19th-Ranked Baseball Faces Crucial Three-Game Pac-10 Series With No. 7 Stanford
May 8, 2002
2002 Media Center:
Links For This Weekend:
May 10 at Stanford, 6 p.m. PST
ASU - Jered Liebeck - RHP (0-1, 5.88 ERA)
STAN - Jeremy Guthrie - RHP (7-1, 2.90 ERA)
May 11 at Stanford, 1 p.m. PST
ASU - Mike Esposito - RHP (7-5, 3.40 ERA)
STAN - Tim Cunningham - LHP (5-2, 4.34 ERA)
May 12 at Stanford, 1 p.m. PST
ASU - Robbie McClellan - RHP (7-4, 4.48 ERA)
STAN - John Hudgins - RHP (8-0, 4.30 ERA)
All three games vs. the Stanford Cardinal can be heard over the airwaves on XTRA 910 in the Phoenix area with Tim Healey and Bob Eger calling all of the action from Sunken Diamond. ASU Baseball fans can also listen around the world via the internet webcast at www.TheSunDevils.com. The LiveStats feature will once again be available this weekend with live scoring updated after every play. ASU will next be on TV May 18 vs. USC at Hohokam Park (KAZ-TV).
SETTING UP THE SERIES:
The Sun Devils (27-16, 9-6) head into a crucial three-game series with Stanford (33-13, 9-6) this weekend having won two of the past three and six of the last 10 games overall. Locked in a three-way tie for third place in the conference with Stanford and Oregon State, ASU plays its remaining nine conference games against three of the top four teams in the league. ASU will conclude its road schedule this weekend at Sunken Diamond, having not played at Stanford since enduring consecutive sweeps in 1998 and 1999. No player on the current ASU roster has ever played at Sunken Diamond. The Sun Devils will be without two of their leading hitters with Jon Sheaffer (.364) currently suspended and Andre Ethier (.362) out with a broken thumb.
What's On Tap:
With only 11 games remaining in 2002, the 19th-ranked Sun Devils take to the road for the final time this season with a three-game weekend series at No. 7 Stanford. Posting a 7-9 record in 2002 on the road this year, the Devils will meet the Cardinal in a crucial three-game Pac-10 series starting Friday night at 6 p.m. ASU and Stanford are currently tied for third in the Pac-10, two games behind leader USC. Following the series with Stanford, ASU will complete its non-conference schedule with two midweek games against Portland before hosting Pac-10 rival USC next weekend (May 17-19) at Hohokam Stadium. ASU will close out its 2002 regular season schedule with Oregon State (May 24-26).
More Quick Hits:
The Streak Continues. ASU Enters Weekend With Scoring Streak at 418:
The Arizona State baseball program has scored in 418 consecutive games dating back to the 1995 season. The Devils made history on April 7, 2001 when they scored at least one run in their 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 418 consecutive games with ASU scoring in each of the 43 games this year. The Devils have extended the streak early in a majority of its games, with a run in the first inning 24 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.
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. After three more starts, Schroyer moved into the closer role where he has recorded an amazing 33 strikeouts in just 22.2 innings of work as a reliever. For the season he is 4-1 with four saves and a Pac-10 best 2.34 ERA. Overall he has struck out 58 batters in just 42.1 innings of work. The All-American nominee would rank fifth in the NCAA with 12.3 strikeouts per nine innings and 32nd in ERA if he had two-thirds more innings pitched to qualify. In 22.2 total bullpen innings, Schroyer is 3-0 with four saves and a nearly impeccable 0.79 ERA. He has allowed only two earned runs and 10 hits over that span. Schroyer has picked three wins and a save in his last four outings, allowing only six hits and one run in his last 11.0 innings of work.
The Last Time Out:
The Sun Devils took last weekend off from action to focus on final exams, but are still hoping to capitalize off a strong 14-2 victory over New Mexico State on April 30 at Hohokam Stadium. Behind a strong 11-strikeout performance from Mike Esposito in six innings, the Devils pounded out 19 hits en route to the big win. Playing without starting right fielder and top hitter Andre Ethier (broken thumb) and three suspended players, the Devils hammered Aggie pitching for 19 hits. Freshman right fielder Nick Cadena stepped into the starting role and produced a career night with two home runs and a career-high four RBI.
And Down The Stretch They Come:
With 11 games remaining in the regular season for the Devils, ASU faces a tough slate of nine conference games against three of the top four teams. Currently tied for third in the conference with a 9-6 mark with Stanford and Oregon State, the Devils are 2.0 games behind league leader USC (28-18, 11-4). Washington has played well as of late to move into second place with a 10-5 mark, but take on the Trojans at Dedeaux Field this weekend. The Devils are very much in the race for their second Pac-10 Championship in the last three years, playing Stanford, USC and Oregon State in the next three weekends.
