Baseball Rivalry With Arizona Heats Up This Weekend At Packard Stadium

May 22, 2003

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    Probable Rotation:
    May 23 vs. Arizona, 7 p.m. MST
    ARIZ - Richie Gardner, RHP (9-1, 3.69 ERA)
    ASU - Ben Thurmond, RHP (6-0, 2.87 ERA)

    May 24 vs. Arizona, 7 p.m. MST
    ARIZ - Sean Rierson, RHP (9-1, 4.45 ERA)
    ASU - Erik Averill, LHP (7-1, 3.82 ERA)

    May 25 vs. Arizona, 1 p.m. MST
    ARIZ - TBA
    ASU - Beau Vaughan, RHP (8-5, 4.78 ERA)

    National Rankings:
    Arizona State (47-12) is ranked in all three national polls and checks in this week as the No. 4 team in the nation by Sports Weekly/ESPN and Collegiate Baseball. The Devils are also No. 6 in the recent Baseball America poll. The Sun Devils have now been ranked in the national polls for 75 consecutive polls. Arizona (35-18) is ranked No. 15-16-20 (CB-BA-SW).

    Media Exposure:
    The last three games of the Arizona State Baseball regular season and all postseason games will be broadcast over the radio in the Phoenix area on NBC 1190 AM with Tim Healey and Bob Eger calling all the action. The statistical GameTracker on will return this weekend for the Arizona series. All three of ASU's games vs. Arizona will be broadcast live on AZ-TV.

    Did You Know:
    That Arizona State currently leads the Pac-10 in hitting (.349) and pitching (3.40) and is second in fielding (.972). ASU comes into the series after a 3-3 road trip that featured six conference games in the eight days. Shortstop Dustin Pedroia leads the Pac-10 in hitting at .424 and hits with 108. He has already broken the ASU and Pac-10 single-season record with 32 doubles.

    The Storyline:
    Arizona State (47-12) and the Arizona Wildcats (35-18) meet this weekend in the annual dual in the desert at Packard Stadium. The Devils and Wildcats are currently tied for second place in the Pac-10 and will be playing for postseason positioning. ASU is 9-3 against the Wildcats over the last three seasons and has not lost a season series against its rival since Pat Murphy took over the program in 1995.

    Consecutive Games Scoring Streak Reaches 492:
    The Arizona State baseball program has now scored in an NCAA record 492 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 5-1 loss to Washington (5/17/03) marked only the 14th 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 328-166-1 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 remains a consensus top-10 team in all four national polls heading into the Arizona three-game series. ASU is ranked as high as No. 4 by Sports Weekly/ESPN, and also check in at No. 4 by Collegiate Baseball and No. 6 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 75 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.

    47 Wins In The Bag:
    With an overall 47-12 record in 2003, the Sun Devils have already set the mark for the most wins in a season under current head coach Pat Murphy. The 2000 team had the previous best record finishing the year 44-15 after losing in the regional final to Texas. The 47 victories also marks the third time during the Murphy era that the Devils have reached the 40-win plateau, with the 2000 and the 1998 (41-23) teams also achieving that milestone. ASU's last 50-win season was in 1990 when the Devils went 52-16. The 47 wins are the most since the 1990 squad went 52-16.

    The Grand Salami:
    With a pinch-hit grand slam from Rod Allen in the seventh inning at Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City on April 30, Arizona State tied the NCAA record for grand slams in a season with their 12th of the year. The Devils are currently tied with Oklahoma State that also hit 12 in 1996. After hitting only one grand slam all of last year, the Sun Devils have gone on a binge this year hitting 12 in their first 53 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. Steve Garrabrants, Rod Allen and Jeremy West each have two slams, while Ryan Bosch and Travis Buck each have one.

