No. 8 Baseball Looks To Continue Hot Start With No. 13 Long Beach State

Jan. 28, 2003

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    Probable Starting Rotation:
    Jan. 31 at LBSU, 6:30 p.m. PST
    ASU - Mark Sopko - RHP (1-0, 1.80 ERA)
    LBSU - Abe Alverez - LHP (12-3, 2.72 ERA)*

    Feb. 1 at LBSU, 1 p.m. PST
    ASU - Jered Liebeck - RHP (1-0, 245 ERA)
    LBSU - Jered Weaver - RHP (8-4, 4.37 ERA)*

    Feb. 2 at LBSU, 1 p.m. PST
    ASU - Erik Averill - LHP (2-0, 0.00 ERA)
    LBSU - TBA

    National Rankings:
    Arizona State (9-0) is ranked in all four preseason polls with its highest ranking of No. 8 by Baseball America. ASU is also No. 9 in the Sports Weekly/ESPN poll, No. 12 by Collegiate Baseball and No. 10 by NCBWA. The Sun Devils have now been ranked in the national polls for 59 consecutive polls. LBSU (0-0) is also ranked in the four preaseason polls at No. 13 (CB) and No. 16 (BA, ESPN).

    Media Exposure:
    All three games of the LBSU-ASU baseball series will not be broadcast in Phoenix Area over the airwaves. The games will be available via the LiveStats feature at The games can be listened to by visiting the Long Beach State student radio website at

    The Storyline:
    The Arizona State Sun Devils (9-0) take to the road for a three-game series at No. 13 Long Beach State. The Devils have won all nine games to start the 2003 season, but will be facing the toughest competition of the early season with the 49ers. LBSU features two preseason All-American pitchers (Abe Alvarez and Jered Weaver) and return seven pitchers from the staff that finished 11th in the nation last year with a 3.54 ERA. LBSU is the second of 11 teams ASU will face that are ranked in Baseball America's preseason top 50. The Devils lead the all-time series against LBSU 26-3 dating back to 1959. Through the first nine games of the season the Devils are averaging 13.33 runs and 14.22 hits per game. They are also slugging .649 as a team and have averaged 5.5 extra base hits per game.

    Consecutive Games Scoring Streak Reaches 442:
    The Arizona State baseball program has now scored in an NCAA record 442 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 3-1 loss to Stanford (4/12/02) marked only the 13th time during the streak that ASU has scored only one run. 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 is a combined 288-153-1 during the streak. Noteable pitchers the Devils have faced during the streak include Jeremy Guthrie (Stanford), Barry Zito (USC), Kirk Saarloos (CS Fullerton), Jason Young (Stanford), Ben Diggins (Arizona), Adam Johnson (CS Fullerton), Ryan Drese (Cal), Jeff Weaver (Fresno State), Chad Hutchinson (Stanford), and Adam Pettyjohn (Fresno State).

    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)	Points1.	USC (6)		602.	Arizona State (2)	553.	Stanford		464.	California (1)	425.	Arizona		346.	UCLA		317.	Washington	258.	Oregon State	159.	Washington State	9

    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 from Winthrop.

    Devils Ranked As High As No. 8 in Preseason Polls:
    The Sun Devils entered 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. 9 ranking by Sports Weekly/ESPN, No .10 by NCBWA and 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.

    Sun Devils Off To Hot Start:
    The 9-0 start to the season marks the first time since 1999 that the Sun Devils are 9-0. Since 1995 when Pat Murphy took over the program, ASU was 7-0 four times, but only once did they sweep the third series to start 9-0. Since 1977, only the '77 team (10-0), '80 team (9-0) and the '99 team (11-0) have had hotter starts.

    The Jeff Larish Watch:
    Sophomore first baseman Jeff Larish has quickly put his name atop the list of college baseball players to watch in 2003. Larish has recorded at least one hit in all nine of ASU's games this year and is second on the team in hitting at .517 (15x29). He has a team-best 22 RBI (2.44 per game average) and leads the club with five home runs. Larish, who was supposed to redshirt in 2002 but played midway through the season, is only two RBI short of his entire total from last year when he played in 34 games. Drafted in the 32nd round in 2001 by the Chicago Cubs, Larish etched his named in the ASU record books with a memorable game in the series finale vs. San Diego State (1/26). In what turned out to be a 24-9 ASU route, Larish was 3-for-4 and tied the school single-game record with nine RBI. He had a two-run single in the first inning, a two-run home run in the third, a grand slam homer in the fourth and tied the 13-year-old school record by walking with the bases loaded in the eighth. For the season Larish is slugging 1.138 and has 33 total bases.

