No. 20 Sun Devils Look To Continue Hot Streak Against UCLA

April 21, 2005

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  • Career Statistics
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    UCLA Bruins (8-25, 0-6 Pac-10)
    at
    #20 Arizona State (25-15, 6-3 Pac-10)

    Friday, April 22 (6:30 p.m.)
    Erik Averill, LHP (7-2, 2.95 ERA) vs. Hector Ambriz, RHP (2-4, 4.14 ERA)

    Saturday, April 23 (6:30 p.m.)
    Jason Urquidez (5-3, 4.76 ERA) vs. Bryan Beck, RHP (0-6, 5.44 ERA)

    Sunday, April 23 (1 p.m.)
    Pat Bresnehan, RHP (3-3, 4.42 ERA) vs. TBA


    National Rankings:
    After the series sweep of Stanford and winners of eight of their last 10 games, the Sun Devils moved back into the national rankings at No. 20 (SW), No. 21 (BA) and No. 22 (CB/NCBWA). ASU has appeared in the national rankings in 103 of the last 109 weeks dating back to the start of the 2000 season. UCLA is not ranked.

    Sports Weekly/ESPN:...20Baseball America:.....21Collegiate Baseball:..22NCBWA:................22BoydsWorld RPI:.......9BoydsWorld ISR:.......10BoydsWorld Sos:.......2

    Series History vs. UCLA:

    All-Time Record vs. UCLA:........................96-58Last 10/20 Games vs. UCLA:.......................6-4/11-9Since `95 at Packard Stadium (vs. UCLA):.........13-8

    Media Exposure:
    ASU returns to the airwaves this weekend with all three games of the Pac-10 series against UCLA broadcast locally on KDUS 1060 AM with Tim Healey and Bob Eger calling all the action from the Packard Stadium press box. The Saturday game will also be televised on AZ-TV. All 24 Pac-10 games are scheduled to be broadcast on KDUS 1060 AM and also on the internet. Every game this season will be able to be followed via GameTracker on the Internet at www.thesundevils.com.

    Television: AZ-TV - Saturday only in local Arizona area
    Audio Broadcast: KDUS 1060 AM (Tim Healey and Bob Eger)
    Gametracker: Friday | Saturday | Sunday

    Fun Facts:
    After starting the season 6-9, the Sun Devils have turned it around and have won 19 of their last 25 games... ASU has played 22 of its 40 games this season against teams that have appeared in the national polls... since meeting with Barry Bonds on Mar. 8, ASU is hitting .343 with 22 home runs and a .525 slugging percentage... Jeff Larish ranks fifth in ASU history with 42 home runs and 208 RBI... ASU has the No. 9 RPI and the No. 2 strength of schedule in the nation on BoydsWorld.com... head coach Pat Murphy needs one more win for No. 800 in his 20-year coaching career.


    What's On Tap:
    After a stunning series sweep of nationally ranked Stanford last weekend, the No. 20 Arizona State Sun Devils (25-15, 6-3 Pac-10) look to continue their recent hot streak with a three-game series against the UCLA Bruins (8-25, 0-6) this weekend at Packard Stadium. After starting the season 6-9, ASU has won 19 of its last 25 and eight of its last 10 games to improve to 25-15. The Devils are currently tied for second place in the Pac-10 at 6-3 with Oregon State and USC. Following the weekend series with UCLA, ASU will take back to the road for a three-game set at No. 9 Oregon State (Apr. 29-May 1). The series against the Bruins marks the first time since the start of the season that the Sun Devils will spend back-to-back weeks at Packard Stadium.

    Quick Hits:

    ... ASU has a current nine-game home winning streak, with sweeps over Oklahoma, Wright State and Stanford.... Travis Buck won his fifth career Pac-10 POW award this week, the most ever by a Sun Devil position player.... ASU set a school record with 35 hits in the 30-13 win over Western Illinois (3/13). Travis Buck went 6-for-8.... Jr. LHP Erik Averill is 7-2 with a 2.95 ERA and is tied for the Pac-10 leads with seven wins. He also has 3 CG.... Seth Dhaenens has raised his batting average 300 points .071 to .371 by going 25-for-56 in his last 18 games.... 12 of ASU's 15 losses this season have come against teams that have appeared in the national rankings.... Stanford's Mark Romanczuk marked the ninth preseason All-American pitcher ASU has faced this season.... ASU has played over half of its schedule (22 of 40) against teams that have been ranked at some point this season.... ASU has been road warriors this season playing 21 of its last 33 games away from Packard Stadium.... 16 Sun Devils, including 10 true freshman, have made their debut in the Maroon and Gold this season.... 12 players have at least one SB this season and ASU leads the Pac-10 with 71 stolen bases (71-for-98).... After 40 games the Sun Devils have 15 triples, more than doubling the season total of seven in 59 games in 2004.... ASU owns a 238-103-1 record for a .697 winning percentage this decade (2000-P).... Jeff Larish leads the Pac-10 with 14 home runs and ranks fifth in ASU career home runs (42) and RBI (208).... Travis Buck has 21 multi-hit games this season and has recorded at least one hit in 126 of 165 career games (76%).... Senior catcher Tuffy Gosewisch has thrown out 16 of 44 attempted base stealers this season (36%).... Freshman reserve catcher Austin Stockfisch has hits in six straight at-bats and is hitting .857 (6-for-7).... Travis Buck (#17) and Jeff Larish (#40) are rated among the top 50 college prospects by Baseball America.... ASU has made only five errors in the last 10 games, including no errors in seven of those 10 games (.987 FLD%).... Brothers Brett (LHP) and Greg (C/INF) Bordes formed a unique battery in the ninth inning vs. Wright State (4/3).... ASU is hitting .329 and averaging 9.01 runs per game during the Murphy era (426-211-1 since 1995).

