Baseball Still In Hunt For Pac-10 Championship With Three-Game Set Against Oregon State
May 23, 2002
College Baseball Links:
Probable Pitching Match-ups:
May 24 vs. Oregon State, 6 p.m. PST
OSU - Ben Rowe - RHP (7-5, 5.36 ERA)
ASU - Jered Liebeck - RHP (2-1, 4.50 ERA)
May 25 vs. Oregon State, 6 p.m. PST
OSU - Stephen Copeland - RHP (5-3, 5.50 ERA)
ASU - Robbie McClellan - RHP (7-5, 4.22 ERA)
May 26 vs. Oregon State, 1 p.m. PST
OSU - Mark McLemore - LHP (3-4, 5.24 ERA)
ASU - Mike Esposito - RHP (7-5, 3.40 ERA)
Arizona State (32-19, 12-9) kept its streak alive by staying in the national polls for the 55th straight week with a No. 17 ranking from Baseball Weekly/ESPN. The Devils also reappeared in both the Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball polls at No. 24 with the impressive 4-1 week. Oregon State is not ranked in any of the polls and have lost five of its last six games overall.
All three games vs. the Oregon State Beavers 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. All postseason games should ASU qualify this year will be broadcast on XTRA 910 AM with Healey and Eger calling the action.
What's On Tap:
The Sun Devils (32-19, 12-9 Pac-10) conclude the 2002 regular season this weekend with the same team they opened the campaign with, Oregon State. ASU and the Beavers will clash in a key three-game series starting Friday at 6 p.m. at Hohokam Park in Mesa. ASU is 19-9 all-time against the Beavers and 6-3 since the old Pac-10 North and Six-Pac joined in 1999. ASU is still within striking distance of the Pac-10 championship, needing a sweep of the Beavers and some help from other teams to win its second league title in the last three years. The Devils are currently two games out of first place and one game behind second place Washington (at home vs. Arizona) and Stanford (at home against WSU).
More Quick Hits:
Consecutive Games Scoring Streak Reaches 426:
The Arizona State baseball program has scored in 426 consecutive games dating back to the 1995 season and has not endured a shutout in seven years and 47 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 426 consecutive games with ASU scoring in each of the 51 games this year. The Devils have extended the streak early in a majority of its games, with a run in the first inning 28 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 40 strikeouts in 29.2 innings of work as a reliever. For the season he is 4-1 with six saves and a Pac-10 best 2.55 ERA. Overall he has struck out 65 batters in 49.1 innings of work. The All-American nominee would rank in the top 10 in the NCAA with 11.9 strikeouts per nine innings and 41st in ERA if he qualified under the grounds of one inning pitcher per team game (51.0). In 29.2 total bullpen innings, Schroyer is 3-0 with six saves and a nearly impeccable 1.52 ERA. He has allowed only five earned runs and 19 hits over that span. Schroyer has picked three wins and three saves in his last seven outings. He picked up his last save with a two innings pitched to seal ASU's 3-1 series opening win over USC.
Devils Take Two of Three From Pac-10 Leading USC:
The Sun Devils picked up an impressive 2-1 series victory over Pac-10 leading USC last weekend at Hohokam Park. ASU opened with a 3-1 win behind a Jered Liebeck pitching gem, lost Saturday's game 9-5, then rebounded with its best offensive performance in Pac-10 play this year in a 17-8 victory. Senior infielder Sergio Garcia hit .583 (7x12) in the series, including a 5-for-5 performance Sunday. The Sun Devils out-scored the Trojans 25-18 in the series and hit .340 in the series. Steve Garrabrants also had a good weekend going 5-for-11 (.455) and Dustin Pedroia was 5-for-12 (.417). Liebeck had a career-high eight strikeouts in seven innings to help get the Devils off to a fast start in the series.
