No. 7 Baseball Hosts Connecticut For Three-Game Series At Packard Stadium

Feb. 27, 2004

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    Probable Pitching Rotation:
    UConn Baseball | 2003 Final Stats | Roster
    Feb. 27 vs. UConn, 7 p.m. MST
    UConn - Jeff Hourigan, RHP (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
    ASU - Jeff Mousser, RHP (0-0, 2.55 ERA)

    Feb. 28 vs. UConn, 1 p.m. MST
    UConn - Mike James, RHP (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
    ASU - Pat Cassa, LHP (1-1, 2.70 ERA)

    Feb. 29 vs. UConn, 1 p.m. MST
    UConn - Nick Tucci, RHP (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
    ASU - Jason Urquidez, RHP (3-0, 0.90 ERA)

    All-Time Series:
    All-Time Record vs. UConn:..............First Meeting
    ASU vs. schools from Connecticut:.......1-0

    National Rankings:
    National Polls (Feb. 23, 2004)
    Arizona State (9-2) is ranked in all four national polls, including top-10 rankings in three of the four. ASU ranks as high as No. 7 by Collegiate Baseball and Sports Weekly. The Devisl also moved up four spots to No. 12 by Baseball America and remains No. 8 by NCBWA. The Sun Devils have now been ranked in the national polls for 82 consecutive polls. Connecticut is not ranked and is opening the 2004 season.

    Media Exposure:
    The Sunday series finale between Connecticut and Arizona State will be broadcast live over the airwaves in the Phoenix area on 1060 AM, The Deuce. Tim Healey and Bob Eger will call all the action from the Packard Stadium press box. The game is also available on the internet via All three games will also feature the live statistical GameTracker on ASU's website.

    Did You Know?
    Arizona State is currently 5-0 against ranked opponens this year with wins over No. 18 Florida State, No. 16 Arizona and No. 1 Rice... Over the last three games the ASU pitching staff has given up only one run (0.33 ERA) and seven hits... junior shortstop Dustin Pedroia has eight multi-hit games.

    The Storyline:
    The Sun Devils (9-2) and the Huskies (0-0) meet for the first time with a three-game series this weekend at Packard Stadium. The Sun Devils head into the weekend set with three straight wins, including a pair of shutouts. The Devils defeated rival Arizona 4-0 Tuesday night behind the 10 strikeouts from starter Brett Bordes.

    What's On Tap:
    The Sun Devil Baseball team (9-2) continue a 25-game homestand this weekend with a three-game series against the University of Connecticut Huskies (0-0). The Devils have won three straight, including a pair of shutouts against Memphis (7-0) and No. 16 Arizona (4-0). The Huskies open their 2004 campaign this weekend after going 24-23 last year with a 10-15 record in the BIG EAST. Under first-year head coach Jim Penders, UConn hauled in the top recruiting class in the Northeast according to Baseball America. Following the UConn series, ASU will host East Carolina (Mar. 5-7) and nationally ranked Tulane (Mar. 12-14).

    Streaking Devils:
    The Sun Devils are coming off a successful trip to Texas in which they went 2-1 at the Coca-Cola Classic hosted by Rice University at Reckling Park in Houston. They also added a 4-0 victory over rival and 16th-ranked Arizona on Tuesday and have won three straight. The Devils dropped a close 5-4 game to Lamar to open the tournament, then bounced back to beat Memphis (7-0) and No. 1 Rice (3-1). Lamar jumped into the national polls (No. 23) after the weekend tournament. ASU has posted an impressive 0.33 ERA during the three-game winning streak, giving up only one run and seven hits in 27.0 IP. Sun Devil shortstop Dustin Pedroia is hitting .700 (7-for-10) during the winning streak.

