No. 4/5 Sun Devil Baseball Heads To No. 18 Cal State Fullerton For Three-Game Series
Feb. 21, 2001
What's On Tap:Coming off a series sweep of the Creighton Bluejays, the No 4/5 Arizona State Sun Devil baseball team will take to the road for the first time this season with a three-game series at No. 18 Cal State Fullerton. The Sun Devils are coming off a 4-1 week, dropping only a game to St. Mary's Saturday night. Entering the weekend with a 12-2 record, ASU will face its first true test of the season in the Titans (6-6). Fullerton is coming off a series win over BYU and have been riding the hot right arm of starting pitcher Kirk Saarloos. Saarloos has thrown consecutive shutouts and is coming off a one-hitter. The match-up between the Titans and Sun Devils is virtually a dead-heat on the mound with both squads carrying identical 2.79 team ERA's. The Devils carry the heavier sticks though, out-hitting CSUF .385 to .250. The Fullerton series marks the first of several tough opponents, with No. 4 LSU coming to Tempe the following week and then national powers South Florida and Oral Roberts making the trek to Arizona the week after that.
Sun Devils Scoring Streak Still Alive at 331 Games:The Arizona State baseball program has scored in a Pac-10 record 331 straight games, not having been shutout since a 9-0 setback to USC on April 7, 1995. The streak is currently the second longest in NCAA Division I, trailing Wichita State which has not been shutout in 332 games. WSU opened the season Saturday with a doubleheader vs. Air Force and swept the three-game series to run its current streak one ahead of ASU. ASU's 331-game streak ranks third all-time, with Coastal Carolina holding the record at 349 games. The Sun Devils surpassed third-place Florida State with the 16-2 win over New Mexico State last Tuesday.
The National Rankings:Arizona State comes into this weekend's games with a national ranking as high as fourth in the nation. The USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll has the Sun Devils listed fourth and Baseball America kept the Sun Devils at No. 5. The Collegiate Baseball poll has ASU listed as the sixth best team in the nation. Georgia Tech claimed first place in the Baseball America and Baseball Weekly poll, while Rice claimed the No. 1 spot in the Collegiate Baseball poll. Cal State Fullerton is ranked as 17th in the nation by Collegiate Baseball and checked in at No. 18 in Baseball America's most recent poll.
Media Exposure:All three games vs. Cal State Fullerton will be broadcast on the radio by XTRA 910 AM and can be listened to on the official website of ASU athletics, www.thesundevils.com. Tim Healey, the voice of ASU athletics will bring you the play-by-play, while ASU historian and longtime Sun Devil baseball writer Bob Eger will provide an insightful color analysis. Saturday's game will be tape-delayed. All three games this weekend can also be viewed utilizing the live stats feature via www.thesundevils.com.
Around The Horn With ASU Baseball:The Sun Devils lost their first season opener since 1993 when they fell to Texas-Arlington 5-3... in `93 the Devils lost to Hawaii, but still managed to make it to Omaha that year... Pat Murphy was undefeated at ASU and in his Division I head coaching career in season openers before the UTA game... Dennis Wyrick opened the season with a bang, recording hits in his first six at-bats and is currently hitting .395for the year... Brooks Conrad has recorded a hit in each of ASU's 14 games and has a 15-game hitting streak intact dating back to the last game of 2000 vs. Texas... Andy Torres is tied for the national lead with five wins, duplicated by two other pitchers who are also 5-0 for the year... ASU has not been shutout in 331 consecutive games, dating all the way back to 1995... Mike Lopez has recorded 10 doubles this year, already two from matching his total of 12 from last year... Casey Myers has recorded a hit in 12 of ASU's 14 games, with 11 of those being multi-hit games... his 11-game hitting streak has also included an 11-RBI game streak... Myers has been a run-producing machine thus far, averaging 2.0 RBI per game and is now just 49 RBI away from breaking the school and Pac-10 career record... Lopez is second on the team with nine multi-hit games and is the lone Sun Devil to tab four hits in a game... Freshman DH Rod Allen carries a nine-game hitting streak into this weekend and has started the last eight games for ASU... of Allen's 13 hits this season, eight have gone for extra bases... Freshman DH Jeremy West is tied for the team lead with Myers clubbing two home runs... as a team ASU has stolen 47 bases, already half way to its 2000 season total of 92... junior Mel Stocker leads the Devils with 13 stolen bases... freshman Steve Garrabrants isn't far back with 10... ASU has out-scored its opponent 160-46 in 2001, with the most decisive inning being a 19-1 difference in the third frame... ASU is 11-0 vs. right-handed starters, and have suffered both of its losses vs. LHP starters... a nice surprise for 2001 has been the large crowds at Packard Stadium, with ASU averaging 2,349 for the 13 dates... as a team ASU is hitting .423 (96x227) with runners in scoring position... with the bases loaded the Sun Devils are 9-for-19...ASU is 11-0 when Jonah Martin is the leadoff hitter... the ASU bullpen has inherited 20 runners on base, only of which six have scored... ASU is riding a 2-game losing streak against the Titans heading into this weekend.
