20th-Ranked Baseball Faces Big Three-Game Series With Pac-10 Leader USC
May 17, 2002
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This Weekend's Action:
May 17 vs. USC, 6 p.m. PST
USC - Anthony Reyes - RHP (4-0, 2.72 ERA)
ASU - Jered Liebeck - RHP (1-1, 5.45 ERA)
May 18 vs. USC, 6 p.m. PST
USC - Matt Chico - LHP (6-4, 5.68 ERA)
ASU - Robbie McClellan - RHP (7-5, 4.41 ERA)
May 19 vs. USC, 1 p.m. PST
USC - Brett Bannister - RHP (5-2, 3.39 ERA)
ASU - Mike Esposito - RHP (7-5, 3.40 ERA)
All three games vs. the USC Trojans 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 Hohokam Park. 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. The Saturday game will air locally on KAZ-TV (Cox Cable 13) with George Allen and Doug Gerlach bringing you the game.
What's On Tap:
The Sun Devils are nearling the completion of the 2002 season with only six regular season games remaining on the schedule. ASU will host 19th-ranked USC this weekend in a key Pac-10 series at Hohokam Park. The Trojans currently lead the Pac-10 with a 13-5 mark, but are only two games up on second place Washington and Stanford and just three games up on fourth place ASU. Arizona State has won three of the last four games and is hitting .333 as a team over the last five games. ASU has not faired well vs. the Trojans in recent history, dropping seven of the last 10 games to USC dating back to the 1998 National Championship game.
More Quick Hits:
Consecutive Games Scoring Streak Reaches 423:
The Arizona State baseball program has scored in 423 consecutive games dating back to the 1995 season and has not endured a shutout in seven years and 40 days heading into this weekend. 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 3-1 loss to Stanford (4/12) marked only the 13th time during the streak that ASU has scored only one run. The streak continues at 423 consecutive games with ASU scoring in each of the 48 games this year. The Devils have extended the streak early in a majority of its games, with a run in the first inning 26 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 the 1990 season. ASU celebrated its 7th anniversary of the streak with a 22-4 win over WSU on Apr. 7, 2002. ASU is a combined 272-150-1 during the streak.
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 38 strikeouts in just 27.2 innings of work as a reliever. For the season he is 4-1 with five saves and a Pac-10 best 2.47 ERA. Overall he has struck out 63 batters in 47.1 innings of work. The All-American nominee would rank in the top 10 in the NCAA with 12.0 strikeouts per nine innings and 32nd in ERA if he qualified under the grounds of one inning pitcher per team game (48.0). In 27.2 total bullpen innings, Schroyer is 3-0 with five saves and a nearly impeccable 1.30 ERA. He has allowed only four earned runs and 18 hits over that span. Schroyer has picked three wins and two saves in five of his last six outings. He picked up his last save with a four-inning stint out of the bullpen to seal ASU's 10-2 win over Stanford (5/11). He is rankd 5th in the NCAA with 12.0 strikeouts per nine innings pitched.
The Last Time Out:
After dropping two close games to Stanford last weekend and earning a big 10-2 win over the Cardinal, ASU finished up its non-conference schedule with two games against Portland. The Sun Devils jumped all over the Pilots in the brief two-game series, picking up a 14-2 and a 16-7 win. ASU used a season-high 10-run fourth inning in Tuesday's game to pick up the seven-inning victory. Senior Cesar Castillo was 2-for-2 with three RBI and a pair of doubles. Sophomore Jeremy West also had a pair of doubles in the victory. West continued his success against the Pilots with a career-high eight RBI Wednesday to help lead the Devils to a 16-7 victory. ASU finished the non-conference portion of their schedule with a 20-10 mark.
The Last Five:
Arizona State has won three of the last five games heading into the crucial three-game series with the USC Trojans. During that stretch of games the Devils have averaged 8.8 runs per game and hit .333 as a team. After dropping two of three to the No. 7 Stanford Cardinal by a combined four runs, ASU came back with two convincing wins over the University of Portland. During the five-game stretch ASU has outscored its opponent 44-19. Jeremy West has been torrid in the five games, going 10-for-18 (.556) with 10 runs scored and 12 RBI. The Sun Devils actually out-hit Stanford 30-24, but couldn't get the timely hit.