    Quick Hits:

  • Junior shortstop Dustin Pedroia has hits in 10 of ASU's 11 games, including eight multi-hit games.
  • ASU's pitchers have given up only one run in the last three games (27.0 IP) and seven hits for a 0.33 ERA.
  • Jason Urquidez leads the team with a 3-0 record and a 0.90 ERA in his three starts. He has 23 K's in 20.0 IP.
  • Freshman Colin Curtis leads the team with two home runs and 10 RBI. He is hitting .368 (14-for-38).
  • Led by Pedroia's 10 doubles, ASU already has 31 in 11 games this season. ASU had 160 in 68 games in 2003.
  • With the 2-1 victory Friday over Florida State, ASU is now 26-2 in season openers since 1977.
  • The Devils have been ranked in 82 consecutive national polls dating back to the start of 2000.
  • ASU features three freshman (Curtis, Bresnehan, Zinicola) that are among Baseball America's top 50 freshman.
  • ASU is scheduled to play 33 games at Packard Stadium and 40 of its 56 games in the state of Arizona.
  • NCAA Record Consecutive Games Scoring Streak Ends at 506:
    The Sun Devils had a piece of history come to an end when their NCAA record 506 consecutive games scoring streak came to an end Feb. 15 against Oklahoma. The Sooners ended a streak that began April 8, 1995, a day after the USC Trojans shut out the Sun Devils during Pat Murphy's first year at ASU. 'The Streak' saw the Devils go 338-167-1 during the 506-game stretch, scoring 4,755 runs (9.40 per game average) from 1995-2004. The Devils made history on April 7, 2001 when they scored at least one run in their 350th consecutive game, breaking the 12-year-old NCAA record 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 by left-hander Randy Flores. 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 four games dating back to the 1990 season. Notable pitchers the Devils have faced during the streak include Mark Prior (USC), 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). Top prospect David Purcey and Jarod McAuliff led the Sooner to the shutout of the Devils.

    Poll Mechanics:
    Arizona State (9-2) remained the same in three of the four major polls and moved up four spots in the Baseball America poll after going 3-1 last week. Ranked for the 82nd consecutive week dating back to the start of the 2000 season, ASU remained No. 7 in the ESPN/Sports Weekly Coaches Poll, No. 8 in the NCBWA poll and No. 7 in the Collegiate Baseball poll. The Devils made the biggest move of the week in the Baseball America poll, jumping four spots from No. 16 to No. 12. ASU entered the 2004 season ranked in all four of the national preseason polls (#7 CB, #10 SW, #11 NCBWA, #18 BA). ASU finished the 2003 season with a 54-14 record and earned a consensus top 10 ranking in all four national polls.

    Preseason All-Americans:
    Sun Devil juniors Dustin Pedroia and Jeff Larish earned preseason All-America honors from every publication. Pedroia earned first-team honors from the NCBWA, Collegiate Baseball,, and was a third-team pick by Baseball America. He was also selected as the preseason pick for Pac-10 Player of the Year by Baseball America. Larish, who moves to the outfield for the 2004 season, was a first-team pick by Collegiate Baseball, Baseball America,, and was a second-team pick by the NCBWA. Larish was also selected as the preseason College Baseball Player of the Year by Street & Smith's.

    Sun Devils Picked To Finish Second in Pac-10:
    The Sun Devils enter the season as the preseason pick to finish second in the Pac-10 in a poll of the league coaches. Stanford was picked first, while Arizona, USC and Washington round out the top five. ASU was also picked to finish second by Collegiate Baseball and third by Baseball America. Here is a look at the three preseason Pac-10 baseball polls:

    Pac-10 Preseason Poll (Coaches):1.	Stanford2. 	Arizona State3.	Arizona4.	USC5.	Washington6.	California7.	UCLA8.	Oregon State9.	Washington State

    Pac-10 Preseason Poll (Baseball America):1. Stanford*2. Arizona*3. Arizona State*4. California*5. USC*6. Washington*7. UCLA8. Oregon State9. Washington State*predicted to make NCAA Tournament.

