No. 5 ASU Baseball Hosts Washington State For Three-Game Series

April 23, 2003

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    Probable Starting Rotation:
    Apr. 25 vs. WSU, 7 p.m.
    WSU - Aaron McKenzie, RHP (3-3, 5.34 ERA)
    ASU - Beau Vaughan, RHP (6-3, 4.71 ERA)

    Apr. 26 vs. WSU, 7 p.m.
    WSU - Bryce Chamberlin, RHP (3-4, 6.83 ERA)
    ASU - Erik Averill, LHP or Mark Sopko, RHP

    Apr. 27 vs. WSU, 12 p.m.
    WSU - Tony Banaszak, LHP (2-7, 4.41 ERA)
    ASU - Ben Thurmond, RHP (4-0, 2.68 ERA)

    National Rankings:
    Arizona State (39-9) is ranked in all three national polls and is the No. 5 team in the nation by Sports Weekly/ESPN and also ranked No. 11 by both Baseball America and No. 7 Collegiate Baseball. ASU has been in the national top 10 all season including spending two weeks at No. 1 (SW). The Sun Devils have now been ranked in the national polls for 71 consecutive polls.

    Media Exposure:
    All three games vs. Washington State will be broadcast on the radio on NBC 1190 AM with Tim Healey and Bob Eger calling all the action from the Packard Stadium press box. All three games will also be carried over the world wide web on The statistical GameTracker will also be up and running for the three-game series vs. the Cougars. AZ-TV will also broadcast the first two games of the series with George Allen and Doug Gerlach handling the play-by-play duties. The games are carried locally on Cox Cable Channel 13.

    What's On Tap:
    Arizona State (39-9, 7-5) returns to the diamond this weekend with a three-game series against Washington State (13-26, 4-8) at Packard Stadium. ASU is currently in second place in the Pac-10 tied with arch rival Arizona and two games back of conference leader Stanford (9-3). ASU is coming off a disappointing series loss to UCLA last weekend at home and will try to rebound against the Cougars. ASU is 2-4 at home this year in Pac-10 play, compared to 5-1 on the road. ASU leads the league in both pitching (3.44 ERA) and batting (.347) heading into the series. Sophomore SS Dustin Pedroia needs three more doubles to break the ASU single-season record of 30 set by Chris Bando in 1978.

    Consecutive Games Scoring Streak Reaches 481:
    The Arizona State baseball program has now scored in an NCAA record 481consecutive 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 318-162-1 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:
    Arizona State remained in the top 10 in three of the four national polls despite dropping two close games last weekend at home to UCLA. ASU is ranked No. 5 by Sports Weekly/ESPN, No. 7 by Collegiate Baseball and No. 11 by Baseball America. Ranked as high as No. 8 in the preseason polls, the Devils have spent virtually the entire season in the top 10 and for two weeks manned 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 71 consecutive national polls dating back to the start of the 2000 season. ASU 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.

    The Grand Salami:
    After hitting only one grand slam all of last year, the Sun Devils have gone on a binge this year hitting 10 in their first 48 games. Sophomore first baseman Jeff Larish broke the single-season school record by hitting his fourth grand slam vs. UCLA (4/19). Larish broke the old record of three set by Dave Hudgens in 1977. Junior second baseman Steve Garrabrants also has two slams, while Ryan Bosch, Travis Buck, Rod Allen and Jeremy West each have one. ASU is also quickly approaching the NCAA record for grand slams in a season of 12 set by Oklahoma State in 1995. ASU has been clutch in 2003 with the bases loaded hitting at a combined clip of .400 (50-for-125). Larish leads the team hitting .684 (13-for-19) with the sacks full.

    Close Games:
    Arizona State has built up a 39-9 record heading into the final 14 games of the 2003 regular season. The Sun Devils have lost straight games this year only two times and have suffered a number of close losses this year. Of the Devils nine losses this year, five have come by one run and seven by three or less runs. ASU's five Pac-10 setbacks have come by way of four one-run games and a two-run contest to Stanford.

