Jan. 18, 2002
TEMPE, Ariz. -- On Monday, January 28 at noon MST, Arizona State University head baseball coach Pat Murphy will make a special visit to the ESPN.com moderated chat room to talk about the upcoming 2002 baseball season and the season opening Bill Kajikawa Baseball Classic that will be held Jan. 31-Feb. 3.
The 2002 edition of the Arizona State baseball program heads into the season ranked 17th in the Baseball Weekly/ESPN Preseason College Coaches poll, 18th by Baseball America and 20th by Collegiate Baseball. Coming off a 37-20-1 season in 2001, the Devils will be looking to replace nine players that departed for professional baseball. In all, ASU lost eight of its top position players and four of its top pitchers from 2001.
While featuring a young team in 2002 with 23 of the 33 player being underclassman, the Sun Devils will not be short on talent. Sophomore outfielder Rod Allen is coming off a freshman All-American season in which he hit .389 with six home runs and sophomore right-handed pitcher Mike Esposito has the potential and poise to be one of the dominating pitchers in the Pac-10 this year. Both players earned summer and preseason All-American acclaim heading into the 2002 season.
A crop 17 newcomers is highlighted by freshman catcher Tuffy Gosewisch (Scottsdale), RHP Robbie McClellan (Liberal, Kan.), freshman LHP Miguel Sanchez (Los Angeles), freshman infielder Dustin Pedroia (Woodland, Calif.), sophomore outfielder Andre Ethier (Phoenix) and sophomore shortstop Ian Kinsler (Tucson).
ASU will play 32 of its 35 home games this season at Hohokam Park in Mesa, the Spring Training home of the Chicago Cubs, due to a $2 million renovation to Packard Stadium that is scheduled to begin in March. The 2002 schedule is highlighted with one of the toughest slates in the country. ASU will play 21 games vs. teams listed in at least one of the preseason Top 25 polls, including 11 games vs. Top 5 opponents (according to Baseball America). The Devils, who will be replacing a plethora of talent that departed for professional baseball following the 2001 season, will play seven teams and a combined 18 games vs. teams that are listed in the Baseball Weekly/ESPN preseason poll.
Murphy, who is starting his eighth season in Tempe at the helm of the Sun Devil program, has continued the storied tradition of Sun Devil baseball. After taking a Notre Dame program from rags to riches and a perennial national power, Murphy arrived at ASU in 1995 and has left his mark on college baseball as one of the top coaches in the nation. The 1998 Baseball America Coach of the Year and 2000 Pac-10 Coach of the Year, Murphy has compiled a career 269-143-1 record at ASU. A mastermind and teacher on the field, Murphy has also turned ASU baseball into an academic powerhouse with five Academic All-Americans in the last three years.
Coach Murphy won't be stopping by until 12:00 p.m. MT on Monday, January 28, but feel free to leave your questions now and we will save them for his arrival.