ASU Tops In Scoring in NCAA Last Two Years:Arizona State has led the NCAA in scoring each of the last two years, averaging 11.32 runs per game in 1999 and 10.97 runs per game last year. ASU also led the nation in batting average with a team total of .356 in 1999. The Sun Devils .346 average in 2000 fell just percentage points shy of matching that feat a second year in a row, trailing Stony Brook by one point. ASU out-hit Stony Brook 738-500. During Pat Murphy's seven seasons in Tempe, the Sun Devils have been a scoring machine with 3,532 runs, averaging 9.57 runs per game. 2001 has been no different 11.43 runs per game after the combined 52-7 defeat of Creighton.
Recapping Last Week:The Sun Devils went 4-1 last week with a series sweep of Creighton and a mid-week win over New Mexico State. ASU's second setback of the year came Saturday evening vs. St. Mary's. Senior third baseman Mike Lopez swung the hot bat for the Devils, hitting .643 (9x14) while playing in four of the five games. In those four games Lopez tallied six doubles and 10 RBI, including a career day at the plate Sunday vs. Creighton by going 4-for-5 with three doubles and seven RBI. Senior catcher Casey Myers continued his tear at the plate by hitting .600 for the week, with 12 hits in 20 at-bats. His 11 RBI moved him to 28 on the year, an average of 2.0 per game. Freshman Rod Allen saw his first extended action as starter, and stepped up in a big way. The son of former Major Leaguer Rod Allen, Sr., went 7-for-19 with 11 RBI and hit his first collegiate home run. ASU outscored its opponents 72-15 over the five games. On the mound Andy Torres went 2-0 with wins over Creighton and New Mexico State.
All-American Myers On An RBI Tear At The Plate:So what if All-American catcher Casey Myers was off to somewhat of a slow start, because as of late the senior has been on a tear at the plate. Myers, who hit .412 last year and was a finalist for the National Player of the Year award, also started 2000 slow with a .263 average and eight RBI. Myers provided the game-winning hit to beat Southern Utah 6-5 and has been productive ever since. Behind the plate Myers has been instrumental in the success of the ASU pitching staff, calling all the pitches and helping lead top pitching performances from Jon Switzer (3-0, 1.07) and freshman Ryan Schroyer (2-1). After a 12-for-20 week (.600) Myers is now hitting .441 with 28 RBI and has an 11-game hitting streak, 10 of which have been multi-hit affairs. During the streak, Myers is hitting .524 (22x42) with 22 RBI. With 28 RBI in 2001 and 234 for his career, Myers is steadily climbing the ASU and Pac-10 career record list. Now just 49 short of tying both records set by former Sun Devil Andrew Beinbrink (1996-1999), Myers is third in the Pac-10 and ASU record books. Myers needs 67 more RBI to rank among the top seven run-producers in college baseball history, a list that includes Robin Ventura, Joe Carter and Pete Incaviglia.
Myers And ASU Gain National Attention From Street & Smith's:Senior Casey Myers was recently named to the preseason Street & Smith's College Baseball All-Americas list. Myers, who was also a preseason All-American as selected by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball, has been one of the hottest hitters in all of college baseball with a .418 batting average (124x297) dating back to the beginning of last year. The Arizona State baseball team was selected fourth in the Street & Smith's Preseason College Baseball Rankings.
