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Baseball Heads To Houston College Classic This Weekend
Courtesy: Sun Devil Athletics
Release: 02/07/2007
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Courtesy: Sun Devil Athletics
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Feb. 7, 2007

TEMPE, Ariz. -

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Leading Off:

The Sun Devils will hit the road for the first time in 2007 when they head to Houston, Texas to participate in the Houston College Classic. The tournament will be played at Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros. ASU is coming off a three-game sweep of the Southern Utah Thunderbirds last weekend.

 

Houston College Classic:

Arizona State will become the first team from the Pac-10 to participate in one of the country's most prestigious college baseball tournaments. The tournament field features Rice, Baylor, Texas A&M, Houston, Vanderbilt and ASU. ASU will not face Rice or Baylor. Rice is ranked #1 in all five polls, while Vanderbilt is also a consensus Top 10 team.

 

The Sun Devils vs. The Aggies:

This will be the first ever meeting between Arizona State and Texas A&M.

 

The Sun Devils vs. The Commodores:

ASU and Vanderbilt have met one previous time, March 31, 1973. The Commodores won 6-4 in a game played in Riverside, Calif.

 

The Sun Devils vs. The Cougars:

The Devils hold an 8-3 advantage in the all-time series with Houston, including a three-game sweep last season in Tempe.

 

Rankings:

The Sun Devils moved up two spots in both the Rivals.com poll (#6) and in Collegiate Baseball (#12). Baseball America moved them up four spots to #16.

 

Historic Offense:

The Devils put on an offensive display of historic proportions last weekend. The 61 runs scored tie a school record for most runs scored in a three-game series, equaling the ASU/BYU series in 1999. The 61-8 run differential (53) tied for the third highest in school history in a three-game set. In 1972, ASU beat UTEP by a combined 54 runs (54-0) and in 1999 ASU beat Howard by that same number (57-3). The series against SUU tied the BYU series in 1999 for second most all-time.

 

Southern Utah Wrap-Up:

The ASU offense exploded on opening weekend, helping the Devils to a three-game sweep of Southern Utah. Arizona State took the first game 20-1, thanks to the four RBI from Matt Spencer. Saturday afternoon saw the Devils win 18-4 on the strength of a 4-5, four RBI day from Ike Davis. Spencer had another impressive output in the finale, hitting a grand slam and driving in six in the 23-3 Devils rout. Spencer finished the weekend with two home runs and 13 RBI while Davis collected nine hits in the three games.

 

National Player of the Week:

OF Matt Spencer made his first weekend as a Sun Devil memorable, as his two home runs and 13 RBI earned him a "Louisville Slugger" National Player of the Week award from Collegiate Baseball.

 

Dynamic Debuts:

Several new Sun Devils impressed in their first weekend in Maroon and Gold. In addition to the stellar weekend that Matt Spencer enjoyed, Brian Flores, Mike Leake, Adam Bailey and Kiel Roling also got their ASU careers started off on the right foot. Flores got the start in the season opener, going five innings and allowing no earned runs on only two hits with five strike outs to pick up the win. Leake pitched four perfect innings, picking up his first career save and drove in four runs at the plate. Bailey threw two innings, striking out five of the six batters he faced. Roling showed off his bat, collecting eight RBI and two homers. Seven other newcomers made their Arizona State debuts, including Joey Parigi, who picked up the win on Sunday.

 

800 Club:

With the win over Southern Utah on Saturday, head coach Pat Murphy recorded his 800th career Division I victory, 483 of which have come at Arizona State. Murphy coached one season at Maryville and two at Claremont-Mudd Scripps before taking over the Notre Dame program in 1988. He came to ASU in 1995.

 

Big League Stuff:

This weekend's games at Minute Maid Park will be the first of several Sun Devil games to be played at Major League facilities. The Sun Devils will play at Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, on March 28th when they take on Arizona. They will also play at Surprise Stadium, the Spring Training home of the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers, next weekend when they host the Coca-Cola Classic.

 

Coverage In Houston:

There will be no radio broadcasts this weekend, but each game of the Houston College Classic will be available via Gametracker on TheSunDevils.com.

 

Preseason Honors:

Junior second baseman Eric Sogard earned three Preseason All-American mentions, including two First Team honors. Both the NCBWA and Rivals.com had Sogard as a First Team Preseason All-American, while Collegiate Baseball listed him as a Third Team Preseason All-American.

 

Welcome Back:

ASU welcomes back 15 members of last season's team, including six players who started in 2006. Leading the way is Eric Sogard, who will play second base. Sogard hit .353 last season and tied for the team lead with nine home runs. Joining Sogard in the infield is first baseman Brett Wallace, who had an outstanding debut season in Tempe. Wallace led the team with his .371 average, adding seven homers and 32 RBI. Andrew Romine returns at short, after playing 22 games last year after offseason surgery. Matt Hall will man the hot corner after playing all around the infield in 31 games a year ago. Behind the plate will be Preston Paramore, who started 52 games as the backstop in 2006, hitting .318 in the process. Last season's Pac-10 Freshman of the Year Ike Davis will play outfield, DH and pitcher and hopes to repeat the success of his first season that saw him set a school freshman record with 65 RBI. CJ Retherford will be a jack-of-all-trades again this season after playing five positions in 2006. Mike Jones is expected to start in center after finishing second on the Sun Devil football team in receptions. He will be joined in the outfield by Ryan Sontag and Rocky Laguna. The Sun Devil pitching staff has gotten a facelift from last season, but returning hurlers Josh Satow, Jeff Urlaub and Matt Trink will bring some big game experience back.