    Recapping the Road Trip:
    The Sun Devils endured one of the toughest and most challenging road trips a college baseball program can go through. ASU played six league games, all on the road, during a stretch of eight days on an 11-day road trip to the Pacific Northwest. The games came and the end of ASU's final exams week with several players having to take finals on the road. ASU split the six games going 3-3 with a pair of wins at Oregon State and a victory at Washington. As a team the Devils hit .330 at the plate with Dustin Pedroia going 13-for-28 (.464) with eight runs scored, three doubles (to break the ASU and Pac-10 single-season record), one home run and four RBI. Andre Ethier (.458, 11-for-24), Tuffy Gosewisch (.364, 8-for-22) and Steve Garrabrants (.364, 8-for-22) also put together a solid week at the plate. ASU's starting pitchers struggled to go 0-3 with a 9.70 ERA during the trip, with senior RHP Beau Vaughan going 0-2 with a 10.00 ERA. The relievers picked up the slack though gaining all three victories and posting a 1.21 ERA in the six games. Robbie McClellan was 2-0 with a 1.04 ERA, giving up one run and five hits in 8.2 innings.

    Comparing 2003 to 1981:
    Arizona State has put together an amazing season in 2003 leading the league in pitching (3.40 ERA), hitting (.349), second in fielding (.972) and is among the national leaders in runs per game (10.03) and is the NCAA leader with 47 wins. ASU's fifth and last national championship came in 1981 with a Sun Devil squad that is arguably the best to take the field in program history. The 1981 squad set school records in home runs (110), runs (694) and batting average (.356). Star performers on the 1981 club included Pac-10 Player of the Year Mike Sodders (.424, 22 HR), Alvin Davis (.395, 20 2B) and Kevin Romine (.410, 12 HR, 20 2B). Here is a comparison look at the two squads:

    Year	Games	Record	Runs	Avg.	2B	HR	SB1981	68	55-13	694	.356	155	110	822003	59	47-12	592	.349	143	70	64

    Injury Bug Bites The Sun Devils:
    The Sun Devils not only had a tough road trip with six games in eight days, but also suffered two key injuries with the regular season winding down and the postseason looming. Junior outfielder Rod Allen broke a bone in his left hand during the series opener vs. Oregon State (5/12) when he fouled a ball off his hand. Allen, who was hitting .305 (36-for-118) with six home runs and 41 RBI, is out for the Arizona series and will be re-evaluated before postseason play. Junior second baseman Steve Garrabrants is also doubtful for the Arizona series after injuring his left shoulder while trying to steal second base against Washington (5/19). Garrabrants, who also missed the Arizona series last year with a back injury, was hitting .351 (66-for-118) with seven home runs 53 RBI and is second in the Pac-10 with 23 stolen bases. Garrabrants is expected to return to the lineup if ASU makes postseason play.

    Pac-10 Batting Race On The Line:
    If there wasn't enough intrigue to come out and watch ASU take on rival Arizona this weekend with the teams battling for second place in the Pac-10 and postseason positioning, fans will want to see the battle between Dustin Pedroia and Jeff Van Houten for the Pac-10 batting title. Pedroia currently leads the league with a .424 (108-for-255), while Van Houten is close behind at .418 (81-for-94). Both players are considered strong candidates for Pac-10 Player of the Year.

    Pedroia Named Pac-10 Player of the Week:
    Pedroia, from Woodland, Calif., helped the Sun Devils to three Pac-10 wins last week going 10-for-23 (.435) during that stretch with eight runs scored, two doubles, one home run and four RBI. With his two doubles, he broke the ASU single-season record formerly held by Chris Bando (30, 1978) and tied the Pac-10 record of 31. While not factoring into the voting, Pedroia added to his impressive season Monday night going 3-for-5 in a 6-4 loss to the University of Washington. He broke the Pac-10 record with his 32nd double of the season, passing former Washington State Cougar and current Los Angeles Dodger Mike Kinkade (31 in 1994). He now has 108 hits on the year tying for ninth in the ASU single-season record books and has recorded 37 multi-hit games and leads the Pac-10 in hitting with a .424 batting average heading into the regular-season finale this weekend against rival Arizona. The Player of the Week honor is the first for Pedroia in his career and the 70th selection all-time and fourth in 2003 for Arizona State.

    Close Games:
    Arizona State has built up a 47-12 record heading into the final three (3) 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 12 setbacks this year, five have come by one run and eight by three or less runs. ASU's eight Pac-10 setbacks have come by way of four one-run games and two, two-run contests.