Seniors Jon Sheaffer (CF) and Doug Schutt (CF), and junior third baseman Dennis Wyrick have been indefinitely suspended from the team for breaking team rules on a recent road trip to South Bend, Ind. The trio of players were suspended prior to the New Mexico State game (4/30) and it is not known if they will return this year. Sheaffer was ASU's leading hitter at .364 and started 31 games. Wyrick was hitting .315 in 25 games this year and was a career .371 hitter in Pac-10 play. Schutt was a reserve outfielder who had 12 hits in 30 games (14 starts).
Devils Prove To Be Clutch With Two Outs:
In the 15-2 win over UCLA (4/14), Arizona State scored 12 of its 15 runs with two outs. Looking back at all 43 games this year, ASU has scored exactly half of their runs with two outs. The Sun Devils have tabbed 65 runs with no outs, 100 with one out and a remarkable 165 of 330 with two outs. As a team the Sun Devils are hitting .291 (135x464) with two outs and have recorded 111 two-out RBI.
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 when he earned the award after the Washington State series (4/5-4/7). West, from Las Vegas, helped lead ASU to a series win over WSU by hitting a home run in each game against the Cougars. The Player of the Week honor was 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 Sun Devils have been through four catchers this year, but seems as if they have found their match in former walk-on Cesar Castillo. The senior backstop from Yuma, Ariz., has started the 12 of the last 14 games and now has a total of 16 career starts under his belt. While hitting .280 (14x50) on the year, Castillo has been stellar in the last two Sunday series finales vs. Washington State and UCLA. Castillo has combined to go 5-for-7 (.714) with five RBI and two doubles in the last two Sunday games. Castillo is also riding a current career-long five-game hitting streak in which he is 7-for-16 (.438) with three of his five doubles.
Looking to find the perfect starting lineup as the Sun Devils play their final 11 regular season games, head coach Pat Murphy has used a different starting lineup in 26 of the last 27 games and 34 different lineup combinations during the 2002 season. Mixing and matching with a number of players earning starts, only two starting batting orders have remained the same since back-to-back games vs. Loyola Marymount (3/3) and New Mexico State (3/5). ASU has also mixed and matched for 26 different starting lineups by position.
A Very Young Team Indeed:
The Sun Devils feature a very young team in 2002, with 21 of the 32 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 has taken to 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 pitching 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 Stanford this weekend, no player on the roster has ever played at Sunken Diamond with ASU last playing in Palo Alto in 1999.
Last Year Against The Cardinal:
The Sun Devils took one game in the three-game series played last year March 30-April 1 at Packard Stadium. Then ranked No. 1 in the country before going on to finish second in the 2001 College World Series, the Cardinal out-scored ASU 25-21 in the three-game set. ASU dropped the first two games by close scores of 6-2 and 5-2, but salvaged the series with a 6-5 win in Sunday's finale. Rod Allen hit .333 (3x9) with one double and is the only returning Sun Devil with a hit against Stanford.
The All-Time Series With Stanford:
ASU narrowly leads the all-time series between the two schools by a one-game margin at 75-74. The Cardinal have dominated the series as of late though, taking 11 of the last 15 games, including the last six straight at Sunken Diamond. No active player on the ASU squad has more than three career at-bats against the Cardinal and no pitcher has logged more than one career outing vs. Stanford. ASU took two of three from Stanford during the 2000 Pac-10 championship season and also won the season series 4-2 in 1997. ASU head coach Pat Murphy is 11-22 in his career against the Cardinal.
The Last Time at Sunken Diamond:
Arizona State has not visited the beautiful confines of Sunken Diamond since enduring a series sweep back in 1999. The Devils were out-scored 28-14 in those three games while only hitting .238. ASU was also swept in 1998 during its College World Series run, but swept a series in 1997. ASU is 5-10 under Murphy on The Farm.
The Streak Stops at Eight:
The Sun Devils had their impressive streak of eight straight Pac-10 series wins come to an end with the 2-1 series loss vs. Cal. Starting in Apr. 12-14, 2001 with a 2-1 series win over Washington State, the Devils had not lost since with series wins against Arizona (2-1), Washington (3-0), UCLA (2-1), at Arizona (2-1), Washington (2-1), at Washington State (2-1) and at UCLA (2-1).
Where They Compare To Past Years:
After 43 games, the Sun Devils are currently 11 games over .500 at 27-16 overall with 11 regular season games to be played. The Sun Devils were also 27-16 back in 1996 and 1997. Here is a look at how the Devils have fared after their 44th, 45th and 46th (games coming up this weekend) since Pat Murphy took over the program in 1995.
