No. 3/5 Sun Devil Baseball Takes To The Road For Three Game Series At Oregon State
March 21, 2001
Oregon State Beavers (16-9)
Coleman Field at Goss Stadium * Corvallis, Ore.
Saturday, March 24, 1 p.m. (Radio/Live Stats)
Jon Switzer (3-0, 4.12) vs. Nicholson (4-1, 3.75)
Sunday, March 25, 1 p.m. (Radio/Live Stats)
Mike Esposito (1-0, 4.67) vs. Johnson (3-2, 4.08)
Monday, March 26, 1 p.m. (Radio/Live Stats)
Andy Torres (7-2, 4.46) vs. McLemore (0-2, 8.71)
*Probable Pitchers/times are PST
What's On Tap:The No. 3/5 Sun Devil baseball team will continue its six-game roadtrip this weekend with a three-game series at Oregon State. ASU enters the weekend with a 19-5-1 record after taking two of three from the California Golden Bears last weekend to open the Pac-10 season. ASU was the 2000 Pac-10 champions with a 17-7 record, also starting the league slate 2-1 at Cal. The Sun Devils opened with a 7-4 win Friday behind strong relief pitching from Drew Friedberg and Bryce Kartler. Friedberg remains the talk of the pitching staff, drawing rave reviews with his 3-0 record and stellar 0.83 ERA. Kartler has two saves and a 1.98 ERA in 13.2 innings of work. The Beavers enter the weekend with a 16-9 record, having won five straight. They are coming off a series sweep of Minnesota and a midweek sweep of Gonzaga. The Sun Devils are 17-10 overall in the all-time series vs. the Beavers and 2-1 all-time in Corvallis. ASU has gone 2-1 vs. the Beavers in each of the last two seasons since the Pac-10 combined the North and South divisions. After traveling to Corvallis this weekend to take on the Beavers, ASU will take on two nationally ranked teams in consecutive weeks. No. 1 Stanford visits Packard Stadium for a three-game set (March 30-April 1) and then ASU takes back to the road to face preseason No. 1 USC.
Sun Devils Scoring Streak Longest Active In NCAA At 342 Games:The Arizona State baseball program has scored in a Pac-10 record 342 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 who 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 11 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, ironically last coming in a 1-0 win last year vs. Oregon State.
Streaking Devils:Rod Allen and Chris Duffy are two of the hottest Sun Devil hitters, both carrying long hitting streaks into this weekend's action vs. Oregon State. Ironically, Allen and Duffy have hits in every game they have played in at ASU, with the exception of both their debuts. Duffy went 0-for-1 in a pinch-hitting appearance vs. New Mexico State, but has since gone 24-for-59 (.407) in extending his hitting streak to 15 games. Allen, a freshman from Desert Vista High School in Phoenix, has ASU's longest hitting streak of the year at 17 games. With the exception of a 0-for-1 debut vs. Southern Utah, Allen has hits in 17 straight games while hitting .450 (27x60) over that stretch. Junior infielder Brooks Conrad had ASU's longest hitting streak in 2000 at 21 games.
The National Rankings:With a 2-1 record vs. California last weekend, the Sun Devils still managed to move up one spot in each of the three national college baseball polls. With South Carolina dropping two of three to Tennessee, ASU moved up to No. 3 in both the Collegiate Baseball and Baseball Weekly/ESPN Coaches Poll. ASU also moved up from No. 6 to No. 5 in the Baseball America poll. The Sun Devils are in the midst of a tough where they will face Oregon State (received votes), Stanford (No. 1), USC (No. 9) and Cal State Fullerton (No. 24). Every Pac-10 team, save Washington State who is coming off an impressive series sweep at Oral Roberts, is ranked or at least received votes in the most recent poll.
