No. 8 Sun Devil Baseball Opens 2003 Season At Hawai'i-Hilo
Jan. 13, 2003
ASU Baseball Links:
The No. 8 Arizona State Sun Devil Baseball team opens the 2003 campaign this weekend with a six-game series against the Hawai'i-Hilo Vulcans. ASU will play three games each in Hilo and Kona, with a single game and double-header at each site. The Vulcans were 10-38-1 last year, but return 22 letterwinners and 10 pitchers. The Sun Devils are the first collegiate team to take the field for the 2003 season and will be making their second earliest start in school history. ASU returns 21 letterwinners from the 2002 squad that finished 37-21 overall and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in the last six years. The Devils also return 10 top position players and six top pitchers from that squad, including four players that earned preseason All-America honors and three players that were first-team All-Pac-10 a year ago.
ASU On Opening Day:
The Sun Devils are 24-2 on opening day dating back to the 1977 season. The Sun Devils suffered their first loss on opening day since 1993 (Hawai'i) when they fell 5-3 to Texas-Arlington at home in 2001. ASU head coach Pat Murphy is 7-1 in season openers at ASU and 14-1 in his Division I head coaching career. ASU defeated Pac-10 opponent Oregon State in a non-conference game on Jan. 31 last year at Hohokam Park (13-5). The game marked the first time since 1978 that ASU opened a season with a conference opponent.
The six-game series at Hawai'i-Hilo will not have any media coverage on radio, but ASU is working out plans for LiveStats coverage of all six games. A complete game recap and box score will be available on ASU's official athletic website, www.TheSunDevils.com, immediately following each game.
Devils Enter Season Ranked No. 8 By Baseball America:
The Sun Devils enter the 2003 season ranked as high as No. 8 in the nation by Baseball America in the preseason collegiate polls. Arizona State also earned a preseason No. 12 ranking by Collegiate Baseball. Finishing the 2002 season ranked No. 19 by Baseball Weekly and No. 22 by Baseball America, the Sun Devils have now been ranked in 59 consecutive national polls dating back to the start of the 2000 season. The No. 8 preseason ranking is the highest by an ASU squad since opening the 1998 season ranked No. 5/6. The Devils went on to advance to the College World Series that year and played USC in the National Championship game in Omaha. While ranked No. 8 in the nation, they are still behind Pac-10 foes Stanford (#3) and USC (#6) in the Baseball America poll. ASU will face 11 teams in the BA preseason top 50, including Stanford, USC, Notre Dame (#12), Long Beach State (#16), California (#32), Oklahoma State (#33), Oklahoma (#38), Wichita State (#41), San Diego State (#45), Washington (#47), and UC Irvine (#49).
An Early Season Opener:
The Jan. 16 season opener at Hawai'i-Hilo marks the second earliest start in ASU Baseball history and the earliest start of any collegiate team in 2003. The Devils opened the 1999 season at home with a game at Packard Stadium against the University of Utah on Jan. 15. Arizona State's previous earliest start before 1999 was a Jan. 19 home contest against Grand Canyon (W, 12-2) in 1990.
Consecutive Games Scoring Streak Reaches 433:
The Arizona State baseball program has scored in 433 consecutive games dating back to the 1995 season and has not endured a shutout in seven and a half years. 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 will continue heading into 2003 at 433 consecutive games with ASU scoring in each of the 58 games in 2002. The Devils extended the streak early in a majority of its games, with a run in the first inning 30 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 274-152-1 during the streak.
Sun Devils Picked Second in Preseason Pac-10 Coaches Poll:
For the third time in the last six years, the Sun Devils have been tabbed to finish second in the conference in the annual Pac-10 preseason head coaches' poll. ASU received two first-place votes and trailed preseason favorite USC by only five votes. Despite being behind Stanford in both national preseason polls, ASU was picked to finish ahead of Stanford by nine points.