    Larish Looking to Join 70-70 Club:
    Sophomore Jeff Larish leads the Pac-10 with 83 RBI and 69 walks and has been a big reason behind ASU's 47-12 record in 2003. Larish's amazing season also includes 14 double and 15 home runs. Even more amazing is that Larish needs only one more walk to become only the second player in ASU Baseball history to join the 70-70 (RBI-BB) club. Former Sun Devil and major leaguer Alvin Davis, who played first base for the Sun Devils from 1979-82, is the only other member of that club after recording 91 RBI and a single-season school record 87 walks in 1982.

    A Nice Way To Rebound:
    With an overall 47-12 record heading into the Arizona series, the Sun Devils have only lost back-to-back games two times this year. After nine of their 12 losses, the Devils have responded by winning the next game.

    Pedroia Sets School and Pac-10 Doubles Record:
    With three doubles on the recent road trip to Oregon State and Washington, sophomore Dustin Pedroia set the ASU and Pac-10 single-season record with 32 doubles of the year. He tied the record of 30 set by Chris Bando in 1978 in Monday's series opener vs. OSU (5/12) and broke the record with a first-inning double on Tuesday (5/13). Pedroia broke the Pac-10 record of 31 set by Washington State's Mike Kinkade in 1994 vs. Washington (5/18) with a shot down the left field line. Pedroia is the NCAA leader with his average of 0.54 doubles per game and is now only four doubles off the NCAA record of 36 doubles in a season.

    ASU Single Season Doubles:		Pac-10 Single-Season Doubles1.	Dustin Pedroia, 2003	32	1.	Dustin Pedroia, ASU (2003)	322.	Chris Bando, 1978	30	2.	Mike Kinkade, WSU (1994)	313.	Antone Williamson, 1993	29	Steve Willis, 1988	29	NCAA Single-Season Doubles (last):5.	Clay Westlake, 1976	26	1.	Brad Hawpe, LSU (2000)	36

    All-Time Series vs. Arizona:
    Arizona State will play its traditional rival, the University of Arizona, this weekend in a three-game series at Packard Stadium. The Sun Devils and Wildcats have met 400 prior times dating back to the start of ASU baseball in 1907. Arizona leads the all-time series (1907-P) 219-181, but the Sun Devils hold a 158-102 edge since the Sun Devil Baseball program became a varsity sport in 1959. The two schools have combined for eight national championships, with ASU winning five and Arizona winning three. Since Pat Murphy took over the ASU program in 1995 the Sun Devils are 27-15 against the Wildcats, including a 14-7 record at Packard Stadium. Arizona has never won a season series against ASU since 1995 and last won a three-game series from the Devils in 1999.

    Last Time vs. Arizona at Packard Stadium:
    ASU is 14-7 against Arizona at Packard Stadium dating back to 1995 and took two of three in the last series played in Tempe in 2001. ASU won the opener 7-4 with Mike Esposito picking up the win throwing six strong innings. Brooks Conrad was the hitting hero with two home runs and three runs scored. Arizona battled back with a 3-1 win in the second game behind a strong pitching performance from Sean Rierson (7.2 IP, 7 H, 1 R). The Devils then took the rubber match of the series 6-5 when Mike Lopez plated the winning run on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth inning with the bases loaded.

    Last Time They Were Both Ranked:
    The last time Arizona and Arizona State faced each other when both teams were ranked was back in 2000. ASU was ranked No. 15 and Arizona No. 25 when the teams met in a non-conference series at Packard Stadium (Mar. 3-5). The Sun Devils easily handed the Wildcats a series sweep, combining to beat them 55-18, including a 32-3 victory in the second game of the series.

