No. 8 Baseball Returns To Packard Stadium For Three-Game Series With BYU
Feb. 4, 2003
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College Baseball Links:
Probable Pitching Rotation:
Feb. 6 vs. BYU, 7 p.m. MST
BYU - Jeff Mouser - RHP (1-0, 2.84 ERA)
ASU - Mark Sopko - RHP (1-0, 1.38 ERA)
Feb. 7 vs. BYU, 7 p.m. MST
BYU - Michel Bergeron - RHP (0-0, 7.71 ERA)
ASU - Jered Liebeck - RHP (2-0, 1.35 ERA)
Feb. 8 vs. BYU, 1 p.m. MST
BYU - Ken Gravley - LHP (0-0, 7.71 ERA)
ASU - Erik Averill - LHP (3-0, 0.00 ERA)
Arizona State (11-1) is ranked in all four national polls with its highest ranking of No. 8 by Baseball America. ASU is also No. 9 in the Sports Weekly/ESPN poll, No. 9 by Collegiate Baseball and No. 9 by NCBWA. The Sun Devils have now been ranked in the national polls for 60 consecutive polls. BYU (1-2) not ranked in any poll heading into the series.
All three games of the BYU-ASU baseball series will not be broadcast in Phoenix Area over the airwaves. The games will be available via the LiveStats feature at www.TheSunDevils.com. ASU Baseball will next be on the radio for the Notre Dame series (2/22-23).
What's On Tap:
The Arizona State Sun Devils (11-1) return home this weekend for a three-game non-conference series with BYU at Packard Stadium. After playing nine of their first 12 games in 2003 on the road, the Devils will now play 25 consecutive games in the state of Arizona. All but three, which will be played in Surprise, Ariz., will be played at Packard Stadium. The Devils will next take to the road for their second Pac-10 series when they visit the hostile confines of Dedeaux Field for a three-game set with USC. ASU is 40-8 all-time against the Cougars, last sweeping a two-game series in January of 2000. ASU head coach Pat Murphy is 10-0 vs. BYU and the Sun Devils have won 13 straight against the Cougars dating back to 1993. The 11-1 start is tied for the best start under Murphy.
Consecutive Games Scoring Streak Reaches 445:
The Arizona State baseball program has now scored in an NCAA record 445 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 290-154-1 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), Abe Alvarez 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.
Liebeck Sweeps Pac-10 and National Pitcher of the Week Honors:
Senior RHP Jered Liebeck swept the national and Pac-10 awards this week after throwing a complete-game, three-hit shutout against the No. 13 Long Beach State 49ers. Liebeck struck out two and did not allow a hit past the fifth inning to improve to 2-0 in 2003 (1.35 ERA). He allowed only one runner reach second base and until issuing his first walk of the game in the ninth inning, had retired 10 straight LBSU batters down the stretch. The complete-game shutout (9.0 IP) was the first by a Sun Devil since Drew Friedberg one-hit Hawaii-Hilo in 1999. He was named the Collegiate Baseball and NCBWA National Pitcher of the Week and became the 45th ASU pitcher to earn Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week acclaim.
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. After 12 games, ASU has moved up to No. 9 in both the Collegiate Baseball and NCBWA poll. Baseball America reveals its first poll of 2003 next Monday. Finishing the 2002 season ranked No. 19 by Baseball Weekly and No. 22 by Baseball America, the Sun Devils have now been ranked in 60 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.
Averill Continues Early-Season Dominance:
Freshman LHP Erik Averill has made quiet an impression in his first three starts as a Sun Devil. Averill has not allowed an earned run in 18.0 innings pitched and has given up only eight hits while striking out 12. He 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, Last week vs. No. 13 LBSU, Averill scattered six hits and allowed two unearned runs in 6.2 innings to improve to 3-0.
Sun Devils Off To Hot Start:
The 11-1 start to the season marks the first time since 1999 that the Sun Devils are 11-1. Since 1995 when Pat Murphy took over the program, ASU has had two 11-1 starts, but has never started 12-1 in any of the eight years. ASU's best start since 1995 was a 13-2 mark in 2001. The last time ASU started a season 12-1 was in 1988 when they exploded for a 17-1 start and went on to play in the College World Series. Other hot starts dating back to 1977 include going 18-2 in 1982, 18-2 in 1983 and 18-1 in 1978.
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 11 of ASU's 12 games this year and is second on the team in hitting at .474 (18x38). He has a team-best 24 RBI (2.00 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, has already equaled 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 .947 and has recorded 36 total bases.
Home Run Notes:
Through the first 12 games of the season the Devils have scored 132 runs, much in part to hitting 15 home runs. ASU had clubbed at least one longball in each of the first nine games of the year, but then did not hit one in any of the games at spacious Blair Field last weekend. Nine different players have hit at least one home run, with sophomore Jeff Larish leading the way with five. In comparison, the 2002 Devils hit only 38 home runs all season long. 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 leaving the yard with the bases loaded. ASU had only one grand slam in 2002 and four in 2001.
