#2 Baseball Returns Home To Face Grand Canyon and Auburn
March 9, 2010
TEMPE, Ariz. -
After sweeping all four game of the Coca-Cola Classic at Surprise Stadium, the Sun Devils return to Tempe for four games at Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark. ASU will take on Grand Canyon on Tuesday night before hosting the Auburn Tigers in a three-game series that gets underway on Friday.
Devils vs. Grand Canyon:
The Sun Devils and in-state rival Antelopes have faced off 108 times, with ASU holding an 86-22 advantage. Grand Canyon currently plays at the NCAA Division II level. The two schools have not met since 2003, when ASU won 10-2.
Grand Canyon Connections:
Although the two schools have not faced each other since 2003, ASU and GCU have a lot in common. Sun Devils head coach Tim Esmay coached one season for the Antelopes in 1995. Both Esmay and Mike Benjamin played Grand Canyon six times during their playing careers at ASU, going 5-1 in 1986 and 1987. Former Sun Devil lefty Jeff Urlaub, who went 5-3 in his two seasons at ASU in 2006 and 2007, is a senior on the Grand Canyon pitching staff.
Devils vs. Auburn:
The Sun Devils and Tigers have faced each other six times, with ASU leading the series 4-2. They last met in 2007 at Plainsman Park in Auburn, when the Tigers took two of three in the series. Auburn and ASU faced off in Tempe in 2006 with ASU sweeping the three-game set.
The 2010 Sun Devils will be led by three team captains. Senior Raoul Torrez is in his second season as a captain after serving with Mike Leake as co-captain last season. Joining Torrez will be seniors Josh Spence and Kole Calhoun. Torrez is in his fourth year with the program, while Spence and Calhoun are in their second.
Coca-Cola Classic Recap:
It was a see-saw battle in the opener of the Coca-Cola Classic between Cal Poly and the Sun Devils. There were five lead changes before Raoul Torrez put ASU on top for good with his first career grand slam. ASU held on for a 12-9 win...Friday was a preview of things to come in Pac-10 play, as the Devils and Oregon State had a classic non-conference duel. ASU came back from an early three-run deficit to beat OSU 6-4. Drew Maggi led the charge for Arizona State driving in two...ASU took it to UC Riverside on Saturday, setting a Coca-Cola Classic record with 16 runs on 22 hits in a 16-2 win. Maggi went 4-4 while Matt Newman, Zach Wilson and Andrew Aplin all had three hits...Sunday’s game with FIU was shortened to seven innings by rain, but Jake Borup was stellar once again on the mound, pacing ASU to a 4-1 win. Borup went five to earn the win, thanks to Jordan Swagerty’s three hits and two runs scored.
Worth The Wait:
Senior Raoul Torrez had a memorable final trip to Surprise last weekend. The only Sun Devil who has played in four Coca-Cola Classics at Surprise Stadium, Torrez cracked his first career Grand Slam on Thursday against Cal Poly, breaking an 8-8 tie. It would prove to be the game winner, as ASU won 12-9. Torrez has hit four home runs in his career. Prior to the grand slam, brother Riccio homered to lead off the inning. It was the first time the Torrez brothers homered in the same game.
Quality Time With A Hall of Famer:
Several Sun Devils got a thrill on Saturday in Surprise, as they got a chance to meet Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan. Ryan, who is President of the Texas Rangers, was signing autographs for fans as the Devils took the field. He was in front of ASU’s dugout, and several Sun Devils were able to shake his hand, pose for a photo or get an autograph before going out for pre-game stretching.
Rain, Rain, Go Away:
For the third straight Sunday, rained wreaked havoc on the Sun Devil baseball team. After having a game canceled opening weekend against Northern Illinois and enduring a four and a half hour rain delay against Towson, Sunday’s game with FIU was called in the seventh inning due to a downpour. Rain fell all day on Sunday, canceling the other two games of the Coca-Cola Classic. Only ASU and FIU were able to play all four games on their schedule this weekend.
Coca-Cola Classic Tournament History:
With their 4-0 showing in the 8th Annual Coca-Cola Classic, Arizona State improved their all-time record in the tournament to 17-9. It was the first time since the inaugural year of the tournament that ASU went undefeated in three or more games (ASU was 2-0 in 2008). The 16 runs scored against UC Riverside, as well the 14-run margin of victory and the 22 hits in the 16-2 win, were all Coca-Cola Classic tournament records.
