No. 15 ASU Baseball Looks To Get Back On Winning Track With Three-Game Series Against Washington State At Home
April 11, 2001
Washington State (12-22, 4-5) vs. Arizona State (22-12, 5-7)
Packard Stadium * Tempe, Ariz.
Thursday, April 12, 7 p.m. (TV/Live Stats)
Jon Switzer (4-2, 3.90) vs. Tony Banaszak (4-4, 7.45)
Friday, April 13, 7 p.m. (Radio/Live Stats)
Mike Esposito (2-2, 4.59) vs. Justin Cayetano (2-1, 6.62)
Saturday, April 14, 1 p.m. (Radio/Live Stats)
Ryan Schroyer (2-2, 7.25) vs. Zach Fisher (0-5, 6.41)
*Probable Pitchers/times are PST
What's On Tap:
The No. 15 Arizona State Sun Devil baseball team will try to rebound this weekend with a three-game Pac-10 series against the Washington State Cougars (12-22, 4-5). The Sun Devils have struggled as of late, losing eight of their last 11 games. They carry an overall 22-12-1 record into this weekend's action and sit in eighth place in the Pac-10 with a 5-7 record. ASU was dealt its third consecutive Pac-10 series loss this past weekend, dropping two of three at Southern California. For the second consecutive weekend the Sun Devils won the Sunday game to stave off its first series sweep since April 1999. Losing its last three conference series is new territory for ASU, not having lost a Pac-10 series all last year in a 17-7 Pac-10 championship season in 2000. Freshman Rod Allen continues to lead ASU at the plate with a .416 batting average. Allen was 6-for-10 in the USC series and is hitting .424 in Pac-10 play. All-American catcher Casey Myers continues to have a banner senior season, hitting .408 with five home runs and leads the Sun Devils with 22 multi-hit games. He needs only 29 RBI to match the ASU and Pac-10 career records. The Sun Devils carry a six-game winning streak vs. the Cougars into this weekend's series and have won eight of the last nine dating back to 1998. While the Cougars are 11-22 overall, they have been swinging a hot bat as of late, hitting .354 in Pac-10 play. In their last six Pac-10 games, WSU is hitting an amazing .389 vs. UCLA and Arizona. ASU fell five spots in the Baseball America poll from No. 10 to No. 15
The All-Time Series With The Cougars:
The Sun Devils and Cougars have met 22 times in the all-time series, with Arizona State holding a commanding 19-3 edge. ASU and WSU have played in Tempe in all but the three games that were held at Bailey-Brayton Field in Pullman last year. The Sun Devils swept the series from the Cougars last year, posting wins of 24-3, 3-1 and 14-8. The Devils outscored the Cougs 41-12 in the series last year, with Mike Lopez having an incredible weekend at the plate with a .727 batting average (8x11). ASU has won the last six games vs. Washington State and eight of the last nine dating back to 1998.
The Record Is In The Books. ASU Has Scored In 352 Straight Games:
The Arizona State baseball program made history last Saturday when they scored at least one run in its 350th consecutive game. The Devils broke the 12-year-old record in a 5-1 loss to USC exactly six years to the day when they were last shut out. ASU was shut out 9-0 on April 7, 1995 at Dedeaux Field. The one run scored Saturday marked only the seventh time during the streak that ASU has scored only one run. The record is still in tact at 352 straight games. 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 held the record at 349 games set from 1983-1989. ASU also had a stretch of 278 games without being shut out from 1990 to 1994, meaning the program has only been limited to no runs three times dating back to 1990.
The Friday and Saturday day games can be heard over the airwaves on XTRA 910 AM and over the internet 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. Thursday's game will be televised in the Phoenix area on Cox Cable 9. While Thursday's game won't be broadcast by ASU, fans can access the WSU broadcast at www.wsucougars.com with Alex Webster calling all the action. All three games can also be viewed over the internet with Live Stats at ASU's official athletic site, www.thesundevils.com.
