April 21, 2009
TEMPE, Ariz. -
Leading Off: After sweeping the Stanford Cardinal at home for the third consecutive time, the Arizona State Sun Devils will wrap-up a seven game home stand with the Hawai'i Rainbows on Tuesday night in Tempe. Following the mid-week game, the Devils will head to Berkeley, California for a three-game Pac-10 set with the California Golden Bears.
Devils vs. Rainbows: Arizona State holds a 26-18 edge over Hawai'i in the all-time series. The Devils beat the Rainbows 3-0 last season at Surprise Stadium.
Devils vs. Golden Bears: Arizona State leads the all-time series with Cal 100-56. Last year the Devils swept the Bears in Tempe, but the last time the two teams met at Evans Diamond, California took two of three from ASU.
500 Club: With the win over Washington State on Friday, April 10, Arizona State Baseball recorded its 500th victory in Pacific-10 Conference play. Arizona State is in its 31st season of Pac-10 play in 2009. The Sun Devils have won eight Pacific-10 Conference championships, including the last two. ASU holds an all-time mark of 504-347 in Pac-10 play. They joined the conference in 1979.
600: With the win over the Huskies on April 4, head coach Pat Murphy recorded his 600th career victory at Arizona State. Murph has the second most wins in school history, trailing only Jim Brock (1,100). In his 15 years at Arizona State, Murphy is 606-278-1 and is 225-149 in Pac-10 play.
Rankings: Arizona State is ranked #1 by Rivals.com. The Sun Devils are ranked #3 by Baseball America and The NCBWA. The USA Today/Coaches poll ranks ASU #2 as does Collegiate Baseball.
Stanford Recap: Arizona State completed its third straight home sweep of Stanford over the weekend...Jason Kipnis and Matt Newman had four RBI each and Raoul Torrez hit his first home run of the season on Friday as the Sun Devils took a 14-6 win. Josh Spence got the win to improve to 8-0 on the season, despite allowing a season-high five earned runs in seven innings...On Saturday, ASU staged a late rally and scored seven runs in the eighth inning to defeat the Cardinal 7-2. Drew Maggi had a leadoff triple and a three-RBI single in that eighth inning, and Jared McDonald had the go-ahead with a two-run double. Mike Leake allowed two runs and had nine strikeouts to get the win and move to 9-1 on the year. It was ASU's first win this year when trailing after seven innings...The Sun Devils completed the sweep with a 6-3 victory on Sunday. Seth Blair allowed two runs over 6.2 innings to pick up the win, and Mitchell Lambson earned his third save by pitching the final 2.1 innings. The Devils scored five runs in the fourth, providing all the offense they would need. They also drew nine walks in the game, all in the first four innings.
Maggic Man: Freshman Drew Maggi has come on of late, taking hold of the shortstop position. Over his last 10 games, Maggi is batting .382 (13-34) and has scored 12 runs while driving in 10. He hit leadoff in all three games of the Stanford series, providing a spark at the top of the order. Against the Cardinal, Maggi went 5-13 (.385) and scored a team-leading six runs. He also drew three walks. He was the catalyst in the eighth inning comeback on Saturday night, leading off the inning with a triple, then driving in three runs with a single that put ASU up 7-2.
Welcome To The Hotel California: Illinois native Jason Kipnis has a penchant for offense in the Golden State, as he has a lifetime .455 average in 11 career games in California with five homers and 14 RBI. Kipnis has played at Stanford, Cal State Fullerton, UCLA and USC in his Sun Devil career.
Ace In The Hole: Mike Leake continues to do amazing things on the diamond for the Sun Devils. Leake is now 9-1 on the year after another impressive outing on the mound. Leake lasted eight innings on Saturday against Stanford, allowing only two runs and striking out nine. In his 72.2 innings of work, he has struck out 83 batters and walked only 15. He now has 33 career wins at Arizona State. Of his 33 career victories in maroon and gold, five of them have come out of the bullpen. He was named the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week following the DeMarini Invitational where he nearly no-hit the Missouri Tigers and a National Player of the Week by Collegiate Baseball and the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week following the Arizona series.