Myers Passes Horner On Career Record List:His numbers rank up their with the best of the numerous Arizona State greats, but with 234 RBI and a .386 batting average in his career, senior Casey Myers passed one of the greatest former Sun Devils, Bob Horner. Horner, who hit .277 over the course of 10 MLB seasons and hit 218 career home runs, played at ASU from 1976-78. Myers passed Horner's third-place mark of 228 RBI's and now is within 49 of the school record of 283. Myers also passed Horner for seventh place in the ASU record books with a career .386 batting average. Horner hit .384 with a school record 56 home runs. Horner was the first overall pick in the 1978 draft by the Atlanta Braves and jumped right to the Major Leagues that year hitting 23 home runs to be named the National League Rookie of the Year.
Recruiting Class Draws Rave Reviews:The recruiting class that makes up the freshman class on the diamond this spring was rated as the top class of recruits in the nation by Baseball America. Highlighted by seven players who were selected in the annual Major League Draft, the group includes several players who are expected to contribute immediately. The recruiting class was also ranked third in the nation by Collegiate Baseball.
The Franchise, Jon Switzer:After going 11-3 last year and having a successful summer with Team USA, junior lefty Jon Switzer (Houston, Texas) is off to a great start in what is expected to be a stellar junior campaign. The junior has not disappointed earning the Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Week award (2/5). He earned the honor by striking out 13 of the 16 batters he faced against Southern Utah (2/2). At one point he struck out eight in a row to rank second in the ASU record books. Switzer was named a preseason All-American by Collegiate Baseball (2nd Team) and Baseball America (3rd team). He improved his 2001 record to 3-0 with a 1.07 ERA after a strong, seven-inning outing in which he struck out 11 vs. Creighton. Switzer has now recorded double-digits in strikeouts in three of his four starts and has 41 on the year. He was named an honorable mention on the 2000 Pac-10 All-Conference team. Switzer picked up win No. 11 vs. Arizona May 21 in a relief appearance, making him the first ASU pitcher to reach 11 wins since 1993. Switzer finished with an impressive 5-2 record in conference play with a 4.47 ERA. He was honored as Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week three times in '00 (tying UCLA's Rob Henkel for the most honors). He led the team with 121 strikeouts and held opposing batters to a .228 average at the plate. He ranked seventh in the conference in ERA (3.89), third in opposing batting average (.228), sixth in strikeouts (121) and third in wins (11). Right-handed hitters managed only a .226 batting average vs. Switzer in 2000, while lefties checked in at .233. For his career, he is 18-7 with 199 strikeouts. Drafted in the 26th round out of high school by the Pittsburgh Pirates, Switzer is listed as one of the top lefties for the 2001 draft. He was 1-0 with a 2.41 ERA with Team USA this past summer before leaving the team early after having an emergency appendectomy surgery. Switzer is labeld by Baseball America as the 25th prospect in the nation for the 2001 draft and is the 14th college prospect in the nation for the June draft.
Danger...Rod Allen On Deck:One of the hottest hitters in the Sun Devil lineup as of late has been freshman designated hitter Rod Allen. The product of Desert Vista High School in Phoenix, Allen has been on a tear with a .368 batting average in his last five games. The designated hitter is hitting .406 for the year with 13 hits and 13 RBI. Of his 13 hits, eight have gone for extra bases with six doubles, a triple and his first collegiate home run. His two-run blast vs. Creighton cleared both fences in left field and landed on Rio Salado Drive. The son of former major leaguer Rod Allen, Sr., who is also a broadcaster for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Allen hit .419 his senior year at Desert Vista while leading them to a state championship.
42 Years of Sun Devil Baseball:While the history of baseball at Arizona State University goes back all the way to the early 1900's, the school officially began sponsoring varsity baseball in 1959. In 42 years of varsity baseball at Arizona State, the program has built a legacy matched by few in the college baseball world. With a 1,868-738 all-time record, Arizona State has recorded winning seasons in all but one year, advanced to the College World Series 18 times, won five national championships, won six Pac-10 titles, produced 13 Players of the Year and three Golden Spikes Award winners, and has gone to the NCAA Tournament 24 times. Under current head coach Pat Murphy, the Sun Devils have finished in the top 12 in three of the last four years and finished second in the nation in 1998.
