16th-Ranked ASU Baseball Takes On UCLA In Pac-10 Series
April 10, 2002
Apr. 12 at UCLA, 6 p.m. PST
ASU - Mike Esposito - RHP (6-4, 2.86 ERA)
UCLA - TBA
Apr. 13 at UCLA, 1 p.m. PST
ASU - Bryce Kartler - LHP (2-3, 5.48 ERA)
UCLA - Wes Whisler (2-1, 4.20)
Apr. 14 at UCLA, 1 p.m. PST
ASU - Robbie McClellan - RHP (6-2, 4.35 ERA)
UCLA - Casey Janssen (4-1, 2.81)
What's On Tap:
The 16th-ranked Sun Devils continue its seven-game road trip with a three-game conference series at UCLA in Los Angeles. ASU has won four of its last six games heading into the weekend and are off to a 6-3 start in Pac-10 play. After this weekend's series at Jackie Robinson Stadium, the Sun Devils will only have one remaining Pac-10 roadtrip in 2002 (May 10-12 @ Stanford). ASU returns home the following weekend for a three-game set with Cal at Hohokam Stadium (Apr. 19-21), then will take back to the road for a single game at Oklahoma (Apr. 24) and then two games at Notre Dame.
More Quick Hits:
Recapping The Washington State Series:
For the second consecutive weekend, the Sun Devils dropped the series opener only to come back and take the series against a Pac-10 opponent. ASU rebounded from a 7-4, three-hit loss to WSU Friday with wins of 13-7 Saturday and 22-4 Sunday. ASU trailed 7-6 with two outs in the eighth inning Saturday, but a three-run double by Ryan McKenna helped lead the Devils to victory. The team then pounded out a season high 22 runs and 21 hits for a 22-4 defeat of the Cougs on Sunday. Andre Ethier was 3-for-4 with five RBI, five runs scored and two home runs in the victory. As a team the Devils hit .330 in the series with six home runs. Jon Sheaffer was 4-for-8 with five runs scored and Jeremy West earned Pac-10 Player of the Week honors by hitting .429 (6x14) with three home runs and seven RBI vs. the Cougs.
The Wild, Wild West:
Sophomore first baseman Jeremy West leads the Sun Devils in nearly every offensive category and is coming off a solid weekend in which he was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week. West hit a home run in each of ASU's three games over the weekend at Washington State and now has a team-leading 11 home runs on the year. He has been swinging an exceptionally hot bat as of late with five home runs in the last seven games and over the last 10 games is hitting .429 (18x42) with seven doubles, five home runs and 16 RBI. West leads the Pac-10 in runs scored (38), doubles (15), slugging percentage (.808) and RBI (46). He is second with 11 home runs and tied for 10th with a .376 batting average. He also leads the team with 29 extra base hits, 17 multi-hit games and 11 multi-RBI games. He is currently ranked 23rd in the NCAA with 1.39 RBI per game and has tabbed at least one RBI in 23 of his 33 games played this year (70%).
Schroyer + Bullpen = Dominating:
Arizona State sophomore pitcher Ryan Schroyer opened his 2002 season in style by being named the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and Collegiate Baseball National Pitcher of the Week after his 11-strikeout performance against Southern Utah on Feb. 1. Schroyer has since been moved into the closer role where he has recorded an amazing 24 strikeouts in just 14.2 innings of work as a reliever. For the season he is 2-1 with three saves and a team best 2.62 ERA. He has struck out 49 batters in just 34.1 innings of work. In 14.2 bullpen innings, Schroyer is 1-0 with three saves and an amazing 0.61 ERA, allowing only one earned run and seven hits. He is ranked second in the Pac-10 with his 2.62 ERA, 8th with 49 strikeouts, fifth with three saves and third with 11 games finished. His 12.9 K's per nine innings is fifth in the NCAA.
