Arizona State Checks In At No. 11 In 2005 Collegiate Baseball Preseason Poll

Dec. 22, 2004

Tempe, Ariz. - The Arizona State Sun Devils earned a No. 11 ranking in the Collegiate Baseball 'Fabulous 40' preseason poll. Additionally, the publication named outfielder Travis Buck, 3B/1B Jeff Larish and right-handed pitcher Jason Urquidez third-team preseason All-Americans.

Arizona State, which opens the season Jan. 28-30 against No. 14 Long Beach State, is coming off a 41-18 season in 2004. The Sun Devils return 15 letterwinners for 2005, including eight position starters and five top pitchers. ASU is among four Pac-10 teams ranked in the top 25 (Stanford - #6, Arizona - #12, Washington - #17). Texas, Miami (Fla.), defending national champion Cal State Fullerton, Tulane and LSU make up the national top-five.

ASU has now been ranked in 98 consecutive national polls dating back to the start of the 2000 season and have now earned a top 12 preseason billing from Collegiate Baseball in seven of the 11 seasons under current head coach Pat Murphy.

'I am excited about this club and we have a lot of goals to accomplish this season,' said Murphy, who is 401-196-1 in 10 seasons in Tempe. 'We have a challenging schedule and have a nice mix of returning players and newcomers. It is always nice to have a good preseason ranking, but there is a lot of work to be done and it all starts that opening weekend against a really good Long Beach State club.'

After having the toughest rated non-conference schedule in the nation last year, ASU's 2005 slate again features a challenging season against several marquee college baseball programs. The Sun Devils will play 24 games against teams listed in Collegiate Baseball's preseason Fab 40, including nine games against top 10 teams. After opening the season with a three-game set against No. 14 LBSU, ASU will also play three games at No. 4 Tulane (Feb. 18-20), two games at No. 5 LSU (Mar. 11, 13), three games against No. 6 Stanford (Apr. 15-17), one game against No. 7 North Carolina (Mar. 4), five games against rival and 12th ranked Arizona (Feb. 15, 23; May 14-16), three games on the road at No. 17 Washington (May 20-22), three games at home against No. 25 Baylor (Feb. 25-27) and one game at No. 32 East Carolina (Mar. 5).

Buck (Richland, Wash.) earned his third preseason honor after already having been named a second-team preseason All-American by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and named to the initial watch list for the 2005 Wallace Award. The 2004 first-team All-Pac-10 selection hit .373 (84-for-225) with 64 runs, 16 doubles, nine home runs and 58 RBI last season. He was named a first-team Summer All-American after hitting.412 (28-for-68) while helping the USA Baseball National Team to a gold medal in the FISU World University Games. Projected by Baseball America as a first-round draft pick for the 2005 MLB Amateur Draft, Buck heads into his junior season as a career .349 hitter with 13 home runs and 104 RBI.

Urquidez (Simi Valley, Calif.), who was also named a second-team preseason All-American by the NCBWA, returns for his senior season after leading the Pac-10 in victories last season with a 12-3 record. After transferring from Central Arizona College, Urquidez went 12-3 with a 3.41 ERA and led the team with 94 strikeouts in 97.2 innings. He is one of only eight pitchers in college baseball to return for the 2005 season with 12 or more victories. The right-hander was drafted in the 11th round by the Cincinnati Reds, but opted to return for his senior season.

Larish (Tempe, Ariz.) was named to Collegiate Baseball's preseason All-America team for the second straight year. A first-team preseason selection in 2004, Larish is coming off a junior season in which he hit .308 (73-for-237) with 46 runs scored, 17 doubles, seven home runs and 49 RBI. The McClintock graduate returns for his senior season after being drafted in the 13th round of the 2004 MLB Draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers. After having played his freshman season at third base, sophomore season at first base and last season in left field, Larish is moving back to the infield where he is projected to be ASU's opening day starter at third base. He enter his senior season as a career .337 (202-for-599) hitter with 39 doubles, 28 home runs, 168 RBI and 142 walks (.463 OB%/1022 OPS).

Here is a look at Collegiate Baseball's preseason 'Fabulous 40' rankings:

1. Texas (58-15)
2. Miami, Fla. (50-13)
3. Cal State Fullerton (47-22)
4. Tulane (42-21)
5. Louisiana State (46-19)
6. Stanford (46-14)
7. North Carolina (43-21)
8. South Carolina (53-17)
9. Georgia (45-23)
10. Texas A&M (42-22)
11. Arizona State (41-18)
12. Arizona (36-27-1)
13. Georgia Tech (44-21)
14. Long Beach State (40-21)
15. Rice (46-14)
16. Mississippi (39-21)
17. Washington (39-20-1)
18. Florida State (45-23)
19. Mississippi State (35-24)
20. Notre Dame (51-12)
21. Clemson (39-26)
22. Florida (43-22)
23. Oklahoma State (38-24)
24. Central Florida (48-17)
25. Baylor (29-31)
26. Wichita State (49-16)
27. Virginia (44-15)
28. Winthrop (37-23)
29. Pepperdine (30-32)
30. Florida Atlantic (47-17)
31. Nebraska (36-23)
32. East Carolina (51-13)
33. Arkansas (45-24)
34. Coastal Carolina (40-23)
35. Michigan (34-26)
36. UC Irvine (34-21-1)
37. Texas Christian (39-26)
38. Vanderbilt (45-19)
39. Stetson (36-23)
40. Tennessee (38-24)

bold indicates ASU's 2005 opponents.

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