No. 8 Sun Devil Baseball Hosts South Florida For Three-Game Series Starting Friday Night
March 9, 2001
What's On Tap:The No. 8 Sun Devils host South Florida (8-7) to a three-game series this weekend at Bobby Winkles Field at Packard Stadium. ASU will take its 336-game streak of not being shutout to the line against a Bulls team that has won for of their last five games. The Devils are coming off an impressive 17-3 win over Oral Roberts Tuesday night. The scheduled game between the Sun Devils and the Golden Eagles was rained out Wednesday night. Taking a 14-4-1 record into this weekend, ASU has reached great levels of success with the bat and on the mound. ASU has combined to hit .371 as a team with 259 hits and have outscored its opponent 205-84. On the mound the staff ERA is hovering at a respectable 3.86 mark, with opposing batters hitting only .254. Casey Myers remains the hottest Sun Devil hitting at a .451 clip. With hits in 16 of ASU's 19 games, Myers has chalked up 15 multi-hit games and recorded 35 RBI. The senior All-American is now just 42 RBI short of the Pac-10 and ASU career record. On the mound the rotation is starting to gel with Jon Switzer, Mike Esposito and Andy Torres all stepping up. Torres is one off the national lead with six wins and Switzer has been impressive with a 3-0 record and 56 strikeouts in 36.0 innings. Freshman Ryan Schroyer (2-1, 3.95) and senior Drew Friedberg (1-0, 1.32) are two keys out of the Sun Devil bullpen. ASU is 2-0 vs. South Florida in the all-time series, meeting only in 1979 in Tampa, Fla. Sunday's game (12 p.m.) will be the 1,000th game played at Packard Stadium. ASU holds a 773-223-1 record all-time dating back to 1974 at Packard Stadium.
Sun Devils Scoring Streak Longest Active In NCAA At 336 Games:The Arizona State baseball program has scored in a Pac-10 record 336 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 and the second longest in NCAA history. ASU was neck-in-neck with Wichita State which was not shutout in 332 games, but when the Shockers fell 1-0 vs. Louisiana-Lafayette ASU took over the national lead. Coastal Carolina holds the record at 349 games set from 1983-1989. If ASU were to break the record of 349 games without being shutout, they would have to score at least one run in the next 14 games, with the record-breaker possibly coming against nationally ranked USC on April 7 in Los Angeles. That's right, the record breaker (Game 350) could come exactly five years after the last time ASU was shutout. During the streak ASU has scored one run in only five games.
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 .451 (33x77) with seven doubles, two home runs and 33 RBI. After having his 12-game hitting streak snapped vs. LSU (3/2), Myers is 8 for his last 14 with six RBI. The senior catcher has hits in 16 of ASU's 19 games this year, 15 of which have been multi-hit games. With an average of nearly 2.0 RBI per game in 2001, Myers already has 35 and is quickly approaching the school and Pac-10 career record. With 241 in his four-year career, he is just 43 short of breaking both records set by former Sun Devil Andrew Beinbrink. Dating back to the start of 2000, Myers is hitting .422 (135x320) with 132 RBI and 21 home runs in 78 combined games.
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. With an 8-7 record South Florida is not ranked.
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 16 of ASU's 19 games, 15 of which have been multi-hit affairs... he also has at least one RBI in 16 of the 19 games... junior outfielder Mel Stocker is 13-for-13 in the stolen bases department, but has not had one in his last eight games played... freshman Jeremy West has hit four of ASU's 10 home runs and is averaging one homer every 12.5 at-bats... the power outage in 2001 has seen the Sun Devils hit only 10 home runs in 19 games... through 19 games last year, ASU hit 32 home runs, with outfielder Mitch Jones connecting on 14 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 three doubles in 2001, already bettering his 2000 output by one... freshman Rod Allen is currently riding an 11-game hitting streak in which he has collectively gone 16-for-41... 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 last weekend, going 0-1-1 in two games... ASU also reintroduced the maroon caps with black bills that were used in the 1998 College World Series season... junior RHP Andy Torres is 6-1 this year and at one point led the nation in wins... he is currently one off the national lead of seven by Dan Bivian of New Mexico State... Mike Lopez had a career game vs. Creighton (2/18), going 4-for-5 with three doubles and seven RBI... freshman Steve Garrabrants is 7-for-13 in the last three games and is hitting .361 for the year while playing in all 19 games... the Sun Devils have outscored their opponents 205-84 in 2001... the second inning has been the most kind to ASU, having outscored its opponents 32-5 in the second frame... in 17 home dates, ASU is averaging 2,928 per game... the ASU bullpen has retired 37 of the 58 first batters they have faced... while inheriting 37 runners, the ASU bullpen has allowed only 15 runs to score... ASU's pinch-hitters are 14-for-39 (.359) in 2001... ASU is 3-2-1 when facing teams with better than a .500 record... when Casey Myers records a hit, ASU is 13-2-1... 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.
Offensive Powerhouse 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 9.56 runs per game. 2001 has been no different scoring 10.78 runs per game and hitting .371 as a team.
Media Exposure:Sunday's game vs. South Florida 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. All three games of the ASU-USF series can also be viewed on the internet utilizing the Live Stats feature.
ASU To Play 1,000th Game At Packard Stadium Sunday:Arizona State is 1-1-1 on the newly named Bobby Winkles Field, but an amazing 773-223-1 (.776) at Packard Stadium. Such greats as Jim Brock, Bobby Winkles, Barry Bonds, Larry Gura, Floyd Bannister, Hubie Brooks, Reggie Jackson and Bob Horner all have their names honored on the outfield 'Wall of Honor.' Sunday's game against South Florida will mark a special occasion, marking the 1,000th career game at Packard Stadium. The stadium was made part through a gift from Guthrie and Peter Packard as a tribute to their late father William Guthrie Packard. The first game ever played at Packard Stadium was a 6-4 loss to USC on April 7, 1974.