Around The Horn With ASU Baseball:
Arizona State broke the NCAA record by scoring a run in its 350th consecutive game on Saturday at USC... with 11 runs Sunday, the streak is now at 352... the Sun Devils broke the streak Saturday, exactly six years to the day when they were last shut out (April 7, 1995) against the same team (USC) at the same field (Dedeaux Field)... the one run Saturday was only the seventh time during the streak in which ASU has managed only one run... ASU also had a streak of 278 in the early 1990's, meaning ASU has not scored a run in only three games dating back to the 1990 season... ASU avoided a sweep with the win Sunday and have now not been swept since April 1999... the seven losses in Pac-10 play equals the entire total from the 2000 Pac-10 Championship team... ASU has already played the top three teams in the conference in Oregon State, USC and Stanford... the 17 hits vs. USC on Sunday was the most since March 9 vs. South Florida... the seven doubles was a season high... Casey Myers now has 22 multi-hit games on the year and 88 in his illustrious career... with 254 career RBI, he is 29 from tying the ASU and Pac-10 record of 283 set by former Sun Devil Andrew Beinbrink... Myers was 6-for-12 in the USC series, lifting his Pac-10 average to .364... he is hitting .408 on the year... junior Chris Duffy recorded multi-hit games in every game vs. USC and was 7-for-15 overall in the series... freshman first baseman Jeremy West hit his sixth home run of the year Friday to overtake the team lead from Myers... West was 3-for-8 vs. USC and is hitting .365 on the season with 26 RBI... ASU is out-scoring its opponent 302-183... the Devils also lead the Pac-10 in hitting with a team batting average of .337... senior third baseman Mike Lopez hit two doubles Sunday, increasing his team-leading total to 15 on the year... his 3-for-3 game Monday vs. Fullerton raised his batting average to .355... Andy Torres, who is 8-3 on the year, picked up his first career save Sunday against the Trojans, throwing 3.1 shutout innings, allowing only one hit... senior Ty Johnson had his best outing of the year Friday, allowing only two hits and two runs in 3.2 innings... it was Johnson's first Pac-10 outing of the year and first outing overall in over a month after having part of his right index finger cut off after having his hand get stuck in a pitching machine... Johnson was ejected from that game for hitting a USC batter and has served two games of a four-game mandatory Pac-10 suspension... the series vs. WSU will be played Thursday through Saturday to observe Easter Sunday... Freshman Rod Allen is the hottest Sun Devil, leading the team with a .416 batting average... in the last five games ASU is hitting .308 with 14 extra base hits and three home runs... in the last 10 games ASU is batting only .269 with 22 doubles and three home runs... freshman first baseman Jeremy West leads the team with six home runs on the year... Aaron Klusman threw a career-high 2.1 innings Monday vs. Cal State Fullerton, striking out five and not allowing a hit... Nick Walsh made his second start of 2000 and the first of his career in the field (RF)... ASU is 11-5 when Casey Myers hits in the third spot in the lineup, while 11-7-1 when he hits cleanup.
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 3,672 runs, averaging 9.42 runs per game. 2001 has been no different for ASU, leading the Pac-10 by scoring 8.63 runs per game and hitting .337 as a team. The 8.63 runs per game not only leads the Pac-10, but is 13th in the NCAA. The .337 team batting average ranked eighth in the nation behind UC Santa Barbara's .357 mark at the beginning of the week.
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. ASU was lucky to get all three games in at Oregon State. A 41-minute rain delay marred Saturday's game, and both the Sunday and Monday games were delayed at the start because of rainy conditions.