School (First Place Votes) Points
1. USC (6)2. Arizona State (2)3. Stanford4. California (1)5. Arizona6. UCLA7. Washington8. Oregon State9. Washington State
The Last Time Against Hawai'i-Hilo:
The Sun Devils own an all-time 11-0 record against the University of Hawai'i-Hilo Vulcans dating back to the first meeting on March 24, 1990. ASU swept a pair of five-game series with the Vulcans in both 1998 and 1999. The Devils outscored UHH 50-5 in 1998 and 53-9 in 1999. No current Sun Devil has ever played the Vulcans. Several of ASU's top pitching performances have come against UHH, including the last one-hitter when then sophomore Drew Friedberg shutout the Vulcans 10-0 on Jan. 24, 1999. Another combined one-hitter and two, two-hitter have also been recorded in recent series history.
Four Sun Devils Earn Preseason All-American Honors:
Four Sun Devils enter the 2003 season with preseason All-America honors. Junior pitcher Ryan Schroyer, who led the Pac-10 with a 2.37 ERA and eight saves as a sophomore in 2002, was a second-team selection by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and a third-team pick by Collegiate Baseball. Junior right fielder Andre Ethier is coming off a solid rookie campaign in which he hit .363 and enters the season as a third-team preseason All-American as selected by the NCBWA. Junior catcher/designated hitter Jeremy West was also a third-team pick by Collegiate Baseball and junior outfielder Rodney Allen was a third-team selection by Baseball America. The Devils also feature 2002 USA Baseball National Team member Dustin Pedroia and 2001 All-American pitcher Ben Thurmond, who transferred in from Winthrop.
A Tough Schedule Ahead For ASU Baseball:
The Sun Devils 2003 schedule will once again be one of the toughest in the nation, which includes 11 teams that are listed on Baseball America's Preseason Top 50. The 62-game regular-season schedule also features 25 games against nine teams that advance to the NCAA Tournament a year ago.
Home Sweet Home:
ASU returns to Packard Stadium in 2003 after playing in Mesa in 2002. The Devils have an all-time 788-228-1 record at Packard Stadium dating back to 1974. ASU will play 40 of its 62 games in the state of Arizona and 37 at Packard Stadium. After playing nine of its first 12 games on the road, the Devils will spend the entire months of February and March in the state of Arizona with only three games away from Packard Stadium at the new spring training facility of the Texas Rangers/Kansas City Royals in Surprise. After going 29-10 in designated home games last year, the Devils now have a combined 133-43-1 (.754) home record in the last five years dating back to 1998.
Arizona State in Home Games (1998-2002):
What Time Is It Anyway:
With ASU starting the 2003 season with six games at Hawai'i-Hilo, it marks the first time since 1993 (at Hawaii) and the second time in recorded ASU Baseball history that the Devils will open a season away from the state of Arizona. With fans and media interested in the official opening to the college baseball season, the time difference for the 50th state in the union is always an interesting question. Hawai'i is in the Hawaii-Aleutian time zone, meaning they are three hours behind Arizona time and five hours behind East Coast time.
ASU Traditionally Hot in January:
As tradition would have it, the Devils are usually a fast-starting team. Dating back to the start of varsity baseball in 1959, ASU is a combined 58-6 in the month of January and 365-139 in the month of February. ASU head coach Pat Murphy has also enjoyed great success in the early months of the season, combining to go 31-3 in January in his seven seasons at the helm of the Sun Devil program.
Sun Devils Dominate 2002 All-Pac-10 Team:
Arizona State baseball players Jeremy West, Andre Ethier and Dustin Pedroia were all named to the All-Pacific-10 Conference First Team and nine other Sun Devils earned honorable mention distinction when the 2002 Pac-10 Baseball awards were announced. In addition to West, Ethier and Pedroia being named to the first team, senior catcher Cesar Castillo (Yuma), sophomore pitcher Mike Esposito (Las Vegas), senior infielder Sergio Garcia (Paramount, Calif.), sophomore utility player Steve Garrabrants (Phoenix), freshman third baseman Jeff Larish (Tempe), junior pitcher Jered Liebeck (Glendale), junior pitcher Robbie McClellan (Liberal, Kan.), sophomore relief pitcher Ryan Schroyer (Casa Grande) and senior outfielder Jon Sheaffer (Mesa) all earned honorable mention awards.
