Diamond. Rod Allen was key in the two wins, going 5-for-9 (.556) in the series. ASU won the opening game 7-4 and then won 4-2 in come-from-behind fashion with Nick Walsh scoring two on a single in the ninth inning.
The Last Time Facing Cal In Arizona:
The Sun Devils have not faced Cal in their home stadium since the 1999 season when ASU swept the three-game Pac-10 series (Mar. 26-28) at Packard Stadium. ASU out-scored the Golden Bears 56-21 in the series, including a 25-0 thumping in the middle game of the series. ASU also earned wins of 12-10 in the opener and 19-11 in the series finale.
The Wild, Wild West:
Sophomore first baseman Jeremy West leads the Sun Devils in nearly every offensive category and is two weeks removed from being named the Pac-10 Player of the Week. West hit a home run in each of ASU's three games at Washington State and now has a team-leading 11 home runs on the year. He has five of his 11 home runs in the last 10 games. Despite going only 1-for-12 last weekend vs. UCLA, West still leads the Pac-10 in doubles (15), slugging percentage (.745) and is second in RBI (46) and total bases (102). He is second with 11 home runs and is fourth on the team with a .350 batting average. He also leads the team with 29 extra base hits, 17 multi-hit games and 11 multi-RBI games. He has tabbed at least one RBI in 23 of his 36 games played this year (64%).
The Streak Continues. ASU Enters Weekend With Scoring Streak at 412:
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 in that game on April 7, 1995 at Dedeaux Field. The one run scored in the 11-1 loss to Arizona (3/24) marked only the 12th time during the streak that ASU has scored only one run. The streak continues at 412 consecutive games with ASU scoring in each of the 37 games this year. The Devils have extended the streak early in a majority of its games, with a run in the first inning 21 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. ASU celebrated its 7th anniversary of the streak with a 22-4 win over WSU on Apr. 7, 2002.
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 transferring from a junior college. To show how young ASU really is, when ASU played at UCLA last weekend, no player on the roster had ever played at Jackie Robinson Stadium. The starting lineup vs. Washington State (4/7) also exemplified how young the Devils are this year, with no starter having full-time Pac-10 experience.
McKenna Comes Up Clutch:
Sophomore Ryan McKenna has been the clutch hitter for ASU as of late. In his 80th career at-bat he belted his first career home run vs. UNLV (4/1) and hit a bases clearing three-run double vs. Washington State (4/6) to help lift ASU to a 13-7 victory. For the season McKenna is now hitting .298, much in part to his .412 batting average in his last six games (four starts). He is hitting .500 (4x8) as a pinch-hitter and is 3-for-4 (.750) with the bases loaded this year.
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 sound track 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 at Paris Casino in Las Vegas as part of a group called Cat Daddy. 'Espo', a fifth-round pick by the Cincinnati Reds out of high school, has been solid for ASU on the mound this year with a 6-4 record and a 2.96 ERA. Esposito had one of the best pitching performances in Sun Devil baseball history when he struck out 17 batters in a complete-game victory over the University of Washington (3/29) at Hohokam Stadium. He allowed only three runs (two earned) and eight hits in his second complete-game of the year. Esposito, a redshirt sophomore from Las Vegas, Nev. (Cimarron-Memorial High School) registered the sixth most K's in a single game in ASU history and the most since 1997. Over his last seven starts he is 4-2 with a 2.30 ERA. Over that same stretch has registered 55 strikeouts in 47.0 innings pitched. The preseason All-American and 2001 Team USA member is now 12-6 in his two-years at ASU.
A Night to Remember, Esposito Strikes Out 17 vs. Washington:
Here is how Esposito's 17-strikeout game ranks among the top performances in ASU school history. It is the most by a Sun Devil pitcher since Ryan Mills struck out 17 vs. Southern Illinois in 1997 and no on has had more in a Sun Devil uniform since the 1973 season.
22 - Sterling Slaughter, 3-18-63 vs. CSU21 - Eddie Bane, 4-1-72 vs. LaVerne (14 inn.)20 - Jim Otten, 5-23-73 vs. BYU19 - Eddie Bane, 6-1-73 vs. Denver18 - Gary Gentry, 5-22-67 vs. Arizona17 - Mike Esposito, 3-29-02 vs. Washington17 - Ryan Mills, 2-14-97 vs. Southern Illinois17 - Sean Rees, 3-9-90 vs. California
McClellan Still A Perfect 5-0 as a Starter:
Robbie McClellan is tied for the Pac-10 lead and listed seventh in the current NCAA rankings with his 7-2 record. He improved to 7-2 on the year with Sunday's victory over UCLA (8.0 IP) and is now a perfect 5-0 as a starter this year. He is currently ranked second in the Pac-10 with 67 strikeouts and is fourth with opposing batters hitting only .235 off him. 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 (3/8). 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 has an overall 4.10 ERA in 68.0 innings pitched, an mark that is third best among ASU's everyday pitchers. He became the 43rd selection all-time for Arizona State as Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week after his performance vs. UNLV. McClellan is nicknamed 'The Child' by his teammates for his boyish looks. He transferred to ASU from Seward County CC in Liberal, Kan., where he set school records for strikeouts and was 16-4 in his two years.
Home Sweet Home:
The Devils finally return to Hohokam Park after a seven-game road trip and a stretch of 10 of the last 13 games on the road. After gaining two wins at UCLA last weekend, the Devils are now 6-8 this year on the road, enduring a three-game sweep at Florida State and losing a pair of non-conference games at New Mexico State and UNLV. The two wins at Washington State marked the first wins this year outside of the state of Arizona. ASU is 18-6 at home this year, going 15-5 at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa and 3-0 at Packard Stadium on the ASU campus. The Devils are hitting .314 at home (13 HR), compared to a .298 mark (13 HR) on the road. The pitching has varied with a 3.16 ERA at home and a 6.04 mark in ASU's 14 road games this year. ASU was 25-9-1 at home last year and 11-9 on the road in 2001.
Road Warriors Finally Return Home:
The Sun Devils ended their seven-game road trip with a 4-3 record and gained two valuable Pac-10 road series wins. The Devils return home to play Cal this weekend, but will be right back on the road for six of their next seven games. ASU leaves Tuesday for a non-conference road trip for a single game at Oklahoma (Apr. 24) and two games at Notre Dame (Apr. 26-27). ASU finished the seven-game road trip hitting .312 as a team and pitching for a 5.08 ERA.
Sun Devil Baseball Successful in April:
The Sun Devil baseball program now has an all-time 518-220 record in the month of April dating back to the 1959 season when varsity baseball started. The Devils are 4-3 to start the month and have the busiest portion of their schedule ahead of them with seven games left to play in April. ASU was 10-6 last year in April and have a 23-11 record dating back to 2000 in the month of April. ASU head coach Pat Murphy is a combined 74-43 in the month of April in his eight years in Tempe.
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