Baseball Cracks 2003 Polls At No. 12 By Collegiate Baseball

Dec. 23, 2002

TEMPE, Ariz. ( -- The Arizona State Sun Devil Baseball team will open the season in less than a month with six games at Hawaii-Hilo ranked as the No. 12 team in the nation in Collegiate Baseball's annual Preseason Fabulous 40 poll. Junior right-handed pitcher Ryan Schroyer and catcher/designated hitter Jeremy West were also named to the Collegiate Baseball Third-Team Preseason All-American Team.

Ranked for the 59th consecutive poll and bettering the preseason No. 20 selection by the same publication last year, the Sun Devils return a wealth of experience and talent for 2003. A total of 21 letterwinners and 16 top players return from the 2002 squad that finished No. 22 in the nation (Baseball America) with a 37-21 record.

Featuring the second earliest start in the program's 92-year history with a Jan. 16 opening day at Hawaii-Hilo, the Sun Devils will face a tough schedule in 2003 with 25 games against nine teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament last year. Included in the tough 62-game regular season schedule are eight opponents ranked in Collegiate Baseball's preseason top 40 poll. Preseason ranked foes include USC (#3), Stanford (#9), Long Beach State (#13), Notre Dame (#19), California (#25), Oklahoma (#27), Wichita State (#30) and Oklahoma State (#39).

In addition to the preseason ranking, Schroyer and West earned preseason All-America honors. Adding to his second-team selection by the NCBWA last month, Schroyer will enter his junior season as a heralded prospect after going 4-1 with a Pac-10 best 2.37 ERA in 2002. One of the nation's premier closers a year ago, Schroyer will move into the starting rotation for the Sun Devils. West was a third-team selection at catcher, although he will primarily play designated hitter for the Sun Devils in 2003. The junior is ASU's leading returning slugger after hitting .356 with 13 home runs and a Pac-10 leading 70 RBI as s sophomore last year.

The Sun Devils, led by ninth-year head coach Pat Murphy, return to campus after Christmas break on Dec. 26 (pitchers and catchers) to begin preparation for the 2003 campaign. The annual alumni game is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Jan. 11 at Packard Stadium to unofficially kick off the season.

Collegiate Baseball Newspaper's NCAA Div. I Preseason Poll

1. Texas (57-15)2. Florida State (60-14)3. Southern California (37-24)4. Rice (52-14)5. Georgia Tech. (52-16)6. Louisiana St. (44-22)7. Cal. St. Fullerton (37-22)8. South Carolina (57-18)9. Stanford (47-18)10. Houston (48-17)11. Mississippi State (34-24-1)12. Arizona State (37-21)13. Long Beach State (39-21)14. Miami, Fla. (34-29)15. Wake Forest (47-13-1)16. Richmond (53-13)17. Baylor (36-26)18. Clemson (54-18)19. Notre Dame (50-18)20. South Alabama (42-19)21. Florida Atlantic (46-21)22. Nebraska (47-21)23. Tulane (36-27)24. S.W. Missouri State (43-21)25. California (29-27)26. Central Florida (41-22)27. Oklahoma (35-27)28. James Madison (44-16)29. Ohio State (38-20-1)30. Wichita State (47-17)31. Kent State (37-22)32. Stetson (42-19)33. Georgia (32-29)34. North Carolina (43-21)35. Texas Tech. (42-20)36. East Carolina (43-20-1)37. Southern (45-10)38. Florida International (41-20)39. Oklahoma State (37-21)40. Auburn (34-26)

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