Play Ball! No. 9 Baseball Opens 2005 Season This Weekend Against Long Beach State
Jan. 25, 2005
ASU Baseball Links:
College Baseball Links:
2004 Final Stats | ASU Baseball Pride Points | Season Outlook
Long Beach State (0-0, 0-0 Big West)
Website | Weekly Release | 2004 Final Stats
Friday, Jan. 28, 2005, 6:30 p.m. - Packard Stadium; Tempe, Ariz.
Cesar Ramos, LHP (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Erik Averill, LHP (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Saturday, Jan. 29, 2005, 1 p.m. - Packard Stadium; Tempe, Ariz.
Cody Evans, RHP (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Jason Urquidez, RHP (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Sunday, Jan. 30, 2005, 1 p.m. - Packard Stadium; Tempe, Ariz.
TBA vs. Brett Bordes, LHP (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
What's On Tap:
The Arizona State Sun Devils (0-0, 0-0 Pac-10) open the 2005 season this weekend with a three-game series against nationally ranked Long Beach State. ASU heads into the 2005 campaign with a pair of top-10 preseason rankings, including No. 9 listings from Baseball America and ESPN/Sports Weekly. ASU's weekend series against the Dirtbags begins Friday night at 6:30 p.m. and continues Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. Following the season-opening weekend series against LBSU, the Devils will host New Mexico State, Gonzaga and Oregon State for the annual Bob Schaefer Memorial Tournament at Packard Stadium (Feb. 3-7).
The Friday and Sunday games against Long Beach State will be broadcast live in the Phoenix area on KDUS 1060 AM. Tim Healey and Bob Eger will call the action Friday, while Arizona Diamondbacks radio announcer Jeff Munn will join Eger for Sunday's game. Both games will also be available on the internet at www.TheSunDevils.com. All 56 games this season will be able to be followed via LiveStats on ASU's official athletic website.
Did You Know:
The Sun Devils are beginning the 94th year of baseball at Arizona State University dating back to 1907 and the 47th year as an official varsity sport dating back to 1959... ASU has an all-time 2,358-1,154-6 record... The Sun Devils are 26-2 in season openers dating back to 1977 and 9-1 during the Pat Murphy era (1995-P)... the offense returns 62% of its run production (RBI) and 69% of its innings pitched from last season... the Devils feature a trio of preseason All-Americans in Jeff Larish, Travis Buck and Jason Urquidez.
Let The Games Begin:
For the 19th time in the 47 years of varsity baseball at Arizona State University, the season will start in the month of January. ASU owns an all-time 67-7 (.905) in the month and has started the season in January in nine of Pat Murphy's 11 seasons at the helm of the program. San Diego and Cal Poly opened the college baseball season last weekend and notable programs also starting this weekend include Florida State, UCLA, Stanford and Fresno State. The Pac-10 slate begins Mar. 24-26 with the Sun Devils taking on USC in Los Angeles.
- Arizona State is 26-2 in season openers dating back to 1977.- Of ASU's 56 games this season, 28 will be played against teams that played in the 2004 NCAA Tournament (50%).- 14 of ASU's first 25 games come against teams ranked in the Sports Weekly/ESPN preseason top 25.- The schedule also includes 21 games against eight opponents ranked in Baseball America's preseason top 25.- ASU is ranked No. 9 (Baseball America), No. 9 (Sports Weekly/ESPN) and No. 11 (Collegiate Baseball).- The Devils are one of only six schools in the nation to have five players active who were drafted in 2004.- The Devils return three players with over 100 career games started (Buck, Larish, Gosewisch).- Sophomore closer Zechry Zinicola tied the ASU Freshman record with eight saves in 2004.- ASU has been ranked in 98 consecutive national polls dating back to the start of the 2000 season.- Senior RHP Jason Urquidez is one of only eight pitchers in the NCAA to return 12 or more wins from last season- Senior 3B Jeff Larish needs just eight more HR and eight more RBI to crack the ASU career top 10.- ASU has hit over .300 in 33 of 46 varsity seasons, including a string of 17 straight, and has hit .331 under Murphy.- RS-Freshman outfielder Rocky Laguna hit a two-run homer in the Alumni Game in his first at-bat as a Sun Devil.- Buck, Urquidez, Larish mark the fifth straight year ASU has had players selected as preseason All-Americans.- Senior Tuffy Gosewisch will become the only the second player in ASU history to start three seasons at catcher.- ASU's 29 scheduled home games at Packard Stadium are the fewest since 1998 (28).