Player of the Week:
Sophomore Zack MacPhee was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week, The NCBWA’s National Hitter of the Week and a Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week by Collegiate Baseball following opening weekend against Northern Illinois. The second baseman had an amazing opening weekend, going 8-11 (.727), scoring seven times, driving in eight runs and collecting 20 total bases, including four triples. It is the first weekly honor of MacPhee’s career and it is the third straight season a Sun Devil has been named the Pac-10 Player of the Week following opening weekend.
Feels Like The First Time:
11 student-athletes have made their ASU debuts this season: Daniel Milner, Andrew Aplin, Joey DeMichele, Jimmy Patterson, Xorge Carrillo, Deven Marrero, Josh Moody, Jake Barrett, Alex Blackford, Brady Rodgers and Merrill Kelly.
Another ASU Hall of Famer:
Alan Bannister will become the sixth Sun Devil in the College Baseball Hall of Fame during Fourth of July weekend in Lubbock, Texas. Bannister was a member of the 8-man 2010 Hall of Fame class that was announced by the College Baseball Foundation. Bannister played three seasons at ASU from 1970 to 1972, earning First Team All-American honors in 1971 and 1972. The shortstop was a career .355 hitter and was the #1 pick in the 1973 January MLB Draft. He played 12 seasons in the Majors.
Triple The Fun:
On March 9, 1963, the Sun Devils hit six triples in a 12-0 win over Utah State, setting a school record. That record stood for 47 years, until ASU tied it on February 20 during the second game of the doubleheader with Northern Illinois. In ASU’s 26-1 win in seven innings, the Devils collected six three-baggers, tying the school record. The NCAA record is seven, set in 1976 and tied in 1992. ASU had not had more than four triples in a game since 1975. The six triples also tied the Pac-10 record, set in 1945. So far in 2010, ASU has tripled 15 times. The school record is 58, set in 1970. Zack MacPhee has already collected seven triples so far this season after getting only one all of last year. The school record for triples in a season is 13 by Alan Bannister in 1971.
Exhibition With Meiji University (Japan):
On Tuesday night, the Sun Devils faced Meiji University of Japan in an exhibition game which the Devils won 9-1. It was ASU’s first international exhibition since March 11, 1999 when they faced Aomori of Japan.
ASU Baseball International Exhibition Games In Tempe
3/2/10- vs. Meiji University (Japan)
3/11/99- vs. Aomori (Japan)
3/10/92- Keio (Japan)
3/29/82 to 3/31/82- Taiwan National Team
2/21/80- Taiyo (Japan)
2/27/80- Hanshin (Japan)
3/17/78- Waseda (Japan)
Arizona State baseball has become a true family affair in recent years. Junior OF Matt Newman has Maroon and Gold in his blood, as his father, Randy, was a pitcher for the Sun Devils in 1981 and 1982, winning 15 career games and the 1981 National Championship. Last season, Matt and Randy joined a select list as a father-son combo who both played in the College World Series...Sophomore OF Johnny Ruettiger is the nephew of Rudy Ruettiger, the former Notre Dame football player who had a movie about his life made...Senior Danny Duffy is the brother of former Sun Devil and Major Leaguer Chris Duffy, who played for ASU in 2001...Freshman catcher Kyle Arnsberg is the son of former Major Leaguer and current Toronto Blue Jays pitching coach Brad Arnsberg...Freshman shortstop Deven Marrero is the cousin of Chris Marrero, a rising star in the Washington Nationals’ system.
Last season, the Sun Devils boasted a set of brothers who started next to each other in the infield, marking the first time in school history that brothers started next to each other on the diamond. In Omaha, when Raoul Torrez manned the hot corner for the Devils and his brother Riccio handled first base, they became the first brother duo since 2004 to start a game in the College World Series. The Torrez brothers are the fifth set of brothers to suit up for the same Sun Devil team. They are joined this season by Drew and Beau Maggi, who become the sixth brother tandem to play for ASU. Drew enters his sophomore season, while his brother Beau begins his freshman year. The other Sun Devil brothers to play on the same teams are Kevin and Pat Dukes (1980-81), Dale and Larry Eiler (1976-78), John and Tom Sain (1973) and Brett and Greg Bordes (2005-06).
The Mayor of Omaha:
Kole Calhoun had a memorable trip to Omaha for the 2009 College World Series, earning All-CWS honors thanks to his .563 average over the four games. Calhoun drove in 11 runs, slugged 1.250 and hit three home runs, including a grand slam. He became only the fourth Sun Devil to ever hit a grand slam at the College World Series, joining Sal Bando (1965), Bob Horner (1978) and Michael Collins (1998). Calhoun quickly became a fan favorite at Rosenblatt Stadium, collecting his own cheering section in left field.