West Continues Season Trend By Being Named Pac-10 Player of the Week:
Jeremy West became the fourth ASU player to earn a Pac-10 Player of the Week honor this year. West, from Las Vegas, Nev., led ASU to a series win at Washington State last weekend. In each game against the Cougars he hit a home run and now leads the team with 11 home runs. In the four games last week he hit .500 (9x18) with six runs and nine RBI. He also leads the team with 29 extra base hits (15 2B/3 3B/11 HR), 46 RBI and is third on the team in hitting at .376 (47x125). West has started 33 of ASU's 34 games this year, recording hits in 26 of those games. He has also tabbed 17 multi-hit games and 11 multi-RBI games. He is in the midst of a five-game hitting streak in which he has collectively gone 11-for-22 (.500) with 10 RBI. The Player of the Week honor is the first for West in his career. It is the 65th selection all-time for Arizona State. ASU has now had two Pac-10 Player of the Week awards this year in addition to two Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week awards. Andre Ethier has also been named the Pac-10 Player of the Week this year (Mar. 26), while Mike Esposito (Apr. 1) and Robbie McClellan (Mar. 12) have been named Pac-10 Pitcher's of the Week.
The All-Time Series vs. the UCLA Bruins:
Arizona State leads the all-time series against the UCLA Bruins 91-54, including taking four of the last six in the series. During the Pat Murphy era (1995-present) the Sun Devils hold a small 17-16 edge. ASU is 5-10 at Jackie Robinson Stadium since 1995.
Last Year vs. The Bruins:
Arizona State took two of three from the Bruins in a the final Pac-10 series of the season for both teams. ASU would go on to the NCAA tournament for the fourth time in the last five years with the series victory at Packard Stadium. ASU took the opening game (May 18) 7-3 behind a strong start from Mike Esposito. Rod Allen was 2-for-4 with a big three-run home run. Eventual first-rounder Josh Karp limited the Devils to only one run in a 3-1 Bruin win in the Saturday game, but ASU rebounded with a 12-9 win to seal the series victory Sunday. Chris Duffy was 3-for-5 with a grand slam home run in the victory. Junior Dennis Wyrick was 8-for-11 (.727) in the series, while Allen hit .385 (5x13) with four RBI.
The Last Time in Westwood:
The Sun Devils do not have a current player on the roster who has ever played at Jackie Robinson Stadium. ASU last visited the UCLA home field in 1999, enduring a tough series sweep at the hands of the Bruins. In fact, ASU has not been swept in a Pac-10 series since that series. The Devils could have taken two of three in the series, falling 11-10 in the opener and dropping an 8-6 contest on a ninth-inning grand slam in the finale. UCLA won the Friday and Sunday games in its last at-bat.
A Very Young Team Indeed:
The Sun Devils feature a very young team in 2002, with 22 of the 33 players on the roster listed as underclassman. Losing seven of its top position players from the 2001 team and several top pitchers, a very young team Sun Devil team will take the field this year. The normal starting lineup has five sophomores, two true freshman and at least one senior on the field. When the Devils made the cross country trek to Tallahassee for the FSU series, 13 of the 27 on the travel roster were making their first road trip as a Sun Devil. The starting lineup this weekend figures to have three freshman, five sophomores and one senior. The starting rotation figures to have one sophomore and two juniors, one of which is a newcomer after transferring from a junior college. To show how young ASU really is, when ASU plays at UCLA this weekend, no player on the roster has ever played at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Sunday's starting lineup vs. Washington State also exemplified how young the Devils are this year, with no starter having full-time Pac-10 experience.
You're The Best, Mike Esposito:
While not claiming to be the best, sophomore Mike Esposito comes out to the song from the Karate Kid sound track labeled, 'You're the best,' before each of his starts. A song held special to his heart because the man singing the song is his father, Joe Esposito, who is currently a lounge singer at Paris Casino in Las Vegas as part of a group called Cat Daddy. 'Espo', a fifth-round pick by the Cincinnati Reds out of high school, has been solid for ASU on the mound this year with a 6-4 record and a 2.86 ERA. Esposito had one of the best pitching performances in Sun Devil baseball history when he struck out 17 batters in a complete-game victory over the University of Washington (3/29) at Hohokam Stadium. He allowed only three runs (two earned) and eight hits in his second complete-game of the year. Esposito, a redshirt sophomore from Las Vegas, Nev. (Cimarron-Memorial High School) registered the sixth most K's in a single game in ASU history and the most since 1997. Over his last six starts he is 4-2 with a 2.02 ERA. Over that same stretch has registered 50 strikeouts in 40.0 innings pitched. The preseason All-American and 2001 Team USA member is now 12-6 in his two-years at ASU.
