Baseball America Tabs Sun Devils No. 9 In Preseason Poll

Jan. 5, 2005

TEMPE, Ariz. ( -- The Arizona State baseball team earned its seventh top 10 preseason ranking in the last 11 seasons as Baseball America tabbed the Sun Devils No. 9 in its annual preseason top 50 poll.

ASU also received top-10 billings to start the season in 1996 (#9, Collegiate Baseball), 1997 (#7, Baseball America), 1998 (#6, BA; #5, CB), 2001 (#6, BA; #6 CB), 2003 (#8, BA) and 2004 (#7, CB). The Sun Devils also earned a preseason No. 11 ranking from Collegiate Baseball for the 2005 season.

The Sun Devils are coming off a 41-18 season in 2004 and return 15 letterwinners and nearly its entire pitching staff. ASU started spring practice earlier this week and open the 2005 season Jan. 28-30 against No. 14/22 Long Beach State at Packard Stadium (6:30 p.m., 1 p.m., 1 p.m.).

The Sun Devils are scheduled to play 21 games against eight teams listed in Baseball America's preseason top 25. Along with playing Pac-10 ranked opponents Stanford (#6), Washington (#8) and Arizona (#12), the Sun Devils will also play No. 1 Tulane (Feb. 18-20), No. 2 LSU (Mar. 11, 13), No. 11 Baylor (Feb. 25-27) and No. 14 North Carolina (Mar. 4). Fourteen (14) of ASU's first 25 games come against ranked opponents, including a stretch of nine straight games against Arizona, Tulane, Baylor and North Carolina in late February and early March. Pac-10 foe USC also ranked No. 30 in the extended top 50 preseason poll.

'I am very excited about our team in 2005 and the leadership and energy this team brings to the field,' said 11th year head coach Pat Murphy. 'We have a tough schedule very early in the season and that is really going to test this squad. We have a great chance to go out and accomplish our goals of being the very best team in the nation.'

Tulane, who ASU beat two-out-of-three last season, earned Baseball America's preseason No. 1 ranking. Perennial national powers LSU, Cal State Fullerton, Texas and Miami (Fla.) round out the top five. The Sun Devils will meet the Green Wave Feb. 18-20 in New Orleans and the No. 2 Tigers Mar. 11 and Mar. 13 at historic Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge, La.

Thursday, Baseball America will announce its preseason All-America teams. Junior outfielder Travis Buck (Richland, Wash.) and senior right-handed pitcher Jason Urquidez (Simi Valley, Calif.) were both named second-team preseason All-Americans by the NCBWA. The duo, along with senior 1B/3B Jeff Larish (Tempe, Ariz.), earned third-team preseason All-America honors from Collegiate Baseball.

Team (2004 Record)

The Skinny


Tulane (41-21)

Two-way talents Brian Bogusevic, Micah Owings head deep lineup and pitching staff.


Louisiana State (46-19)

Veteran Tigers seek third straight CWS trip behind deep offense, improved pitching.


Cal State Fullerton (47-22)

Jr. LHP Ricky Romero serves as the ace of a deep staff for the defending CWS champs.


Texas (58-15)

Jr. RHP J. Brent Cox replaces Huston Street as the closer for an always-talented staff.


Miami (50-13)

Jrs. SS Ryan Braun and RHP Cesar Carillo could each be first-round picks in June.


Stanford (46-14)

2B Jed Lowrie, 1B John Mayberry Jr. ranked first and fifth in Pac-10 OPS last year.


South Carolina (53-17)

Gamecocks feature three seniors in rotation and Sr. 3B Steve Pearce (.346-21-70).


Washington (39-20)

So. RHPs Tim Lincecum, Kyle Parker front the Pac-10's best pitching staff


Arizona State (41-18)

First-round talents Jr. OF Travis Buck and Sr. 1B Jeff Larish lead a stout offense.


Georgia (45-23)

Deep, experienced Bulldogs must deal with expectations following a surprise CWS run.


Baylor (29-31)

Senior-laden Bears return nearly everyone as they try to recover from disappointing '04.


Arizona (36-27)

Wildcats need freshmen arms to supplement explosive returning offense


Texas A&M (42-22)

SS Cliff Pennington and RHPs Robert Ray and Kevin Whelan all have scouts buzzing.