The Last Five:
ASU has been impressive in its last five games, notching three games with 10 or more runs. The Devils are 4-1 during the stretch of the last five games and have out-scored their opponents 55-27 in those games. Jeremy West earned Pac-10 Player of the Week honors for his performance last week, going 9-for-16 (.562) in four games last week with 11 RBI and eight runs scored. Senior Sergio Garcia was also 9-for-16 and played stellar defense with starts at second base and shortstop. Pitchers Jered Liebeck and Carlos Arguello each picked up a pair of wins in the five games last week, combining to allow only one earned run in 18.0 combined innings pitched. Liebeck threw nine scoreless innings, while Arguello improved to 3-1 while giving up only one earned run in nine frames.
Pedroia and Schroyer Selected For Team USA:
Arizona State players Ryan Schroyer and Dustin Pedroia were selected for the 2002 Team USA National team trials to be held at Hi-Corbett Field in Tucson in June. Pedroia has started a three different infield positions this year and made only two errors in 189 total chances (.989 FLD %). He is also having a great rookie campaign at the plate with a .332 overall batting average and is hitting at a .385 clip in Pac-10 play. Schroyer leads the team with six saves and has a nearly impeccable 1.52 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 29.2 innings as a relief pitcher. ASU has had at least one player represented on Team USA in three of the past four years. Schroyer was a member of the 2000 Team USA Junior National Team.
And Then There Were Three:
The Sun Devils have only three 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 Washington and Stanford, and two games back of conference leader USC. ASU finishes up with three this weekend against Oregon State and then will wait for the NCAA Tournament selection show Monday morning at 9:30 a.m. to see if they will make a third straight appearance in the NCAA regionals. A sweep by ASU and some help from Washington, USC and Stanford could put ASU in contention for the Pac-10 Championship.
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, a trend that has been with the Devils all year. ASU also had a big night with two outs in a 16-7 win over Portland (5/13), scoring 12 of the 16 runs with two outs. Looking back at all 51 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 78 runs with no outs, 116 with one out and a remarkable 205 of 399 total runs with two outs (51%). As a team the Sun Devils are hitting .309 (173x560) with two outs and have recorded 142 total two-out RBI.
West Continues Season Trend By Being Named Pac-10 Player of the Week:
Jeremy West became the fourth and fifth selections for an ASU player to be named Pac-10 Player of the Week honor this year. West, a native of Las Vegas, helped lead ASU to a 4-1 record last week while hitting .562 (9x16) with 11 RBI in four games vs. Portland and USC. The Player of the Week honor was the second for West this year and he became only one of two Pac-10 players this year (Conor Jackson - Cal) to earn the honor twice. It is the 66th selection all-time for Arizona State. ASU has now had three 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 19 of the last 22 games and now has a total of 121 career starts under his belt. While hitting .268 (19x71) on the year with eight doubles and 15 RBI, Castillo has been exceptionally hot as of late. He is hitting .290 (18x62) since taking over the starting catcher role. 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. He has also been very solid behind the plate, throwing out 30% of would-be base stealers (11-of-37). Sunday's game against Oregon State could almost be titled 'Cesar Castillo Day', as he is the only senior on the team with more than one year spent in the program.
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 32 of the last 35 games and 40 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.
Earlier This Year vs. Oregon State:
In a rare occasion, ASU will close the regular season with the team they opened with. Arizona State and Oregon State met in the desert in the first contest of the year for both teams. ASU won the match-up 13-5 in the inaugural Bill Kajikawa Baseball Classic. ASU starter Mike Esposito picked up the win giving up six hits and four runs in five innings, while the Sun Devil bullpen of J.J. Jackson and Mark Sopko combined to allow only one hit and one unearned run over the final four innings. At the plate leadoff hitter Steve Garrabrants was a perfect 3-for-3 with three runs scored and right fielder Andre Ethier was 3-for-4 with four RBI in his Sun Devil debut.