Around The Horn With ASU Baseball:The Sun Devils went 2-1 over the weekend with California, winning its fifth series of the year... ASU has now won all but one Pac-10 series in the last year (USC last year, 4/28-30)... senior LHP Drew Friedberg continues to dominate out of the bullpen with four more shutout innings over the weekend... Friedberg is now 3-0 on the year with a 0.83 ERA in 21.2 innings pitched... another lefty out of the bullpen, Bryce Kartler, has also turned it on as of late lowering his ERA to 1.98 with three no-hit innings Friday vs. Cal... Kartler recorded his second save of the year in that game to lock down ASU's 7-4 win... senior All-American catcher Casey Myers opened the series with a bang going 3-for-3, but struggled the rest of the series going 0-for-7 over the last two games... ASU's 4-2 come-from-behind win Saturday marked the second win the Sun Devils have recorded in their last at-bat... Nick Walsh came up with the game-winning, two-run single with two outs to give ASU the victory... Walsh was the hero in his hometown, growing up in nearby Alamo... junior second baseman/shortstop Brooks Conrad has been turning it up a notch at the plate lately, going 5-for-12 with two doubles in the Cal series and hitting .350 over his last five games to raise his season average to its current mark of .340... besides Allen's 17-game hitting streak, junior center fielder Chris Duffy also has a long streak currently in-tact... the product of South Mountain CC has hits in 15 consecutive games, going 24-for-59 (.407) over that stretch... Duffy is also making good on the preseason predictions by Baseball America... named the Pac-10's best defensive outfielder and best speed, Duffy has three outfield assists and is 6-for-6 in stolen bases... Duffy, who is listed as a switch-hitter, has begun experiencing as a full-time left-handed hitter... he was 2-for-5 Sunday vs. Cal batting left-handed vs. LHP Jason Dennis... Andy Torres' bid to become the nation's leader in wins fell to the wayside Sunday... Torres stands at 7-2 on the year after recording the loss in Sunday's series finale vs. Cal... the Sun Devils own the longest active streak of not having been shutout... ASU was last shutout 342 games ago on April 7, 1995 at Dedeaux Field in Los Angeles vs. USC... the national record is 349 set by Coastal Carolina... ASU is ironically on pace to break the record on April 7, 2001 vs. the same USC Trojans at Dedeaux Field... they game a scare to the record, not scoring a run until the sixth inning in Saturday's game vs. Cal... ASU has scored one run five times during the steak, ironically last against this weekend's opponent, Oregon State, on April 7 of last year.
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 .427 clip (44x103) with eight doubles, four home runs and 42 RBI. Myers is 11 for his last 26 with nine RBI over that stretch. The senior catcher has hits in 19 of ASU's 25 games this year, 18 of which have been multi-hit games. With an average of nearly 2.0 RBI per game in 2001, Myers already has 42 this year and is quickly approaching the school and Pac-10 career record. With 248 in his four-year career, he is just 36 short of breaking both records set by former Sun Devil Andrew Beinbrink. Dating back to the start of 2000, Myers is hitting .416 (142x341) with 139 RBI and 22 home runs in 84 combined games.
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 3,629 runs, averaging 9.55 runs per game. 2001 has been no different scoring 10.36 runs per game and hitting .361 as a team.
More Sun Devil Tidbits:ASU played its 1,000th career game at Packard Stadium on March 11 in a 12-4 win over South Florida... the Sun Devils are 776-223-1 all-time at the home of ASU baseball... ironically, the first game played at Packard Stadium was April 7, 1974 vs. USC (yes, something weird about April 7 here)... the team is hitting .361 and is averaging 10.36 runs per game... ASU has scored double-digits in runs 14 times and given up 10 or more runs three times... while the squad has lots of veteran leadership, 13 of the 25 players on last week's travel squad all made their Pac-10 debut... with a .387 career batting average, Myers is seventh in ASU history... he is within two RBI of second place in the ASU record books for career RBI with 248... Clay Westlake (1973-76) had 250 in his career as a Sun Devil slugger... Myers is now just 35 RBI short of the school and Pac-10 career RBI record set by former ASU third baseman Andrew Beinbrink (1996-99)... ASU is 16-3-1 in 2001 playing after a win... senior 1B/DH Jeff Phelps has been inserted back into the lineup after being sidelined with a hamstring injury... Phelps was 3-for-14 in the Cal series and is hitting .338 on the year... after going 8-for-12 in the South Florida series, raising his average to a team-high .452, freshman first baseman Jeremy West struggled vs. Cal, going 1-for-11 to drop to a still very respectable .397 on the year... he still leads the team with five home runs... while ASU didn't sweep Cal, losing 17-5 Sunday, it was not uncommon for a Sun Devil not to open a Pac-10 season with a series sweep... the last time ASU swept a Pac-10 series to open the league schedule was back in 1989 vs. UCLA... the last time ASU visited Corvallis was in 1999 when the Sun Devils took two of three from the Beavers at Coleman Field at Goss Stadium... the last time ASU faced Oregon State before 1999 was back in 1985 when Jim Brock's Sun Devils were crushed by the Beavers 13-2... redshirt Skyler Fulton is currently taking part in spring football practice... the team toured Alcatrez Island on their recent roadtrip to Cal.
Media Exposure:All three of the ASU-Oregon State games can be heard over the airwaves on XTRA 910 AM. All games will air live from Coleman Field at Goss Stadium on the Oregon State campus with all three games starting at 2 p.m. MST. The series can be heard over the internet as well on the official site of ASU Athletics at www.TheSunDevils.com. The voice of Arizona State Sun Devil athletics, Tim Healey, will bring you the play-by-play with longtime Arizona sportswriter Bob Eger providing the color analysis.
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. The Sun Devils have also added a game with Nevada in Reno on May 16 at 3 p.m. ASU switched the game with New Mexico State from April 19 to April 17 so they can play Oral Roberts in Tulsa after the Oklahoma game. The Sun Devils will play three games in three different cities during that stretch of games with New Mexico State, Oklahoma and Oral Roberts.