Blame It On The Rain:Rain in Arizona, yeah, that's right, and it has put a damper on the 2001 baseball season so far. Record amounts of rain in the Southwest have forced three cancellations at Packard Stadium, with two more being cancelled when ASU traveled to Fullerton to play the Titans. ASU has already made up one game with St. Mary's (6-4, L) and have a make-up game with Cal State Fullerton scheduled for April 9. ASU is also looking into playing Oral Roberts when they go back to Oklahoma to play the Sooners in mid April.
Espo Is Back:Possibly the best news of the season for the Sun Devils is the fact the RHP Mike Esposito (Las Vegas) is back in the starting rotation. A reliever on strict pitch counts through much of the early season, Esposito made his return as a starter last Sunday vs. LSU. Although lasting only two innings and 54 pitches, Esposito left the game with the lead and looked strong. Recovering from successful Tommy John surgery, Esposito has thrown 7.0 innings for ASU, striking out seven and posting an ERA of 5.14. Esposito was a fifth-round draft pick by the Cincinnati Reds in 1999 and was ASU's opening day starter in 2000 before going down with the injury.
Previewing The Pac-10 Opener With Cal:With the Pac-10 opener a week away, the Sun Devils will make the trek to Berkeley, Calif., for the second straight year to take on the Bears. ASU will be defending its 2000 Pac-10 Championship as they posted a 17-7 record and won a tiebreaker with Stanford and UCLA for the outright Pac-10 crown. The Sun Devils are 3-0 in Pac-10 openers when playing Cal (since joining the Pac-10 in 1979) and are overall 11-11 in Pac-10 openers. ASU is 3-3 in Pac-10 openers and 90-77 overall in conference play under current head coach Pat Murphy. Since joining the Pac-10 in 1979 after leaving the WAC, ASU is 369-276 (.572) in league action, with six conference titles.
The Wild, Wild West, Jeremy West:Possibly the best surprise of 2001 so far has been the stellar play of true freshman first baseman/designated hitter Jeremy West. The product of Silverado High School in Las Vegas, Nev., West has recorded a hit in 14 of 18 games this year and is hitting a cool .400 (20x50). West also leads the team with four home runs, two of which have come over the last three games, and is averaging one homer every 12.5 at-bats this year. The sweet-swinging West has been hot as of late, hitting .500 (6x12) over his last three games. West has started five games at first base and seven as ASU's designated hitters.
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 246-127-1 (.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.
Bobby Winkles Field:The Baseball Field at Packard Stadium was officially named Bobby Winkles Field last Saturday as part of a special weekend honoring ASU's first varsity baseball coach. Winkles Field was officially named during a special ceremony before Saturday's game with LSU. Around 90 of Winkles former players joined a sellout crowd at Packard Stadium to honor Winkles and his tremendous strides to put ASU baseball on the map. 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 championships (1965, 67,69) and tutored future major league greats Rick Monday, Reggie Jackson and Sal Bando. ASU is 1-1-1 on Winkles Field.
USF - ASU Rivalry Long Time In The Making:The series between the Sun Devils and the South Florida Bulls has been a long time in waiting... 23 years to be exact. The only time ASU and USF have ever met was back in 1979 when the Sun Devils defeated the Bulls in two games in Tampa, Fla. ASU won by scores of 6-1 and 3-2. The 1979 Sun Devils, coached by the legendary Jim Brock, finished with a 32-31 record in the schools first year as a Pac-10 school. ASU is 23-31 all-time according to ASU records vs. schools from the state of Florida.
Myers And Rest Of the Devils 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 was also tabbed as a player to watch for 2001 by the Sporting News.
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). Despite his first rough outing vs. LSU in his last start, Switzer is still perfect for the season with a 3-0 record and 3.25 ERA. Switzer is averaging 9.3 strikeouts in his six starts and has 56 for the year in 36.0 innings. Switzer has now recorded double-digits in strikeouts in three of his six starts. For his career, the hard-throwing lefty has struck out 255 in 239.0 innings and is 21-7 with a 3.88 ERA. 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 labeled 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 10-game hitting steak. Allen is hitting .381 with six doubles, one triple and one home run. Eight (8) of his 16 hits in 2001 have gone for extra bases. His two-run blast vs. Creighton (2/17) 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-plus years of varsity baseball at Arizona State, the program has built a legacy matched by few in the college baseball world. With a 1,871-740-1 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 Torrito, 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 five more to enter this weekend with a 6-1 record. With a fast and fluid motion, the quick-worker has managed a 3.48 ERA in his six outings, with five coming as starts. He has struck out 24 and walked only 12 this year and is coming off a stellar 6.1 inning outing in which he picked up his sixth win of the year Tuesday vs. Oral Roberts. Torres is one off the national lead in wins, with New Mexico State's Dan Bivian having a perfect 7-0 record in 2001. He is scheduled to start Sunday vs. South Florida.
Speed Kills:Speed on the base paths 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 56 bases so far, led by Mel Stocker's 13, and are already half way to their entire 2000 season total of 92. That statistic is even without the production of perhaps ASU's fastest base runner, Chris Duffy, who recently returned to the lineup after suffering a preseason knee injury and is 3-for-3 stealing bases this year. 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 11 this year.