Sun Devil Baseball Opens 2002 Season Thursday Against Oregon State

Jan. 30, 2002

The Weekend Schedule:
Thursday, Jan. 31 vs. Oregon State, 4 p.m.Friday, Feb. 1 vs. Southern Utah, 4 p.m.Saturday, Feb. 2 vs. Oral Roberts, 3 p.m.Sunday, Feb. 3 vs. Southern Utah, 1 p.m.**All Games at Hohokam Park in Mesa, Ariz.**

Probable Pitching Rotation:
Thurs: Mike Esposito, RHP
Fri: Ryan Schroyer, RHP
Sat: Bryce Kartler, LHP
Sun: TBA

The Rankings:
Arizona State is ranked No. 17 by Baseball Weekly/ESPN, No. 18 by Baseball America and No. 20 by Collegiate Baseball. The Sun Devils have been ranked in the national polls for 39 consecutive weeks. Oral Roberts is ranked No. 31 by Collegiate Baseball and received eight (8) votes from Baseball Weekly.

The four games this weekend will not be on radio or TV. All games can be viewed via Live Stats on the ASU website at

What's On Tap:
The Sun Devil Baseball team opens up the 91st season of Arizona State baseball this weekend with the inaugural Bill Kajikawa Baseball Classic. The beginning of the 2002 campaign will bring Southern Utah, Oral Roberts and Oregon State to town to face the Sun Devils at Hohokam Park in Mesa. Coming off a 37-20-1 record in 2001, the Sun Devils will feature a young team on the diamond for 2002, but return plenty of talent to contend for the national title. Ranked 17th by ESPN/Baseball Weekly, 18th by Baseball America and 20th by Collegiate Baseball, the Devils will be looking to make a third consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament. Under eighth-year head coach Pat Murphy (269-143-1), the Sun Devils have advance to postseason in four of the past five years, earning a top 12 final ranking in three of those years. ASU will open with Pac-10 rival Oregon State in a non-conference match-up on Thursday at 4 p.m. Mid-Continent powers Oral Roberts and Southern Utah square off in the first game of the tournament at noon on Thursday. The Sun Devils will then play Southern Utah on Friday (4 p.m.), Oral Roberts on Saturday (3 p.m.) and Southern Utah again on Sunday (1 p.m.)

Hohokam is ASU's Home Away From Home:
While a $2 million renovation will begin in March to Packard Stadium, the Sun Devils will call Hohokam Park in Mesa home for the 2002 season for all but three home games. Also the spring training home of the Chicago Cubs and the Arizona Fall League home of the Mesa Solar Sox, Hohokam Park will provide ASU with a first-class facility while Packard Stadium undergoes renovations. Hohokam Park, which opened in 1997, has a seating capacity of 12,623, with 8,000 theater-style seats.

Why The Bill Kajikawa Classic?:
ASU's opening games of the 2002 season are part of the inaugural Bill Kajikawa Baseball Classic. Nicknamed Mr. Sun Devil, Kajikawa has been apart of Sun Devil athletics since he was a tailback at Arizona State in the 1930's. He played three years of varsity football and three years of baseball before launching a coaching career at ASU that would span five decades. A 1937 graduate of ASU, Kajikawa coached football, basketball and baseball. He was inducted into the Arizona Basketball Hall of Fame in 1968 and the ASU Hall of Distinction in 1982. ASU's football practice fields are named after Kajikawa as well.

ASU On Opening Day:
The Sun Devils are 22-3 on opening day dating back to 1978. The Sun Devils suffered their first loss on opening day last year since 1993 (Hawaii) when they fell 5-3 to Texas-Arlington at home. ASU head coach Pat Murphy is 6-1 in season openers at ASU and 13-1 in his Division I head coaching career. Dating back to 1978, ASU has never opened a season with a conference opponent like they will this year against Oregon State.

ASU Traditionally Hot in January and February:
As tradition would have it, the Devils are usually a fast-starting team. ASU started the year a blistering 13-2 through Jan./Feb. last year before ending the year with a 37-20-1 record. Dating back to the start of varsity baseball in 1959, ASU is a combined 57-6 in the month of January and 358-134 in the month of February. ASU head coach Pat Murphy has also enjoyed great success in the early months of the season, combining to go 30-3 in January in his seven seasons at the helm of the Sun Devil program.

The Record Is In The Books. ASU Has Scored In 375 Straight Games:
The Arizona State baseball program made history on April 7, 2001 when they scored at least one run in its 350th consecutive game. The Devils broke the 12-year-old NCAA 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 in the 3-1 loss to Arizona on April 28 marked only the 10th time during the streak that ASU has scored only one run. Entering the 2002 season, the streak is still intact at 375 consecutive games. ASU was neck-in-neck for the record with Wichita State, which had not been shutout in 332 games, but had its streak ended with a 1-0 loss to Louisiana-Lafayette in the middle of the 2001 season. Coastal Carolina previously held the NCAA 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 shutout in three games dating back to 1990.

Rod Allen and Mike Esposito Named Preseason All-Americans:
Sun Devil sophomores Rod Allen and Mike Esposito will enter the 2002 season as preseason All-Americans. Allen earned first team honors from Collegiate Baseball, while Esposito was a third-team pick by Baseball America.

Devils Picked Third In Preseason Pac-10 Coaches Poll:
Arizona State was picked to finish third in the conference by both the coaches and Baseball America in their respecitve preseason conference polls. In front of the Sun Devils is consensus preseason No. 1 Stanford and No. 4 USC.

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