Fair Dinkum: Junior lefty Josh Spence has returned from his facial injury suffered on March 1 without showing any ill effects. Spence picked up his eighth win of the season on Friday against the Cardinal, lasting seven innings and striking out seven. Spence was named the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week following the Washington series.
One-Two Punch Out: Sun Devil starting hurlers Mike Leake and Josh Spence have been racking up strikeouts all season long. The tandem have made a combined 18 starts, and in 10 of those starts they have fanned 10 or more batters, with each recording five double-digit strikeout games. Mitchell Lambson also has a 10+ strikeout outing, however his 12 K game came in 5.2 innings of relief work against Kansas. Spence has a season high of 14 Ks, while Leake has a season and career high 15 Ks.
Honoring the Past: Prior to the April 11 game with the Cougars, Arizona State baseball celebrated the 40th anniversary of the 1969 National Championship team. Several members of the team, including 1969 National Player of the Year Paul Ray Powell, team captain Roger Detter and head coach Bobby Winkles, were honored before the game. Winkles, a College Baseball Hall of Famer, threw out the first pitch.
Fill It Up: Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark was the place to be the weekend of the Arizona series, as all three games against the Wildcats were sellouts. Over 13,000 fans packed Packard to see the Sun Devils sweep the Wildcats. Over the last two plus seasons, 13 games at Packard have seen crowds of over 4,000 people. ASU, which has led the West Coast in attendance for the past four years, is averaging over 3,100 fans a game so far in 2009.
The Few, The Proud: The Sun Devils have a 29-man roster, one of the smallest in the country. The NCAA limit is 35, but ASU carries only 29, including one, Andrew Pollak, who is out for the season and another, Jeff Lusardi, who is redshirting. It is the smallest roster in the Pac-10 Conference. Of the 29, only two have played for two seasons at Arizona State.
Two-Way Street: While Mike Leake's two-way prowess is known, several new Sun Devils are showing their versatility so far this year. Freshman Jordan Swagerty has settled in to the closer role, recording three saves, but he also has shown a glimpse of the future at the plate. Against Oregon State on February 28, Swagerty pinch hit with ASU down by two and a man on. He stepped right in and tied the game with his first career home run, the catalyst that led to ASU's come-from-behind win. Kole Calhoun has already established himself as an everyday outfielder, but has also shown promise on the mound. The lefty has made several appearances out of the bullpen so far this year.
Debuts: 17 members of the Sun Devils made their ASU debuts so far in 2009. Only Andrew Pollak (out for the season) and Jeff Lusardi (redshirting) have not played this season. Included in that group is RHP Jake Borup, who returned to ASU in 2009 after spending the last two years on a mission. Borup is the only player who was at ASU in 2006, a season he redshirted.
Family Ties: Sophomore OF/LHP Matt Newman has Maroon and Gold in his blood. His father, Randy, was a pitcher for the Sun Devils in 1981 and 1982, winning 15 career games and the 1981 National Championship. Redshirt-freshman catcher Andrew Pollak is the brother of former Sun Devil football great Mike Pollak, who played center for the Devils from 2004 to 2007. Mike was a two-time All-Pac-10 performer and currently plays for the Indianapolis Colts. Andrew wears number 76, the same number Mike wore on the gridiron for ASU. UTL Mike Murphy is no relation to head coach Pat Murphy, although he is the first player named Murphy Pat Murphy has ever coached. Assistant coach Josh Holliday is the son of former Oklahoma State head baseball coach Tom Holliday and the brother of current Oakland A's outfielder Matt Holliday. Freshman OF Johnny Ruettiger is the nephew of Rudy Ruettiger, the former Notre Dame football player who had a movie about his life made.