El Torro, Andy Torres:He doesn't look like much and he doesn't dazzle you with fancy stuff, he just gets you out. ASU's latest addition to the roster is junior college transfer RHP Andy Torres. Torres, who came to ASU from East Los Angeles CC, had a stellar career on the mound at the JC level, capping his career with a 12-3 record, 2.11 ERA, one save and 113 strikeouts in 119.1 innings pitched. The 6-0, 165 Torres recorded a win in his ASU debut and has since tacked on four more to enter this weekend with a 5-0 record. With a fast and fluid motion, the quick-worker has managed a 3.00 ERA in his five outings and four starts. He has struck out 20 and walked only seven. Torres is tied for the national lead with the five wins. BYU's Nate Fernley and New Mexico State's Dan Bivian also have five wins in the young season. Torres' last start was his best yet, going eight strong while scattering 10 hits and striking out a career-high seven vs. Creighton (2/18). He is scheduled to start Saturday in front of tons of family and friends vs. Cal State Fullerton. He grew up not too far away in Bell Gardens, Calif.
Mr. Clutch, Mike Lopez:Senior third baseman Mike Lopez is the heart of the 2001 Sun Devils, and you don't need to go far to realize how much he means to this team. Holding down the hot corner with steady defense and manning the plate as a clutch hitter, Lopez is currently leading the club with a .479 batting average. A defining moment of his clutch hitting was when ASU was down one in the bottom of the eighth to Southern Utah (2/4) and Lopez delivered ASU's first home run of the season to tie the game. The senior had a great week at the plate last week, going 9-for-14 to hit .643 in the five games with six doubles and 10 RBI. Lopez leads the Sun Devils with 10 doubles, only two off his entire season total of 12 in 2000. The third baseman has been very clutch, hitting .571 (12x21) with runners in scoring position. His best game of he season came Sunday vs. Creighton when he had a career day at the plate. Lopez went 4-for-5 with three doubles and seven RBI. He has hits in nine of 13 games this season, and dating back to last year has recorded at least one base hit in 32 of his last 38 games. During that stretch dating back to March 14, 2000, Lopez is hitting an amazing .428 (59x138) with 50 RBI and 20 doubles in 39 combined games.
Pat Murphy at ASU:Arizona's State has had only three coaches in its illustrious history. The latest to join the legacy is Pat Murphy who has enjoyed great success since arriving in Tempe six years ago in 1995. Murphy has guided ASU to a 244-125 (.661) and posted an impressive 90-77 record in the tough Pac-10. ASU has advanced to postseason play in three of the six years under Murphy, including a 2nd place finish at the College World Series in 1998. With his 232 wins at ASU, Murphy has the third best winning percentage of Pac-10 coaches. Murphy is 10 wins shy of 100 career Pac-10 victories. Of all active Division I coaches, Murphy entered 2001 ranked 14th with a career .675 winning percentage.
The Freshmen Devils:Dubbed as the best recruiting class in the nation, the newcomers of the 2001 Sun Devil baseball team have not disappointed. Rod Allen (.406/1 HR/11 RBI) and Jeremy West (.382/2 HR/14 RBI) have not disappointed while rotating turns at the designated hitter position. West may see more action at first base with the injury to Jeff Phelps. Steve Garrabrants has stepped up at second base and left field like he has been playing the college game for four years. Garrabrants is hitting .358 with four doubles and 11 RBI. Ryan McKenna is hitting .385 off the bench with five hits and two RBI. Throw Eric Keefner (.308) in that bunch and you have an offensive powerhouse for the future and the present. On the mound, RHP starter Ryan Schroyer is 2-1 with a 2.77 ERA. J.J. Jackson saw his first action as a Sun Devil last weekend and is sure to see plenty more innings before the end of the year
Bobby Winkles Field:The Baseball Field at Packard Stadium will be officially named Bobby Winkles Field as part of a special weekend honoring ASU's first varsity baseball coach. Winkles Field will be named during a special weekend during the highly anticipated LSU series March 2-4. LSU is the defending National Champions and will be making their first trip to Tempe. Winkles was ASU's first varsity coach, compiling an impeccable 524-173 record during his 13 year career at ASU. He guided the Sun Devils to three national championship (1965, 67,69) and tutored future major league greats Rick Monday, Reggie Jackson and Sal Bando. For more information please contact the Sun Angel Foundation at (480) 727-7700.