 

That's The Pick:

In a poll of all Pac-10 baseball coaches, Arizona State was picked to win the Pac-10 conference. This marks the first time that the Sun Devils have ever been picked to win the conference in the preseason coaches vote. Oregon State was picked second and Stanford was third.

 

Fabulous Freshman:

RHP/OF Mike Leake was rated the 39th best freshman in the country by Baseball America as part of their Fabulous 50 Freshmen list. Leake, who is expected to play in the outfield as well as be the closer this year, was a seventh round draft pick of the Oakland A's in last years draft.

 

Talented Transfers:

The Sun Devils had two transfers make the top ten of Baseball America's Top 25 Transfers list. LHP Brian Flores, who comes to ASU from New Mexico Junior College, checked in at #7, while OF Tim Smith, who played the last two years at Midland College in Texas, was #10.

 

Arms Race:

The Sun Devil pitching staff looks a little different from what it was at the end of the 2006 season. The 2007 staff features 13 new arms, with only three returners from last year (Urlaub, Satow, Trink). Leading the charge of newcomers is LHP Brian Flores, who is expected to take over the Friday night starter role. Last season, ASU used 11 different starting pitchers, the most ever in the Pat Murphy era.

 

You Look Mahvelous!:

The Sun Devils got a surprise during a practice before the season, as actor/comedian Billy Crystal took a break from his performances at Gammage to practice with the Devils. Crystal donned the Maroon and Gold, complete with a jersey with his name and #10 on the back, and took part in drills and batting practice. After practice, he invited the coaching staff to his show, "700 Sundays", at Gammage Auditorium.

 

Road To ASU Baseball:

Freshman UTL Tyler Hoechlin is adjusting to life as a college student and baseball player, but  he is well versed in the glitz and glamour of the big screen. Hoechlin starred with Tom Hanks in the 2002 motion picture "Road To Perdition". Hoechlin played Michael Sullivan, Jr., the son of Hanks' character. Hoechlin also appears in the CW's "7th Heaven", playing the character of Martin Brewer. Hoechlin will balance school, baseball and the show this semester, filming episodes during off days.

 

Oh Captain, My Captain:

Head coach Pat Murphy has named junior OF Rocky Laguna the team captain. This is the first time in the 13 years that Murphy has been here that he has named a team captain.

 

Back For More:

Former ASU baseball standouts Mikel Moreno and Michael Collins are both back with the program for the 2007 season as managers. Moreno was a four-year starter for the Devils from 1995 to 1998, when he earned All-American accolades and helped lead ASU to the National Championship game. Collins played from 1996 to 1998 before leaving ASU to sign a contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Collins and Moreno join fellow manager Jeff Mousser as former Sun Devil baseball players to join the baseball staff in 2007.

 

Challenge At Chase:

The Second Annual Challenge at Chase will be played on Wednesday March 28th, when the Sun Devils and Arizona Wildcats meet in a non-conference battle at the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

 

Feeling The Draft:

There are 18 members of the 2007 Sun Devils who have had their name called during the annual Major League Baseball draft, including four players who have had their name called twice.

          Player                      Round            Team            Year

          Mike Leake               7th               Athletics        2006

          Matt Hall                 8th               Angels           2005

          Derik Olvey              13th              Dodgers         2003

          Jarred Bogany          15th              Pirates           2005

          Tim Smith                17th              Brewers         2005*

          Ike Davis                 19th              Devil Rays      2005

          Tim Smith                21st              Mets             2004*

          Brian Flores              21st              White Sox      2004*

          Petey Paramore        22nd             Mets             2005

          Matt Spencer           24th              Red Sox         2004

          Jason Jarvis             25th              Cardinals       2006

          Jeff Urlaub               26th              Devil Rays      2005

          Kiel Roling                31st              D-Backs        2006

          Andrew Romine         36th              Phillies           2004

          Matt Trink                36th              Blue Jays       2003*

          Scott Mueller            37th              D-Backs        2005*

          Brian Flores              37th              White Sox      2005*

          Matt Trink                39th              Blue Jays       2004*

          Scott Mueller            41st              Reds             2004*

          Brett Wallace           42nd             Blue Jays       2005

          Tommy Rafferty        42nd             Astros           2004

          Kyle Williams             47th              White Sox      2006

          *-Denotes players drafted twice

 

Up Next:

The Sun Devils will return to Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark on Thursday February 15 to face the Missouri Tigers. Following that game, ASU and Missouri will both head to Surprise, Arizona for the 5th Annual Coca-Cola Classic, where they will be joined by Oregon State and Gonzaga for the three-day weekend tournament. ASU will play Missouri again on Friday, Oregon State on Saturday and Gonzaga on Sunday.

 

 

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