How ASU Faired vs. the WSU Cougars in 2000:
The Sun Devils swept the Cougars last year in Pullman. They opened the three-game series with a convincing 24-3 win. Jon Switzer picked up the win by allowing only two runs in six innings. Jeff Phelps opened the game with a first-inning grand slam home run. In a weekend marred by rain and cold weather, ASU outscored the Cougars 41-12. The middle game of the weekend provided a good game with the Devils coming out on top 3-1. Chad Pennington tossed eight solid innings, allowing only one run, while closer Eric Doble pitched a perfect ninth. Sunday saw the Devils close out the sweep with a wild 14-8 victory in a game played just under four hours. Mike Lopez led all players during the weekend, going 8-for-11 at the plate (.727) with five runs scored, three doubles, a triple, a home run and seven RBI. Casey Myers was 6-for-12 with six runs scored. In addition to outscoring the Cougars, ASU also out-hit WSU 50-34 and out-pitched the Cougs 4.00 to 12.67 (ERA).
Sun Devils Endure 'Power Outage' at the Plate, But Still Rank High In NCAA:
While much of the state of California has endured a serious shortage of power, it seems as if the Arizona State baseball team is also suffering through its own 'power outage.' The Sun Devil offense had collectively gone 280 combined at-bats, dating back to the fourth inning of the Sunday South Florida game (3/11) without a home run before Casey Myers went deep in the first inning vs. Stanford on Sunday. ASU is last in the Pac-10 with 17 home runs on the year. Regardless, ASU still leads the Pac-10 in hitting at .337 and has the second best slugging percentage at .470. ASU also leads the league in scoring with 302 runs. In the last 14 games ASU has seen its team batting average drop from .372 to its current mark of .337. Rod Allen
With a tough schedule to start the Pac-10 season with three of their first four league series on the road, the Sun Devils will traveled to USC last weekend for a tough three-game series in which ASU dropped two of three. ASU has now played the top three Pac-10 teams in the standings in consecutive weeks. This weekend's series with Washington State will start a stretch of games in which ASU will play four team and seven games in the next eight days. After ASU plays the Cougars, ASU will then take back to the road to play three mid-week games in three different cities. The Sun Devils will play Tuesday (Apr. 17) in Las Cruces, NM at New Mexico State, then Wednesday (Apr. 18) at Oklahoma in Oklahoma City and then finally at Oral Roberts on Thursday (Apr. 19) in Tulsa, Okla. ASU will also travel to Knoxville, Tenn., to play the Volunteers May 1-2. After the four games last weekend on the road, ASU is 5-6 on the road, with nine more games to be played away from Packard Stadium.
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 has faired well since his return by racking up a team-high 19-game hitting streak. The speedster had his 19-game streak snapped in the Saturday game vs. Stanford, but after a mini 0-for-7 slump, Duffy racked up three multi-hit games vs. USC. Duffy extended his hitting streak with one hit in each of the three games vs. Oregon State, two of which were perfectly executed drag bunts, and ran the streak to 19 games with a double vs. Stanford on Friday. It ended with an 0-for-4 game vs. the Cardinal. During the streak, Duffy hit .378 (28x74) with 19 runs scored, 16 RBI, four doubles and a triple. 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 18 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. Duffy is hitting .350 on the year with 12 multi-hit games and four doubles.
Injury Bug Bites the Sun Devils:
Several Sun Devils are hampered by injuries. Preseason All-American closer Eric Doble has pitched only once since the LSU series and was roughed up for two runs and two hits in less than an inning worked vs. Cal State Fullerton. Doble tore a torn tendon in his right middle finger against LSU and has not progressed since. First baseman Jeff Phelps has been sidelined with a torn hamstring throughout the season, but has played as of late. He tweaked the injury at Oregon State, but played all three games vs. Stanford and will start this weekend vs. WSU.
The Espo Report:
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 vs. Cal, 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 is 2-2 on the year after winning Sunday's game vs. USC with a 4.59 ERA in 33.1 innings. He has struck out six batters in three of his last four starts and has 31 on the year. His start vs. Stanford (3/30) came exactly one year to the day after his Tommy John surgery. 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. Esposito is scheduled to start Friday or Saturday vs. Washington State.
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 1,879-748-1 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. They have been ranked in the top 12 in the nation in at least one national poll for the past 25 consecutive weeks.
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