Baseball Looks To End Six-Game Skid This Weekend Against No. 8 Baylor

Feb. 24, 2005

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    Tentative Pitching Rotation:Feb. 25 vs. Baylor, 6:30 p.m.BU - Trey Taylor, LHP (2-0, 2.19 ERA)ASU - Zechry Zinicola, RHP (2-1, 3.60 ERA)

    Feb. 26 vs. Baylor, 1 p.m.BU - Cory VanAllen, LHP (2-0, 0.68 ERA)ASU - Pat Bresnehan, RHP (0-1, 4.50 ERA)

    Feb. 27 vs. Baylor, 1 p.m.BU - Mark McCormick, RHP (0-1, 7.27 ERA)ASU - Erik Averill, LHP (2-2, 3.00 ERA)

    Media Exposure:
    The Friday (6:30 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.) games against Baylor will be broadcast locally in the Phoenix area with Jeff Munn and Bob Eger calling all the action on KDUS 1060 AM. The games can also be heard over the world wide web at ASU's official athletic website, www.thesundevils.com. All 24 games during Pac-10 play will be broadcast on KDUS. Every game this season will be able to be followed via GameTracker on the Internet.

    Did You Know:
    ASU's current six-game losing streak ties a school record and the Sun Devils have never lost seven straight games since varsity baseball started in 1959... all of ASU's six straight losses have come on the road and five have come against teams ranked in the top 10 (Arizona/Tulane)... ASU is hitting .327 (83-for-254) at Packard Stadium and just .250 (70-for-280) on the road this season... seven of ASU's nine losses have come against ranked opponents... senior 1B Jeff Larish hits his 31st and 32nd career home runs in Wednesday's 11-5 loss at Arizona.

    What's On Tap:
    The Sun Devils (6-9, 0-0 Pac-10) look to end a six-game losing streak as they host No. 8 Baylor (5-2) to a three-game non-conference series at Packard Stadium. The series begins Friday at 6:30 p.m. and continues Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. The six-game losing streak ties a school record and is the longest such streak for ASU since 1998. The Sun Devils are in the midst of a brutal stretch of games in which they will play nine straight games against teams ranked in the top 10 nationally. ASU recently came off a five-game road trip that included three games against No. 1 Tulane and a pair of games against No. 7 Arizona. Following the three-game homestand with Baylor, ASU takes back to the road for seven straight games, beginning with the Keith LeClair Invitational hosted by East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. In the tourament the Devils will play No. 10 North Carolina, East Carolina and Ohio State.

    Quick Hits:

    ... ASU's current six-game losing streak includes five games against top 10 opponents.... Six of ASU's next 10 games are against ranked opponents (Baylor, North Carolina, LSU).... ASU's eight games against ranked teams are more than any other team in the country.... 14 Sun Devils, including eight true freshman, have made their debuts in the Maroon and Gold.... Nine players have at least one SB and the team is 27-for-36 on the season. At one point ASU had 17 straight SB.... After 15 games the Sun Devils have five triples. The 2004 squad had only seven triples in 59 games.... ASU owns a 219-97-1 record for a .692 winning percentage this decade (2000-P).... 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 Devils are one of only six schools in the nation to have five players active who were drafted in 2004.... Senior Jeff Larish leads the team with 14 RBI and has 182 in his career to rank ninth in the ASU record books.... Sr. Tuffy Gosewisch is only the second player in ASU history to start three seasons at catcher (Don Wakamatsu).... Redshirt freshman Rocky Laguna tied the single-game record with four stolen bases against NMSU (2/7).... Led by four from freshman OF J.J. Sferra, ASU has seven bunt base hits this season.... Jeff Larish went 2-for-3 with two solo HR vs. Arizona (2/23) for his third career multi-home run game.... Junior LHP Erik Averill leads the pitching staff going 2-2 with a 3.00 ERA and 29 K's in 27.0 IP.... In 15 games this season ASU has used 12 different starting batting lineups and eight different defensive lineups.... Sophomore left fielder Colin Curtis leads the team hitting .377 and has at least one hit in 13 of 15 games.... Senior 3B Joey Hooft strained his left hamstring against Arizona and is listed as doubtful for this weekend.

    Sun Devils Looking To End Six-Game Skid:
    The Sun Devils have tied a school record with the current six-game losing streak. Starting with the 2-0 loss to Gonzaga to conclude the Coca-Cola Spring Training Classic in Surprise, Ariz., ASU has dropped five straight games to a pair of teams ranked in the top 10 nationally (Tulane - 3, Arizona - 2). This marks ASU's sixth all-time losing streak of six games, with the last one coming in 1998. During the six-game skid, ASU has struggled at the plate hitting just .223 (48-for-215) and has pitched for a 6.59 ERA. Sophomore Colin Curtis has been a bright spot for the Devils during the losing streak, hitting .391 (9-for-23). During each of the previous six-game losing streaks, the Sun Devils emerged with a win to end the streak:

    The Last Time:
    ASU last endured a six-game losing streak in 1998 and finished up strong winning 18 of its last 27 regular season games that season to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament. After breezing through the regional at Wichita State, the Sun Devils advanced to the College World Series and played for the National Championship against USC.

