May 30, 2003
By Greg Boeck
TEMPE, Ariz. - During a three-game sweep of Arizona last weekend, Jeff Larish of Arizona State rattled four doubles off the wall in one game and surprised golfers on the school's nearby course with a bomb that would have made former Sun Devil Barry Bonds proud in another.
Sun Devil sophomore Jeff Larish led the Pac-10 in RBI (86) and walks (72) while hitting .377 on the season.
Forgive the sophomore first baseman who attended McClintock High in Tempe for not yelling "Fore!" He's become used to teeing off on opposing pitchers, but even that tape-measure rocket caught him by surprise. "That may have topped them all," he says.
The productive weekend - he was 8-for-11 as the Sun Devils outscored Arizona 36-4 - is just another example of a breakout season that's established Larish as one of college baseball's premier power hitters. He led the Pacific-10 in RBI (86) and walks (72) and is hitting .377 with 16 home runs and 18 doubles. His play was contagious.
The Sun Devils (50-12), a perennial NCAA power, have matched Florida State for the most wins in the nation and lead Division I in hitting (.350) and runs (10.1 a game). They were rewarded with their 27th NCAA berth and host one of 16 regionals this weekend.
The Sun Devils open their bid for a sixth national championship - but first since 1981 - Friday against Central Connecticut State (31-15-2).