    Recapping Last Weekend:
    The Sun Devils recorded an impressive sweep over No. 14 Stanford last weekend to jump into a tie for second place in the Pac-10 with Oregon State and USC at 6-3. The Devils started the weekend with a 9-2 win on Friday, with Erik Averill leading the way by giving up two runs in eight strong innings. ASU then pulled off a pair of come-from-behind wins on Saturday (6-5) and Sunday (10-9) to send the Cardinal to their first sweep in Pac-10 play since 1997 (streak of 64 straight series). Junior Travis Buck keyed each of ASU's dramatic wins, hitting a game-tying two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth on Saturday and then hit a three-run double as part of the seven-run sixth inning in Sunday's 10-9 win. Buck earned Pac-10 Player of the Week honors after hitting .462 (6-for-13) with six RBI. Seth Dhaenens (.417, 5-for-12), Tuffy Gosewisch (.364, 4-for-11), Joey Hooft (.333, 3-for-9) and Jeff Larish (.333, 3-for-9) helped ASU hit .314 in the series. The pitching staff combined for a 5.33 ERA in the series, but got solid starts from Averill and senior RHP Jason Urquidez. Urquidez combined to give up four earned runs in two appearances, including earning the save with 1.1 scoreless frames in the series finale.

    Who's Hot:
    Several Sun Devils are riding hot streaks at the plate and on the mound heading into the weekend series against UCLA. Sophomore second baseman Seth Dhaenens is currently the hottest Sun Devil at the plate, hitting .446 (25-for-56) over the last 15 games to raise his season batting average 300 points from .071 to .371. Dhaenens also has a current nine-game hitting streak in which he is hitting .516 (16-for-31) with nine runs and eight RBI. Dhaenens currently leads the team in hitting at .371 (26-for-70) with 18 RBI. Freshman DH/OF Rocky Laguna has hits in 10 of his last 12 games and has recorded multi-hit games in seven of his last 10 starts. Senior 1B Jeff Larish has hits in four of his last five gams while batting .438 (7-for-16) over that stretch. Junior Player of the Year candidate Travis Buck has a string of six of the last seven games with a multi-hit performance at the plate. Over that stretch of games dating back to the series finale vs. Wright State, Buck is 13-for-31 (.419) to raise his batting average 13 points from .349 to .362. On the mound, junior LHP Erik Averill has won his last five decisions, posting a 2.40 ERA in his last eight appearances (41.1 IP, 28 K). Junior left-handed reliever Brett Bordes has been solid out of the bullpen posting a 2.61 ERA and going 3-1 in his last 14 appearances (6 ER, 20.2 IP).



    Former Sun Devil Barry Bonds met with several of ASU's hitters on March 8 and the Devils have responded by hitting .343 with 22 home runs in the last 19 games.


    The Bonds Factor:
    Since several Sun Devil hitters met with former ASU All-American and seven-time National League MVP Barry Bonds, the team's offensive numbers have improved drastically. Bonds was on campus for a press conference honoring his former coach Dr. Jim Brock on Mar. 8, and stayed after to hang around the batting cage to offer his instruction. Since meeting with Bonds, who hit .347 as a Sun Devil with 45 career home runs from 1983-85, ASU is hitting .343 (243-for-709) to raise the team batting average 32 points from .278 to .310 and is 14-5 during that stretch. The Devils have also hit 22 of the season total 33 home runs and combined for a .525 slugging percentage. Senior slugger Jeff Larish, who worked extensively with Bonds, is hitting .377 (26-for-69) with nine of his Pac-10 leading 14 home runs. Other left-handed hitters have also benefited since listening to greatest left-handed power hitter in MLB history, with Seth Dhaenens (.439), Travis Buck (.409), Rocky Laguna (.356) and Colin Curtis (.325) all hitting over .300 over the last 19 games.