Lo Duca To Be Honored Before Friday's Season Opener:
Former Arizona State catcher Paul Lo Duca will become the 14th player to have his jersey honored on the outfield fence at Packard Stadium. The current Florida Marlin All-Star catcher will be honored in a special pregame ceremony Friday (Jan. 28) before ASU's season opener against nationally ranked Long Beach State. Lo Duca's #16 jersey will be added to the outfield wall at Packard, recognizing him as one of the elite players to ever play in the program. A pregame ceremony will include the unveiling of the wall placard as well as the presentation of a framed # 16 jersey to Lo Duca. His name and jersey number will join Bobby Winkles (#1), Reggie Jackson (#44), Oddibe McDowell (#0), Barry Bonds (#24), Sal Bando (#6), Bob Horner (#5), Dr. Jim Brock (#33), Floyd Bannister (#19), Rick Monday (#27), Larry Gura (#14), Alan Bannister (#7), Eddie Bane (#21) and Hubie Brooks (#14) on the outfield fence at Packard Stadium. Playing only one year at ASU, Lo Duca was named The Sporting News Player of the Year in 1993, setting school records with a .446 batting average and 129 hits. He was also named a finalist for the prestigious Golden Spikes Award and his 37-game hitting streak remains the second longest in school history. Additionally, the Glendale CC transfer is only one of 11 players in school history to hit over .400 and record over 100 hits in the same season.
Arizona State opens the 2005 season ranked in the top 12 in the nation in all three preseason polls. The Sun Devils are ranked No. 9 by Baseball America, No. 9 by Sports Weekly/ESPN and No. 11 by Collegiate Baseball. ASU extends a streak of being ranked for 98 consecutive weeks in the national polls dating back to the start of the 2000 season. ASU finished the 2004 season with a 41-18 record and ranked 20th in the Sports Weekly/ESPN poll.
The Sun Devils will be lead by a trio of preseason All-Americans in 2005. Senior third baseman Jeff Larish, junior right fielder Travis Buck and senior right-handed pitcher Jason Urquidez all earned national preseason honors from various publications. Buck, who hit .373 with nine home runs and 58 RBI last season, earned first-team honors from Baseball America, second-team from NCBWA and third-team from Collegiate Baseball. Buck was also named to the initial watch list for the Brooks Wallace Player of the Year award. Larish was a third-team selection by Baseball America and Urquidez was named second-team by the NCBWA and third-team by Collegiate Baseball.
Buck and Larish Named Preseason All-Pac-10 by Baseball America:
Arizona State had a pair of players named to the annual preseason All-Pac-10 team as selected by Baseball America. Junior right fielder Travis Buck (OF) and senior third baseman Jeff Larish (DH) both were named to the squad. In addition, Larish was voted as having the 'best strike zone discipline' and Buck was voted as having the 'best outfield arm' and as being the 'best all-around athlete' in the league. Buck was also named the Pac-10's No. 3 prospect for the 2005 MLB Draft. Other preseason honors handed out to the Devils by Baseball America included shortstop Andrew Romine being named the Pac-10's No. 2 top newcomer and sophomore closer Zechry Zinicola being voted as having the league's best fastball.
ASU is an Offensive Powerhouse:
Arizona State is coming off a 41-18 season in 2004 in which they led the Pac-10 and ranked 12th in the nation in hitting with a .325 team batting average. ASU has led the Pac-10 in hitting in five of the last six seasons and ranked in the top 20 in the nation in five of the last six years. In 46 seasons of varsity baseball dating back to 1959, Arizona State has combined to hit .315 with 31,358 hits and 2,859 home runs.