    Pac-10 Preseason Poll (Collegiate Baseball):1. Stanford2. Arizona State3. USC4. Arizona5. Washington6. UCLA7. California8. Oregon State9. Washington State

    Pedroia Off To Torrid Start:
    Junior shortstop Dustin Pedroia is off to a good start, leading the team hitting .543 (25-for-46) with 17 runs scored, 10 doubles, one home run and nine RBI. He has hits in 10 of ASU's 11 games, including eight multi-hit affairs and four games with two or more doubles. He has combined to hit .700 (14-for-20) in ASU's last five games with seven runs, five doubles and five RBI. He hit his first homer of the year to lead off the Lamar game. As a sophomore, Pedroia hit .404 (120-for-297) and was named the Pac-10 Co-Player of the Year. He led the NCAA with 34 doubles, setting the ASU and Pac-10 single-season record and tied for third in the NCAA record books. With 10 doubles, he now has 57 in his career, tying for sixth in the ASU career record books. A career .392 (227-for-579) hitter, Pedroia ranks fourth in the ASU career record books. He has played and started all 137 games of his Sun Devil career and has recorded at least one hit in 117 games (85%). Additionally, the 2003 Collegiate Baseball Defensive Player of the Year has made only 16 errors in 587 total chances in the field for a career. 973 fielding percentage. He was a two-year starter for the USA Baseball National Team and was named to the all-tournament team in the 2003 Pan American Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

    Urquidez Tames No. 1 Rice To Earn National Pitcher of the Week Honors:
    Arizona State junior starting pitcher Jason Urquidez earned a clean sweep of the national college baseball player of the week awards, earning three more awards after his complete-game victory over No. 1 Rice last Sunday. Urquidez earned national POW honors from Collegiate Baseball, NCBWA, Sports Weekly and He was also named the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week after his complete-game three-hitter against No. 1 and defending national champion Rice Owls at Reckling Park in Houston. Urquidez, a junior college transfer from Central Arizona, limited the top-ranked Owls to only one run on three hits, while striking out seven and walking only one. He gave up his only run in his 138-pitch effort with a two-out single in the bottom of the ninth inning. With his third victory of the year, Urquidez went head-to-head with and beat the nation's top pitching prospect in Rice ace Jeff Niemann. Niemann recorded his first loss since late in the 2002 season after going 17-0 as a sophomore in 2003. For the season, the Simi Valley, Calif., native is 3-0 with a 0.90 ERA. He has allowed only 12 hits and struck out a team-leading 23 in 20.0 IP. The honor marks the fourth straight year ASU has won a national pitcher of the week award in the month of February. He became ASU's 47th all-time Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week.

    Pitching To Perfection:
    The Sun Devil pitching staff has been a big reason behind ASU's solid 9-2 start to the season. Returning only two pitchers from last year's staff that ranked first in the Pac-10 and eighth in the nation with a 3.32 ERA, ASU has relied primarily on its younger pitchers to build a solid 3.24 ERA. Junior Jason Urquidez leads the team with a 3-0 record and a 0.90 ERA. He has struck out 23 batters in 20.0 IP and opponents are hitting only .174 off him. The pitching staff is especially hot in the last three games, limiting its opponent to only one run and seven hits in the last 27.0 IP (0.33 ERA). During that stretch of games the Devils have combined to strike out 31 batters.

    Tough Against Ranked Foes:
    With a 4-0 shutout victory over Arizona on Tuesday and the 3-1 win over No. 1 Rice on Sunday, ASU improved to a perfect 5-0 on the season against ranked opponents. The Devils opened the season with a three-game sweep of preseason No. 18 Florida State and then handed the defending national champion Owls only their second loss of the year.

    Pedroia And Urquidez Sweep Pac-10 Awards:
    Arizona State juniors Dustin Pedroia and Jason Urquidez swept the weekly Pac-10 Baseball Awards after helping the No. 7 Sun Devils to a 3-1 record last week. Pedroia (Woodland, Calif.) earned his second Pac-10 Player of the Week award in his career after hitting .688 (11-for-16) with six runs, three doubles, one home run and five RBI. He had three doubles in a 4-for-5 performance against Gonzaga (2/16) and hit his first home run of the year to lead off the game against Lamar (2/20). Urquidez earnd the award with his victory over No. 1 and defending national champion Rice. He struck out seven and walked only two in a complete-game, three-hit victory over the Owls. The Player of the Week honor is the second for Pedroia in his career, and the 72nd selection all-time for Arizona State. The Pitcher of the Week honor is the first ever for Urquidez, and the 47th selection all-time for Arizona State.

