Baseball To Open 2002 Season Ranked No. 18 By Baseball America

Jan. 3, 2002

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TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Arizona State Sun Devil Baseball team will open the 2002 season ranked No. 18 in Baseball America's preseason Top 25 college baseball rankings. The Sun Devils, who were listed No. 20 by Collegiate Baseball, open the season on Jan. 31 when they host Oregon State to a non-conference game at Hohokam Park as part of the inaugural Bill Kajikawa Baseball Classic.

The Sun Devils, who will play all but three of their home games in 2002 at Hohokam Park in Mesa due to a $2 million renovation of Packard Stadium that is scheduled to begin in early March, have already opened practice for the spring season. ASU is eagerly anticipating a season that is sure to bring its fare share of challenges. With one of the toughest schedules in the nation ahead of them and facing the loss of seven starters and three of their top four pitchers from 2001, the Devils are sure to have an uphill battle in 2002. ASU finished the 2001 season with a 37-20-1 overall record, ranking 22nd and 23rd in the nation.

The Devils will face eight teams listed on Collegiate Baseball's Preseason Top 40 and with the release of the Baseball America poll have learned they will play a combined 18 games vs. preseason Top 25 teams. Included in that is 11 games vs. Top 10 teams, with three each against preseason No. 1 Stanford, No. 4 USC, and No. 6 Florida State, and a two-game set vs. No. 5 Notre Dame. ASU will also face national powers No. 23 Oklahoma State, No. 15 Cal State Fullerton and No. 24 Washington during the 2002 season.

In addition to the No. 18 ranking, Sun Devil sophomore hurler Mike Esposito (Las Vegas) was named to the preseason All-American team. Esposito, who was phenomenal over the summer with the Team USA National team and earned Summer All-America honors, was selected by scouting directors from across Major League Baseball to the preseason third-team. He is also listed as a top 20 prospect by Baseball America for the 2002 MLB June Draft. Esposito was 5-2 with a 4.06 ERA in 2001 and is scheduled to be ASU's opening day starter.

The Sun Devils, who have advanced to the NCAA Tournament in four of the past five seasons and played for the National Championship in 1998, will officially open the 2002 campaign Jan. 31 in a non-conference game vs. Oregon State as part of the inaugural Bill Kajikawa Baseball Classic. ASU's 2002 schedule includes 12 games against teams that participated in the 2001 College World Series (Tennessee, Cal State Fullerton, USC, Stanford) and 22 of the club's 55 scheduled contests (40%) are versus teams that qualified for the 2001 NCAA Tournament.

Team 2001 Record Final 2001 Rank
1.Stanford 51-17 2
2.Clemson 41-22 17
3.Miami 53-12 1
4.Southern California 45-19 4
5.Notre Dame 49-13 15
6.Florida State 47-19 10
7.Louisiana State 44-22 9
8.Nebraska 50-16 6
9.Texas 36-26 NR
10.Tulane 56-13 5
11.Rice 47-20 13
12.Wichita State 42-24 NR
13.Georgia Tech 41-20 NR
14.South Carolina 49-20 12
15.Cal State Fullerton 48-18 3
16.Baylor 37-24 NR
17.Mississippi State 39-23 19
18.Arizona State 37-20 22
19.North Carolina 31-26 NR
20.Mississippi 39-23 NR
21.Wake Forest 44-18 18
22.Cal State Northridge 34-22 NR
23.Oklahoma State 42-22 NR
24.Washington 29-23 NR
25.Rutgers 42-17 25

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