McKenna Comes Up Clutch:
Sophomore Ryan McKenna has been the clutch hitter for ASU as of late. In his 80th career at-bat he belted his first career home run vs. UNLV (4/1) and hit a bases clearing three-run double vs. Washington State (4/6) to help lift ASU to a 13-7 victory. For the season he is hitting .293, much in part to his .375 average in the last 10 games. He is hitting .500 (4x8) as a pinch-hitter and is 3-for-4 (.750) with the bases loaded this year.
A Night to Remember, Esposito Strikes Out 17 vs. Washington:
Here is how Esposito's 17-strikeout game ranks among the top performances in ASU school history. It is the most by a Sun Devil pitcher since Ryan Mills struck out 17 vs. Southern Illinois in 1997 and no on has had more in a Sun Devil uniform since the 1973 season.
22 - Sterling Slaughter, 3-18-63 vs. CSU21 - Eddie Bane, 4-1-72 vs. LaVerne (14 inn.)20 - Jim Otten, 5-23-73 vs. BYU19 - Eddie Bane, 6-1-73 vs. Denver18 - Gary Gentry, 5-22-67 vs. Arizona17 - Mike Esposito, 3-29-02 vs. Washington17 - Ryan Mills, 2-14-97 vs. Southern Illinois17 - Sean Rees, 3-9-90 vs. California
McClellan Still Perfect as a Starter:
Robbie McClellan put an end to his streak of four consecutive no-decisons by picking up the win Sunday vs. Washington State. The junior RHP improved to 6-3 on the year with the victory and is now a perfect 4-0 as a starter. He is currently ranked second in the Pac-10 with 63 strikeouts. McClellan, from Liberal, Kan., became the first Sun Devil to notch back-to-back complete games since 1999, striking out a career-high 10 batters in a seven-inning win against UNLV (3/8). He allowed just four hits and did not allow a run in the 10-0 win over the Rebels. He also went all nine innings in a 7-2 win over Loyola Marymount (3/2). McClellan is tied for the team lead with his six sins and has an overall 4.35 ERA in 60.0 innings pitched. He became the 43rd selection all-time for Arizona State as Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week after his performance vs. UNLV. McClellan is nicknamed 'The Child' by his teammates for his boyish looks. He transfered to ASU from Seward County CC in Liberal, Kan., where he set school records for strikeouts and was 16-4 in his two years.
Home Sweet Home:
The Devils will not return home until a three-game series vs. Cal (Apr. 19-21) at Hohokam Park. The Devils are currently in a stretch where they will play 12 out of t16 games on the road, including back-to-back Pac-10 road series at Washington State and UCLA. The Devils are 4-7 this year on the road, enduring a three-game sweep at Florida State and losing a pair of non-conference games at New Mexico State and UNLV. The two wins at Washington State marked the first wins this year outside of the state of Arizona. ASU is 18-6 at home this year, going 15-5 at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa and 3-0 at Packard Stadium on the ASU campus. The Devils are hitting .314 at home (13 HR), compared to a .299 mark (12 HR) on the road. The pitching has varied with a 3.16 ERA at home and a 6.60 mark in ASU's 11 road games this year. ASU was 25-9-1 at home last year and 11-9 on the road in 2001.
The Devils are in the middle of a tough stretch of 12 of 16 games on the road. After playing Thursday-Saturday at vs. Washington, ASU played a single game at UNLV, then traveled to the Palouse for a three-game Pac-10 series with Washington State in Pullman. After a another Pac-10 series at UCLA, the Devils return home to play Cal (Apr. 19-21) before taking to the road again for a non-conference road trip for a single game at Oklahoma (Apr. 24) and two games at Notre Dame (Apr. 26-27).
