March 12, 1998
ASU -- Arizona State (16-7, 5-3 Pac-10 Southern Division and ranked No. 7 Baseball America and No. 11 Collegiate Baseball in the polls) travels to Los Angeles, Calif. for a three-game Six-Pac series with No. 3 Southern California (16-5, 4-2 Six Pac) at Dedeaux Field. The Devils will then head straight for Fresno, Calif. for a two-game mid-week series with Fresno State.
THIS WEEK ON TV and RADIO -- KMVP 860 AM, home of Sun Devil baseball, will broadcast the USC and Fresno State series Tom Dillon and Bob Eger will provide the play-by-play and color commentary respectively. FOX Sports Net will broadcast's Saturday's game with third-ranked USC (3/14) live at 2 p.m. MST. Barry Tompkins and Jerry Kindall will handle the play-by-play and color commentary respectively.
DID YOU KNOW? -- Arizona State has not been shutout in its last 157 games (last time shutout was a 0-9 loss to USC on April 7, 1995) ... the Devils have allowed only four stolen base (7-17) this season ... ASU has held its opponents to a .232 batting average through 23 games this season ... Coach Pat Murphy is averaging 42.6 wins per season at the Div. 1 level (429 wins over 10 years) ... ASU pitchers have thrown three two-hitters (one complete, two combined) and one one-hitter (combined) in 1998 ... the Arizona State pitching staff is holding opponent lefthanded batters to a .184 average.
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. Currently four Six-Pac teams are ranked in the top 10 (according to Baseball America). Five Pac-10 teams are ranked in the top 25 while eight SEC teams are in the top 25. That means 13 of 25 teams ranked by Baseball America are from the two conferences.
STRANGE BUT TRUE -- The Sun Devils are 7-6 at home but 9-1 on the road ... over a two and a half week period (17 days, from 3/6 to 3/22) ASU will play a total of 13 games ... it started with a Six-Pac series with UCLA (three games), then moved to a two-game mid-week series with No. 8 Oklahoma. Next ASU travels to L.A. for more Six-Pac action with No. 3 USC (three games) and heads to Fresno for a two-game series with Fresno State. ASU will finally go home and face conference foe California at Packard (three games).
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 11 doubles, two triples and 39 RBI and has batted safely in 18 of the last 20 games. He is third on the team in runs scored (24) and third in hits (31). Eighteen of his 31 hits have been for extra bases. Beinbrink leads the team in two-out RBIs with 17 and is a perfect eight-for-eight in stolen bases. He amassed 10 RBI over the three-game UCLA series with one RBI on Friday, five on Saturday and four on Sunday. He is currently on a seven-game hitting streak.
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 starter for the Devils. He is currently batting .288 with 15 runs scored and 11 RBI. He picked up a win in his first start of the season, going 6.1, allowing only one earned run vs. No. 1 Stanford. For his efforts, he was named Six-Pac Pitcher of the Week. The senior has a 2.08 ERA in four appearances (13.0 IP) with 13 K's. He is holding opponent lefties to a .158 average. 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 seven wins and a 4.09 ERA. Lowery picked up his fourth win of the season on Saturday, going 6.0 innings, allowing two runs while striking out nine. Mills sports a 4.37 ERA through eight starts. Lowery is right in front of him with a 3.74 ERA. Mills is holding opponent batters to a .255 average (lefties are only batting .133) while Lowery is holding batters to a .208 average (.198 vs. righthanded batters). 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 497-242-3 over 13 seasons as a head coach. Murphy need just three victories to reach the 500-win plateau. He will become the youngest coach at age 39 to reach the 500-win mark (with 75% of wins from Division 1).