    A Good Omen:
    Through the halfway point of the 2005 season the Sun Devils were 16-12 (currently 25-15). The last time ASU was 16-12 after 28 games was in 1998 when the Sun Devils last advanced to the College World Series and played for the National Championship. In both 1998 and earlier this season, ASU tied a school record by losing six straight games. After enduring the six-game losing streak in 1998, ASU finished up strong winning 18 of its last 27 regular season games that season to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Following ASU's six-game losing streak this season, the Sun Devils have won 19 of their last 25 games. In comparison, ASU's 25-15 record compares to similar records after 40 games in 1996 (25-15), 1997 (24-16), 1998 (26-14) and 2002 (25-15).

    The Starting Pitchers:
    Note... ASU has not set a starting rotation for this weekend, but the three projected starters are featured below:
    Erik Averill, Jr., LHP (Orange, Calif.)
    Will be making his 12th start of the season this weekend against UCLA... leads the ASU pitching staff going 7-2 with a 2.95 ERA and has recorded 61 strikeouts and only 13 walks in 73.1 IP this season... averaging 7.49 strikeouts and 1.60 walks per nine innings pitched... listed among the Pac-10 leaders in several pitching categories, including tied for first in wins (7), seventh in ERA (2.95), first in innings (73.1) and seventh in strikeouts (61)... has won five straight decisions, with his last win coming against nationally ranked Stanford (4/15) giving up five hits and two runs in eight innings... struck out seven and allowed only one unearned run in his third complete game of the year vs. Oklahoma (3/19)... has lasted five or more innings in 10 straight starts... opposing hitters are batting only .254 against him this season, including .000 (0-for-4) with the bases loaded and .194 (13-for-67) with runners in scoring position... earned Pro-Line/NCBWA and Collegiate Baseball National Pitcher of the Week honors after striking out career-high 14 batters in complete-game shutout over New Mexico State (2/4)... his 14 strikeouts were also the most by a Sun Devil since Mike Esposito had 17 against Washington in 2002... also threw a complete game South Alabama (2/12), giving up only one earned run and five hits... is 19-8 with a 3.93 ERA in 59 career pitching appearances (30 starts).

    Jason Urquidez, Sr., RHP (Simi Valley, Calif.)
    Senior right-hander who is 5-3 with two saves and a 4.76 ERA in 17 games (7 starts) this season... ranks second on the team and eighth in the Pac-10 with 58 strikeouts in 64.1 innings... also ranks eighth in innings (64.1) and appearances (17)... in his last three starts against USC (3/26), Wright State (4/3) and Stanford (4/16) has combined to allow only six runs in 16.0 innings (3.00 ERA)... earned the save over Stanford (4/17) to clinch series sweep with 1.1 scoreless innings just a day after starting and throwing 96 pitches in 6.0 innings... in seven starts he is 2-1 with a 5.58 ERA... boasts a 3-2 record with two saves and a 3.38 ERA in 10 games out of the bullpen... allowed only one run in eight innings while recording no-decision at USC (3/26)... recorded season-high nine strikeouts in 5.1 hitless innings out of the bullpen against No. 4 North Carolina (3/4)... opposing hitters are batting only .265 off him, including only .206 (7-for-34) with two outs and runners in scoring position... averaging 8.25 K/9.0 IP... is 17-6 with two saves and a 3.94 ERA in 36 games (24 starts) in two seasons as a Sun Devil... named first-team All-Pac-10 and honorable mention All-America by CollegeBaseballInsider.com after going 12-3 with a 3.41 ERA in 2004... part of an elite class of eight returning pitchers in the NCAA to have recorded 12 or more wins last season.

    Pat Bresnehan, So., RHP (Sherborn, Mass.)
    Heads into the weekend against UCLA with a 3-3 record and a 4.42 ERA... has appeared in 15 games while making nine starts... has struck out 50 batters (19 KL) in 43.0 innings... averaging 8.49 strikeouts per nine innings pitched... matched his career high with seven strikeouts in his last win against Wright State (4/2)... earned Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honors after allowing only four hits and one unearned run in a complete-game victory over USC (3/25)... struck out seven in 5.1 shutout innings out of the bullpen in an extra inning loss at Arizona (2/15)... earned his first career win as a starter with six shutout innings agianst Ohio State (3/6)... in nine starts this season is 3-3 with a 5.18 ERA... posted a 2.08 ERA in six relief appearances (13.0 IP)... is 6-5 with five saves and a 4.58 ERA in 38 career appearances (10 starts).


