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Baseball Prepares for Busy Week
Courtesy: Sun Devil Athletics
Release: 06/21/1999
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Feb. 24, 1998

Tue. Feb. 24    Grand Canyon                7 p.m. MST
Wed. Feb. 25    Anaheim Angels (exhib.)     7:05 p.m. MST
Fri., Feb. 27   #1 Stanford                 7 p.m. MST
Sat., Feb. 28   #1 Stanford                 1 p.m. MST
Sun., Mar. 1    #1 Stanford                 1 p.m. MST

ASU -- Arizona State (12-3, 2-0 Pac-10 Southern Division and ranked No. 6 Baseball America and No. 9 Collegiate Baseball in the polls) hosts Grand Canyon (5-2) and the Anaheim Angels (exhib.) in mid-week matchups before hosting top-ranked Stanford (13-0-1, 3-0 Six-Pac) at Packard Stadium over the weekend.

THIS WEEK ON TV AND RADIO -- KMVP 860 AM, home of Sun Devil baseball, will broadcast the Grand Canyon game and the Saturday and Sunday games with Stanford. Tom Dillon and Bob Eger will provide the play-by-play and color commentary respectively. COX Sports (Channel 22) will carry Friday and Sunday's games vs. Stanford live. George Allen and Doug Gerlach will provide the play-by-play and color commentary respectively.

ABOUT THE CARDINAL -- The Cardinal enters this weekend with a 13-0-1 record and a number one ranking ... Stanford will play Santa Clara tonight before coming to Tempe ... Stanford swept UCLA last weekend to open Six-Pac play, 3-0 ... they are coached by Mark Marquess (Stanford '69), now in his 22nd year at the helm ... Jody Gerut leads the squad with six homers and sports a .400 batting average through 14 games ... pitcher Jeff Austin comes in with a 1.80 ERA and a 4-0 record ... Staford's pitching rotation for the weekend: Jeff Austin, Chad Hutchinson and Brent Hoard ... last year, the Devils won four-of six games in the series, losing two-of-three at Packard while sweeping the Cardinal in Stanford.

ABOUT THE ANTELOPES -- Grand Canyon enters this week's matchup with a 10-4 record ... they are coached by Gil Stafford (Arizona State '76) ... ASU holds a 76-20 advantage in the overall series ... the 'Lopes are led by sophomore Ronnie Holtorf who is batting at a .413 clip (19-for-46) and sophomore Brian Sellier (.400, three homeruns) ... last season, the Devils swept the Antelopes in their three-game series (W, 26-14; W, 7-6 (10); W, 13-3).

DID YOU KNOW? -- Arizona State has not been shutout in its last 149 games (last time shutout was a 0-9 loss to USC on April 7, 1995) ... The ASU pitching staff has a solid 2.89 ERA through 15 games ... the Devils have allowed only two stolen base (2-11) this season ... ASU has held its opponents to a .199 batting average through 15 games this season ... Coach Pat Murphy is averaging 42.6 wins per season at the Div. 1 level (429 wins over 10 years) ... the Sun Devils have outscored their opponents 136-55 through its first 15 games this year ... ASU pitchers have thrown three two-hitters (one complete, two combined) and one one-hitter (combined) in 1998 ... Arizona State starting pitchers have earned the decision in 13 of the 15 contests this season ... ASU is undefeated on the road (7-0).

talk about tough -- Once again, Arizona State has arguably one of the toughest schedules in the nation this year. The Sun Devils will play 34 games versus Top 25 teams (preseason top 25 by Baseball America). Five Six-Pac teams were ranked in the preseason top 25.