And Then There Were Six:
The Sun Devils have only six games remaining in the 2002 regular season... and they couldn't be more important. Standing at fourth place in the Pac-10 only one game back of second place and three games back of conference leader USC. ASU finishes up with three this weekend against USC and then completes the 2002 regular season by hosting Oregon State (5th place in the Pac-10). All six games will be played at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa, Ariz.
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. ASU also had a big night with two outs in a 16-7 win over Portland, scoring 12 of the 16 runs with two outs. Looking back at all 48 games this year, ASU has maintained the recent two-out phenomenon, scoring over half of their runs with two outs. The Sun Devils have tabbed 68 runs with no outs, 114 with one out and a remarkable 192 of 374 with two outs. As a team the Sun Devils are hitting .310 (165x533) with two outs and have recorded 136 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, a native of 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 16 of the last 19 games and now has a total of 18 career starts under his belt. While hitting .290 (18x62) on the year with seven doubles and 12 RBI, Castillo has been exceptionally hot as of late. He is hitting .393 (11x28) over his last nine games, with eight of his 12 RBI during that stretch. He recently notched his fifth multi-hit game of the year vs. Portland (5/14), going 2-for-2 with two doubles and tying a career-high with three RBI.
Looking to find the perfect starting lineup as the Sun Devils play their final six regular season games, head coach Pat Murphy has used a different starting lineup in 29 of the last 32 games and 37 different lineup combinations during the 2002 season. Mixing and matching with a number of players earning starts, only three 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 27 different starting lineups by position.
A Team Effort:
With the three suspensions and injury/dismissal of freshman pitcher Miguel Sanchez, several Sun Devils have been forced into playing time in a year that would have otherwise been a learning experience from the bench. Of the 33 players that were on the roster when the 2002 season began, 28 players have played a significant role on the team. Four of the remaining players are using their redshirt season (Matt Leaf, Bret Berglund, Josh Smith, Mike Guerrero) and walk-on catcher Garrett Schoenberger has made two Pac-10 road trips as a backup catcher.
Last Year Against The Trojans:
The Sun Devils jumped into the NCAA record books when they played the Trojans last year in Los Angeles. ASU scored in its 349th and 350th straight games to set the NCAA record for consecutive games with at least one run scored. The Sun Devils dropped the first two games, falling to eventual first-round draft pick Mark Prior and 2000 Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year Rik Currier. The Devils salvaged the series with a 11-1 win in the series finale. Mike Esposito picked up the win with 5.2 strong innings and Andy Torres earned his first save by allowing only one hit in the final 3.1 innings. USC starter Anthony Reyes, who will open the Friday game this year for the Trojans, was ripped for 11 hits and six runs in 4.1 innings. ASU's Rod Allen hit .600 (6x10) with a double in the series.
The All-Time Series vs. USC:
One of college baseball's greatest rivalries, ASU and USC have combined for 17 National Championships and are constantly among the most feared teams in the nation. ASU has won five College World Series titles, while the Trojans have won an NCAA record 12 times. The Devils lead the all-time series 84-78, but the Trojans have dominated as of last winning seven of the last nine. ASU and USC have not met in the state of Arizona since 1999, with the last two season series being played at Dedeaux Field in Los Angeles. ASU head coach Pat Murphy is 11-23 in his seven years against the Trojans, earning three-game series sweeps at home vs. USC in 1995 and 1998.
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 48 games, the Sun Devils are currently 12 games over .500 at 30-18 overall with six regular season games to be played. The Sun Devils were nearly an identical 31-16-1 last year. Here is a look at how the Devils have fared after their 48th, 49th, 50th and 51st (games coming up this weekend) since Pat Murphy took over the program in 1995.