    All This Guy Does Is Get On Base:
    Junior utility player Nick Walsh has one goal in mind when he steps in the batters box... get on base. Walsh, a native of Alamo, Calif., is one of ASU's hottest hitters going 11-for-19 (.579) in his last five games. He is ranked sixth in the Pac-10 with a .500 on-base percentage and has drawn six walks in the last five games. During his torrid five-game stretch, Walsh has recorded four multi-hit games.

    ASU Continues To Lead Pac-10 in Hitting and Pitching:
    The Sun Devils lead the Pac-10 in two of the three major statistical categories heading into the conference series with Washington State. ASU is tops in the league with a .347 batting average and also first with a 3.44 ERA. The Devils lead in the batting category by 11 percentage points over arch rival Arizona (.336) and by a wide margin over Stanford in the pitching department (4.16). Nationally the Devils rank third in batting average, 18th in team ERA and fourth in scoring averaging 10 runs per game. Defensively the Devils are third in the Pac-10 with a .972 percentage, and rank 21st nationally.

    Pitching and Defense Dominate in Cal Series:
    The pitching staff dominated the California Golden Bears over the weekend combining to give up only four runs (three earned) and tallied an 1.00 ERA in the series. The four runs given up are the lowest combined total in a three-game conference series during ASU's 25-year history in the Pac-10. In Sunday's doubleheader the Devils allowed only one run in 18 innings and outscored the Bears 16-1. Giving up the only run of the second game in the seventh inning, ASU nearly recorded its first back-to-back shutouts in Pac-10 play. The four runs given up in a three-game Pac-10 series are the least dating back to giving up seven runs in three-game sweep vs. Cal in 1993 (11-1, 11-4, 11-2). The lowest number of runs given up in a three-game Pac-10 series before the Cal series was five runs vs. USC (4/16-18) during the national championship 1981 season. Behind every good pitching note is an even better defensive stat. ASU turned six double plays (two in each game) during the series and committed only two errors. Solid defense from the outfield also included an outfield assist from right fielder Andre Ethier to gun down a potential run at the plate.

    Four Sun Devils Bring Home Midseason Honors:
    Four Sun Devils earned mention in Baseball America's midseason review. Freshmen Travis Buck (OF) and Erik Averill (LHP) both were named to the midseason All-America freshman team, while sophomores Dustin Pedroia (SS) and Jeff Larish (DH) were picked for their respective class. Here is what BA had to say about Larish being named the 'Biggest Surprise of the First Half of the Season':

    'Larish slowed down a bit after a torrid start to the 2003 season. He came down with back spasms in mid-March and missed a couple of games, but few college players have ever put together a better half season than Larish, a sophomore who was supposed to redshirt last year but was pressed into the lineup at midseason and hasn't stopped hitting. A left-handed hitter, he was batting .372-13-64. He had driven in all those runs in just 38 games despite drawing 51 walks, and his .551 on-base percentage probably has Athletics general manager Billy Beane drooling for the '04 draft.'

    Last Year vs. Washington State:
    Arizona State took two of three from the Cougars last year in a three-game series at Bailey-Brayton Field in Pullman (April 5-7). For the second straight year the Cougs won the series opener, defeating ASU 7-4 behind a complete-game from Eddie Bonine. ASU rallied to defeat WSU 13-7 and 22-4 in the next two games to earn the series victory. Jeremy West homered in each of the three games and combined to go 6-for-14 (.429) with five runs scored and seven RBI to earn Pac-10 Player of the Week honors. Additionally, Steve Garrabrants (.455), Andre Ethier (.400) and Ryan McKenna (.400) each had good weekends at the plate. Ethier had a career day a the plate in the series finale going 3-for-4 with five runs scored, five RBI and two home runs. On the mound Ryan Schroyer (3 H, 0 R, 3 IP) and Robbie McClellan (9 H, 7 IP, 4 ER) picked up the pitching wins.

    Last Time vs. Washington State at Packard Stadium:
    The Cougars last visited Packard Stadium for a three-game set April 12-14 during the 2001 season. Just like in 2002, WSU opened the series with a victory posting a 2-1 win with current University of Hawaii pitcher Justin Cayetano allowing only one run in 7.1 innings. The Devils bounced back to win the second game on a Nick Walsh home run in the seventh inning and then completed the series victory with a 14-4 win.

