Feb. 24, 2003
TEMPE, Ariz. - Off to a 21-1 start to the 2003 season, the Arizona State Sun Devil baseball team has have moved up to as high as No. 2 in the country after going 4-0 last week. ASU beat Gonzaga and Dayton before handing No. 11 Notre Dame a pair of losses at Packard Stadium. The 21-1 start is the second best in school history, only two wins off the 23-1 start of the 1972 squad.
ASU is ranked No. 2 in the Sports Weekly/ESPN College Baseball Coaches Poll, gaining 938 total votes and 11 first place votes. ASU is also ranked No. 4 by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball. The No. 2 ranking is the highest since finishing the season No. 2 in 1998 after losing in the College World Series National Championship game.
Only two wins shy of ASU's best start ever (23-1 in 1972), ASU has won 12 straight games and host Penn State (0-0) in a three-game series this weekend at Packard Stadium. The Sun Devils are lead by sophomore first baseman Jeff Larish (.423, 8 HR, 42 RBI) and sophomore shortstop Dustin Pedroia (.419, 10 2B, 2 HR). The pitching staff is led by senior starter Jered Liebeck (4-0, 2.25 ERA) and junior closer Ryan Schroyer (3-0, 4 S, 0.00 ERA, 18 K's, 13.1 IP).
The 21-1 record includes a 4-1 record against ranked opponents and wins over three teams that participated in the NCAA Tournament last year. ASU is averaging 11 runs per game and has scored 10 or more runs in four straight games. The Devils will play their next 15 games at Packard Stadium, including a Pac-10 opening series to end the stretch against nationally ranked Stanford (Mar. 22-24).