    Buck, Larish and Pedroia Invited To USA Baseball Trials:
    Arizona State Baseball players Travis Buck, Jeff Larish and Dustin Pedroia have been invited to the 2003 USA Baseball National Team Trials, to be held in Tucson, Ariz., from June 21-27. Buck, Larish and Pedroia were part of a selection show Thursday where 18 more players were invited to the Team USA Trials. One more wave of 10 invitees will be announced before the trials begin in June at Hi Corbett Field. Pedroia and Georgia Tech's Eric Patterson were selected after both playing for Team USA last summer. Phillip Humber (Rice) and Huston Street (Texas) also played in 2002 for Team USA and were part of the first wave of selections last month. Georgia Tech and ASU each had three players selected for the trials during the second wave. Buck, Larish and Pedroia are looking to become the latest in a long line of Sun Devils who have played for the USA Baseball National Team. ASU has sent five players to the national team in the last five years and eight total players since 1984. In recent years Willie Bloomquist (1998), Jon Switzer (2000), Casey Myers (2000), Mike Esposito (2001) and Pedroia (2002) have donned the Red, White and Blue for USA Baseball.

    Scoring at Will:
    Arizona State heads into the Arizona series ranked fourth in the nation averaging 10.03 runs per game and has scored 10 or more runs in 30 of its 59 games (51%). The Devils have also scored 20 or more runs in three games this season and as a team are also ranked second in the nation (first in Pac-10) hitting .349. Even though the Devils are leading the Pac-10 in scoring, ASU as struggled in the last six games averaging 7.16 runs per game and overall is averaging 9.19 runs per game in 21 Pac-10 contests. The 10.03 runs per game average is currently the fourth best during 45 years of ASU varsity baseball history. With 30 games of scoring 10 or more runs, ASU trails only the 2000 (31) and 1999 (31) squads for the most games with double-digits in runs since the 1993 season (30).

    Nick Walsh on a Tear:
    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., was struggling up to the Cal series hitting only .238 (10-for-42) while playing in 32 games and making only five starts. But then he was inserted into the leadoff spot vs. the Golden Bears and finished the series 6-for-8 (.750) and since that series has been on a tear going 23-for-52 (.442) to raise his season average 113 points to .351. He had a career-best game vs. Washington State (4/27) in which he went 6-for-6 with three doubles, seven RBI, five runs scored and recorded six different run-scoring hits. The three doubles, six hits and five runs scored were each one off the single-game ASU record and his seven RBI were two away from the school record. He is currently ranked ninth in the Pac-10 with a .470 on-base percentage and leads all players with a .434 average in Pac-10 play.

    Walsh's Statistics Before April 13:Avg.	GP-GS	AB	R	H	2B	3B	RBI	OB%.238	32-5	42	13	10	1	0	5	.407

    Walsh's Statistics After April 13:Avg. GP-GS AB R H 2B 3B RBI OB%.442 15-13 52 14 23 5 1 14 .525

    Pedroia Makes Case For Pac-10 Player of the Year:
    Sophomore shortstop Dustin Pedroia (Woodland, Calif.) has been the spark plug to ASU's early season success and an integral part to ASU's 47-12 record. ASU's only player to play and start in all 59 games, Pedroia currently leads the Pac-10 in hitting at .424 (108-for-255) with 32 doubles, four home runs and 48 RBI. He also leads the conference in hits (108), doubles (32) and leads ASU with 38 extra base hits. In 21 Pac-10 contests Pedroia is hitting .423 (41-for-97) with 10 doubles and 16 RBI. He has also recorded 37 multi-hit games to pace the ASU offense. With his 108 hits Pedroia has become only the 22nd Sun Devil in school history to surpass the 100-hit plateau and the first since Willie Bloomquist in 1999. The 108 hits are currently tied for ninth in ASU single-season history. His .424 average is currently tied for fifth in the ASU record books and his .387 career average currently ranks seventh. 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 had streaks of 17, 13 and 12 games this year to combined for four separate hitting streak of 10 or more games. Pedroia now has a hit in 66 of his last 70 games dating back to the end of last year, including hits in all but four games this year (55 of 59). In his two years as a Sun Devil he already has 190 hits, 45 of which are doubles, and has never missed a start in 117 consecutive games. In the field Pedroia has also been the rock to ASU's solid .972 team fielding percentage. The slick fielding shortstop has committed only eight errors in 274 total chances for a .971 fielding percentage and not made an error in 17 straight games. Pedroia is ASU's leading hitter with runners in scoring position, going 39-for-77 (.506) with nine doubles and 44 RBI.