    Sun Devils Record Best Start in School History:
    Arizona State's 28-1 start to the season goes down in the record books as the best start in school history. The 28-1 record includes an 11-game winning streak to start the season before a loss at nationally ranked Long Beach State (Jan. 31) and a 19-game win streak up until suffering a 6-5 loss to Oklahoma (3/14). During the 28-1 start to the season ASU's pitchers posted an impressive 3.11 ERA and the hitters combined for a .360 team batting average.

    About the 19-Game Winning Streak:
    After starting the year 9-0, ASU suffered its first setback with an 11-5 loss at nationally ranked Long Beach State on Jan. 31. After that loss, ASU went on a 19-game winning streak combining to go 13-0 in February and won the first six games in March before losing 6-5 to No. 30 Oklahoma (3/14). The 19-game winning streak is the longest by an ASU squad since the 1990 team won 23 straight games. Dustin Pedroia led ASU during the streak hitting .432 (35-for-81) with 11 of his Pac-10 leading 28 doubles. As a team the Sun Devils hit at a .344 clip and pitched for an impressive 2.56 ERA.

    Home Run Notes:
    Through 48 games of the 2003 season the Sun Devils have already surpassed their entire season total from 2002 with 54 home runs. ASU has hit 38 of those home runs at Packard Stadium and 16 in its 18 road or neutral site games. Of the 30 games played at Packard Stadium the Devils have hit at least one home run in 21 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 14 round-trippers, including an ASU single-season record of four grand slams. The Devils have homered in 30 of their 48 games, including 17 multi-home run games. The Devils also have 10 grand slams on the season with Larish (4), Steve Garrabrants (2), Jeremy West, Rod Allen 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 13 solo shots, 19 two-run homers, 12 three-run home runs and 10 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 39-9 record. ASU's only player to play and start in all 48 games, Pedroia is third in the Pac-10 in hitting at .413 (85-for-206) with 28 doubles and 38 RBI. He is first in the Pac-10 in hits (85), doubles (28) and total bases (124) and leads ASU with 32 extra base hits. He has also recorded 29 multi-hit games to pace the ASU offense and has ignited several ASU scoring rallies as is evident by his .506 (43x85) 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 a 17-game and 13-game hitting streaks come to an end. Pedroia now has a hit in 56 of his last 59 games, including hits in all but three games this year (45 of 48). In his two years as a Sun Devil he already has 167 hits, 41 of which are doubles, and has never missed a start in 106 consecutive games. In the field Pedroia has also been the rock to ASU's solid .971 team fielding percentage. The slick fielding shortstop has committed eight errors in 207 total chances for a .964 fielding percentage and has been part of 27 double plays.

    Pedroia Going For School and Pac-10 Doubles Record:
    With three more doubles in the UCLA series, Pedroia notched his 26th, 27th and 28th doubles of the season. He is now just two off the school record of 30 set by Chris Bando in 1978 and three off the Pac-10 record of 31 set by Washington State's Mike Kinkade in 1994. Pedroia is ranked first in the NCAA with his average of 0.58 doubles per game.

    Single Season Doubles:1.	Chris Bando, 1978	302.	Antone Williamson, 1993	29	Steve Willis, 1988	294.	Dustin Pedroia, 2003	285.	Clay Westlake, 1976	26

    Pedroia Named To Initial Watch List For Golden Spikes Award:
    Arizona State sophomore shortstop Dustin Pedroia was included among 25 players named to the initial watch list for the 2003 Golden Spikes Award, given annually to the nation's top amateur baseball player. The 2002 Team USA member was one of only two Pac-10 players to be named to the initial watch list (Carlos Quentin, Stanford). Five finalists will be announced in June, with the winner being revealed in July. Arizona State sophomore first baseman Jeff Larish is also among 175 players around the nation that remain in contention for the prestigious award. Arizona State has a long tradition of Golden Spikes Award winners as three past Sun Devils have won the award. Bob Horner (1978), Oddibe McDowell (1984) and Mike Kelly (1991) have all won the award. Only Florida State and Cal State Fullerton have matched ASU's legacy also with three winners of the annual Golden Spikes Award.