    On the Road Again:
    The Sun Devils are in the midst of a stretch of games in which they will spend four of five weeks on the road. Following the Coca-Cola Spring Training Classic, ASU played five consecutive road games at Arizona and top-ranked Tulane. The Sun Devils also traveled to Tucson for a pair of non-conference games against rival Arizona Feb. 15 (7-6 loss) and Feb. 23 (11-5 loss), with a three-game series at Tulane (Feb. 18-20) sandwiched between. After a home series against nationally ranked Baylor (Feb. 25-27), ASU takes back to the road for the Keith LeClair Invitational hosted by East Carolina University (Mar. 4-6) and then two games each against LSU and Western Illinois (Mar. 11-13) in Baton Rouge, La.

    Welcome Back to Packard Stadium:
    The Sun Devils return home to Packard Stadium after spending the last eight games on the road. The return to Packard couldn't come at a better time after the Sun Devils dropped six of eight games on the road and are looking to end a current six-game losing streak. During the eight-games away from Packard Stadium the Sun Devils hit just .250 (70-for-280) and were out-scored 51-32. Despite hitting only .250, ASU has hit five of its six home runs away from the friendly confines of Packard Stadium. In the seven games at Packard Stadium, ASU is 4-3 and hitting .327 (83-for-254). Sophomore Colin Curtis leads the team hitting .377 (23-for-61) and is hitting .414 (12-for-29) at home. Since opening the stadium in 1974, ASU owns an all-time 847-247-1 record at Packard Stadium.

    Pole Position:
    For the first time since the start of the 2000 season, Arizona State University does not own a spot in the national top 25 in any of the four major national polls. ASU's current six-game losing streak has dropped them from No. 11 in the Baseball America poll to completely out of the rankings. It brings an end to a streak of being ranked for 100 consecutive weeks in the national polls dating back to the start of the 2000 season.

    Averill Earns National Pitcher of the Week Honors:
    Arizona State junior left-handed pitcher Erik Averill is off to a fast start to the 2005 season and has been named to the initial watch list for the Roger Clemens National Pitcher of the Year Award. He is 2-2 with a 3.00 ERA and has a pair of complete-game victories to his credit. He was named the Pro-Line Cap National Pitcher of the Week after throwing a complete-game, 14-strikeout shutout against New Mexico State (2/4) and backed that performance up with a complete-game, eight-strikeout win over South Alabama (2/12). The complete-game shutout against NMSU was the first by a Sun Devil since Jered Liebeck beat Long Beach State in 2003 to earn National Pitcher of the Week honors. His 14 strikeouts were also the most by a Sun Devil since Mike Esposito had 17 against Washington in 2002. The back-to-back complete games marks a first for the Sun Devils since 2002 (Robbie McClellan). For the season, Averill has recorded 29 strikeouts and only two walks in 27.0 innings.

    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. Through 15 games, ASU has played over half of their schedule (eight games) against nationally ranked opponents. BoydsWorld.com rates ASU's schedule as the sixth toughest in the nation.

    Hitting Streaks:
    Two Sun Devils currently have hitting streaks of four or more games heading into the weekend series against No. 8 Baylor. Sophomore outfielder Colin Curtis has a five-game streak and senior first baseman Jeff Larish is riding a four-game streak. Curtis has recorded at least one hit in 13 of 15 games this season and is batting .429 (9-for-21) during his current streak. Here is a look at ASU players with current hitting streaks:

    Player          Current Streak     Statistics During StreakColin Curtis    5 Games            .429, 9-for-21, 2 R, 2B, RBIJeff Larish     4 Games            .400, 6-for-15, 2 R, 2 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI

    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 27-for-36 (75%) 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 15 games had only 13 SB.

    The All-Time Series vs. Baylor:
    Baylor and Arizona State meet for the third, fourth and fifth times this weekend. The Sun Devils swept a doubleheader (3-1, 5-1) from the Bears in the only previous meetings (Feb. 16, 1978). That season, both teams advanced to the College World Series where ASU finished runner-up to Southern California. The 1978 Sun Devil squad was one of the best in school history going 56-12 (.833) and featured a pair of first-round draft picks in Bob Horner and Hubie Brooks.

    Scouting Baylor:
    Website | Weekly Release | 2005Stats
    The Baylor Bears come to Tempe with a 5-2 record and is coming off a series win over No. 24 Oral Roberts. the Bears also have victories over Houston, Tennessee and No. 19 Rice. Sophomore left-hander Cory VanAllen, who is scheduled to start Saturday's game, has won back-to-back Big 12 Pitcher of the Week honors and is 2-0 wiht a 0.68 ERA. Junior catcher Zach Dillon leads Baylor at the plate hitting .444 (8-for-18) with a double and six RBI. Senior designated hitter Josh Ford is hitting .333 (8-for-24) and has been named to the Wallace Player of the Year Award Watch List.