    Young Guns:
    Of the 11 pitchers that have seen action on the mound this season, nine are wearing a Sun Devil uniform for the first time. All but 15.0 of the 89.0 IP have been newcomers to the Sun Devil pitching staff... and they have helped ASU to the first sweep of FSU in school history and a solid 8-2 start. Six of the nine are freshmen (Josh Blake, Quentin Andes, Pat Cassa, Pat Bresnehan, Travis Webb, Zechry Zinicola), with three others transfers (Jeff Mousser, Jason Urquidez, Ty Marotz). Zinicola, Cassa, Bresnehan and Urquidez have picked up wins, while Andes, Blake, Bresnehan and Zinicola each have a save. Sophomore left-handers Brett Bordes (1-0, 8.31 ERA) and Erik Averill (1-0, 4.38 ERA) are the lone returnees on Chris Sinacori's staff that finished with a 3.32 ERA in 2003.

    Bresnehan On Fire On The Mound:
    Freshman pitcher Pat Bresnehan (Sherborn, Mass.) had had a pair of dominating performances in his last two outings. The hard-throwing right-hander has recorded 12 strikeouts and only four hits while picking up a win and a save in his last two appearances against Gonzaga (2/16) and Arizona (2/24). For the season, Breshehan is 2-0 with one save and a 3.00 ERA in a team-high five appearances. He was 23rd round draft pick of the Kansas City Royals out of Dover-Sherborn High School and played for the USA Baseball Junior National Team during his prep career.

    One Tough Schedule:
    The Sun Devils are in the midst of a brutally tough 56-game regular season schedule that has a strength of schedule rated No. 12 in the nation ( ASU is scheduled to play 24 games against teams that are listed in Baseball America's preseason top 25 and another 15 games against teams that are listed in the top 50. The Devils will also play 54% (30 of 56) of their games against teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament last year and 71% (40 of 56) against teams that have advanced to the postseason in either of the last two years. ASU finished the 2003 season with a 54-14 record and an overall RPI ranked 12th in the nation. The 2004 schedule features six schools that are picked to finish first in their respective conferences: Stanford (Pac-10), Rice (WAC), Wichita State (Missouri Valley Conference), Oral Roberts (Mid-Continent), Tulane (Conference USA), Lamar (Southland).

    Home Sweet Home:
    Sun Devil baseball has a built in advantage when playing in front of the best college baseball fans on the West Coast. Routinely leading the West Coast in average attendance, ASU has turned in a 169-50-1 (.770) in home games dating back to 1998. ASU has played at Packard Stadium since 1974, having only played the 2002 season at Hohokam Park in Mesa away from the on-campus baseball facility. ASU has an all-time 822-235-1 record at Packard Stadium, including a 5-0 mark in 2004 and having won 13 straight dating back to the UCLA series in 2003. ASU is scheduled to play 34 home games at Packard Stadium this year. The Devils recorded their 800th career victory at Packard Stadium against Penn State (3/1) last year. Here is a look at how ASU has faired in home games dating back to 1998:

    Arizona State in Home Games (1998-2004):2004:	5-02003:	31-72002:	29-102001:	25-9-12000:	33-81999:	27-71998:	19-9Total:	169-50-1

    Pedroia and Urquidez Named All-Tournament at Coca-Cola Classic:
    Junior shortstop Dustin Pedroia and starting pitcher Jason Urquidez were both named to the Coca-Cola Spring Training Classic All-Tournament team over the weekend in Surprise. Pedroia hit .545 (6-for-11) in the three games against Cal State Northridge (13-3 win), Utah (11-0 win) and Oklahoma (6-0 loss). He also had two doubles, four walks and three RBI. Urquidez improved to 2-0 on the season with a dominating performance against Utah. ASU is now 5-1 all-time at Surprise Stadium in the Coca-Cola Classic.

