Baseball Opens Pac-10 Season Against Washington State in Pullman
March 28, 2006
TEMPE, Ariz. -
Leading Off:Arizona State hits the road for the opening of Pac-10 Conference action when they travelto Pullman, Washington for a three-game set with the Washington State Cougars. Wazzuopened their Pac-10 schedule last week against Stanford, winning 2 of 3 from the Cardinal.The Sun Devils will return to the Valley on Sunday for the inaugural Challenge at Chase, anon-conference battle with the Arizona Wildcats at Chase Field in downtown Phoenix.
The Sun Devils vs. The Cougars:ASU is 31-6 all-time against Washington State, including a three-game sweep last season inTempe.
The Sun Devils vs. The Wildcats:In-state rivals, the Sun Devils and the Wildcats have met 273 times since 1959, with ASUholding a 166-107 edge.
Weekend Wrap-Up:The Sun Devil offense exploded for 32 runs and 47 hits in the three-game sweep of PennState. ASU took Friday night 8-5 thanks to a solid relief effort by Brett Bordes. Saturdaysaw seven Sun Devils collect multiple hits in a 15-5 victory. Sunday was back and forth,but the Devils held on for a 9-7 win and the sweep. Ike Davis knocked in six runs and hittwo home runs, while Zechry Zinicola picked up two saves over the weekend.
Rankings:ASU is ranked #12 in the Collegiate Baseball poll this week, rising five spots from a weekago. They are also #11 in the NCBWA poll and #10 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. ASUmoved up five spots to #14 in Baseball America.
RB-Ike Strikes Again:Ike Davis busted out the whooping stick against the Nittany Lions, knocking in sixruns in the three games. Davis hit two mammoth home runs, including one onto RuralRoad on Saturday night. RB-Ike now has 40 runs batted in on the season, tops in thePac-10. He has 40 in 28 games, the fastest to that number since Jeff Larish knockedin his 40th run in the 21st game of 2003. Larish finished that season with 95 RBI.Last year, Tuffy Gosewisch led the team with 74 RBI.
Pitching Ins and Outs:The starting rotation will look different again this week, as Ike Davis has been movedto the bullpen. Pat Bresnehan has re-joined the rotation, which is where he began theyear. Frank Mesa is also scheduled to get a start. Daryl Arreola, Josh Satow andMatt Trink are also possible candidates to start.
Mesa on the Hill:Senior Frank Mesa has taken a unique path to the starting rotation. Mesa cameto ASU from Arizona Western in 2003 and earned Honorable Mention All-Pac-10honors playing mainly as a third baseman. He left the program in 2004 after only 14games for personal reasons before returning this season. Mesa began this season as ashortstop, before making his first career start on Saturday. Mesa lasted four innings,striking out seven and allowing two runs in the 15-5 ASU win.
Challenge at Chase:Arizona State and Arizona will face off in the first Challenge at Chase on Sunday,to be played at Chase Field, the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Challengeat Chase will mark the third time the facility has hosted an event featuring an ASUteam. Football played in the 2005 Insight Bowl, beating Rutgers 45-40. The women'shoops team played in the Hoops for The Cure game in 2000, facing the TennesseeLady Volunteers. It will be the first time in ASU history that the baseball team willplay in a Major League Baseball stadium. The Sun Devils will also host the Wildcatson May 2nd at Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark before heading to Tucson for athree-game Pac-10 series beginning May 19th.
Halfway Point:ASU is at the halfway point of their season with a 21-7 record. Last season they were16-12 at the mid-point, on their way to a 42-25 finish.