Feb. 13, 2003
TEMPE, Ariz. (www.TheSunDevils.com) -- Arizona State Baseball players Jeff Larish, Dustin Pedroia and Ryan Schroyer were named to the Rotary Smith Award's preliminary watch list as released by the award committee on Thursday. Amongst the 130 Division I college baseball players to be selected to the initial list, the ASU trio are in contention for the prestigious award which is celebrating its 16th year of honoring the nation's finest collegiate baseball player. Voting to determine the 12 semifinalists begins in May before the finalist list is announced prior to the start of NCAA Super Regional action at the beginning of June.
Larish (Tempe) has had a torrid start to the 2003 campaign at the plate by hitting .469 (23x49), while recording at least one hit in 14 of ASU's 15 games. The sophomore 1B/3B leads the team and the nation with seven home runs and already has more RBI (27) then he did all of last year as a freshman (24). Larish also leads the team with a 1.000 slugging percentage and 20 walks.
Pedroia (Woodland, Calif.) has started all 15 games at shortstop and leads the team with 25 base hits. The sophomore who played for Team USA in the summer of 2002 is fourth among ASU's regulars with a .391 (25x64) batting average while hitting from the leadoff spot in all but one game this year. He has already recorded 10 multi-hit games this year and has at least one hit in 14 of ASU's 15 games. Pedroia also leads the team with eight doubles and has played stellar defense at shortstop. Pedroia was a 2002 Freshman All-American and first-team All-Pac-10 selection in 2002 after setting an ASU freshman record with 82 hits.
Schroyer (Casa Grande) has evolved into one of college baseball's most dominant relievers over the last two years. After leading the Pac-10 with a 2.37 ERA in 2002 and notching eight saves, Schroyer has been dominant in the early season with a 3-0 record and three saves in his seven appearances. The hard-throwing junior has a 0.00 ERA and has struck out 13 batters in 8.1 IP. With 11career saves he is ranked tied for sixth in ASU history and has a combined 3.61 ERA in 97.1 career innings pitched.
The award is one of several national projects conducted by the Rotary Club of Houston, which also sponsors the Rotary Lombardi Award honoring college football's top lineman. The projects help raise money for Rotary charities, the Texas Children's Hospital and the Karl Young League. The only Sun Devil to ever win the Smith Award was Mike Kelly in 1990.
The Sun Devils are off to a 14-1 start in 2003 and ranked as high as No. 5 in the nation by Baseball America. ASU takes on Gonzaga (Friday; 7 p.m.), Oklahoma State (Saturday; 4 p.m.) and Oregon State (3 p.m.) this weekend in the inaugural Coca-Cola Surprise College Baseball Classic at the new spring training facility of the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals this weekend.