Many players on the ASU roster are quite familiar with one another. The Sun Devils have five student-athletes who all attended Brophy Prep in Phoenix. Raoul and Riccio Torrez, Drew and Beau Maggi and Matt Newman all played on the Brophy baseball team. Josh Spence, Jimmy Patterson and Xorge Carrillo all played for Central Arizona in 2008, while Patterson and Carrillo also played together at McClintock High School in Tempe, along with Daniel Milner. Josh Moody and Zack MacPhee both played at Sandra Day O’Connor in Phoenix.
Sophomore OF Brandon Magee is no stranger to ASU athletics, playing linebacker for the Sun Devil football team. Magee joins Mike Jones as recent Sun Devils who played both football and baseball. Jones played football from 2005 to 2008, while splitting time with baseball from 2006 to 2008. Magee recorded 34 tackles in 2009, including seven for loss with two QB sacks. He also intercepted a pass while playing in all 12 games. Magee collected his first career hit against UC Riverside in Surprise.
In The Dugout:
Arizona State features a new coaching staff for the 2010 season. Former Sun Devil infielder Tim Esmay takes over head coaching duties after spending the previous five seasons as an assistant coach, including the last three as assistant head coach. Ken Knutson will handle the pitching coach duties in his first season at ASU following 17 years as the head coach at Washington. Travis Jewett begins his first season with the Sun Devils after coaching the past five seasons at Washington State. Former Sun Devil All-American and Major Leaguer Mike Benjamin begins his first season as an assistant coach at his alma mater.
1,000 Times Yes:
With its 8-0 win over Northern Illinois on February 19, Arizona State recorded its 1,000th victory at Packard Stadium. Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark has been the home field of the Sun Devils since 1974, with the exception of the 2002 season when ASU played at Hohokam Park in Mesa during Packard renovations. ASU has compiled a home record of 1,006-269-1 at Packard Stadium.
Back In Uniform:
With Mike Benjamin joining the coaching staff, ASU now boasts two former Sun Devils on the 2010 coaching staff. Tim Esmay and Benjamin were teammates at ASU in 1986 and 1987, helping the Devils to a combined 74-55 record and a berth in 1987 College World Series. Benjamin was an All-American and All-Pac-10 performer in 1987, becoming a third round pick of the San Francisco Giants. He played 13 seasons in the Major Leagues.
The Sun Devils were picked to win the Pac-10 Championship by the Pac-10 coaches for the second straight year. ASU received seven of the nine first place votes. This is the third time in school history Arizona State has been picked to win the conference, joining 2007 and 2009.
The Sun Devils moved up to #11 in Baseball America’s poll. They are #2 in the Collegiate Baseball poll, #4 in the NCBWA poll and #6 on Rivals.com. ASU is #3 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll.
Leader of the Pac:
Since the 2000 season, the Arizona State Sun Devils have been the most consistent program in the Pac-10 conference. Since 2000, ASU leads the Pac-10 in wins (444), conference wins (157), NCAA Tournament appearances (10), Top 25 finishes (10), All-Americans (29), draft picks (78) and First Team All-Pac-10 players (47). The Devils have won four Pac-10 titles since 2000, including the last three.
The 2009 Sun Devils were dominant on the field at Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark, and the thanks in large part go to the record-number of fans who attended the games. Last season, the Devils went 36-4 at home and led the West Coast in attendance for the fifth straight season. 125,082 fans came out to see the Sun Devils in 2009, and average of 3,207 per game. That’s the highest average attendance since 1984.
Feeling The Draft:
There are 22 members of the 2010 Sun Devils who have had their name called during the annual Major League Baseball draft, including Josh Spence and Raoul Torrez, who both were drafted last season but opted to return to school. Spence, Merrill Kelly and Xorge Carrillo have each been drafted twice.
Did You Know?:
20 former Sun Devils are in Major League Spring Training Camps, including Mike Leake with the Cincinnati Reds. Leake was the 2008 and 2009 Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year and the 2009 ABCA National Player of the Year.
Arizona State leaves Arizona for the first time this season when they head to Fullerton, California for a two-game series with Cal State Fullerton at Goodwin Field on Tuesday and Wednesday. They return home Friday to host Houston in a three-game series at Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark.
TOMORROW | 7:00pm PTLive