ASU's Catcher Is a Leader Behind The Plate

Jan. 25, 2005

By Steve Burks
East Valley Tribune

Tuffy Gosewisch isn't going to be called upon to win a lot of baseball games with his bat or his legs.

Mind you, Gosewisch is a solid hitter, but his value is far greater than one at-bat every couple of innings.

Gosewisch, a senior catcher for the Arizona State baseball team, is the man who runs the show for the Sun Devil defense. He calls the pitches, mentors the pitchers and has the confidence of his coaches and teammates.

'Pitchers trust him and that trust factor is huge when you are playing for it all,' said Pat Murphy, who begins his 11th season as ASU's coach Friday in a 6:30 p.m. game against Long Beach State at Packard Stadium. 'You need a kid that's willing to take the responsibility and he's done that.'

Gosewisch, from Horizon High School, is in his second season as the Sun Devils' full-time starter behind the plate. He started 58 of 59 games last season and 45 as a sophomore. Murphy trusted Gosewisch to call pitches last year and that will continue.

This season, Gosewisch will be working with a talented staff, headed by senior Jason Urquidez (12-3, 3.41 ERA) and juniors Erik Averill (4-4, 5.41) and Brett Bordes (3-1, 8.55).

'The staff has great focus right now,' said Gosewisch, who hit .342 with 49 RBIs last season. 'This is the most involved I've been with the pitching staff since I've been here.'

How Gosewisch handles the staff will be a big factor in the Devils getting back to the College World Series, which they haven't been to since 1998, the longest such drought in school history. With Urquidez, Averill and Bordes, the Sun Devils have three experienced pitchers, something they lacked in last year's 41-18 season, which ended with a regional loss to eventual champion Cal State Fullerton.

Along with those three returning pitchers, the Sun Devils will get plenty of use out of Tony Barnette, a junior transfer from Central Arizona College, and sophomores Pat Bresnehan (3-2, 4.79 ERA) and Zechry Zinicola (4-2, 3.36).

An experienced staff is important for a team, especially late in the season. Last season, the Sun Devils lacked that experience and confidence.

'Pitching is the backbone of any team that does great things,' said Gosewisch, 'but I think we need them to . . . be sure of themselves on the mound, so we're going to continue to work on that.'

No matter who is on the mound, they will be throwing to one of the top catchers in the country. Gosewisch is a finalist for the Johnny Bench Catcher of the Year award.

SHORT HOP: Former ASU catcher Paul Lo Duca will become the 14th player to have his jersey honored on the outfield fence at Packard Stadium. The Florida Marlins All-Star catcher will be honored in a special pregame ceremony Friday before ASU's season opener.

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