ON THE BRINK-- Junior Andrew Beinbrink (San Diego, Calif.), who has already picked up some preseason accolades, will anchor ASU's infield from third base in 1998. The 6-3 infielder batted .380 last year with 92 hits, 72 RBI, 60 runs scored, nine homeruns and 23 doubles. Beinbrink is is one of only three players to start every game this season. He leads the team with six doubles, two triples and 24 RBI and has batted safely in 11 of the last 12 games. He is tied for second on the team in runs scored (16) and third in hits (18). Eleven of his 18 hits have been for extra bases. Beinbrink leads the team in two-out RBIs with eight and is a perfect six-for-six in stolen bases.

leon pulls double-duty -- Senior Richy Leon (San Luis, Ariz.) will once again split his time in the field and on the mound in 1998. Leon will see time at shortstop/second base and as a righthanded middle reliever/closer or spot starter for the Devils. He pitched 30.1 innings with a 1-1 record, two saves with a 2.08 ERA in 16 appearances last season. Through 15 games, he is batting .292 with 15 runs scored and nine RBI. In two relief appearance, he has a 0.00 ERA (2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K). He is expected to make his first start of the 1998 season tonight vs. GCU. Leon hit his second homerun of the season with a solo shot vs. California (2/20).

THE DYNAMIC DUO -- The one-two punch of junior lefties Ryan Mills (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and Phill Lowery (Petaluma, Calif.) have proven to be formidable in 1998. Mills and Lowery have combined for six wins and a 2.21 ERA. Lowery pitched a complete game for the Devils on Sunday, going the distance in a 7-4 win over California. Mills pitched 17.0 consecutive scoreless innings for the Devils before allowing a run and sports an incredible 1.83 ERA through five starts. Lowery is right behind him with a 2.57 ERA. Mills is holding opponent batters to a .206 average while Lowery is holding batters to a .207 average. Last year both were among the conference leaders in ERA (Mills, 2.88 ERA ranked 1st and Lowery's 4.13 ERA ranked 7th) and hits per nine inning (Mills, 7.61 hits ranked 1st and Lowery's 8.26 hits ranked 4th).

COUNTDOWN TO 500 -- Arizona State head coach Pat Murphy will reach the 500-win mark during the 1998 season. His career record stands at 493-238-3 over 13 seasons as a head coach. Murphy need just seven victories to reach the 500-win plateau.

THE LAST HURRAH -- Senior outfielder Mikel Moreno will end a long and successful career at ASU after this season. Through 15 games, he is batting .318 with 17 RBI and 21 hits. He has also swiped five bases in the young 1998 season. The speedy rightfielder has started all 15 contests and put together a 21-game hitting streak dating back to the 1997 season before going 0-for-5 vs. FSU (2/7). He is second on the team in two-out RBIs with six on the season. Moreno, atwo-year starter, should leave his mark in several Sun Devil career categories including career doubles, runs and hits.

pitchers corner -- A lot of new faces will grace the bullpen in 1998, including junior transfer Chuck Crumpton (Mesquite, Texas) who has been tabbed as ASU's setup man. Crumpton has pitched 16.1 innings of relief for the Devils in 1998 and was a part of both of ASU's combined shutout victories. He sports an impressive 1.10 ERA and picked up his first win of the season vs. California where he went 4.0 innings, allowing 2 hits, one earned run and four strikeouts. The 6-4 righthanded pitcher helped lead Northeast Texas CC to the '96 Junior College National Championship and was the winning pitcher in the championship game over Meridian JC. Freshman pitchers joining the roster are LHP Drew Friedberg, RHP Robby Milner and RHP Chad Pennington. Pennington (1-0), in his first collegiate start, pitched 7.2 innings of two-hit ball in a 14-0 win over Hawaii-Hilo. Transfer Aaron Kramer (Grand Canyon U.) has also joined the ASU pitching staff. He picked up his first win at ASU vs. Washington State, pitching 2.0 innings of relief. All are expected to see time on the mound as well as sophomore Jay Gehrke (2-1, 6.17 ERA) and Colin Call (1-0, 2.84 ERA)..

INJURY REPORT -- Sophomore Kevin Tillman, who strained his left hamstring a couple weeks ago, is still listed as doubtful for this weekend's games.

THE HIT MAN -- Sophomore Willie Bloomquist (Port Orchard, Wash.) has started the 1998 season on a tear. The infielder/outfielder is batting .446 (25-for-56) and leads the team in hits (25), runs scored (19), stolen bases (8) and walks (17). Bloomquist has drawn at least one walk in 11 of 15 games this season and had multiple-hit games in eight of 15. He was invited to the USA National Team Trials held in Tucson, Ariz. in November. While at the trials, the middle infielder hit .556 (five-for-nine) with three runs scored and one RBI. Bloomquist will be evaluated throughout the 1998 season and if all goes well, receive another invitation to the trials in the summer.