As Cool As Friedberg:Senior LHP Drew Friedberg has quietly gotten the job done out of the bullpen. Part of a trio of three solid left-handed pitchers out of the ASU bullpen (Friedberg, Pezely, Kartler), Friedberg has yet to allowed an earned run in eight innings on the mound. Posting a 0.00 ERA, he has allowed only four hits and struck out nine in his three outings. The Middleton, Wisc., native has bounced between being a starter and reliever in his four-year ASU career, peaking when he threw a complete-game one hitter vs. Hawaii-Hilo to open his 1999 season. As a junior he was 1-0 with a respectable 4.00 ERA in 27.0 innings. He has been drafted twice in his career, most recently last year by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 29th round.
Speed Kills:Speed on the basepaths is a weapon that never goes in a slump. For ASU, the 2001 season provides plenty of speed on the bench and in the lineup. The Sun Devils have stolen 47 bases so far, led by Mel Stocker's 13, and already half way to their entire 2000 season total of 92. That statistic is even without the production of perhaps ASU's fastest baserunner, Chris Duffy, who has just returned to the lineup after suffering a preseason knee injury. Duffy led the nation at the junior college level last year with 59 stolen bases. Freshman Steve Garrabrants set an Arizona State record last spring with 51 stolen bases at Moon Valley High School and already has 10 this year.
Filling the Stands:Through 14 games of the 2001 season, ASU has drawn 30,549 fans to Packard Stadium to see the nationally ranked Sun Devils get off to a fast 12-2 start. Averaging 2,349 fans per date, ASU is among the nation's best so far this year in attendance for college baseball. With that in mind, ASU is expected to draw close to a sell-out when defending national champion LSU comes to town next weekend (March 2-4). The top attendance so far was the Saturday game vs. Creighton when 3,329 fans showed up to root ASU to a 15-2 win.
Chris Duffy Returns To The Lineup:Junior Chris Duffy started the season with some bad news by spraining his right MCL before the Alumni game. After a month of intense rehab, the highly-touted JC transfer from South Mountain CC saw his first action of his ASU career last week and faired well going 5-for-15 at the plate with a double and three RBI. Duffy, the nation's top base stealer at the JC level last year with 59, is described as a five tool player and will play center field for ASU. Duffy is rated as one of the top 100 prospects in the nation by Baseball America (62) and earned the distinction of having the best outfield arm and best speed in the Pac-10's preseason outlook by Baseball America. Duffy hit .409 at South Mountain last year and was a 43rd round draft choice of the Boston Red Sox.
Mel Stocker Running Wild On The Basepaths:Junior center fielder Mel Stocker (Tucson, Ariz.) has been a base-stealing machine thus far in the 2001 season. Stocker, who stole only eight bases in 49 games last year, is already 13-for-13 in 2001. Stocker tied a school record with four stolen bases vs. Southern Utah (2/1). Stocker has also been steady at the plate hitting .385 with 15 hits, 22 runs scored, two doubles and 11 RBI. Stocker hit at a .600 clip in the five games vs. Duke and New Mexico State.
Dennis Wyrick Off To Solid Start at the Plate:Sophomore Dennis Wyrick had a solid freshman season in which he was named a freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball and Baseball America. Wyrick hit .317 (51x161) with 29 RBI. While his numbers were not stellar, Wyrick has caught fire at the plate to start the 2001 season with a .419 (13x131) batting average. The sophomore shortstop started the season with six consecutive hits, falling just three short of the school record. He has also been very productive, tabbing seven RBI in nine games.
Klusman Equals K:While many had not heard of him before the season started, people will take notice after witnessing his imposing 6-4, 215 pound frame mow down opposing hitters on the mound. The product of Brophy Prep High School in Phoenix has been stellar so far in 2001, possibly putting his name in the hat to bid for the team's closer role. Klusman has struck out 11 of the 21 batters he has faced, not allowing only one hit and no earned runs in six combined innings.
