Jan. 10, 2003
|2003 Home Run Derby|
|Mitch Jones||Mike Kelly|
|Andre Ethier||Jeremy West|
TEMPE, Ariz. (www.TheSunDevils.com) - The Arizona State Baseball team will start a new tradition this year to begin the annual Alumni game with two current players squaring off against two former Devils in a home run derby. Current Arizona State juniors Andre Ethier and Jeremy West will compete against two of ASU's most productive home run hitters in Mike Kelly (1989-91) and Mitch Jones (1999-2000).
The alumni tandem of Kelly and Jones are No. 2 and No. 7 respectively on the ASU all-time career home run list. Kelly, the 1991 Golden Spikes Award winner as the top amateur baseball player in the country, combined to hit 46 home runs in his Sun Devil career while hitting .350. His 21 home runs during his incredible 1990 season are seventh in the ASU record books and his 194 career RBI are also seventh in the ASU annals. Kelly was the first-round pick and second overall in the 1991 draft by the Atlanta Braves. He played in parts of six major league seasons, having his best year in 1998 with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in which he hit 10 home runs.
Jones, a transfer from Utah Valley CC in 1999, set ASU's single-season home run record when he hit 27 during the Devils 2000 Pac-10 Championship season. In two seasons in the Maroon and Gold, Jones hit 38 home runs. He was a seventh-round selection of the New York Yankees in the 2000 amateur draft and in three professional seasons has clubbed 55 home runs.
West and Ethier, both preseason All-Americans, will represent the current group of varsity players that head into the 2003 season ranked No. 8 in the nation by Baseball America. West is coming off a solid 2002 season in which he led the team with 13 home runs and tied for the league lead with 71 RBI. With 19 career home runs he has the fifth most by any Sun Devil ever combined between his freshman and sophomore seasons. Ethier had a sensational rookie campaign in 2002 with the Devils, finishing second on the team with a .363 batting average and clubbed four home runs.
The home run festivities will start at 1 p.m. and move right into the annual alumni game. The Sun Devils open the 2003 regular season with a six-game series at the University of Hawai'i at Hilo starting Thursday, Jan. 16. ASU's home opener will be on Friday, Jan. 24 against San Diego State at 7 p.m. at Packard Stadium. For season ticket information please call 480-965-2381.