Tough Schedule Awaits Sun Devils in 2005:
After having the top-rated non-conference schedule in the nation last season, the Sun Devil baseball program has set another challenging slate for the 2005 season. ASU's rigorous 2005 schedule includes 23 games against eight teams ranked in the Sports Weekly/ESPN preseason top 25. The Sun Devils will play two games against No. 4 LSU (Mar. 11, 13), three games against No. 5 Tulane (Feb. 18-20), three against No. 6 Stanford (Apr. 15-17), one against No. 11 North Carolina (Mar. 4), five against in-state rival Arizona (Feb. 18, Feb. 23, May 14-16), three at No. 12 Washington (May 20-22), a season-opening three-game series against No. 16 Long Beach State (Jan. 28-30) and three games against No. 21 Baylor (Feb. 25-27). Fourteen of ASU's first 25 games are against teams ranked in the top 25. ASU is also scheduled to play 24 games against teams ranked in the Baseball America preseason top 40 and 24 games against teams listed in the Collegiate Baseball top 40. In addition, ASU will be playing 28 games against teams that played in the 2004 NCAA Tournament and 35 games against teams that have competed in the Field of 64 in the last two seasons.
What Returns in 2005:
The Sun Devils return 15 letterwinners from last season after posting the fourth 40-win season during the Pat Murphy era. In addition, seven position players with 25 or more starts and seven pitchers with 20 or more innings pitched are back on the diamond for the 2005 season. Led by 58 RBI from junior outfielder Travis Buck and 49 each from seniors Jeff Larish (3B) and Tuffy Gosewisch (C), ASU returns 62% of its run production (RBI) from last season. Jason Urquidez logged a team-high 97.2 innings pitched after going 12-3 with a 3.41 ERA and is part of a pitching staff that returns 69% of its innings pitched. ASU also returns 27 of 50 home runs (54%) and 34 of 56 stolen bases (61%).
ASU is 26-2 On Opening Day Dating Back To 1977:
Arizona State owns an all-time 26-2 record in season openers dating back to the 1977 season when accurate season records are available. Dating back to 1977, ASU has opened a season in the month of January 19 different times, including all but two seasons under head coach Pat Murphy. Murphy owns a 9-1 record in season openers, combining to outscore their opponent 95-29 in those games. In his 17 years as a head coach at the Division I level (10 at ASU, 7 at Notre Dame), Murphy has lost only one game (2001 to Texas-Arlington). One of his season openers actually came against ASU when the Irish defeated the Sun Devils 11-4 in 1993. Below is a list of ASU's last 28 season openers dating back to 1977.
Feb. 16, 1977 Azusa Pacific W, 12-7Feb. 11, 1978 CS Northridge W, 22-8Feb. 04, 1979 CS Dominguez Hills W, 5-2Feb. 04, 1980 Azusa Pacific W, 8-4Feb. 02, 1981 Long Beach State W, 6-4Feb. 01, 1982 Chico State W, 12-7Jan. 31, 1983 CS Los Angeles W, 7-4Feb. 01, 1984 CS Los Angeles W, 8-3Jan. 31, 1985 UC Santa Barbara W, 9-8Jan. 31, 1986 Cal Poly Pomona W, 10-7Jan. 31, 1987 San Francisco W, 20-1Jan. 21, 1988 UC Santa Barbara W, 4-3Jan. 27, 1989 UC Riverside W, 4-1Jan. 19, 1990 Grand Canyon W, 12-2Jan. 25, 1991 Long Beach State W, 5-4Feb. 01, 1992 Texas Tech W, 4-3Jan. 28, 1993 at Hawaii L, 4-9Jan. 27, 1994 New Mexico State W, 11-2Jan. 27, 1995 Duke W, 7-0Feb. 02, 1996 Loyola Marymount W, 19-7Jan. 24, 1997 UC Santa Barbara W, 5-2Jan. 22, 1998 CS Northridge W, 7-3Jan. 15, 1999 Utah W, 17-4Jan. 21, 2000 Utah W, 13-2Jan. 26, 2001 Texas-Arlington L, 3-5Jan. 31, 2002 Oregon State W, 13-5Jan. 16, 2003 at Hawaii-Hilo W, 9-0Feb. 06, 2004 Florida State (#18) W, 2-1
Sun Devils Picked To Finish Second and Third in Pac-10:
The Sun Devils enter the season as the preseason pick to finish third in the Pac-10 in a poll of the league coaches. Stanford was picked first, while Washington, ASU, Arizona and USC round out the top five. ASU was also picked to finish second by Collegiate Baseball and third by Baseball America. Here is a look at the three preseason Pac-10 baseball polls:
Pac-10 Poll (Coaches) Collegiate Baseball Baseball America1. Stanford 1. Stanford 1. Stanford2. Washington 2. Arizona State 2. Washington3. Arizona State 3. Arizona 3. Arizona State Arizona 4. Washington 4. Arizona5. USC 5. USC 5. USC6. Oregon State 6. UCLA 6. UCLA7. California 7. California 7. California8. UCLA 8. Oregon State 8. Oregon State9. WSU 9. WSU 9. WSU
All-Time Series vs. Long Beach State:
Arizona State leads the all-time series against Long Beach State 28-4. The Sun Devils last played the 49ers during the 54-win 2003 season, winning two of three games at Blair Field in Long Beach. After enduring an 11-5 loss in the series opener, ASU came back to win the next two games, 3-0 and 4-2 respectively. In the 3-0 victory on Feb. 1, senior RHP Jered Liebeck threw a complete-game, three-hit gem to earn National Pitcher of the Week honors. The Sun Devils won the rubber-match behind a strong start from then freshman left-hander Erik Averill (6.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 0 ER).