Up Next For the Sun Devils:
The Sun Devils will host the San Diego State Aztecs in its home-opening series from Jan. 24-26 at Packard Stadium. Game times will be 7 p.m., 1 p.m., 1 p.m. with all three games carried live on the radio (1190 AM) and on the internet. The series will be the season opener for the SDSU Aztecs and mark the collegiate coaching debut of former San Diego Padre great Tony Gwynn. ASU is 13-15 all-time against the Aztecs.
Media Day Set For Jan. 21 at Packard Stadium:
After playing six games in Hawai'i, the Devils will return to the mainland to prepare for their home opener with a three-game series against San Diego State (Jan. 24-26). After playing a doubleheader Sunday (10 a.m.), the Devils will take the red-eye flight back to Arizona and arrive back in Tempe on Jan. 20 at 8:30 a.m. A brief practice will be held Monday and Tuesday afternoon. The annual media day is schedule for Tuesday (Jan. 21) at Packard Stadium at 3 p.m. For more information on media day, please contact Jeff Evans in the Media Relations Office.
Sun Devils Storm Past Alumni With 18-2 Victory:
The Sun Devils unofficially opened the 2003 season on Jan. 11 with the annual Alumni game at Packard Stadium. The current group of varsity players routed the alumni squad by a score of 18-2. Sophomore first baseman Jeff Larish had a big game going 2-for-2 with five RBI, including a two-run double in the first inning and a three-run home run in the third. Sophomore Dustin Pedroia, junior Andre Ethier, freshman Travis Buck and junior Nick Walsh each contributed two hits apiece in the victory. Redshirt freshman starting pitcher Matt Leaf made his debut as a Sun Devil and picked up the win by striking out two and allowing only one hit in two innings of work. Leaf sat out the 2002 season after having Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Freshman Brett Bordes did a nice job out of the bullpen by inheriting the bases loaded and not allowing a run to score. Junior Robbie McClellan struck out five of the seven batters he faced in his two-inning stint. The alumni squad scored both of its runs on a two-run home run by former big leaguer Ken Phelps. Other players dotting the alumni roster included three-time All-American catcher Casey Myers, former big league pitcher Doug Henry, former Seattle Mariner Blas Minor, ASU single-season home run champion Mitch Jones and 1991 Golden Spikes Award winner Mike Kelly.
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.
Murphy's Teams Know How To Score:
A true icon of the Pat Murphy system is scoring runs. The Sun Devils have done plenty of that since he arrived in 1995. ASU has led the NCAA in scoring in two of the last four years, averaging 11.32 runs per game in 1999 and 10.97 runs per game in 2000. The Devils paced the Pac-10 in 2001, hitting at a .327 clip and averaging 8.26 runs per game to rank 17th in the nation. ASU also led the nation in batting average with a team total of .356 in 1999 and fell just percentage points shy of matching that feat a second year in a row in 2000 with a .346 mark, trailing Stony Brook by one point. During Pat Murphy's eight seasons at ASU, the Sun Devils have been a scoring machine with 4,299 runs, averaging 9.13 runs per game and hitting at an overall .329 clip.
Schroyer Named Baseball America Summer All-American:
Junior right-handed pitcher Ryan Schroyer was named a second-team Summer All-American by Baseball America after he helped lead the Alaska Goldpanners to the NBC World Series Championship. Schroyer joined the Goldpanners in the Alaskan League after not making the final Team USA roster. Ranked as the No. 3 prospect from the league by BA, Schroyer tamed the league with a 1-0 record, six saves and a 0.00 ERA.
Pedroia Becomes Eighth Devil to Play for Team USA:
Sophomore shortstop Dustin Pedroia became the eighth Sun Devil since 1984 to play for the USA Baseball National Team. After hitting .347 and setting an ASU freshman record with 82 hits in his freshman season, Pedroia made Team USA after being invited to the trials in Tucson, Ariz. Pedroia spent most of the summer as the team's starting shortstop before having to leave after suffering a broken cheek bone in the Harlem Honkball Tournament in The Netherlands.
2002 in Review: