Baseball Travels To Tucson For Wednesday Tilt vs. Wildcats
Feb. 22, 2005
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What's on Tap -- The Sun Devils (6-8, 0-0 Pac-10) conclude their five-game road trip with a non-conference tilt against rival Arizona on Wednesday at 4 p.m. at Kindall Field at Frank Sancet Stadium. The Sun Devils are in the midst of a brutal stretch of nine straight games against top 10 opponents and are looking to end their first five-game losing streak since 1999. Following Wednesday's game in Tucson, ASU returns home for a three-game series against No. 8 Baylor (5-2, 0-0 Big 12) starting Friday night at 6:30 p.m. at Packard Stadium.
Dominating the Rivalry -- Arizona and Arizona State are the only two Division I baseball programs in the state of Arizona and have met 409 times since 1907. While Arizona leads the overall rivalry 221-188, ASU leads the series 165-104 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 21 (16-5) games since 2000. The Sun Devils won four of the five meetings in 2004 and seven of the last nine overall. ASU has also won six straight series over Arizona. Since head coach Pat Murphy took over the program in 1995, ASU is 34-17 (.667) and has never lost a season series to the Wildcats. The Devils are scheduled to face the Wildcats in a three-game Pac-10 series May 14-16 in Tempe.
The Sticks -- The Sun Devils enter the midweek tilt against Arizona hitting .289 with 31 doubles, four triples and four home runs in the first 14 games. The sub .300 batting average marks the first time since 2002 that the Devils have had a team batting average under .300 this late in the season. Sophomore left fielder Colin Curtis leads the Sun Devils hitting .386 (22-for-57) with four stolen bases and 12 RBI. Curtis has recorded at least one hit in 12 of 14 games and has a current four-game hitting streak. Senior catcher Tuffy Gosewisch is hitting .328 (19-for-58) and is tied for the team lead with 12 RBI. Senior third baseman Joey Hooft is second on the team hitting .333 (18-for-54) and leads the squad with six stolen bases.
The Gloves -- ASU has struggled defensively with 28 errors in the first 14 games for a .951 fielding percentage. The Sun Devils have made two or more errors in eight games this season, including a season-high five against Oregon State (2/6). Johnny Bench Catcher of the Year candidate Tuffy Gosewisch has sparkled behind the plate, throwing out six of 18 base stealers and has a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage in 131 total chances.
The Arms -- The Sun Devil pitching staff enters the Arizona game with a 5.29 team ERA and has recorded 117 strikeouts and only 39 walks in 127.2 innings. The starters have combined to go 3-7 with a 4.86 ERA, while the bullpen is 3-1 with one save and a 5.92 ERA. Junior left-hander Erik Averill leads the staff going 2-2 with a 3.00 ERA in four starts and has two complete games. ASU is 6-3 this season when the starting pitcher goes five or more innings and 0-5 when he does not last into the fifth frame.
Hitting Streaks -- The Sun Devils currently have six players with hitting streaks of two or more games. Sophomore left fielder Colin Curtis has a current four-game streak in which he is hitting .471 (8-for-17) with two runs and a double. Curtis started the season with a seven-game streak (.414, 10 RBI) and has recorded at least one hit in 12 of 14 games this season. Here is a look at the Sun Devils with current hitting streaks:
Player Current Streak Statistics During StreakColin Curtis 4 games .471, 8-for-17, 2 R, 2B, RBIJ.J. Sferra 3 games .300, 3-for-10, 2 R, RBIJeff Larish 3 games .333, 4-for-12, 2 2B, RBITravis Buck 2 games .286, 2-for-7Joey Hooft 2 games .250, 2-for-8Rocky Laguna 2 games .400, 2-for-5, R, 2 2B, RBI
National Rankings -- For the first time since the start of the 2000 season the Sun Devils are not ranked in any of the four national polls. The streak of 100 straight national polls came to an end after going 0-4 last week against a pair of ranked opponents (#1 Tulane, #9 Arizona). ASU has played more games against ranked opponents (7) so far this season than any other team in the nation, but is 1-6 in those games. The Sun Devils entered the season as a consensus top 10 team, with preseason rankings of No. 9 (Baseball America), No. 9 (Sports Weekly/ESPN) and No. 11 (Collegiate Baseball).
Welcome to the Show -- A total of 14 players have made their ASU debuts in the first 14 games of the season. Four newcomers were in the starting lineup on opening day, including Joey Hooft (DH), Andrew Romine (SS), J.J. Sferra (CF) and Vinny Biancamano (2B), and eight true freshman have made it into a game this season. The Sun Devil roster consists of 18 of 30 active players that have never seen action before this season.
Team Speed -- The Sun Devils are 26-for-35 (74%) on the season stealing bases, including a streak of 17 consecutive that ended during the Coca-Cola Classic. Led by a Pac-10 leading six from senior Joey Hooft and five from redshirt freshman Rocky Laguna, nine different Sun Devils have recorded a stolen base and seven players have two or more stolen bases. In 2004, ASU had only 56 total stolen bases and through 14 games had only 13 SB.
Quick Hits -- The Sun Devils went 0-4 last week to begin a stretch of five straight road games and nine consecutive games against teams ranked in the national top 10... the three-game sweep by Tulane marked the first time since 2002 that the Sun Devils have been swept (Florida State)... the five-game losing streak is the longest since 1999 and the longest non-conference losing streak since 1985... of ASU's eight losses, six have come against teams ranked in the top 20 nationally... senior catcher Tuffy Gosewisch had his career-high 11-game hitting streak snapped in Sunday's 9-3 loss to Tulane... through 14 games the Sun Devils have used 11 different starting batting lineups... freshman Willy Fox made his first career start Sunday and responded by hitting ASU's fourth home run of the season... he became the seventh newcomer to make a start this season.