Persichina Has Long Beach State Ties:
Arizona State sophomore infielder Joe Persichina has some family ties to the baseball program at Long Beach State. His father, Joe Persichina, was an all-conference outfielder for the 49ers in 1972-73 under head coach John Gonsalves. He was also a two-time junior college All-American at Rangely College in Colorado. The younger Persichina hit .320 (48-for-150) with 24 RBI as a freshman last season and earned honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors.
Team USA Connections:
Junior right fielder Travis Buck will face a pair of his teammates from this summer when he helped the USA Baseball National Team win a gold medal in the FISU World University Baseball Championships in Tainan, Taiwan. Buck teamed with Long Beach State shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and left-handed pitcher Cesar Ramos to help Team USA to an impressive summer season that was capped by the gold medal performance in Taiwan. Buck was second on the team in hitting with a .412 batting average and was named a first-team Summer All-American by Baseball America. Tulowitzki hit .299 and tied for the team lead with four home runs. Ramos finished the summer with a 3-2 record and a 3.33 ERA in seven games (four starts).
Five Sun Devils Ranked Among Nation's Top 50:
Five Arizona State Sun Devils have been ranked among the nation's top 50 of their class in the 2005 Baseball America College Baseball Preview. In the Freshmen Fab 50, shortstop Andrew Romine (#3) and outfielder J.J. Sferra (#33) were both ranked. Left fielder Colin Curtis ranked No. 26 among the sophomores and right fielder Travis Buck was listed No. 13 amongst the star-studded junior class. Seniors Jeff Larish (#1) and Jason Urquidez (#6) were ranked among the top 10 seniors in the nation.
The recruiting class that will debut on the diamond this season was recognized as the No. 2 class in the nation by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball. ASU recruiting coordinator Jay J. Sferra has landed top 10 recruiting classes in each of the past seven seasons, including the upcoming 2006 class being lauded as one of the top classes in the nation. The group of players that recently signed NLI's with the Sun Devils include nationally ranked prep players Michael Bowden (RHP), Ike Davis (LHP/1B), Matt Hall (SS), Jeff Lyman (RHP), Preston Paramore (C), Mark Pawelek (LHP), Jeff Urlaub (LHP) and Brett Wallace (3B). ASU also inked junior college transfers Mark Novak (LHP), CJ Retherford (UTL), Matt Trink (RHP) and Ryan Zimmerman (RHP).
Buck Ready For Big Junior Year:
Junior outfielder Travis Buck has some high expectations heading into the 2005 season. He was named a consensus preseason All-American, including being a first-team pick by Baseball America. After a stellar summer with the USA Baseball National Team in which he hit .412, Buck is projected as a first-round draft pick and is listed as the No. 18 prospect (No. 15 college prospect) for the 2005 MLB Draft. The Richland, Wash., native enters his junior season as a career .349 (162-for-464) hitter with 13 home runs, 104 RBI and 25 stolen bases. He has recorded at least one hit in 94 of 125 games played (75%) and has 44 multi-hit games and 46 career extra base hits (29 2B, 4 3B, 13 HR) for a .513 slugging percentage. He was named a first-team All-Pac-10 selection last year after hitting .373 (84-for-225) with 58 RBI and nine home runs.