    Larish Leads Pac-10 And Ranks Third in NCAA in Home Runs:
    Senior Jeff Larish leads the Pac-10 and ranks third in the NCAA with 14 home runs. Larish has hit nine home runs in his last 18 games, including a pair of multi-home run contests in back-to-back games against Western Illinois and a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the ninth inning against Oklahoma (3/18). Larish trails NCAA leaders Adam Carr (Oklahoma State) and Jason Maxey (Towson), who each have 17. The senior slugger has three multi-homer games this season and five in his career. Of his 14 home runs this season, he has hit six solo homers, three two-run shots and five three-run bombs. Eleven (11) of his 14 homers have also come on the road. Here is a look at the NCAA leaders in home runs as of April 19 (as reported by BoydsWorld.com):

    Player          School                    HRAdam Carr       Oklahoma State            17Jason Maxey     Towson                    17Jeff Larish     Arizona State             14Casper Wells    Towson                    13Ryan Patterson  LSU                       13Mark Aranda     New Mexico State          13Matt Laporta    Florida                   13Dan Bulow       Utah Valley State         13

    Larish Climbs ASU Career Charts:
    Larich Career Game-by-Game | Larish in the Record Books
    With his Pac-10 leading 14 home runs, senior Jeff Larish ranks fifth in ASU history with 42 career home runs. His 42 long balls are only two way from fourth place (Dan Rumsey, 1986-89) and three away from tying seven-time National League MVP Barry Bonds (1983-85). Former major leaguer Bob Horner holds the all-time record with 56 home runs. Larish's 208 RBI also rank fifth in the ASU record books and his 176 walks are second. Larish also ranks ninth in career at-bats (752), seventh in total bases (440), eighth in runs scored (198) and 10th in doubles (51). Through 40 games, Larish is hitting .320 (49-for-153) with 27 extra base hits for a .686 slugging percentage. He has been especially hot with hits in 14 of his last 19 games, going 26-for-69 (.377) to raise his batting average from .273 to .320 (47 points).

    Flashing the Leather:
    The Sun Devils have played stellar defense of late with seven error-free games over a stretch of the last 10 games for a .987 fielding percentage. For the season ASU has recorded 11 error-free games and have an overall .961 fielding percentage. Seth Dhaenens has 83 consecutive flawless fielding chances over the last 20 games and Jeff Larish has not made an error in 195 straight chances.

    Series History vs. UCLA:
    The Sun Devils lead the all-time series against the UCLA Bruins 96-58 dating back to the first meeting between the two schools on April 17, 1962 (14-5 UCLA win). Over the last 10 years during the Pat Murphy era, ASU leads the series 22-20, including winning 13 of 21 meetings at Packard Stadium. Arizona State won the series last year in Westwood by winning two of three, but lost the last matchup between the two schools in Tempe in 2003. The Bruins enter the weekend with an 8-25 overall record and are 0-6 in Pac-10 play. Under first year head coach John Savage (formerly at USC and UC Irvine), UCLA recently ended a school-record 19-game losing streak and have lost 21 of its last 22 games dating back to late February.

    Gosewisch Among Nation's Elite Catchers:
    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 155 games behind the plate in his career and has combined to go 164-for-487 (.337) over the last three years. This season he is third on the team hitting .335 (52-for-155) with five home runs and 44 RBI. He has been one of ASU's most consistent hitter with hits in 30 of 40 games and leads the team with 13 multi-RBI games. The 2004 Johnny Bench Catcher of the Year semifinalist and one of 37 players named to the 2005 Bench Award Watch List, is a career .324 hitter with nine home runs, 136 RBI and a .992 fielding percentage. A top candidate for the 2005 Bench Award, Gosewisch has been nearly perfect behind the dish this year with only two errors (.994 fielding percentage) in 326 total chances. He has gunned down 16 of 44 base stealers and has not allowed a passed ball. He has caught all but 17 innings this season (out of 360.0) and showed his true 'tuffness' when he played the next day after suffering a mild concussion and had several stitches after being hit by a pitch in the head against Baylor (2/25). Here is a look at Tuffy's progression at the plate in games started during his Sun Devil career:

    Gosewisch as a Starting Catcher: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: 40 games started (52-for-155, .335)

    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.... .335 40-40 155 30 52 10 2 5 44 16 20 3-6TOTAL... .324 188-155 537 113 174 33 3 9 136 73 88 5-10

    Buck Continues Hot Hitting:
    Junior Travis Buck started the season slow hitting only .246 in the first 15 games, but has since heated up going 49-for-116 (.422) over the last 25 games. The Wallace Award and Baseball America Player of the Year candidate is second on the team and 10th in the Pac-10 hitting .362 (64-for-177) with 15 doubles, three triples, three home runs and 32 RBI. He also leads the team with 21 multi-hit games, including a string of five of the last six games with two or more hits. His name also appears among the league leaders in runs scored (47, 2nd), hits (64, 2nd), RBI (32, 10th), Doubles (15, 2nd), triples (3, 4th), total bases (94, 6th) and stolen bases (10, 7th).