    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 .367 (58-for-158) with 14 home runs, 11 doubles and leads the conference with 72 RBI. Larish has recorded at least one hit in 37 of 45 games and one RBI in 34 of 45 games this year. He also leads the conference with 57 walks (1.27 per game) and has an unbelievable on-base percentage of .534. For the season he is slugging .728 (second in Pac-10) and is second on the team with 27 extra base hits. He had connected on four grand slams this year, breaking the single-season school record set by Dave Hudgens in 1977. In addition, he is batting .684 (13x19) with the bases loaded and leads the team with 29 two-out RBI. Larish, who was supposed to redshirt in 2002 but played midway through the season, hit .328 with three home runs in 34 games last year. 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.

    Larish Breaks Single-Season Record With Four Grand Slams:
    With his fourth grand slam of the season in the eighth inning of ASU's 17-1 blowout of UCLA on April 19, sophomore Jeff Larish broke the single-season record for grand slams. The previous record was three set by Dave Hudgens in 1977. Here is a look at Larish's four grand slams this year:

    GS	HR #	Game #	Date	Opponent	Pitcher	Inning1.	5	9	Jan. 26	San Diego State	Coon	42.	8	21	Feb. 22	Notre Dame	Ogilvie	53.	9	23	Feb. 28	Penn State	Stidfole	44.	14	48	Apr. 19	UCLA	Miltenberger	8

    Liebeck and Thurmond Leading the Pac:
    Senior right-handed pitchers Jered Liebeck (Glendale, Ariz.) and Ben Thurmond (Hopkins, S.C.) are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the Pac-10 in the ERA race. Liebeck is 7-0 with a league best 2.55 ERA, while Thurmond is 4-0 with a 2.68 ERA. As a team the pitching staff leads the league with a 3.44 ERA.

    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 14 games left in the regular season. Averill is already tied for ninth with his seven wins, eighth in ERA (3.36), and tied for 10th with 40 strikeouts. Buck is ranked seventh with 63 hits with Barry Bonds, eighth with 11 doubles and fifth with 47 runs scored.

    Liebeck Making Most of Senior Season:
    Senior right-handed pitcher Jered Liebeck is making the most of his senior season turning into one of ASU's go-to pitchers in crucial game situations. Liebeck leads the Pac-10 with a 2.55 ERA and is a perfect 7-0 on the season. He has allowed only one earned run in his last 10.1 innings and striking out 42 in 60.0 innings on the year. He earned national and Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honors early in the season (2/3) when he threw a complete-game three-hit shutout against Long Beach State.

    2,300 In The Books:
    With the series sweep of California last weekend ASU notched win No. 2,300 since baseball start in 1907. ASU is now 2,302-1,124-6 in its 92nd year of baseball competition.

    Ethier Starting to Heat Up:
    Junior outfielder Andre Ethier entered the season as a third-team preseason All-American selection by the NCBWA and with 14 games left in the 2003 regular season is starting to heat up. After going 8-for-17 (.471) with two home runs in the series vs. UCLA, Ethier is now hitting .348 (62-for-178) with nine doubles and four home runs. The 2002 First-Team All-Pac-10 selection now has hits in eight of his last nine games (16-for-41; .390). Ethier has proven to be clutch this year with one of his home runs coming on a three-run shot to tie the game vs. Stanford (3/23) in the ninth inning and another being a solo homer to tie the game in the bottom of the 11th inning vs. UCLA (4/18).

    Double Vision:
    ASU has recorded a Pac-10 best 121 doubles on the year (2.52 per game average). Sophomore shortstop Dustin Pedroia leads the team and Pac-10 with 28 and Steve Garrabrants is tied for fifth with 14. The team record for doubles in a season is 185 set in 1988, while the individual season record is 30 set by Chris Bando in 1978.

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