THE LAST HURRAH -- Senior outfielder Mikel Moreno will end a long and successful career at ASU after this season. Through 23 games, he is batting .327 with 22 RBI and 33 hits. He has also swiped seven bases in the 1998 season and is batting well against righthanders (.368). The speedy rightfielder has started all 23 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 currently on a seven-game hitting streak. Moreno, a two-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 superb as ASU's No. 1 closer. Crumpton has pitched 27.0 innings of relief for the Devils in 1998 and was a part of both of ASU's combined shutout victories. He sports an impressive 1.00 ERA and picked up his third save vs. UCLA where he went 2.0 innings, allowing 3 hits, one earned run and two strikeouts. Versus Oklahoma, he picked up his second win , pitching 3.1 hitless innings of relief in ASU's 7-6 win over the Sooners. 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 (1-1, 4.50 ERA), in his second collegiate start, pitched 7.1 innings of seven-hit ball in a 5-9 loss to OU. Transfer Aaron Kramer (Grand Canyon U.) has also joined the ASU pitching staff. He picked up his second win at ASU vs. UCLA, pitching 2.1 innings of relief. All are expected to see time on the mound as well as sophomore Jay Gehrke (2-1, 8.31 ERA) and Colin Call (1-0, 2.89 ERA)..
INJURY REPORT -- Sophomore Kevin Tillman, who strained his left hamstring a couple weeks ago, is still listed as doubtful for this week's games with USC and Fresno State.
THE HIT MAN -- Sophomore Willie Bloomquist (Port Orchard, Wash.) has started the 1998 season on a tear. The infielder/outfielder is batting .435 (37-for-85) and leads the team in hits (37), runs scored (31), stolen bases (10) and walks (26). Bloomquist has drawn at least one walk in 17 of 23 games this season and had multiple-hit games in 12 of 23. He is batting .586 with runners in scoring position, .455 vs. lefties and .429 vs. righthanders. Last week, vs. UCLA he went 8-for-11 (.727) with five RBI and eight runs scored. For his efforts he was named Co-Pac-10 Player of the Week. 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 Fresno, Calif. for a two-game mid-week series (3/17 & 3/18) then will head home to face California in a three-game conference series (3/20-3/22) at Packard Stadium.
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.
1998 Arizona State Baseball Fri., March 13 #3 Southern California 8 p.m. MST Sat., March 14 #3 Southern California (FOX Sports Net) 2 p.m. MST Sun., March 15 #3 Southern California 2 p.m. MST Tues., March 17 Fresno State 8 p.m. MST Wed., March 18 Fresno State 8 p.m. MST
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 FRESHMAN -- Freshman infielder Jeff Phelps (Yuma, Ariz.) is hitting at a .465 clip (20-for-43) with 12 runs scored and 11 RBI. Phelps has made 11 starts this season at first base and in right field for ASU. He is currently on a four-game hitting streak and is 11-for-18 during that span. He hit his first collegiate homerun vs. UCLA on March 8.
ABOUT THE TROJANS -- The Trojans enter this weekend's matchup with a 16-5 record (4-2 Six-Pac) ... they are coached by Mike Gillespie (now in his 12th season) ... USC is ranked No. 3 by Baseball America, No.4 by USA Today Baseball Weekly/ESPN and The Sporting News and No. 7 by Collegiate Baseball ... leading USC is first baseman Robb Gorr (.440, 2 HR, 23 RBI) and catcher Eric Munson (.382, 8 HR, 30 RBI) ... USC holds a 74-72 lead in the all-time series with ASU .. Last season, the Trojans won five of six games, including a sweep of the Devils at Packard Stadium.
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).
ASU Record Breakdown
Pac-10 5-3 Non-Conference 11-4 Vs. Ranked Teams 3-5 Vs. Unranked Teams 13-2 Home Games 7-6 Road Games 9-1 Day Games 8-3 Night Games 8-4 Vs. Right-Hand Starters 11-4 Vs. Left-Hand Starters 5-3 One-Run Decisions 3-2 Two-Run Decisions 1-0 Extra Innings 1-0 Shutouts 2-0 ASU Scores First 12-2 Opponent Scores First 4-5 Led After Seven 12-0 Trailed After Seven 2-5 Tied After Seven 2-2 Led After Eight 15-0 Trailed After Eight 0-6 Tied After Eight 1-1 Out-hit Opponents 14-0 Out-hit by Opponents 2-6 January 7-0 February 5-5 March 4-2 April 0-0 May 0-0 Last 5 Games 3-2 Last 10 Games 6-4 Current Streak L1