North Carolina (43-21)

Power-armed sophs RHP Daniel Bard and LHP Andrew Miller could be among first 10 picks in '06.


Florida (43-22)

Jr. transfer RHP Alan Horne replaces 2004 SEC Pitcher of the Year Justin Hoyman


Mississippi (39-21)

'04 Co-SEC player of the year 1B/LHP Stephen Head could win the national award.


Vanderbilt (45-19)

Jr. LHP Ryan Mullins posted a better ERA (2.58) than first-rounder Jeremy Sowers in '04


Rice (46-14)

Owls still hooting despite losing three first-round pitchers and a second rounder


Georgia Tech (44-21)

Talented but inexperienced pitching could make this ranking look conservative or generous


Notre Dame (51-12)

The draft took five contributors, but as many as nine juniors could still play major roles


Texas Christian (39-26)

Transfers RHP Lance Broadway and LHP Brad Furnish front a rebuilt rotation


Long Beach State (40-21)

Jr. LHP Cesar Ramos (12-4, 2.29) leads a rotation that lost Jered Weaver, Jason Vargas


Oklahoma State (38-24)

A score of transfers increases the talent level for Frank Anderson's second year


Oral Roberts (50-11)

Defending Mid-Conn player and pitcher of the year Dennis Bigley returns to a deep club


Winthrop (37-23)

Cape Cod League MVP Daniel Carte poised to leave as best Eagles hitter ever


Arkansas (45-24)

Won't be a surprise if the Razorbacks exceed expectations for second straight year


Florida State (45-23)

Sophs. Ryne Malone and Shane Robinson must fills shoes of Drew, Martinez-Esteve.


Mississippi State (35-24)

Jr. OF Brad Corley led SEC with 1.120 OPS in '04, and might pitch some this year.


College of Charleston (47-16)

Return eight of nine hitters, two of three starters and the closer from a year ago.


Southern California (24-32)

Jr. C Jeff Clement and So. RHP Ian Kennedy are one of nation's best sets of batterymates.


St. John's (37-23)

Big East sleeper returns majority of team that gave Long Beach State a regional scare.


Pepperdine (30-32)

Big league progeny Sean Tracy, Justin Sandberg, Drew Saberhagen highlight the roster.


Florida Atlantic (47-17)

Owls remain deep despite losing two senior arms and top two power threats from '04


Tennessee (38-24)

Jr. RHP Luke Hochevar likely won't need--or get--much run support.


Virginia (44-15)

Led by Team USA batting leader Ryan Zimmerman, Cavs hope to overachieve again.


Clemson (39-26)

Two-way Jr. Kris Harvey, son of Bryan, provides veteran influence to talented young club.


Central Florida (47-18)

Golden Knights must replace RHPs Matt Fox, Kyle Bono to repeat as Atlantic Sun's best.


Cal Poly (38-23)

Jr. LHP Garrett Olson and Sr. RHP Jimmy Shull combined for 192 K's in '04.


Wichita State (49-16)

Experience: Jr. RHP Mike Pelfrey and the staff have plenty, not so much for the offense


UC Irvine (34-23)

First-year coach Dave Serrano inherits the majority of an '04 regional team


Stetson (36-23)

A-Sun POY Chris Westervelt is gone, but the Hatters return everyone else


Hawaii (31-24)

Coach Mike Trapasso's fourth team should end Hawaii's 11-year regional drought


Alabama (29-26)

Reinforcements should provide more run support for '04 Freshman of the Year Wade LeBlanc


Fresno State (29-29)

So. SS Christian Vitters, Fr. 3B Beau Mills form a strong left side behind an experienced rotation


Minnesota (38-23)

Only Terry Steinbach had more RBIs in his first two years than Jr. 1B Andy Hunter


Michigan (34-26)

Jr. 2B Chris Getz (.364) returns to help third-year coach Rich Maloney chase his first Big 10 title


Louisiana-Lafayette (34-23)

Packed with seniors, it's the most complete Ragin Cajuns team since the '00 CWS run


San Diego (35-21)

Young, talented Toreros are sleepers this year, should be major players in 2006


Auburn (32-24)

Sr. 1B Karl Amonite brings his power back to the lineup after losing 2004 to injury


Nebraska (36-23)

Jr. 3B Alex Gordon primed to repeat his All-America and Big 12 POY performance

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