Recapping the Month of March:
The Sun Devil Baseball program now has an all-time 624-246-1 record in the month of March dating back to the 1959 baseball season. ASU was 12-5 last month with a team batting average of .303 and a team ERA of 4.45. Head Coach Pat Murphy, who recently picked up his 600th career Division I victory, is now 76-53-1 in the month of March in his eight years at ASU. Jon Sheaffer led the Devils in the month of March by hitting .382 (21x55) with 14 RBI. Jeremy West hit five of his team-leading eight home runs in the 17 games in March. On the mound Mike Esposito was 4-1 with a 1.32 ERA in his five starts in the month.
Sun Devil Baseball Successful in April:
The Sun Devil baseball program has an all-time 516-219 record in the month of April dating back to the 1959 season when varsity baseball started. The Devils are 2-2 to start the month and have the busiest portion of their schedule ahead of them with 10 games left to play in April. ASU was 10-6 last year in April and have a 23-11 record dating back to 2000 in the month of April. ASU head coach Pat Murphy is a combined 72-42 in the month of April in his eight years in Tempe.
Murphy Picks Up Career Division 1 Victory #600:
With a convincing 10-0 win over UNLV in seven innings March 8, Sun Devil Head Coach Pat Murphy reached the 600 plateau for Division I victories in his 15 years of coaching at the top level of collegiate baseball. Murphy has now fashioned a career 664-326-4 record in his 18 seasons as a head coach, with 55 of those wins came at Maryville (Tenn.) College and Claremont-Mudd Scripps. In his 15 years at the D1 level, Murphy has averaged nearly 40 wins per year and is 291-155-1 in his eight-year ASU career. He will coach in his 1,000th career game April 21, 2002 in the series finale against Cal. He is now only nine wins short of the 300 mark in his eight-year ASU career.
Ethier is Tearing It Up at the Plate:
Andre Ethier had an interesting journey en route to becoming ASU's leading hitter this year. He came to ASU in the fall of 2000, left ASU to play at Chandler-Gilbert CC, and now is back as the starting right fielder for the Sun Devils. The sweet-swinging Ethier leads the team in hitting through 34 games with a .381 (48x126) batting average. He is fifth in the Pac-10 in batting, sixth with 34 runs scored, 5th in hits (48), and fourth with his .471 on-base percentage. Ethier has 13 multi-hit games on the year, six of which have been three-hit affairs and one a four-hit game. He also has recorded at least one hit in 26 of his 34 games played this year and is second on the team with 16 extra base hits. He is coming off a career game at the in the series final at Washington State. Etheir was 3-for-4 with five runs scored, five RBI and two home runs. After earning All-State honors at St. Mary's High School as a senior in 2000, Sun Devil right fielder Andre Ethier followed his dreams and came to Arizona State University to play baseball. With playing time not working out, Ethier decided to play his freshman year at Chandler-Gilbert CC. Making a name for himself by hitting .468 at the JC level last year, Ethier spurned an offer from the Oakland Athletics after being drafted in the 37th round and came back to Arizona State. He is one of only two Devils to start all 34 games for the Sun Devils, with 33 coming in right field and one start coming at first base.
Freshman Dustin Pedroia has been ASU's hottest hitters as of late and is coming off a weekend series against Washington State in which he was 5-for-15 (.333) with two runs, two doubles and three RBI at the plate. In nine Pac-10 games this year the freshman is hitting .439, going 18-for-41. He has started the last 12 games at shortstp (his third position started at this year) and has played nearly flawless defense this year with only two errors in 121 total chances (.983 FLD %). For the year Pedroia is sixth on the team while hitting at a .341 clip (46x135) and has managed at least one hit in 25 of his 34 games played. Over the last 15 games Pedroia has had his batting average rise from .286 to .341.