    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   13-162005....  .362   40-40    177   47   64   15    3    3   32   14   26   10-16TOTAL...  .353  165-164   641  170  226   44    7   16  136   90   88   35-46

    Buck Earns Fifth Pac-10 Player of the Week Honor:
    Arizona State junior outfielder Travis Buck was named the Pac-10 Baseball Player of the Week for April 12-18. Buck helped lead the Sun Devils to a series sweep over nationally ranked Stanford by hitting .462 (6-for-13) with four runs scored, one double, one home run and six RBI. He also stole a base and recorded a 1269 OPS (slugging + on-base). Coming up clutch all weekend, Buck recorded multi-hit games in each victory over the Cardinal. He provided the heroics with a two-run, game-tying home run in the bottom of the ninth inning in Saturday's 6-5 come-from-behind win and had a key three-run double in Sunday's 10-9 win to clinch the sweep. The Pac-10 award was Buck's second this season, also being honored after hitting .571 (8-for-14, 6 H, 6 RBI) against Baylor. The Player of the Week honor is the fifth of Buck's career and the 76th such honor for Arizona State since the Sun Devils joined the Pac-10 in 1979. Buck becomes the first position player in school history to earn five Pac-10 Player of the Week honors and is now one award away from the school record of six set by left-handed pitcher Sean Rees (1989-91). He also won the award twice last season (Mar. 2, Mar. 9) and once during his freshman season (Apr. 1).

    Most Pac-10 Weekly Awards in School History:Sean Rees, LHP (1989-91).........................6Travis Buck, OF (2003-P).........................5Jeremy West, 1B/DH (2001-03).....................4Antone Williamson, INF (1992-94).................4Casey Myers, C (1998-2001).......................3Dan McKinley, OF (1995-97).......................3David Cassidy, LHP (1986-89).....................3Jon Switzer, LHP (1999-2001).....................3Mike Kelly, OF (1989-91).........................3Oddibe McDowell, OF (1983-84)....................3Oscar Rivas, LHP (1989)..........................3

    Buck Prefers Hitting Second:
    In his three seasons as a Sun Devil, junior right fielder Travis Buck has enjoyed his most success while hitting in the No. 2 spot in the lineup. In 103 career games in the No. 2 spot in the lineup, Buck is a career .406 (166-for-409) hitter with 129 runs scored, 13 home runs and 101 RBI. While hitting No. 2, Buck has accounted for 74% of his run production (101 of 136 RBI), 76% of his runs scored (129 of 170), 81% of his home runs (13 of 16) and 73% of his total hits (166 of 226). This season Buck is hitting .427 (53-for-124) with 38 runs scored and 28 RBI in 27 games batting in the second spot. He has combined to hit just .208 (11-for-53) this season when batting either leadoff (.118, 2-for-17) or third (.250, 9-for-36). ASU is 16-5 when Buck hits in the No. 2 spot in the lineup this season. Overall, the preseason All-American is a career .353 hitter (226-for-641) with 170 runs, 16 home runs and 136 RBI.

    ASU in the Pac-10:
    The Sun Devils are in their 27th season in the Conference of Champions and have won two of their three league series this season. The series victory over USC snapped a streak of having lost the last two Pac-10 season opening series. ASU owns an all-time 433-317 (.577) record in Pac-10 play and has won six conference championships (last in 2000). Since the Pac-10 North and Pac-10 South joined in 1999, ASU is 93-60 (.608) in league play and 277-124-1 overall. In 11 seasons under head coach Pat Murphy the Sun Devils have won six of the conference opening series and own an all-time 154-118 (.566) record in Pac-10 play.

    Bresnehan Named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week:
    Arizona State University sophomore right-handed pitcher Pat Bresnehan was named Pac-10 Baseball Pitcher of the Week for the week of March 22-28. Bresnehan threw a complete-game four-hitter to help lead the Sun Devils to a 17-1 victory over USC on Mar. 25. A day after six ASU pitchers combined for nine walks and three hit batters, Bresnehan got ASU back on the winning track and helped save the bullpen with his first career complete game. He did not allow an earned run and scattered four singles to pick up his second victory of the season. For the season, Bresnehan is 3-3 and is third on the team with a 4.42 ERA. The Pitcher of the Week honor is the first for Bresnehan and the 46th selection all-time for Arizona State. Current senior RHP Jason Urquidez also earned Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honors last season.

    Complete Games:
    The Sun Devil pitching staff has registered four complete games this year with three coming from junior LHP Erik Averill and the most recent by sophomore RHP Pat Bresnehan. The four complete games are already more than the entire season totals from 2004 (2), 2003 (1), 2001 (1), 2000 (2) and 1996 (3).

    Persichina Moves to Shortstop:
    Sophomore Joe Persichina has started at shortstop in each of the last six games against California and Stanford in replace of freshman prospect Andrew Romine. Persichina, who was a standout shortstop during his prep career at Peninsula High School in Rolling Hills Estates, Calif., has responded by handling all of his 28 fielding chances flawlessly. Persichina is hitting .222 (20-for-90) with three doubles, two triples, one home run and 12 RBI this season. Before the series vs. Cal, Persichina had made his previous 59 career starts at second base (17) and first base (42). Romine started the first 34 games of the season and is hitting .264 with 21 runs scored and 15 RBI.