Games 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 200243 29-14 27-16 27-16 29-14 31-12 34-9 28-14-1 27-1644 29-15 28-16 27-17 30-14 32-12 34-10 29-14-1 ?45 30-15 28-17 28-17 31-14 32-13 35-10 29-15-1 ?46 31-15 29-17 29-17 31-15 32-1 36-10 30-15-1 ?
The Wild, Wild West:
Sophomore first baseman Jeremy West leads the Sun Devils in several offensive category and has proven he is one of the best young power hitters in school history. West hit a home run in each of ASU's three games at Washington State (4/5-4/7) and now has a team-leading 11 home runs on the year. West has been in a bit of a slump lately, going 6-for-30 since being named Pac-10 Player of the Week. West is still fourth on the team with a .342 batting average and he also leads the team with 15 doubles, 49 RBI and 29 extra base hits. He is tied for the team lead with 19 multi-hit games and 12 multi-RBI games. He has tabbed at least one RBI in 25 of his 42 games played this year (60%). In the Pac-10 he is ranked fifth with his 49 RBI, fourth in slugging percentage at .690 and fifth with 15 doubles. Below is a list of how West ranks with his 17 home runs combined between his freshman and sophomore years:
Most Home Runs By a Sun Devil in Freshman-Sophomore Years:Murphy Picks Up Career Division 1 Victory #600; Eyes No. 300 as a Sun Devil:
Player Fr. So. Total Career (ASU Rank)1. Bob Horner 9 22 31 56 (1st) Mike Kelly 10 21 31 46 (2nd)3. Jim Austin 7 17 24 39 (6th)4. Barry Bonds 11 11 22 45 (3rd)5. Antone Williamson 4 14 18 336. Jeremy West 6 11* 17 17 Dan Rumsey 5 12 17 44 (4th)8. Andrew Beinbrink 9 5 14 40 (5th) Casey Myers 8 6 14 39 (6th)* thru 43 games of 2002 season.
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 669-330-4 record the 1,003 career games of his 18 seasons as a head coach, with 55 of those wins coming 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 296-159-1 in his eight-year ASU career. He recently coached in his 1,000th career game April 21, 2002 in the series finale against Cal. He is also only four wins short of the 300 mark in his eight-year ASU career.
Devils Home Run Drought Comes To An End:
After seven games and 269 at-bats, ASU's streak of not hitting a home run came to an end with a solo home run from freshman Nick Cadena in the third inning in the 14-2 win over New Mexico State. ASU now has 28 home runs on the year, led by the 11 from sophomore Jeremy West.
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.
Sun Devil Baseball Successful in May:
The Sun Devil baseball program now has an all-time 289-126 record in the month of May dating back to the 1959 season when varsity baseball started. ASU was 7-5 last year in May, including a 1-2 record in the NCAA Regional in Fullerton, Calif. ASU is 19-11 in the month of May over the last three years. ASU head coach Pat Murphy is a combined 36-24 in the month of May in his eight years in Tempe.
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 home starts. A song held special to his heart because the man singing the song is his father, Joe Esposito, who is popular lounge singer at Paris Casino in Las Vegas as part of a group called Cat Daddy. 'Espo', as known by his teammates, who was a fifth-round pick by the Cincinnati Reds out of high school, has been solid for ASU on the mound this year with a 7-5 record and a 3.40 ERA. He is currently third in the Pac-10 with 82 strikeouts in 82.0 innings and is ranked fourth with his 3.40 ERA. He has turned in three 10-plus strikeout performances this year, last being a 11 strikeout effort vs. New Mexico State (4/30) in six innings. 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. The preseason All-American (Baseball America third team) and 2001 Team USA member is now 13-7 in his two-years at ASU.
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 Tough at 5-2 As Devils Sunday Starter:
Robbie McClellan is tied for the team lead with a 7-4 record despite going 0-2 in his last two starts. McClellan is now 5-2 as a starter this year with a 4.50 ERA in those games. He is currently ranked fourth in the Pac-10 with 75 strikeouts and is fifth with opposing batters hitting only .245 off him. 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 has an overall 4.48 ERA in 76.1 innings pitched, a mark that is third best among ASU's everyday pitchers. 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 transferred 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 return to Hohokam Park next week to play their final eight games of 2002 at home. The Devils have played nine of their last 13 games on the road, going 7-6 during that stretch of games. The Devils are now 7-9 this year on the road. The two wins at Washington State (4/5-4/7) marked the first wins this year outside of the state of Arizona and ASU's win over Oklahoma (4/24) was the first non-conference road win of the year for the Devils. ASU is currently 20-7 at home this year, going 16-7 at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa and 3-0 at Packard Stadium on the ASU campus. The Devils are hitting .315 at home (15 HR), compared to a .284 mark (13 HR) on the road. The pitching has varied greatly with a 3.38 ERA at home and a 6.08 mark in ASU's 16 road games this year. ASU was 25-9-1 at home last year and 11-9 on the road in 2001.