Last Year in Corvallis vs. Oregon State:
The Sun Devils lost two of three games last year to the Beavers in rainy and extremely damp conditions at Goss Stadium at Coleman Field. The Devils won the opener 10-2 behind a strong complete-game (ASU's only in 2001) pitching performance from eventual second-round draft pick Jon Switzer. Switzer struck out 10 and scattered eight hits and two runs while lasting a marathon 161 pitches. The Beavers bounced back to win the next two games by scores of 4-1 and 12-2 to take the series from ASU. The Devils were out-hit .310 to .260 in the series and out-scored 18-13 in the three games. Jeremy West is ASU's leading returning hitter from that series, going 3-for-7 in the series. An oddity in the three games was that both teams did not hit a home run.
The All-Time Series vs. Oregon State:
Arizona State leads the all-time series against the Beavers 19-9 and have won six of the last 10 overall in the series. ASU is 6-3 in Pac-10 games against Oregon State since the old Pac-10 North and Six-Pac joined for the 1999 season. In the only meeting between the two schools in Pac-10 play in the state of Arizona, ASU took two of three from the Beavers during the 2000 Pac-10 Championship season (Apr. 7-9).
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).
Pat Murphy Notches ASU Wins No. 300 and No. 301 vs. USC:
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 674-333-4 record in the 1,011 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 with a pair of wins vs. USC, is now 301-162-1 in his eight-year ASU career. He recently coached in his 1,000th career game April 21, 2002 in the series finale against Cal.
The Wild, Wild West:
After enduring a month-long slump that resulted in a 6-for-33 (.182) slump, sophomore Jeremy West caught fire in a big way this past week. While playing in only four of the five games (dnp Sunday due to flu virus), West hit .562 (9x16) with eight runs scored, two doubles, a triple, one home run and 11 RBI. For the season the Baseball America Midseason All-American is leading the team in several categories, including batting average (.365), runs scored (50), doubles (18), home runs (12), RBI (63), slugging percentage (.707) and extra base hits (34). He has recorded a hit in 36 of 49 games this year and at least one RBI in 28 games. He also leads the team with 23 multi-hit games and 15 multi-RBI games. He also needs just three RBI to reach 100 for his ASU career. The Baseball America Midseason All-American 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. West currently has a six-game hitting streak in which he is batting .565 (13x23) with 14 RBI, 10 runs scored and five extra base hits. 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.
Freshman Dustin Pedroia (Woodland, Calif.) has been impressive in the field and at the plate in his rookie campaign. Hitting .332 overall on the season and .385 in Pac-10 play, the Freshman All-America candidate has been one of ASU's most potent offensive weapons this year. He has started the last 28 of the last 29 games at shortstop (his third position started at this year) and has played nearly flawless defense this year with only two errors in 189 total chances (.989 FLD %). He has managed at least one hit in 39 of his 51 games played and is the only Devil to start every game this year. He also has one home run, is fifth on the team with 16 extra base hits and has recorded 22 multi-hit games. He has also been invited to the 2002 Team USA National Baseball Trials.
Sun Devil Baseball Successful in May:
With a 5-3 start to the month of May, he Sun Devil baseball program now has an all-time 294-129 record in the month 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 24-13 in the month of May over the last three years. ASU head coach Pat Murphy is a combined 41-27 in the month of May in his eight years in Tempe.
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 17 solo home runs, six two-run homers and 10 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 17-7 when not hitting a home run, while 15-12 when the team hits at least one home run. Jeremy West leads the team and is 7th in the Pac-10 with 12 home runs. Cadena, who is second on the team with six homers, also leads the Devils with two multi-homer games.
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 nine games in right field. Over that stretch of games Cadena is hitting .333 (12x36) with five home runs and 15 RBI. Cadena is now hitting .224 overall with six home runs and 22 RBI. His six home runs are tied for the fifth most by a freshman in ASU school history, with Jeremy West and Rod Allen also belting six in 2001.
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