    Buck and Larish Rated Among Top 50 College Prospects:
    Junior 3B/OF Travis Buck and Senior 1B/OF Jeff Larish were both rated in the top 50 in Baseball America's annual midseason report rating the top college prospects for the upcoming MLB June Amateur Draft. Buck was ranked No. 17 and the No. 2 outfielder behind Winthrop's Daniel Carte. Larish was ranked No. 40 and is the top listed senior position player. Nebraska third baseman Alex Gordon, a teammate of Buck's on the 2004 USA Baseball National Team, was selected as the top college prospect.

    The Sparkplug From Yuma:
    Redshirt freshman Rocky Laguna has been a sparkplug for the Sun Devils while batting leadoff in each of the last 10 games. The Yuma native (Kofa HS) has recorded a hit in 10 of his last 12 games and two or more hits in seven of his last 10. During his recent nine-game streak Laguna hit .444 (16-for-36) with 9 runs, five doubles and 11 RBI. Overall, Laguna is tied for fourth on the team hitting .333 (33-for-99) with 10 doubles, two triples, one home run and 24 RBI. He is also 9-for-10 stealing bases and has a .446 on-base percentage. ASU is 13-2 this season when Laguna bats leadoff.

    Dhaenens Turns Season Upside Down:
    Sophomore second baseman Seth Dhaenens started the season on a 1-for-14 (.071) skid, including a streak of 13 straight at-bats without a hit. Dhaenens didn't give up and has turned his season upside down by hitting .446 (25-for-46) with 17 runs, three doubles, two home runs and 18 RBI over his last 18 games. During that stretch he has raised his season batting average 300 points from .071 to .371. Overall, Dhaenens leads the team hitting .371 (26-for-70) with 17 runs and 18 RBI. He is coming off a solid weekend against Stanford in which he went 5-for-12 (.417) and over the last three weekends is hitting .516 (16-for-31) with nine runs and eight RBI.

    A Tough Slate For The Sun Devils:
    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 has played 22 of its first 40 games against teams that have been ranked in the national polls at some point this season.

    Hitting Streaks:
    Six Sun Devils currently have hitting streaks of two or more games heading into the weekend series against UCLA. Sophomore second baseman Seth Dhaenens is riding a career-high nine-game streak and is hitting .516 (16-for-31) with nine runs and eight RBI during the streak. Freshman reserve catcher Austin Stockfisch has a current four-game streak and has hits in six consecutive at-bats. Sophomore Colin Curtis and freshman Rocky Laguna also had nine-game streaks earlier this season. Here is a look at ASU players with current hitting streaks:

    Player              Current Streak    Statistics During StreakSeth Dhaenens       9 games          .516, 16-for-31, 9 R, 2B, HR, 8 RBITravis Buck         4 games          .471, 8-for-17, 4 R, 2B, HR, 7 RBIAustin Stockfisch   4 games          1.000, 6-for-6, 2 R, RBIJoey Hooft          3 games          .312, 5-for-16, 2 R, 2 RBITuffy Gosewisch     3 games          .364, 4-for-11, 2 R, 2 2B, 2 RBIColin Curtis        2 games          .429, 3-for-7, 2 R, 2B, 2 RBI

    Quick Hits... Part 2:

    ... ASU had 19 of 30 active players named Maroon and Gold Scholars for earning a semester or cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher for the fall semester.... The Sun Devils recently went 5-1 against the Orange Bowl football teams, USC (2-1) and Oklahoma (3-0).... ASU is 11-3 when scoring in the first inning and has out-scored its opponent 80-36 in the first two innings.... ASU is also 20-6 when scoring before their opponent.... ASU is 6-1 when hitting two or more home runs and 18-2 when out-hitting its opponent.... The Devils have scored 146 of their 304 runs (48%) with two outs and have 126 two-out RBI.... J.J. Sferra has laid down 19 bunts with eight hits and four sacrifice bunts. Travis Buck also has four bunt hits.... ASU has recorded 75 innings with two or more runs and 20 innings with four or more runs.... The defense has turned 40 double plays, with 13 6-4-3 double plays (10 inning ending).

    Welcome To the Show:
    A total of 16 players have made their ASU debuts in the first 40 games of the season. Four newcomers were in the starting lineup on opening night against Long Beach State, including Joey Hooft (DH), Andrew Romine (SS), J.J. Sferra (CF) and Vinny Biancamano (2B). Freshman LHP Josh Satow made his debut in the Maroon and Gold against Western Illinois, becoming the 10th true freshman have made it into a game this season. ASU has now started six true freshman and two redshirt freshman position players this season. The Sun Devil roster consists of 18 of 30 active players that have never seen action before this season.