    Most RBI - Single Game:1.	Jeff Larish, 1/26/03 vs. SDSU	9		  Tommy Adams, 5/2/90 vs. UNLV	93.	7 players, last by	   Jeremy West, 5/12/02 vs. Portland	8

    Home Run Notes:
    Through the first nine games of the season the Devils have scored 120 runs, much in part to hitting 15 home runs. ASU has clubbed at least one longball in each of the nine games this year, with nine different players clearing the fences. In comparison, the 2002 Devils hit only 38 home runs all season long. Sophomore first baseman Jeff Larish leads the team with five home runs, while junior designated hitter Jeremy West is second with three. With two grand slams in the Sunday series finale vs. SDSU (1/26), the Devils now have three on the season with Larish, Steve Garrabrants and freshman Ryan Bosch all clearing the bases with a home run. ASU had only one grand slam in 2002 and four in 2001.

    Team USA Connections:
    This weekend's three-game series will mark a match-up of teammates from the 2002 USA Baseball National team. ASU's Dustin Pedroia was the starting shortstop for Team USA, while LBSU Friday night starter Abe Alvarez was one of the top relief pitchers for the Red, White and Blue. Pedroia was stellar defensively for Team USA and hit .208 with two doubles and four RBI before having to leave the tour with a broken bone near his eye from a bad-hip groundball. Alvarez, who led the Big West in wins with 12 last year, was 0-0 with a 1.93 ERA in 11 games. ASU has had a total of eight players play for USA Baseball since 1984, while the Dirtbags have had five players represent LBSU on the national team.

    Pedroia Riding 20-Game Hitting Streak:
    Sophomore shortstop Dustin Pedroia carries a 20-game hitting streak into the weekend series at Long Beach State. After 6-for-15 (.400) with three runs scored and a two-run home run, Pedroia has successfully continued the 11-game streak he ended his 2002 freshman year with. During the 20-game streak Pedroia is hitting at a .442 clip (38x76). He is currently five games off the ASU top five for longest hitting streaks.

    Schroyer Ranks Tied For Seventh With 10 Career Saves:
    Junior RHP Ryan Schroyer picked up his second save of the year by striking out two batters in ASU's 7-5 come-from-behind win over SDSU (1/24). The save moved him into a tie for seventh place in the ASU career record books with 10. After recording eight (8) as the league's top pitcher (2.37 ERA) in 2002, Schroyer is looking to continue to move up the charts. Here is a look at ASU's top save leaders in school history:

    ASU's Career Saves Leaders:1.	Doug Nurnberg, 1965-67	252.	Kevin Dukes, 1978-81	203.	Noah Peery, 1993-94	174.	Ryan Bradley, 1995-97	165.	Dave Graybill, 1982-84	136.	Mitch Dean, 1976-80	117.	Eric Doble, 1999-2001	10		Ryan Schroyer, 2001-P	10

    Scouting the Dirtbags:
    Long Beach State opens the season with the three-game series against the Sun Devils at Blair Field. LBSU is picked to finish second in the Big West behind Cal State Fullerton and heads into the season ranked No. 13 by Collegiate Baseball and No. 16 by Baseball America. Featuring two preseason All-American pitchers in sophomore Jered Weaver and junior Abe Alvarez, the 49ers return a total of seven pitchers from the staff that finished 11th in the nation with a 3.54 ERA in 2002. The ASU series kicks off what has turned out to be the best home schedule in the country, as LBUS also hosts USC, Washington State, California, LSU, San Diego State, Cal State Fullerton, and Miami in 2003. The 49ers have advanced to the NCAA Tournament 12 times in school history (11 of last 12 years) and have advanced to the College World Series four times (last in 1998). LBSU is coming off a 39-21 season in 2002.

