Baseball Travels To California For Three-Game Set With Golden Bears

April 9, 2003

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    Probable Pitching Rotation:M
    Apr. 11 at Cal, 2 p.m.
    ASU - Erik Averill, LHP (6-0, 2.77 ERA)
    CAL - Matt Brown, RHP (2-4, 5.82 ERA)

    Apr. 12 at Cal, 1 p.m.
    ASU - Jered Liebeck, RHP (6-0, 2.84 ERA)
    CAL - Brian Montalbo, RHP (3-2, 6.21 ERA)

    Apr. 13 at Cal, 1 p.m.
    ASU - Ben Thurmond, RHP (3-0, 3.12 ERA)
    CAL - Kyle Crist, RHP (2-1, 5.45 ERA)

    Media Exposure:
    All three games of the Cal-Arizona State series will be carried live over the airwaves on NBC 1190 AM in the Phoenix Area. The games will also be broadcast over the internet at Tim Healey and Bob Eger will call all the action from the Evans Diamond Press Box. The statistcal GameTracker will not be available this weekend.

    What's On Tap:
    The Sun Devils travel to Berkeley, Calif., this weekend for a three-game Pac-10 series against the California Golden Bears at Evans Diamond. The Golden Bears are 20-15 overall and off to a 6-3 start in league play winning two of three in conference match-ups against Washington State (home), Oregon State (road) and UCLA (road). Arizona State (35-7, 3-3 Pac-10) takes to the road for the second straight conference series after winning two of three at USC. ASU will be looking for redemption as the Golden Bears took two of three from ASU at Hohokam Park last year, but the Devils have been tough at Evans Diamond winning eight of the last 11 games at the home of the Bears. Arizona State is led by sophomore shortstop Dustin Pedoria who is hitting .427 with 27 multi-hit games.

    Consecutive Games Scoring Streak Reaches 475:
    The Arizona State baseball program has now scored in an NCAA record 475 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 Devils recently celebrated the eighth anniversary of the start of the streak with a 10-2 win over Grand Canyon on April 7. The one run scored in the 3-1 loss to Stanford (4/12/02) marked only the 12th 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 314-160-1 during the streak. Notable 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).

    Poll Mechanics:
    After going 1-1 in the last two games after winning a road Pac-10 series at USC, Arizona State is ranked No. 4 by Sports Weekly/ESPN, No. 7 by Baseball America and No. 6 by Collegiate Baseball polls. ASU is now No. 2 in the ESPN coaches poll and No. 4 by Collegiate Baseball. The Devils spent two weeks manning the top spot in two of the three national rakings, marking the first time being No. 1 since heading into the 1993 College World Series. ASU has been ranked for 69 consecutive national polls dating back to the start of the 2000 season. 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. The No. 8 preseason ranking is the highest by an ASU squad since opening the 2001 season as the consensus No. 6 team in the nation.

    A Nice Way To Rebound:
    With an overall 35-7 record heading into the Cal series, the Sun Devils have only lost back-to-back games one time this year. After six of their seven losses, the Devils have responded by winning the next game.

    On the Road Again:
    After a 19-game home stand in which ASU went 15-4 and after playing the 25 straight games in the state of Arizona, the Sun Devils will endure their second straight Pac-10 road trip. After going 2-1 at USC, the Devils are 13-2 when playing away from Packard Stadium this year, including going 3-0 in neutral site games in Surprise, Ariz., 2-1 at Long Beach State, 2-1 at USC and 6-0 at Hawaii-Hilo. The Devils were 8-11 on the road in 2002.

    Take That Monkey Off Our Back:
    With a 2-1 series win at USC two weeks ago, the Sun Devils notched their first series win over the Trojans at Dedeaux Field since a sweep in 1993. The Sun Devils also only trail the all-time series with the Trojans by one game, 84-85.

    Last Year vs. California:
    The Sun Devils will be looking for some revenge this weekend after the Cal Golden Bears took two of three last year at Hohokam Park in Mesa. Cal won the series opener 9-5 and the finale 9-3 with a 4-3, 10-inning ASU victory sandwiched between. ASU infielder Steve Garrabrants led the Devils hitting .400 (4-for-10). California's Conor Jackson homered in each of the three games and tallied eight RBI en route to being named Pac-10 Player of the Week.