Year Avg GP-GS AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB-ATT2003.... .326 66-65 239 59 78 13 3 4 46 35 28 12-142004.... .373 59-59 225 64 84 16 1 9 58 41 34 13-16TOTAL... .349 125-124 464 123 162 29 4 13 104 76 62 25-30
Buck Named Summer All-American:
Junior right fielder Travis Buck was named a first-team Summer All-American by Baseball America after hitting .412 (28-for-68) with six multi-hit games, two home runs and 14 RBI. He was a big part of Team USA's impressive end-of-the-summer run that saw the Red, White and Blue win the gold medal at the FISU World University Baseball Championship in Tainan, Taiwan. Buck became the seventh Sun Devil since 1998 to play on the USA Baseball National Team.
Larish Looking For More Big Numbers:
Third baseman Jeff Larish entered the 2004 season as a projected first-round draft pick, but after battling high expectations and some injuries during the season, he has returned to ASU for his senior season. He decided to return to school after turning down a reported six-figure signing bonus after being drafted in the 13th round by the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 156 career games, Larish is a career .337 hitter (202-for-599) with 28 home runs and 168 RBI. He needs just eight more RBI and eight more home runs to enter the top 10 in the ASU career record books in both categories. He is coming off a disappointing season in which he hit .308 with seven home runs and 49 RBI and is looking to return to his sophomore season form in which he was named a first-team All-American after hitting .372 (87-for-234) with 80 runs, 18 doubles, 18 home runs, 95 RBI and 78 walks. Larish was also a first-team Summer All-American in 2003 after leading the USA Baseball National Team to a silver medal in the Pan Am Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and led Team USA with 23 RBI and eight home runs.
Year Avg GP-GS AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB-ATT2002.... .328 34-33 128 31 42 4 3 3 24 29 19 0-12003.... .372 65-64 234 80 87 18 2 18 95 78 42 3-52004.... .308 57-57 237 46 73 17 0 7 49 35 50 3-7TOTAL... .337 156-154 599 157 202 39 5 28 168 142 111 6-13
Just a Walk in the Park For Larish:
Senior third baseman Jeff Larish is fourth in ASU history with 142 career walks (see list on page 4) and has recorded at least one walk in 97 of 156 career games. His 78 walks in 2003 are second most in ASU single-season history and he is only the second player in school history to join the 70/70 (RBI/BB) club in a season. Former major leaguer Alvin Davis recorded 87 walks and 91 RBI in 1982 and holds the school record with 207 career walks. Additionally, the third-team preseason All-American (Collegiate Baseball/Baseball America) has recorded 35 career multi-walk games, 61 multi-hit games, 44 multi-RBI contests and 72 career extra base hits for a .559 slugging percentage. In 156 career games, he has recorded a hit in 78% of his games played (122 of 156).
Urquidez Among Top Returning Pitchers in NCAA:
Senior RHP Jason Urquidez is one of only eight pitchers in the NCAA to return 12 or more wins from last season. Urquidez earned first-team All-Pac-10 and honorable mention CollegeBaseballInsider.com All-America honors last season while leading the league with 12 wins. He went 12-3 with a 3.41 ERA and struck out a team-high 94 batters in 97.2 innings. The Central Arizona College transfer was also a workhorse for the Sun Devils, lasting five or more innings in 12 of his 17 starts. He earned national acclaim and a spot on the Clemens Award Watch List after posting a complete-game, three-hit victory over defending national champion Rice on Feb. 22, 2004. He out-dueled eventual first-round draft pick Jeff Niemann and was named the Pac-10 and National Pitcher of the Week. Urquidez was selected as a preseason All-American by the NCBWA (2nd team) and Collegiate Baseball (3rd team) and is listed as the No. 6 senior in the nation by Baseball America. Below is a look at the top returning pitchers for 2005:
Ricky Romero, Jr., Cal State Fullerton
Dennis Bigley, Sr., Oral Roberts
Aaron Rawl, Sr., South Carolina
Cesar Carrillo, Jr., Miami
Rowdy Hardy, Sr., Austin Peay State
Jason Urquidez, Sr., Arizona State
Ronald Hill, Sr., UNC Wilmington
Cesar Ramos, Jr., Long Beach State
Averill Gets Opening-Night Start:
Junior left-handed pitcher Erik Averill has been announced as the starting pitcher for Friday's season opener against No. 14 Long Beach State. In 46 career games and 19 starts, Averill has posted a career 12-6 record with a 4.38 ERA in 162.1 IP. The Orange, Calif., native earned Freshman All-America honors after going 8-2 with a 3.66 ERA in 2003. He spent most of last season pitching out of the bullpen, going 4-4 with two saves and a 5.19 ERA. He had a solid summer in the Cape Cod League with the Orleans Cardinals going 5-3 with a 1.70 ERA and 62 strikeouts and only 15 walks in 63.2 innings.