    Welcome To College Baseball:
    Going into the season, preseason prognosticators tabbed the Sun Devils as a young and inexperienced team. Having lost 12 players to the annual MLB draft and returning only two pitchers from the Pac-10's leading pitching staff, the Devils have had to look to several newcomers to become impact players. Through ASU's first 11 games, 13 newcomers and three redshirts have seen action.

    Fast Starts:
    For the third year in a row the Sun Devils started the season with a perfect 3-0 record and for the seventh time in the last 10 years ASU has at least nine wins after 11 games. Since Pat Murphy took over the program in 1995 the Sun Devils have won nine of 10 season openers and have swept the first three games in eight seasons. The Devils set a school record last year when they opened with a 28-1 record. Here is a look at how ASU has fared in games 10-15 during the Murphy era:

    Games	1995	1996	1997	1998	1999	2000	2001	2002	2003	200410	8-2	8-2	6-4	8-2	10-0	8-2	9-1	7-3	9-1	8-211	8-3	9-2	6-5	9-2	11-0	9-2	10-1	7-4	10-1	9-212	9-3	10-2	7-5	10-2	11-1	10-2	11-1	8-4	11-1	--13	10-3	11-2	8-5	10-3	11-2	11-2	11-2	8-5	12-1	--14	11-3	11-3	9-5	11-3	11-3	11-3	12-2	9-5	13-1	--15	12-3	12-3	9-6	12-3	12-3	11-4	13-2	10-5	14-1	--

    A Long Awaited Debut For Urquidez:
    Junior starting pitcher Jason Urquidez took a long patch to make his Sun Devil debut against Florida State (2/8)... but what a debut it was. Urquidez, a junior college transfer from Central Arizona College, struck out nine and allowed only one run in five innings to pick up the win and help the Devils to the series sweep. He improved to 3-0 with a complete-game, three-hitter against defending national champion Rice on Sunday. His effort earned him a clean sweep of the national pitcher of the Year honors. He is 3-0 with a 0.90 ERA with 23 strikeouts in 20.0 IP. Urquidez, a native of Simi Valley, Calif., first laid eyes on ASU in the summer of 2000 and signed his first NLI with the program in November 2000. A non-qualifier academically, Urquidez ended up at Central Arizona College and played two years under former Sun Devil catcher Clint Myers. Going 19-5 and winning a NJCAA National Championship during his career at CAC, Urquidez made his dream of playing in the Maroon and Gold a reality when arrived on campus last August.

    Back-To-Back Thrillers:
    The Sun Devils opened the 2004 season with a bang, sweeping No. 18 Florida State for the first time in school history. ASU opened the series with a pair of games that some call the best back-to-back games in the history of Packard Stadium. The Devils scored two runs on a two-out, two-strike double off the bat of junior catcher Tuffy Gosewisch in the bottom of the ninth to win Fridays contest 2-1. The victory not only improved ASU to 26-2 in season openers dating back to 1977, but it also prevented the Devils from being shutout for the first time in 501 games (NCAA record). Not be outdone, the Devils spotted FSU a 7-1 lead in Saturdays contest, before storming back and eventually scoring three runs in the bottom of the ninth to earn a 10-9 victory. The ninth-inning rally started with a two-out single from freshman Zechry Zinicola and a hit-by-pitch to junior college transfer Josh Asanovich. Freshman center fielder Colin Curtis tied the game with a double down the left field line and freshman first baseman Joe Persichina followed with a game-winning single to center field. The last time ASU won back-to-back one-run games was in 1998 against Washington (3/29) and Arizona (4/3). Both games were on the road.

    Pedroia Times Two:
    Junior shortstop Dustin Pedroia is a doubles machine. Through ASU's first 11 games, Pedroia has 10 doubles. He has picked up right where he left off in 2003, setting an ASU and Pac-10 record while leading the NCAA with 34 doubles. In 137 career games, the Woodland, Calif., native has 57 doubles to rank tied for sixth in the ASU record books. He has averaged .42 doubles per game over his career and has a career batting average of .392.

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