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. ASU's next 25 games (starting with BYU series) will be in the state of Arizona. 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. Dating back to the end of the 2001 season, ASU has won seven straight at Packard Stadium.
Arizona State in Home Games (1998-2003):2003: 3-02002: 29-102001: 25-9-12000: 33-81999: 27-71998: 19-9Total: 136-43-1
Getting It Done on the Mound:
Through the first 12 games of 2003, the Chris Sinacori led ASU pitching staff is a main reason to the early season success. The pitching staff carries an overall 3.49 ERA into the BYU series, but the most impressive statistic is the combined 1.15 ERA maintained by the starting pitchers. In fact, ASU's starting three of Mark Sopko, Jered Liebeck and Erik Averill did not give up an earned run in 18.2 innings last weekend vs. No. 13 Long Beach State. Another impressive note is that in 98.0 IP, ASU's pitchers have yielded only one home run.
Pedroia Has 22-Game Hitting Streak Come To An End:
Sophomore shortstop Dustin Pedroia went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts in ASU's 4-2 win over LBSU (2/2) to have his career-long 22-game hitting streak come to a halt. The streak, which spanned 11 games each at the end of 2002 and 11 games to begin 2003, fell just two games off the top six in ASU Baseball history. It is the longest streak since current Houston Astros prospect Brooks Conrad had a 21-game streak in 2000. During the streak Pedroia combined to hit .390 (41x105) and is off to a hot start in 2003 by recording eight multi-hit games to hit .400 (20x50). He leads the team with eight doubles, 20 total hits and also has one home run.
Schroyer Ranks Tied For Sixth in ASU History With 11 Career Saves:
Junior RHP Ryan Schroyer picked up his third save of the year by nailing down ASU's 4-2 win over Long Beach State to secure the 2-1 series win. The save moved him into a tie for sixth place in the ASU career record books with 11. 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. In five games in 2003, Schroyer is 1-0, 0.00 ERA with three saves and has struck out 10 batters in six innings. 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 11 Ryan Schroyer, 2001-P 117. Eric Doble, 1999-2001 10
The Last Time vs. BYU:
The Sun Devils and Cougars have met 48 times in the series history, with ASU winning 40. ASU and BYU last met in 2000 when the Devils won two games as part of a three-team tournament (BYU, ASU, Florida Atlantic). The Devils won the first game 8-7 and then pounded BYU 14-2 in the second game. Dating back to 1993 ASU has won 13 straight in the series, with current head coach Pat Murphy a perfect 10-0 against the Cougars. The only Sun Devil to play against BYU is senior third baseman Dennis Wyrick. Wyrick, then ASU's freshman starting shortstop, was 4-for-7 (.571) with two runs scored and four RBI in the two games.
Buck and Bosch Among Fab 50 Freshman:
ASU's freshman outfield tandem of Travis Buck and Ryan Bosch have both been tabbed as part of Baseball America's Freshman Fab 50. Buck, a 23rd round draft choice of the Seattle Mariners last June, is ranked No. 25 on the list. Buck has started all 12 of ASU's games in left field and has recorded at least one hit in 10 games. He is hitting .421 (16x38) with two doubles and six RBI. Bosch, ranked No. 41, started in center field in two of ASU's three games vs. LBSU and is hitting .227 with five hits, one home run and seven RBI.
ASU Continuing To Mix Things Up:
After mixing and matching for 41 different starting batting lineups in 58 games last year, head coach Pat Murphy continues to keep the lineup fresh in 2003. Through the first 12 games of the season the Devils have fielded 11 different batting lineups and eight different positional lineups.
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. In the current stretch of 25 straight games in the state of Arizona, ASU will host Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Wichita State, Notre Dame and Stanford. In late March, the Devils will endure a stretch of eight games in 11 days against the likes of Oklahoma (3 games), Wichita State (2 games) and Pac-10 foe Stanford (3 games).
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 12 games Ethier is hitting .359 (14x39) with 11 RBI.
Up Next For the Sun Devils:
The Sun Devils will continue its string of 25 consecutive games in the state of Arizona with the inaugural Coca-Cola Surprise Spring Training Classic. The Devils will play Oklahoma State, Gonzaga and Oregon State in the tournament held at the new spring training facility of the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals. ASU opens the tournament with a 7 p.m. game against Gonzaga (2/14).
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 five 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 12.0 innings of work Vaughan has struck out 16 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
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.
ASU Traditionally Hot in January and February:
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 67-7 in the month of January (9-1 in 2003) and 367-139 in the month of February (2-0 in 2003). ASU head coach Pat Murphy has also enjoyed great success in the early months of the season, combining to go 40-4 in January in his nine seasons at the helm of the Sun Devil program.
How They Compare To Past Years:
ASU completed the 2002 season 16 games above the .500 mark with a 37-21 mark. ASU opens the 2003 season ranked No. 8 in the country and will play nine of its first 12 games on the road.
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 4,431 runs in 483 games, averaging 9.17 runs per game and hitting at an overall .329 clip.
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.
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.