Oral Roberts Visits Tempe For Two-Game Baseball Series Vs. No. 8 Sun Devils
March 6, 2001
What's On Tap:The Sun Devils came within one swing of the bat twice from knocking off the No. 2 team in the nation in defending national champion LSU. Instead the Sun Devils dropped two games and tied another to fall to 13-4-1 on the season. Despite the one-run loss Friday and the tie Sunday, the Sun Devils dropped from No. 3 in the national polls to No. 8. ASU is in the midst of a tough stretch of eight games in 10 days, all against teams that are proven NCAA caliber teams. The 8-2 Oral Roberts Golden Eagles make a two-game stop in Tempe Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by South Florida this weekend. In the three-game series with the LSU Tigers, freshman first baseman stepped up in replace of injured senior Jeff Phelps. West hit .364 with one home run and four RBI. Senior All-American catcher Casey Myers also turned in a good weekend, with five more RBI to bring his 2001 total to 33 and his career total just 45 short of breaking the ASU and Pac-10 career record. Myers has recorded at least one hit in 15 of ASU's 18 games, only one of which was not a multi-hit affair. Oral Roberts enters the series with an 8-2 record, with one of those coming to Texas-Arlington, who also beat ASU this year. The Golden Eagles were 49-15 last year, including a 26-1 conference record. Oral Roberts is coming off a series sweep of UMASS, but is hitting only .279 as a team. The Golden Eagle pitching staff has been stellar though with a 2.45 team ERA.
Sun Devils Scoring Streak Longest Active In NCAA At 335 Games:The Arizona State baseball program has scored in a Pac-10 record 335 straight games, not having been shutout since a 9-0 setback to USC on April 7, 1995. The streak is currently the longest in NCAA Division I. ASU had trailed Wichita State which was not shutout in 332 games, but fell 1-0 vs. Louisiana-Lafayette to have their streak halted at 332. ASU's 335-game streak is tied for second all-time, with Coastal Carolina holding the record at 349 games. If ASU were to break the record of 349 games with scoring at least one run, they would have to score at least one run in the next 15 games, with the record-breaker possibly coming against nationally ranked USC on April 6 in Los Angeles.
Casey At Bat:One of the best hitters in college baseball, Casey Myers, has not disappointed in living up to that title this year. Myers is hitting at a team-leading clip of .429 (33x77) with seven doubles, two home runs and 33 RBI. The senior catcher has hits in 15 of ASU's 18 games this year, 14 of which have been multi-hit games. With an average of nearly 2.0 RBI per game in 2001, Myers already has 33 and is quickly approaching the school and Pac-10 career record. With 239 in his four-year career, he is just 45 short of breaking both records set by former Sun Devil Andrew Beinbrink.
The National Rankings:The Sun Devils fell five spots in the Baseball Weekly and Baseball America polls from No. 3 to No. 8 in the nation. ASU maintained its sixth spot in the Collegiate Baseball poll. Despite coming two at-bats from going 2-1 vs. the Tigers (who are ranked second in all three polls) the Sun Devils still dropped five spots. Oral Roberts is not ranked in any of the polls.
Media Exposure:Tuesday's game vs. Oral Roberts can be heard on XTRA 910 AM in the Phoenix area with Tim Healey and Bob Eger calling all the action. The radio games can also be heard via the official website of ASU Athletics at www.TheSunDevils.com. Both games can also be viewed on the internet utilizing the Live Stats feature.
Around The Horn With ASU Baseball:The Sun Devils lost their first season opener since 1993 to Texas-Arlington, but not to worry because the last time that happened the Sun Devils advanced to the College World Series... Casey Myers has hits in 14 of ASU's 15 games, 14 of which have been multi-hit affairs... he also has at least one RBI in 15 of the 18 games... junior outfielder Mel Stocker is 13-for-13 in the stolen bases department... freshman Jeremy West has hit three of ASU's eight home runs... the power outage in 2001 has seen the Sun Devils hit only eight home runs in 18 games... through 18 games last year, ASU hit 27 home runs, with outfielder Mitch Jones connecting on 12 through that stretch of games last year... the three-game attendance vs. LSU was 18,465 was the biggest three-game draw since 1989 when Arizona came to town and 20,095 came out to Packard Stadium... senior Mike Lopez has 10 doubles this year, only two short of his season total from 2001... sophomore shortstop Dennis Wyrick has two doubles in 2001, equaling his 2000 output... freshman Rod Allen is riding a 10-game hitting streak in which he has collectively gone 14-for-36... redshirt freshman utility player Nick Walsh made his first career start Sunday vs. LSU when he was inserted into the leadoff spot in the lineup... Walsh was hit by two pitches and had a clutch sacrifice bunt in the ninth inning... injured Jeff Phelps recorded his third three-hit game of the year in his only start of the weekend Friday vs. LSU... the field at Packard Stadium was officially named Bobby Winkles Field last Saturday as part of a special ceremony honoring ASU's first varsity baseball coach... ASU debuted the maroon uniforms this weekend, going 0-1-1 in two games... ASU also reintroduced the maroon caps with black bills... junior RHP Andy Torres is 5-1 this year and at one point led the nation in wins... Mike Lopez had a career game vs. Creighton, going 4-for-5 with three doubles and seven RBI... freshman Steve Garrabrants is four for his last seven at the plate and is hitting .348 for the year... the Sun Devils have outscored their opponents 188-81... the second inning has been the most kind to ASU, having outscored its opponents 32-5 in the second frame... in 16 home dates, ASU is averaging 3,063 per game... the ASU bullpen has retired 36 of the 56 first batters they have faced... while inheriting 35 runners, the ASU bullpen has allowed only 14 runs to score... ASU's pinch-hitters are 14-for-35 (.424) in 2001... ASU is 2-2-1 when facing teams with better than a .500 record... when Casey Myers records a hit, ASU is 12-2-1... two of ASU's four losses have come when ace Jon Switzer started the game... three of ASU's four losses have come when recording more than 10 hits... when Jonah Martin leads off, ASU is 12-1.
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 3,560 runs, averaging 9.54 runs per game. 2001 has been no different 10.4 runs per game.
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 245-127-1 (.658) 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 245 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.