    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 409 times since 1907. While Arizona leads the overall rivalry 222-188, ASU leads the series 165-105 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 22 (16-6) games since 2000. The Sun Devils won four of the five meetings in 2004 and seven of the last 10 overall. Since head coach Pat Murphy took over the program in 1995, ASU is 34-18 (.654) and has never lost a season series to the Wildcats. ASU is 0-2 against Arizona in a pair of non-conference games this season and is schedule to face the Wildcats again in a three-game Pac-10 series May 14-16 in Tempe.

    Larish Moves Into Top 10 For Career RBI:
    Senior first baseman Jeff Larish leads the Sun Devils with 14 RBI and ranks ninth in the ASU record books with 182 career RBI. Larish needs 12 more RBI to move into a tie for seventh in the record books with Mike Kelly (1989-91) and Ken Landreaux (1974-76). Four-year starter Andrew Beinbrink (1996-99) holds the school record with 283 career RBI. Larish also ranks fifth in the single-season record books with his 95 RBI as a sophomore. In 171 career games, Larish has recorded at least one RBI in 88 games (52%) and has 48 career multi-RBI games. The senior preseason All-American also leads the team with four home runs this season and has 32 in his career to move to within four of cracking the top 10 in ASU history.

    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    3-72005....  .295   15-15     61   11   18    5    1    4   14    6   13    1-1TOTAL...  .333  171-169   660  168  220   44    6   32  182  148  124    7-14

    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 has become a mainstay in center field for the Sun Devils. He is listed at the No. 33 top incoming freshman in the nation by Baseball America. He has started 13 of ASU's 15 games this season and is hitting .292 (14-for-48) with three doubles, one triple, six RBI and three stolen bases.

    Triple Your Pleasure:
    After 15 games the Sun Devils already have five triples. J.J. Sferra, Andrew Romine, Jeff Larish, Tuffy Gosewisch and Colin Curtis have each recorded a three-bagger during the early part of the season. In 59 games last season, ASU had only seven triples, ranking 245th of 285 teams in the NCAA.

    Curtis Coming of Age:
    Sophomore left fielder Colin Curtis is leading the team with a .377 (23-for-61) batting average and has recorded at least one hit in 13 of 15 games. Curtis is also among the team leaders with 12 RBI, 10 walks and four stolen bases. In addition, he has recorded a team-best seven multi-hit games and has three games with two or more RBI. He set a career-high with four hits in ASU's 7-6 loss in 14 innings to Arizona (2/15). Curtis came up with the game-winning single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning in a 11-10 win over New Mexico State (2/7). Curtis was named honorable mention All-Pac-10 as a freshman last season after hitting .300 (57-for-190) with five home runs, 36 RBI and 12 stolen bases.

    Year       Avg   GP-GS     AB    R    H   2B   3B   HR  RBI   BB   SO   SB-ATT2004....  .300   57-57    190   37   57   11    0    5   36   38   39   12-142005....  .377   15-15     61    7   23    1    1    0   12   10    8    4-5TOTAL...  .319   72-72    251   44   80   12    1    5   48   48   47   16-19

    Tuffy Keeps Getting Tougher:
    Senior catcher Tuffy Gosewisch joins 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 118 games behind the plate over the last three seasons and has combined to go 133-for-394 (.338). The 2004 Johnny Bench Catcher of the Year semifinalist is a career .322 hitter with five home runs, 105 RBI and a .993fielding percentage. A top candidate for the 2005 Bench Award, Gosewisch has been perfect behind the dish this year with a 1.000 fielding percentage in 137 total chances. He has gunned down seven of 20 base stealers and has not committedd a passed ball. 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)2005: 15 games started (21-for-62, .339)

    Year Avg GP-GS AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB-ATT2002.... .128 30-12 39 6 5 0 0 0 2 4 12 0-02003.... .340 59-45 144 41 49 9 0 2 41 22 19 2-22004.... .342 59-58 199 36 68 14 1 2 49 31 37 0-22005.... .339 15-15 62 7 21 5 1 1 13 2 9 1-2TOTAL... .322 163-130 444 90 143 28 2 5 105 59 77 3-6

    Just a Walk in the Park For Larish:
    Senior first baseman Jeff Larish is tied for third in ASU history with 148 career walks (see list on page 4) and has recorded at least one walk in 102 of 171 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 36 career multi-walk games, 66 multi-hit games, 48 multi-RBI contests and 82 career extra base hits for a .564 slugging percentage. In 171 career games, he has recorded a hit in 78% of his games played (133 of 171). Larish jumped into the national spotlight during his sophomore season (2003) 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.

    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.

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