    Last Time vs. Cal at Evans Diamond:
    The Sun Devils last visited Evans Diamond Mar. 16-18 to open the 2001 Pac-10 season. ASU took two of three in the conference series, winning the first game 7-4 and coming from behind in the Saturday contest to earn a 4-2 victory. Cal salvaged the series with a 17-5 victory on Sunday. The Devils trailed 2-1 going into the ninth inning in the Saturday tilt before pinch-hitter and Bay Area native Nick Walsh connected on a two-run single to give ASU the lead. ASU is 8-3 in the last 11 game at Evans Diamond and has not lost series on the road to the Bears since 1995.

    Team USA Connections:
    This weekend will feature a pair of 2002 USA Baseball National team members squaring off against each other as ASU shortstop Dustin Pedroia and Cal third baseman Conor Jackson both played for the Red, White and Blue last summer. Jackson hit .312 with 11 doubles and one home run in 29 games for Team USA, while Pedroia started 15 games at shortstop and hit .208 with two doubles before leaving the squad with an eye injury. The Stanford series also featured a Team USA connection with Pedroia as Sam Fuld, Carlos Quentin and Ryan Garko all played for the national team last summer.

    Welcome Home:
    The weekend series in the Bay Area will also feature a homecoming of sorts for three Arizona State players. Junior utility player Nick Walsh is from Alamo and attended nearby De le Salle High School. Freshman outfielder Ryan Bosch is from Livermore and shortstop Dustin Pedroia hails from Woodland, Calif. While Pedroia lives the farthest (one and a half hours away), a strong contingent of 30-40 Pedroia fans will make the trek from Woodland this weekend.

    Home Run Notes:
    Through 42 games of the 2003 season the Sun Devils have already surpassed their entire season total from 2002 with 47 home runs. ASU has hit 33 of those home runs at Packard Stadium and 14 in its 14 road or neutral site games. Of the 27 games played at Packard Stadium the Devils have hit at least one home run in 18 games. A total of 12 different players have hit at least one home run and eight players have two or more home runs. Sophomore Jeff Larish leads the way with 13 round-trippers, including three grand slams. The Devils have homered in 26 of their 42 games, including 15 multi-home run games. The Devils also have eight grand slams on the season with Larish (3), Steve Garrabrants (2), Jeremy West and freshmen Ryan Bosch and Travis Buck all leaving the yard with the bases loaded. ASU had only one grand slam in 2002 and four in 2001. ASU's home run breakdown includes 12 solo shots, 16 two-run homers, 11 three-run home runs and eight grand slams.

    Pedroia On Fire at the Plate:
    Sophomore shortstop Dustin Pedroia (Woodland, Calif.) has been the spark plug to ASU's early season success and an integral part to ASU's 35-7 record. ASU's only player to play and start in all 42 games, Pedroia is second in the Pac-10 in hitting at .427 (76x178) with 24 doubles and 30 RBI. He has also recorded 27 multi-hit games to pace the ASU offense and has ignited several ASU scoring rallies as is evident by his .513 (40x78) average as a leadoff hitter (inning and game). In a rare performance, 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). He also recently had another 17-game hitting streak come to an end, but has since put together a current 12-game hitting streak. Pedroia now has a hit in 51 of his last 53 games, including hits in all but two games this year (40 of 42). In his two years as a Sun Devil he already has 158 hits, 36 of which are doubles, and has never missed a start in 100 consecutive games. In the field Pedroia has also been the rock to ASU's solid .970 team fielding percentage. The slick fielding shortstop has committed eight errors in 193 total chances for a .959 fielding percentage.

    The Jeff Larish Watch:
    Sophomore first baseman Jeff Larish has quickly put his name atop the list of as a top candidate for national player of the year and the Golden Spikes Award in 2003. Larish is hitting .374 (49-for-131) with 13 home runs, 10 doubles and leads the conference with 65 RBI. Larish has recorded at least one hit in 31 of 39 games and one RBI in 30 of 39 games this year and leads the Pac-10 in several offensive categories. He also leads the conference with 51 walks (1.31 per game) and has an unbelievable on-base percentage of .547. For the season he is slugging .779 (second in Pac-10) and is second on the team with 25 extra base hits. He had connected on three grand slams this year, already tying the single-season school record set by Dave Hudgens in 1977. In addition, he is batting .706 (12x17) with the bases loaded and leads the team with 24 two-out RBI. Larish, who was supposed to redshirt in 2002 but played midway through the season, has already surpassed his entire total of doubles, home runs and RBI 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 then tied the 13-year-old school record (Tommy Adams) by walking with the bases loaded in the eighth.