DRAFTED DEVILS -- Sixteen current players on the 1998 Arizona State squad have been taken in the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft:

Phill Lowery        1995    Texas Rangers       2nd     round
Willie Bloomquist   1996    Seattle Mariners    8th     round
Mark Ernster        1996    Chicago Cubs        12th    round
Ryan Mills          1995    New York Yankees    13th    round
Robby Milner        1997    Texas Rangers       13th    round
Andrew Beinbrink    1995    Boston Red Sox      14th    round
Jay Gehrke          1996    Baltimore Orioles   24th    round
Drew Friedberg      1997    Arizona Diamondbacks25th    round
Kevin Tillman       1996    Houston Astros      30th    round
Dan Meier           1996    Texas Rangers       32nd    round
Jeremy Jones        1995    Colorado Rockies    36th    round
Jeff Phelps         1997    Pittsburg Pirates   36th    round
Jay Sitzman         1996    Milwaukee Brewers   37th    round
Greg Halvorson      1995    Oakland A's         38th    round
Jeremy Jones        1996    Cleveland Indians   38th    round
Chuck Crumpton      1995    San Diego Padres    39th    round
Chuck Crumpton      1996    Philadelphia Phillies49th   round
Aaron Kramer        1996    New York Yankees    72nd    round

UP NEXT -- Arizona State travels to Los Angeles to face UCLA in a Six-Pac three game series at Jackie Robinson Stadium, March 6-8.

PACKARD STADIUM TABBED AS ONE OF NATION'S FINEST -- Baseball America recently ranked the top 15 college baseball stadiums in the country and ASU's own Packard Stadium checked in as the 10th best collegiate ballpark. Packard Stadium was the only Six-Pac facility to make the publications list and one of only five West coast ballparks.

ASU Baseball on the Internet -- Fans can catch-up on the latest news in Sun Devil Baseball on the internet at the official Arizona State Athletics homepage - http://www.thesundevils.com

Sun Devils On The Radio -- KMVP 860 AM continues its association with Arizona State baseball with a package of 56 home and away games to be broadcast this season. Tom Dillon calls the play-by-play while Bob Eger will handle color commentary duties. The following is a list of the seven games that will not be broadcast by KMVP: Jan. 22 vs. CS Northridge, Jan. 24 vs. Florida International, Jan. 31 vs. Hawaii-Hilo (DH), Feb. 25 vs. Anaheim Angels (exhib.), Feb. 27 vs. Stanford and Mar. 7 at UCLA. You can also listen to the Sun Devils via audionet at www.audionet.com

FABULOUS FRESHMEN -- ASU'S freshmen class is already making a big impact on the 1998 season. Freshman Casey Myers (Casa Grande, Ariz.) is getting the job done in the designated hitters spot for the Devils. Myers is batting .341 (14-for-41) in 12 stints as the DH or first baseman. He has scored seven runs and has six RBI. Infielder Jeff Phelps (Yuma, Ariz.) is hitting at a .409 clip (9-for-22) with 10 runs scored and three RBI. Phelps has made seven starts this season at first base and right field for ASU. Freshman pitchers Chad Pennington, Robby Milner and Drew Friedberg have all made solid contributions. Friedberg (Middleton, Wisconsin) pitched two strong innings of shutout ball in ASU's loss to WSU while Pennington picked up the win in his first collegiate start (vs. Hawaii-Hilo, 2/1).

PRESEASON PAC-10 COACHES POLL -- Arizona State is picked to finish second in the 1998 Pac-10 Coaches Preseason Poll as voted on by the six head coaches from each of the Six-Pac schools. Here is the complete poll:
1. Stanford (4)
2. Arizona State (2)
3. USC
4. Arizona
5. UCLA
6. California
( ) - denoted first place votes

PRESEASON ACCOLADES -- Two Sun Devils received multiple preseason honors by several publications to kick off the 1998 season: LHP Ryan Mills, first-team All-American (Baseball America), first-team All-American (The Sporting News) and second-team All-American (Collegiate Baseball); 3B Andrew Beinbrink, first-team All-American (The Sporting News), second-team All-American (Baseball America) and second-team All-American (Collegiate Baseball).

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