Tuffy Keeps Getting Tougher:
Senior catcher Tuffy Gosewisch will join former Sun Devil Don Wakamatsu (1982-85) as the only other full-time, three-year starter at the catching position in school history. Gosewisch has started 103 games over the last two seasons and has combined to go 114-for-332 (.343) in 2003 and 2004. He also started 12 games as a freshman in 2002, but struggled at the plate going 1-for-29 in games started. The 2004 Johnny Bench Catcher of the Year semifinalist is a career .319 hitter with four home runs, 92 RBI and a .992 fielding percentage. Here is a look at Tuffy's progression at the plate in games started during his Sun Devil career:
2002: 12 games started (1-for-29, .034)2003: 45 games started (45-for-136, .331)2004: 58 games started (67-for-196, .342)
Arizona State is one of only six schools in the nation to have five players active in 2005 that were selected in the 2004 MLB Draft. Along with ASU, Alabama, Florida, LSU, Oklahoma State and Texas are the other five schools to have five draftees from 2004. Right-handed pitcher Jason Urquidez (11th; Devil Rays), 3B Jeff Larish (13th; Dodgers), LHP Drew Bowman (21st; Brewers), INF Vinny Biancamano (35th; Royals) and SS Andrew Romine (36th; Phillies) were all selected in last June's MLB Amateur draft. In all, 10 Sun Devils on the current roster have been drafted, including Larish and Urquidez being selected twice.
It's All About Family For Romine, Gosewisch, Bordes and Sferra:
Father/son combinations and brothers have played a unique part of the storied history of Arizona State Baseball. In all, four father/son combinations have played at Arizona State including current freshman shortstop Andrew Romine and his father, Kevin. Kevin Romine played at ASU from 1981-82 and later went on to play seven years with the Boston Red Sox. He holds the ASU career batting average record hitting .408 (223-for-547) and helped lead ASU to the 1981 National Championship. Assistant coach Jay J. Sferra will also get the chance to coach his son, freshman outfielder J.J. Sferra. Father Eddie Bane (1971-73) and son Jaymie Bane (1997), Casey Myers (1998-2001) and his father Clint Myers (1971-73) and Brian Berger (2000) and his father Bill Berger (1970-73) round out the four father/son combos to don the Sun Devil uniform. Nine sets of brothers have graced the ASU rosters through the years, including senior catcher Tuffy Gosewisch and his brother Chip (1996-99) and junior pitcher Brett Bordes and his freshman brother Greg. The other brother combinations include Chris (1975-78) and Sal (1964-65) Bando, Kevin (1978-81) and Pat (1980-82) Dukes, Byron (1979), Dale (1976-79) and Larry (1976-78) Eiler, Greg (1968) and Skip (1964) Hancock, Darrell (1974-77) and Dwayne (1979) Jackson, Jeff (1994) and Mike (1993) Rensmeyer, and John (1971-73) and Tom (1973-75) Sain. Of the nine sets of brothers, four sets played at least one year together at Arizona State.
From Batboy To Center Field:
Freshman outfielder J.J. Sferra is no stranger to the batters box at Packard Stadium, only in 2005 he will be hitting there, instead of picking up bats. The son of 10th-year assistant coach Jay Sferra, the younger Sferra spent several seasons in the late 90's as ASU's batboy, including duties at the 1998 College World Series. After a stellar prep career at Mountain Pointe High School, Sferra is set to begin his college career in 2005 and is slated to start in center field for the Sun Devils. He is listed at the No. 33 top incoming freshman in the nation by Baseball America.