Games 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 200248 32-16 29-19 31-17 32-16 32-16 37-11 31-16-1 30-1849 33-16 30-19 31-18 33-16 32-17 37-12 32-16-1 ?50 33-17 30-20 31-19 33-17 33-17 38-12 33-16-1 ?51 33-18 31-20 32-19 33-18 33-18 39-12 34-16-1 ?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. With every up comes a down though, as West recently went through a 6-for-33 (.182) slump following the Washington State series. The midseason All-American rebounded and has been ASU's hottest hitter over the last five games. He has gone 10-for-18 (.556) with 10 runs scored, three doubles and 12 RBI over that stretch. He leads the team with a .364 (63x173) batting average, 18 doubles, 12 home runs and is among the league leaders with 33 extra base hits. His 22 multi-hit games lead the squad, as do his 14 multi-RBI contests. He has tabbed at least one RBI in 28 of his 47 games played this year (60%) and has at least one hit in 34 of 47 games. He recently put his name into the ASU record books with his eight-RBI game against Portland (5/15). The eight RBI, which included a grand slam home run, are the second most in single-game school history and the most by an ASU player since Andrew Beinbrink (the ASU career RBI leader) had eight in a game vs. Boston College in 1999. Below is a look at how West's 18 career home runs stack up in ASU history for players in their freshman and sophomore years.
Most Home Runs By a Sun Devil in Freshman-Sophomore Years: 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 18 335. Jeremy West 6 12* 18 187. Dan Rumsey 5 12 17 44 (4th)8. Andrew Beinbrink 9 5 14 40 (5th) Casey Myers 8 6 14 39 (6th)* thru 48 games of 2002 season.
Sun Devil Baseball Successful in May:
The Sun Devil baseball program now has an all-time 292-128 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 22-13 in the month of May over the last three years. ASU head coach Pat Murphy is a combined 39-26 in the month of May in his eight years in Tempe.
Murphy Passes One Coaching Milestone. Needs One Win For ASU Victory #300:
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 672-332-4 record in the 1,008 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 299-161-1 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 one win short of the 300 mark in his eight-year ASU career.
Devils Finally Hit The Grand Slam (Home Run Update):
The Sun Devils recently went through a home run draught that put the team through a stretch of seven games without a home run. Freshman Nick Cadena ended that run with two home runs vs. New Mexico State (4/30). While ASU equaled its entire home run total from 2001 with Sergio Garcia's home run vs. Stanford (the 31st of the year for ASU), the Devils had not hit a grand slam. Sophomore Jeremy West ended the streak by hitting a grand slam in the sixth inning of ASU's 48th game of the year. The squad now has 16 solo home runs, six two-run homers and nine three-run home runs. Ranked last in the Pac-10 in round trippers, ASU has a better winning percentage when not hitting a home run. In fact, the Devils are 16-6 when not hitting a home run, while 11-12 when the team hits at least one home run.
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.
Cadena Gets Hot Just In Time:
Freshman Nick Cadena was hitting just .097 after going 0-for-2 at Notre Dame (4/26), but has since caught fire after being inserted into the starting lineup for the injured Andre Ethier. The former high school All-American from Apollo High School, Cadena has made the switch from infielder to the outfield and has started the last six games in right field. Over that stretch of games Cadena is hitting .348 (8x23) with three home runs and nine RBI. Cadena is now hitting .204 with four home runs.
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, has been solid for ASU on the mound this year with an 8-5 record is ranked fourth in the Pac-10 with a 3.21 ERA. He is currently third in the Pac-10 with 87 strikeouts in 87.0 innings. The redshirt sophomore has a string of 11 consecutive scoreless innings heading into his Sunday start vs. USC. 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 14-7 in his two-years at ASU. Esposito was a fifth-round draft choice in June 1999 by the Cincinnati Reds. After undergoing Tommy John surgery in March 2000, Esposito has never missed a start since coming back from the arm injury.
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
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 18 losses this year, 10 have come by three or less runs. ASU is 4-2 in one-run games and 3-6 in two run games this year. Most recently ASU dropped a pair of two-run contests vs. Stanford last weekend (3-5, 1-3).