    Pedroia Proves to be Sparkplug:
    Pedroia has ignited several ASU scoring rallies this year as is evident by his .538 (56x104) average as a leadoff hitter (inning and game). The percentage marks the amount of times he has reached base to either lead off the game or an inning for the Devils. All told, Pedroia has batted leadoff in 54 of ASU's 59 games this year with the Devils going 45-9 when his name is penciled in first on the lineup card. Amazingly, Pedroia has reached base safely in 29 of those games to lead off the game for the Devils, with 23 hits (nine extra base hits, 1 HR) and has scored ASU's first run in 18 of those games.

    West, Ethier and Gosewisch Streaking:
    Heading into the Arizona series this weekend, Jeremy West and Andre Ethier have hitting streaks of 10 or more games. West is currently riding a career-high 15-game streak dating back to April 2 when he went 2-for-3 vs. New Mexico. During the streak West has combined to go 28-for-61 (.459) with 12 runs scored, seven home runs and 24 RBI. Ethier is also in the midst of a career-high streak, spanning 14 games dating back to April 17 vs. UCLA. Ethier has combined to go 27-for-63 (.429) during the streak with 17 RBI, four home runs and two doubles. While not riding a hitting streak of 10 or more games, sophomore catcher Tuffy Gosewisch has put together a current six-game streak that is the longest of his career. Here is a look at how all three players have faired during their respective hitting streaks:

    Player	Current Streak	Statistics During StreakJeremy West	15 Games	.459, 28-for-61, 12 R, 24 RBI, 2 2B, 7 HRAndre Ethier	14 Games	.429, 27-for-63, 19 R, 17 RBI, 2 2B, 4 HRTuffy Gosewisch	6 Games	.364, 8-for-22, 7 R, 6 RBI, 3 2B, 1 HR

    Production at First Base:
    The first base position has proven to be ASU's big run producer this year with Jeff Larish, Mike Guerrero and Jeremy West combining to torture opposing teams. In ASU's 59 games, Larish has played in 52 games, Guerrero in 14 games and West in one game at first base. The trio when playing the position have combined to go 89-for-228 (.390) with 23 doubles, 17 home runs and 94 RBI.

    McClellan Mows Them Down:
    Senior right-handed reliever Robbie McClellan has emerged as one of ASU's best pitchers after enduring some struggles earlier in the season. McClellan, who entered the year as the Pac-10's leading strikeout pitcher after recording 91 as a junior in 2002, is 7-0 this year with a 3.52 ERA. Pitching in 24 games, McClellan has made four starts going 2-0 with a 2.81 ERA and is 5-0 with a 3.82 ERA out of the bullpen. He has come on strong as of late going 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA in his last six outings (12.2 IP).

    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. Here is a look at ASU's best starts in school history:

    Year	Start	Final Record2003	28-1	???1972	23-1	64-61978	17-1	56-121988	17-1	60-13

    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 59 games of the 2003 season the Sun Devils have nearly doubled their entire season total from 2002 with 70 home runs. ASU has hit 49 of those home runs at Packard Stadium and 21 in its 25 road or neutral site games. Of the 34 games played at Packard Stadium the Devils have hit at least one home run in 25 games. A total of 12 different players have hit at least one home run and nine players have two or more home runs. Junior Jeremy West leads the team with 16 round-trippers after hitting seven in his last 11 games. Sophomore Jeff Larish is second with 15, including an ASU single-season record of four grand slams. The Devils have homered in 39 of their 59 games (66%), including 20 multi-home run games. The Devils also have 12 grand slams on the season with Larish (4), Steve Garrabrants (2), Jeremy West (2), Rod Allen (2) and freshmen Ryan Bosch and Travis Buck all leaving the yard with the bases loaded to tie the NCAA record. ASU had only one grand slam in 2002 and four in 2001. ASU's home run breakdown includes 18 solo shots, 25 two-run homers, 15 three-run home runs and 12 grand slams to account for 27% of the total run production in 2003 (161 runs). Listed below are ASU's home run totals since the NCAA adopted the current bat rules for the 1999 season.

    Year	Games	HR	HR Per Game1999	60	67	1.122000	59	86	1.462001	58	33	0.572002	58	38	0.662003	59	70	1.19

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