Dominating the Arizona Baseball Rivalry:
Arizona and Arizona State are the only two Division I baseball programs in the state of Arizona and have met 408 times since 1907. While Arizona leads the overall rivalry 220-188, ASU leads the series 165-103 since the school officially adopted the program as a varsity sport in 1959. Additionally, ASU has dominated the rivalry in recent years, winning 16 of the last 20 (16-4) games since 2000. The Sun Devils won four of the five meetings in 2004 and seven of the last eight overall. ASU has also won six straight series over Arizona. Since head coach Pat Murphy took over the program in 1995, ASU is 34-16 (.680) and has never lost a season series to the Wildcats. The Devils are scheduled to face the Wildcats in a pair of non-conference games in Tucson (Feb. 15, Feb. 23) and a three-game conference series May 14-16 in Tempe.
Coaching Staff Additions:
11th year head coach Pat Murphy made a pair of additions to his coaching staff for the 2005 season. Former Sun Devil player and assistant coach Tim Esmay returned to his alma mater and will coach third base. He spent the last eight years as the head coach at the University of Utah. Esmay played for the Sun Devils in 1986-87 and also coached with the legendary Dr. Jim Brock. Former USC relief pitcher Jack Krawczyk will take over the pitching coach role after playing in the minor leagues since 1998. The Scottsdale native holds the NCAA single-season and career saves records and helped the Trojans win the 1998 National Championship with a victory over ASU. Jay J. Sferra returns for his 10th season with the program as the recruiting coordinator and outfield coach.
ASU in Postseason Play:
Arizona State has made 28 appearances in the NCAA Tournament and five straight from 2000-04. The Sun Devils have advanced to the postseason in seven of head coach Pat Murphy's 10 seasons in Tempe, including playing for the national championship in 1998. ASU has an all-time 129-55 record in the NCAA Tournament and has won five national championships to rank second among all NCAA schools (1965, 67, 69, 77, 81). The Devils have also made 18 trips to Omaha and the College World Series.
Flashing The Leather:
The Sun Devils have posted back-to-back seasons with a .973 fielding percentage, ranking tied for second in ASU history. The 2004 squad recorded 22 games with no errors and 45 games with one or less fielding errors. The ASU program has also featured the Collegiate Baseball/Easton Redline Defensive Player of the Year in three of the last five years. Catcher Casey Myers won the award in 2000 and shortstop Dustin Pedroia won the defensive honor in consecutive years in 2003 and 2004. The 1971 team established the school record with a .974 fielding percentage.
Murphy Picks Up ASU Win No. 400:
Arizona State head coach Pat Murphy picked up his 400th career win as a Sun Devil with the 15-5 win over No. 2 Stanford during the 2004 regular season finale. It marked the second milestone victory for Murphy last season, as he gained his 700th career Division I victory with a 10-3 win over USC on April 2. Murphy owns a career 401-196-1 during his 10 seasons in Tempe and is averaging over 40 wins per season with an all-time 774-367-4 record in 20 seasons as a head coach. Murphy also has a 719-312-2 record in 17 seasons at the Division I level (7 at Notre Dame, 10 at ASU).
Buck Hits For The Cycle:
As a freshman, current junior right fielder Travis Buck went 5-for-5 with seven RBI and hit for the cycle in ASU's 19-0 win over Southern Utah (3/7/03). He became only the seventh Sun Devil in recorded history to record the elusive cycle and became the first freshman in Pac-10 history to hit for the cycle. Buck capped his perfect night with a grand slam home run as part of an eight-run sixth inning to become ASU's first player to hit for the cycle since Mitch Jones on May 21, 2000 at Arizona. Buck, who was making only his second start in right field, had a single in the first, a double in the third and a triple in the fifth before connecting on his second home run of the year for the cycle. He was named a freshman All-American by both Collegiate Baseball and Baseball America. He finished his freshman season hitting .326 (78-for-239) with 13 doubles and four home runs. Below is a list of ASU players who have hit for the cycle:
Travis Buck March 7, 2003 vs. Southern UtahMitch Jones May 21, 2000 vs. ArizonaDan McKinley April 1, 1997 vs. Grand CanyonAntone Williamson May 27, 1993 vs. George MasonKevin Higgins May 1, 1988 vs. UCLATodd Brown March 18, 1984 vs. USCPaul Ray Powell March 21, 1969 vs. Michigan
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