A Tough Schedule in 2002 For ASU:
The Sun Devils face a tough schedule in 2002, with 12 combined games against teams that participated in the 2001 College World Series (3 - Tennessee, 3 - USC, 3 - Stanford, 3 - Cal State Fullerton). ASU will play 22 of its 55 (40%) scheduled games against teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament last year. The Devils schedule includes road contests against Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Florida State, Stanford and UCLA. Arizona State is listed as having the ninth toughest schedule in the nation on www.Boydsworld.com. So far this year the Devils are 5-5 against teams ranked in at least one of the national polls at the time they played. ASU's 5-5 record against ranked teams does not include playing Oklahoma, which moved from unranked to No. 18/22 in the polls after taking two of three from the Devils.
The Streak Continues. ASU Enters Weekend With Scoring Streak at 409:
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 in that game on April 7, 1995 at Dedeaux Field. The one run scored in the 11-1 loss to Arizona (3/24) marked only the 12th time during the streak that ASU has scored only one run. The streak continues at 409 consecutive games with ASU scoring in each of the 34 games this year. The Devils have extended the streak early in a majority of its games, with a run in the first inning 20 times in 2002. 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. ASU celebrated its 7th anniversary of the streak with a 22-4 win over WSU on Apr. 7, 2002.
One, Two and Three-Run Misery:
Playing one of the nation's toughest schedules this year, Arizona State has had a handful of close games that haven't gone their way. In fact, of the squad's 12 losses this year, eight have come by three or less runs. ASU is 2-2 in one-run games and 2-4 in two run games this year.
Making the Most of his Senior Year, Jon Sheaffer:
Senior center fielder Jon Sheaffer is making the most of his final year as a college student-athlete. Sheaffer, who played football and baseball for ASU last year after transferring from South Mountain CC, played in only 30 games last year, making three starts. This year is a different story though, as Sheaffer has started 28 of ASU's 34 games in center field and is currently second on the team in hitting with a .378 batting average with six doubles, 18 RBI and 26 runs scored. He has recorded a hit in 25 of his 32 games this year, including a streak of 23 of his last 28 games. He recently had a career-high 13-game hitting streak snapped in which he combined to go 17-for-40 (.425) with 11 runs scored and 10 RBI. He has been clutch this year hitting .407 (11x27) with runners in scoring position and an even more amazing .417 (5x12) with runners in scoring position with two outs. He hit .500 (4x8) with five runs scored in the three-game series at Washington State. He is currently ranked ninth in the Pac-10 in batting (.378) and 8th with a .452 on-base percentage.
Why Not #9 Murphy:
Most who are close to the ASU Baseball program know what the No. 9 means to head coach Pat Murphy. Often his slogan to 'Play all 9 Innings', Murphy and No. 9 are synonymous with each other... until this year. In a preseason meeting with team, Murphy gave a speech on how you have to be able to give up anything for the team. In this case, he even offered up his prize No. 9, knowing no one would take it. That is, until ASU's sophomore Steve Garrabrants raised his hand and said, I'll take it, and with that, the leader of the Devils is willing to give up anything for the team and will wear No. 7 this year.
The Jinx of the Maroon Jersey:
If Arizona State took away Sunday, they would only have six losses on the year. But as it is, the final day of the week and each series for ASU does exist, but the 5-4 record could be drastically better. ASU has had a lead in two of its crucial Sunday games vs. Florida State and Cal State Fullerton that could have drastically changed its position in the national polls. The team is hitting .279 and pitching for a 4.56 ERA on Sunday's... each time wearing the 'Maroon ASU' jersey. The Devils unleashed an offensive onslaught in a 22-4 victory over WSU in the Maroon uniforms to hopefully rid the jinx. ASU is now 6-5 when wearing Maroon.
Now That's The Way to Start the Game.... And An Inning:
The Sun Devil leadoff hitter in the game is off to a great start in 2002, and a main reason why the Devils have scored at least one run in the first inning in 20 of their 34 (59%) games this year. The Sun Devil leadoff hitter, 26 times being Steve Garrabrants, four times being Dustin Pedroia and two times being Doug Schutt, has recorded a hit or walked in the first at-bat of the game in 19 of ASU's 34 games. Garrabrants is 10-for-21 (.476) with five singles, four doubles, three walks and a home run to his credit, while