Schroyer Strong and Powerful in ASU Debut:Freshman starting pitcher Ryan Schroyer is used to having his name in the paper having been a two-time high school All-American and a 16th round draft choice of the Detroit Tigers in 2000. Laden with talent and promise coming out of high school power Canyon del Oro High School in Tucson, Schroyer didn't disappoint in his collegiate debut. The hard-throwing right-hander struck out nine, did not walk a batter and did not give up a run in 4.2 innings to record his first win of what is billed to a be a very successful ASU career. Schroyer came back strong in his second start, striking out five and allowing only a infield single in five innings vs. Duke to improve to 2-0. After a shaky start vs. St. Mary's, Schroyer stands at 2-1 with a 2.77 ERA and is the probable pitcher for Sunday's series finale vs. Cal State Fullerton.
Casey Myers An All-American On The Field And In The Classroom:Senior team captain Casey Myers (Casa Grande) is listed as a preseason All-American by nearly every publication in 2001, but that doesn't even scratch the surface as to what Myers brings to the ASU program. He was named Pac-10 Player of the Year in 2000, becoming the second straight season an ASU player has earned the honor (Willie Bloomquist, 1999). The catcher and team leader was among a handful of players vying for Baseball America's National Player of the Year award and was named a semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Collegiate Catcher of the Year. Myers certainly put up impressive numbers in 2000, leading the team in batting average (.412), hits (98), doubles (19) and on-base percentage (.502), as well as RBI (97). His 97 RBI rank fourth in the ASU single-season record book. With 27 already this year, Myers now has 234 career RBI and needs 49 over the course of his senior year to break the Pac-10 and ASU career record. His current mark of 234 RBI places him third in the Pac-10 and ASU record books. He hit 18 home runs (second on the team) behind teammate Mitch Jones and now has 34 in his career. The school record is 56 set by Bob Horner. Myers has quietly done an excellent job behind the plate as well, calling the pitches himself and making the pitching staff step up to the next level. He has been named conference player of the week three times during his career at ASU. He reached base safely (hit, walk, HBP) in 54 of 59 games in '00. Myers led the squad in multiple-hit games (31) and multi-RBI games (29). His multi-hit games included three, four-hit affairs. He hit safely in 50 of 59 games. Myers was clutch with 26 two-out RBI and hit .417 with the bases loaded. He hit .466 (48x103) with runners in scoring position and .459 with runners on base. Myers finished his junior campaign ranked 30th in the nation in batting average (.412), third in RBI (97), and 35th in home runs (.31 per game). So far in 2001, Myers has not disappointed with a .364 average, two home runs, 21 RBI and three doubles.
More On Myers: As asset for the program throughout his career in Tempe, Myers has also been stellar in the classroom. The math whiz that scored a perfect 800 on the math portion of the SAT out of high school, Myers has maintained a near-perfect GPA as a math/accounting major at ASU. He was an Academic All-American in 1999 and 2000, and received college baseball's highest academic honor last year when he was named the GTE/CoSida Academic All-American of the Year. In addition to being named the Academic All-American of the Year, All-American and Pac-10 Player of the Year in 2000, Myers was also named the Collegiate Baseball National Defensive Player of the Year with a .996 fielding percentage. In November, Myers was named the top amateur athlete in the state of Arizona by the March of Dimes.
Casey Myers in the Record Books.......Pac-10 Career RBI
1. Andrew Beinbrink, ASU (1996-99) 2832. John Gall, Stanford (1997-2000) 2633. Casey Myers, ASU (1998-P) 2344. Paul Carey, Stanford (1987-90) 2205. Eric Valent, UCLA (1996-98) 219
ASU Career RBI1. Andrew Beinbrink (1996-99) 2832. Clay Westlake (1973-76) 2503. Casey Myers (1998-P) 2344. Bob Horner (1976-78) 229
ASU Career Batting Average1. Kevin Romine (1981-82) .4082. Hubie Brooks (1977-78) .3963. Willie Bloomquist (1997-99) .3947. Casey Myers (1998-P) .386