    Averill Pitches 1-Hit Gem in ASU Debut... and Backs It Up Vs. SDSU:
    Freshman LHP Erik Averill almost made history the first time he donned the Maroon and Gold of ASU Baseball. Averill (Orange, Calif.), took a no-hitter into the eighth inning in his first pitching appearance on Jan. 18 vs. Hawaii-Hilo. He gave up a one-out double, but ended giving up only one hit and struck out seven in 7.1 IP to pick up the win. In his second start he was just as impressive, striking out four and allowing only one hit in four innings vs. SDSU (1/26) to pick up the win and improve to 2-0. In 11.1 innings this year, Averill has struck out 11, allowed only two hits and has yet to give up an earned run.

    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. Long Beach State is currently ranked No. 13 by Collegiate Baseball and No. 16 by Baseball America.

    Guerrero is Off To Hot Start As A Sun Devil:
    After redshirting in 2002, junior 1B/DH Mike Guerrero made the most of his early-season playing time. Guerrero was 8-for-10 (.800) with two doubles and two triples on the recent six-game series at Hawaii-Hilo. In his only start, Guerrero went 4-for-5 with a double and a triple and three RBI. After going 1-for-4 with at two-run double vs. SDSU, Guerrero is still ASU's leading hitter at .643 (9x14) and is slugging 1.143 for the year.

    Ethier Tabs Seven Consecutive Hits vs. Hawaii-Hilo:
    Preseason All-American Andre Ethier was ASU's second leading hitter at .363 in 2002, so his 2-for-11 (.182) start to the season raised some eyebrows. After switching bats to the new TPX Genex bat, Ethier went on a tear by tabbing seven consecutive hits to raise his season mark to .474 (9x19). The seven hits in consecutive at-bats, which included a career-high-tying 4-for-4 game vs. UHH (1/19) is the eighth most in ASU history. Through nine games Ethier is hitting .367 (11x30) with 11 RBI.

    Most consecutive Hits:9: Mike Pagel, 19829: Hubie Brooks, 19788: Mark Ernster, 19998: Jerry Mantlo, 19728: Paul Ray Powell, 19698: Duffy Dyer, 19668: Richy Leon, 19957: Andre Ethier, 2003

    Beau Vaughan Is No Ricky 'Wild Thing' Vaughan:
    Senior transfer Beau Vaughan (New Orleans) comes out to the song 'Wild Thing' in home games, but has proven he is anything but wild in his three appearances thus far as a Sun Devil. He wasted little time putting his name in the ASU record books during his opening weekend as a Sun Devil. Vaughan struck out the side in his first appearance in a 9-0 win over UHH (1/16) and then came back the next day to strike out nine batters in 4.2 innings to pick up his first win (1/17). During his nine-strikeout effort, Vaughan struck out eight consecutive batters from the third through fifth innings to ranks as the second most consecutive K's in ASU single-game history. In nine innings of work Vaughan has struck out 15 batters.

    Most Consecutive Strikeouts:9: Jim Otten, 5/23/73 vs. BYU8: Beau Vaughan, 1/17/03 vs. UHH8: Eddie Bane, 3/2/73 vs. CS Northridge (Perfect Game)7: Jon Switzer, 2/2/01 vs. Southern Utah

    Up Next For the Sun Devils:
    The Sun Devils will return home for what will be a stretch of 25 straight games in the state of Arizona and 22 games at Packard Stadium. The Devils will travel to Surprise, Ariz. (30-minutes from Tempe) for the inaugural Surprise Spring Training Classic vs. Oklahoma State, Gonzaga and Oregon State (Feb. 14-16). ASU plays next weekend (Thurs.-Sat.) vs. BYU at Packard Stadium.

    Home Sweet Home:
    ASU returns to Packard Stadium in 2003 after playing in Mesa in 2002. The Devils have an all-time 791-228-1 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 this year. 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 136-43-1 (.756) home record in the last five years dating back to 1998.

    Arizona State in Home Games (1998-2003):2003:	3-02002:	29-102001:	25-9-12000: 	33-81999:	27-71998:	19-9Total:	136-43-1

    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 67-6 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 40-3 in January in his nine seasons at the helm of the Sun Devil program. The 9-0 start marks the best start in the Murphy era since 1999 when ASU started 11-0.

    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.

    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 five 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 nine seasons at ASU, the Sun Devils have been a scoring machine with 4,419 runs in 480 games, averaging 9.21 runs per game and hitting at an overall .330 clip.

    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. 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. 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.

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