    Triple Your Pleasure:
    After 40 games the Sun Devils have 15 triples to rank second in the Pac-10 and have already surpassed the entire season total of seven from last season. Travis Buck ranks third in the league with three triples, while Rocky Laguna, Andrew Romine, Joe Persichina and Tuffy Gosewisch each have a pair of triples to rank tied for ninth. In 59 games last season, ASU had only seven triples, ranking 245th out of 285 teams in the NCAA.

    Devils Facing Big League Arms:
    The Sun Devils faced and beat Stanford left-handed pitcher Mark Romanczuk last Friday, marking the ninth preseason All-American pitcher ASU has faced this season. In addition to Romanczuk, who is listed by Baseball America as the No. 30 junior prospect in the nation and was a second-team preseason All-America selection, the Sun Devils have already faced Ian Kennedy (USC), Cesar Ramos (Long Beach State), Brian Bogusevic (Tulane), Micah Owings (Tulane), Neil Jamison (Long Beach State), P.J. Walters (South Alabama), Mark McCormick (Baylor) and Andrew Miller (North Carolina). ASU also beat a pair of second-round (Trey Taylor) and third-round (Cory VanAllen) draft picks during the Baylor series.

    Big League Devils:
    Sun Devils in the Pros
    Six Sun Devils, with two more on the disabled list, are on major league rosters after the first week of the 2005 season. Former Sun Devil outfielder Chris Duffy made his MLB debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates, becoming the 81st Sun Devil to play in the major leagues. Willie Bloomquist (Seattle Mariners), Paul Lo Duca (Florida Marlins) and Jacob Cruz (Cincinnati Reds) have also played this season, while seven-time National League MVP Barry Bonds (San Francisco Giants) and Fernando Vina (Detroit Tigers) are both on the disabled list. In addition, two former Sun Devils, Don Wakamatsu (Texas Rangers) and Jeff Pentland (Kansas City Royals), are coaches in the big leagues. Several recent Devils are also climbing within the minor league ranks, including Dustin Pedroia (AA, Portland Sea Dogs), Andre Ethier (AA, Midland Rock Hounds), Brooks Conrad (AAA, Round Rock Express) and Mike Esposito (AAA, Colorado Sky Sox).

    Team Speed:
    The Sun Devils lead the Pac-10 with 71 stolen bases and are 71-for-98 (72%) on the season. At one point early in the season the Sun Devils had a streak of 17 consecutive that ended during the Coca-Cola Classic. ASU has three of the top 10 base stealers in the league, with Colin Curtis (12, 3rd), Travis Buck (10, 7th) and Rocky Laguna (9, 9th) all ranking in the top 10 in the Pac-10. Laguna tied the ASU single-game record with four stolen bases against New Mexico State (2/7) and added three more against Wright State (4/1). A total of 13 different Sun Devils have recorded a stolen base and 11 players have two or more steals. Senior Jeff Larish had a successful straight steal of home in the series finale vs. Stanford (4/17), marking the first steal of home since Colin Curtis swiped home plate in 2004 vs. Lamar. ASU had only 56 total stolen bases in 59 games last season.

    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.

    Climbing RPI:
    Winners of eight of its last 10 games, including a series sweep over nationally ranked Stanford last weekend, ASU's projected RPI on BoydsWorld.com has jumped 27 spots from No. 36 all the way to its current mark of No. 9 in the last month. Helped in part by what is widely considered the toughest non-conference schedule in the nation, ASU has played over half of its games (22 of 40) against teams that have been ranked in the national polls at some point this season. ASU also has the No. 10 ISR and No. 2 SoS (strength of schedule). Here is a look at this week's RPI top 20 as available on Boydsworld.com (as of April 18):

               Division I   OverallRank Rating   W   L      W   L    Team     1   0.642   32   6     32   6   Texas  2   0.641   32   6     32   6   Tulane  3   0.641   29   7     29   7   Georgia Tech  4   0.633   27   9     27   9   Florida  5   0.633   29   9     29   9   Miami, Florida  6   0.630   25  13     25  13   Baylor  7   0.626   30   8     30   8   Arkansas  8   0.623   25  14     25  14   Auburn  9   0.622   25  15     25  15   Arizona State 10   0.618   27   7     27   7   Oregon State 11   0.617   29   8     29   8   South Carolina 12   0.615   24  12     24  12   Mississippi 13   0.614   29   6     29   6   College of Charleston 14   0.613   23  11     23  11   Vanderbilt 15   0.609   32   7     32   7   Louisiana-Lafayette 16   0.608   28   8     28   8   North Carolina 17   0.605   21  13     21  13   East Carolina 18   0.605   26  12     26  12   Louisiana State 19   0.604   27  12     27  12   Long Beach State 20   0.603   26   9     26   9   Cal State Fullerton

    Just a Walk in the Park For Larish:
    Senior 1B Jeff Larish leads the Pac-10 with 34 walks, including 22 walks in the last 17 games (8 IBB). He also ranks second in ASU history with 176 career walks (see list on page 4) and has recorded at least one walk in 120 of 196 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 44 career multi-walk games, 76 multi-hit games, 55 multi-RBI contests and 99 career extra base hits for a .585 slugging percentage. He has recorded a hit in 77% of his games played (151 of 196) and has five career multi-home run games (three this season). 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.

    Team USA Connections:
    Junior right fielder Travis Buck faced a trio of his Team USA teammates last weekend in the series sweep of Stanford. Cardinal infielders Jed Lowrie and John Mayberry Jr., along with LHP Mark Romanczuk teamed with Buck on the Gold Medal winning USA Baseball National Team. 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. Of the 22 players on the 2004 National Team, Buck will play against nine of his summer teammates (Troy Tulowitzki, Jed Lowrie, John Mayberry Jr., Trevor Crowe, Mark Romanczuk, Ian Kennedy, Jeff Clement, Daniel Bard, Cesar Ramos).

    Zinicola Moves Into Record Books For Career Saves:
    Despite making nearly half of his pitching appearances as a starter this season (7 of 16), sophomore RHP Zechry Zinicola was named to the preseason NCBWA Stopper of the Year Watch List. Zinicola has returned to the closer role and has recorded a pair of saves this season. Zinicola now has 10 in his career to move into a tie for eighth place in the ASU record books with former All-Pac-10 closer Eric Doble (1999-2001). Zinicola tied the ASU freshman record with eight saves last season and owns a career 5-2 record with a 3.91 ERA in 30 career relief appearances. Here is a look at ASU's career saves leaders:

    ASU Career Saves Leaders:1.  Doug Nurnberg (1965-67)......252.  Kevin Dukes (1978-81)........203.  Noah Peery (1993-94).........17    Ryan Schroyer (2001-03)......175.  Ryan Bradley (1995-97).......166.  Dave Graybill (1982-84)......137.  Mitch Dean (1976-80).........118.  Zechry Zinicola (2004-P).....10    Eric Doble (1999-2001).......10

    A Classy Gesture:
    Prior to ASU's game against East Carolina (3/5), every player and coach of the Sun Devil baseball team made its way from the playing field to the press box to pay honor to former ECU coach Keith LeClair. The team came up to LeClair's special area in the press box to speak to the former ECU coach who is battling Lou Gehrig's Disease. They presented LeClair and his family an Arizona State jersey signed by every member of the program and expressed their gratitude for being one of the first teams to play at the new stadium named in his honor (Clark-LeClair Stadium).

    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 30 of ASU's 40 games this season and is hitting .288 (32-for-111) with 10 multi-hit games and has a hit in eight of his last 10 games. He also leads ASU with seven bunt base hits and five sacrifice bunts.

    Curtis Coming of Age:
    Sophomore center fielder Colin Curtis is fourth on the team batting .333 (53-for-159) and has recorded at least one hit in 30 of 40 games. Curtis is also among the Pac-10 leaders with 28 RBI, 24 walks and 12 stolen bases. In addition, Curtis has recorded 17 multi-hit games and has nine 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) and also 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). He was named honorable mention All-Pac-10 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....  .333   40-40    159   32   53    8    1    1   28   24   24   12-14TOTAL...  .315   97-97    349   69  110   19    1    6   64   62   63   24-28

    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.

    The Luck of the White Shoes:
    The Sun Devils have found a small secret to success this season by going 14-5 when wearing white spikes this season. ASU is also 10-1 when wearing their home white 'Devils' jersey.

    A Record Breaking Ninth Inning:
    The Sun Devils set or tied three school records during the amazing 15-run ninth inning in the 30-13 win over Western Illinois. ASU set a record by recording 16 hits in the inning and sent 21 batters to the plate in the frame. The 15 runs tied a school record, last achieved against Stanford in 1980, and the 16 hits bettered the old record of 12 set against California in 1997. ASU also tied a school record by recording eight consecutive hits in the inning. Travis Buck (single), Colin Curtis (double), Austin Stockfisch (single), Jeff Larish (home run), Willy Fox (double), Joe Persichina (double), Seth Dhaenens (home run) and Greg Bordes (double) to put their names aside a piece of Sun Devil Baseball history. Fox alone went 3-for-3 in the inning falling just a triple short of hitting for the cycle.

    Draft Dodgers:
    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.

    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.

    Lo Duca Added To ASU Wall of Distinction:
    Former Arizona State catcher Paul Lo Duca became the 14th player to have his jersey honored on the outfield fence at Packard Stadium during a special pregame ceremony before ASU's season opener against nationally ranked Long Beach State. Lo Duca's #16 jersey was added to the outfield wall at Packard, recognizing him as one of the elite players to ever play in the program.

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