The Comeback Kids:Call them the comeback kids on the road. In three of ASU's four road games this year, the Sun Devils have come from behind to gain victories. ASU first came back against Cal State Fullerton, trailing late in the game before Nick Walsh delivered a two-run single in the seventh to give ASU a 4-3 lead en rout to a 5-3 win over the then No. 18 ranked Titans. The comeback kids struck again in the Pac-10 opener vs. Cal, overcoming three different run deficits to gain a 7-4 victory over the Golden Bears. ASU's biggest and best comeback of the year came Saturday vs. Cal when the Sun Devils were down to its last out and trailing 2-1. Mike Lopez was hit with a pitch and consecutive singles by Steve Garrabrants and Chris Duffy tied the game at 2-2. Walsh was made the hero again in his hometown, knocking in two runs to give ASU a 4-2 win. Walsh's two-run single was his second game-winning hit of the year, with this one coming in front of friends and family. The left-handed swinger grew up in nearby Alamo, Calif., and grew up watching games at Evans Diamond. His two-run single game off Matt Brown, a childhood friend who Walsh had faced numerous times before.
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 vs. LSU. Leaving the game with a lead against the Tigers, Esposito made good in his second start of the year, picking up the win against South Florida with 3.1 solid innings. Only 11 months from successful Tommy John surgery, Esposito turned in possibly ASU's most impressive pitching performance of the season.. Despite picking up the no-decision, the hard-throwing right-hander allowed only four hits and two runs in seven innings against California. He struck out six and did not walk a better in his start. Esposito has thrown 17.1 innings for ASU, striking out 16 and posting an ERA of 4.67. 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. He is slated to start Saturday vs. Cal.
The Wild, Wild West, Jeremy West:Jeremy West and the Stock Market have a lot in common. At one point it is up, the other it is going down. Entering the week with a .452 batting average, West had a rough time at the plate in his Pac-10 debut going 1-for-11. West was coming off a torrid weekend at the plate the week before in which he was 8-for-12 in the South Florida series. The product of Silverado High School in Las Vegas, Nev., West has recorded a hit in 18 of 24 games this year and is hitting .397 (29x73). West also leads the team with five home runs, three of which have come over the last nine games, and is averaging one homer every 14.6 at-bats this year. The sweet-swinging West was hot prior to the Cal series, hitting .667 (10x15) in the four games prior to visiting Berkeley with two doubles, two triples and two home runs. In the South Florida series West was 8-for-12, including a career high four hits in the series opener. West was 4-for-5 with two RBI that night, falling just a double short of the elusive cycle.
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 17-game hitting steak in which he is 27-for-60. Allen is hitting at a team-leading .443 clip on the season with seven doubles, one triple and two home runs. Ten (10) of his 27 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. He added a two-run homer vs. South Florida. 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. With seven multi-hit games, Allen has started 13 games with 10 coming at designated hitter and three in left field. Allen has also been clutch, hitting .481 (13x27) with runners in scoring position and is 2-for-4 with the bases loaded.
Chris Duffy Makes An Immediate Impact: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 in the Creighton series and faired well going 5-for-15 at the plate with a double and three RBI. Duffy has been consistent ever since joining the ASU lineup, racking up a 15-game hitting streak. Over those stretch of games, Duffy is 24-for-59 and is hitting an even .400 on the season. Six of his 24 hits have been infield hits, demonstrating his tremendous speed. In the Oral Roberts game Duffy knocked in a career high four runs and tabbed his first triple as a Sun Devil. Duffy, who was 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. Duffy also has three outfield assists, cutting down runners at home plate each time, and has recorded at least one hit in each of his 15 starts. The junior who is listed as a switch hitter, is also experimenting to become a full-time left-handed hitter. In his first game batting all lefty vs. Cal (3/18), Duffy was 2-for-5.
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 251-128-1 (.662) and posted an impressive 92-78 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 eight 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.
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 been stellar out of the bullpen with a 0.83 ERA in 21.2 innings on the mound. Allowing only 10 hits and two runs this year, Friedberg has struck out 25 in his nine outings. Friedberg turned in a stellar performance vs. South Florida, coming out of the bullpen in relief of starter Jon Switzer. He inherited a bases loaded, no-out situation and got out of the jam. He allowed only one hit and did not allow a run to score vs. the Bulls to pick up his second win of the season. He also has a solid outing vs. Cal State Fullerton (2/23), coming out of the bullpen to throw three shutout innings in picking up his first win in over a year. His latest impressive outing came vs. Cal (3/16) in which he threw 2.0 shutout innings to pick up the win and move to 3-0 on the season. Friedberg combined for four shutout innings in the Cal series to run his scoreless innings streak to 9.0 innings. 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.