    Freshman Lefty Leads Pac-10 in ERA:
    Freshman left-handed pitcher Erik Averill wasted little time showing he belonged at the college level after he opened his career with seven and a third innings of no-hit baseball. Since that debut vs. Hawaii-Hilo, Averill has not disappointed. He leads the Pac-10 with a 2.77 ERA and heading into Friday's start vs. Cal is 6-0 with 39 strikeouts in 52.0 innings.

    Freshman Records About To Go Down:
    Freshman Travis Buck and Erik Averill are making a serious dent in the ASU freshman record books despite there being 20 games left in the regular season. Averill is already tied for 10th with his six wins, fourth in ERA (2.77), and only one strikeout off the top 10. Buck is ranked ninth with 56 hits and currently tied for second with a .386 batting average.

    2,300 Just Around The Corner:
    With two more wins ASU will gain win No. 2,300 for the program dating back to the beginnings in 1907. ASU is 2,298-1,122-6 in its 92nd year of baseball competition.

    Senior Dennis Wyrick Lights Up Pac-10 Pitching:
    Senior 3B Dennis Wyrick is ASU's hottest hitter at the plate going 25-for-63 (.397) in his last 16 games. Wyrick is fourth on the team and eighth in the Pac-10 in hitting at .379 overall, going 39-for-103 with 24 runs scored, five doubles and 22 RBI in 35 games (21 starts). Wyrick has a hit in 13 of his last 16 games, including five three-hit games. Wyrick has had great success in his career in Pac-10 play hitting .378 (68-for-180) with 36 runs scored and 30 RBI in 53 career league games. Returning to his native Southern California last weekend, Wyrick an 0-for-15 career slump vs. the Trojans by going 5-for-16 in the series.

    Leaders of the Pac (10):
    The Sun Devils lead the Pac-10 in several pitching and hitting categories heading into the California series wthis weekend. As a team ASU leads the league with a .348 batting average and a 3.49 team ERA. In addition, ASU is third with a .970 team fielding percentage. Individually, ASU has five of the top 10 batting leaders, with Dustin Pedroia second (.427), Travis Buck fifth (.386), Dennis Wyrick eighth (.379), Frank Mesa ninth (.378) and Jeff Larish 10th (.374). Larish also leads the conference with a .547 on-base percentage and with 65 RBI. Pedroia leads the Pac-10 with 76 hits, 24 doubles and 111 total bases. Steve Garrabrants is first with 16 stolen bases and 10th with a .621 slugging percentage. Freshman Erik Averill leads all pitchers with a 2.77 ERA and is second with an opponents batting average of only .230. Beau Vaughan is second with 62 strikeouts and Jered Liebeck is second with a 2.84 ERA.

    Travis Buck Hits For The Cycle:
    Freshman outfielder Travis Buck went 5-for-5 with even RBI and hit for the cycle in ASU's 19-0 win over Southern Utah (3/7). He became only the seventh Sun Devil in recorded history to record the elusive cycle and became the first freshman in Pac-10 history to hit for the cycle. Buck capped his perfect night with a grand slam home run as part of an eight-run sixth inning to become ASU's first player to hit for the cycle since Mitch Jones on May 21, 2000 at Arizona. Buck, ASU's normal starting left fielder who was making only his second start in right field, had a single in the first, a double in the third and a triple in the fifth before connecting on his second home run of the year for the cycle. He also added a run-scoring single in the fourth and tied a career high with two stolen bases. For the season Buck, who was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week after going 8-for-11 (.727) vs. USC, is hitting .386 with nine doubles and two home runs. Below is a list of ASU player who have hit for the cycle:

    Travis Buck	March 7, 2003 vs. Southern UtahMitch Jones	May 21, 2000 vs. ArizonaDan McKinley	April 1, 1997 vs. Grand CanyonAntone Williamson	May 27, 1993 vs. George MasonKevin Higgins	May 1, 1988 vs. UCLATodd Brown	March 18, 1984 vs. USCPaul Ray Powell	March 21, 1969 vs. Michigan
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