Devil Ties: While in Surprise, head coach Pat Murphy visited the Seattle Mariners training facility in Peoria to meet with former Sun Devil great and current Seattle Mariner manager Don Wakamatsu. Wakamatsu played four years for ASU from 1982 to 1985, earning All-Pac-10 honors in each of his final three seasons. He is the first former Sun Devil player to become a manager in Major League Baseball and the first Asian-American manager in MLB history. Murph also visited with many Mariners players and coaches, including future Hall of Famer Ken Griffey, Jr. Wakamatsu presented Griffey with an ASU Baseball cap, which the slugger displayed in his locker.
Brotherly Love: In addition to the previously mentioned family connections on ASU, the Sun Devils boast a pair of brothers who will see time next to each other in the infield. Junior Raoul Torrez mans the hot corner for the Devils, while his brother Riccio, a freshman, also plays in the infield. The Torrez brothers are the fifth set of brothers to suit up for the same Sun Devil team, and became the first to start next to each other on the diamond. The other Sun Devil brothers to play on the same teams are Kevin and Pat Dukes (1980-81), Dale and Larry Eiler (1976-78), John and Tom Sain (1973) and Brett and Greg Bordes (2005-06).
2009 Pre-Season Honors: Arizona State was well represented on the pre-season All-American lists. Both Mike Leake and Jason Kipnis were named First Teamers by the NCBWA and Collegiate Baseball. Leake earned First Team honors from Baseball America as well, while Kipnis made the Second Team.
Field of Dreams: The Sun Devils played at Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners, on April 3 when they beat the Washington Huskies 3-1. It marked the third Major League park ASU has played in since 2007, joining Minute Maid Park (Houston Astros) and Chase Field (Arizona Diamondbacks). ASU is 3-3 in those games (0-2 at Chase Field, 1-0 at Safeco Field, 2-1 at Minute Maid Park).
Pac-10 Picks: The Sun Devils were picked to win the Pac-10 Championship for the third straight year. ASU and UCLA each got three first place votes, but ASU had more total points than the Bruins. This is the second time in school history Arizona State has been picked to win the conference, with the first time being 2007.
Leader of the Pac: Since the 2000 season, Pat Murphy and the Arizona State Sun Devils have been the most consistent program in the Pac-10 conference. Since 2000, ASU leads the Pac-10 in wins (415), conference wins (149), NCAA Tournament appearances (9), Top 25 finishes (9), All-Americans (25), draft picks (72) and is tied with Stanford for First Team All-Pac-10 players (35). The Devils have won three Pac-10 titles since 2000, including the last two.
Milestone Marker: With his win against Washington, junior RHP Mike Leake now has 33 career pitching victories. That is the third most wins at ASU in the Aluminum Bat Era (1974-Present). Overall, Leake is tied for fifth on the school's all-time list with Jim Crawford.
Honoring Pat Tillman: Former ASU football player and American Hero Pat Tillman had strong ties to the ASU Baseball program. In addition to his brother Kevin playing for ASU, Pat became extremely close with head coach Pat Murphy. Murphy wears jersey #42 in honor of Tillman, and in January 2007, Murph donated $100,000 to the baseball program for the construction of the Tillman Training Room, a room that will honor both Pat and Kevin and their commitment to both Arizona State University and the United States of America. The team wears a memorial "PT*42" patch on their jerseys in honor of Pat.
Inter-Conference Battles: In addition to facing the schools in the Pac-10, the Devils will also take on teams from nine different conferences in 2009. ASU will face three teams from the Big 12 (Missouri, Kansas and Kansas State) and one each from the SEC (Arkansas), Horizon (Milwaukee-Wisconsin), Mid-American (Northern Illinois), Patriot (Holy Cross), Big West (Call State Fullerton), WAC (Hawai'i), West Coast (San Diego) and Big South (Winthrop).
Maroon and Golden Anniversary: Arizona State is celebrating 50 years of Sun Devil baseball in 2009. The first season of varsity baseball was in 1959, when head coach Bobby Winkles led the Sun Devils to a 28-18 record. ASU was an independent program until joining the Western Athletic Conference in 1963. Arizona State has won five national championships, 19 conference championships, played in 20 College World Series, had 90 Major League players and has had 106 All-Americans in 50 years.
Up Next: The Sun Devils will take a mid-week trip to Tucson for a non-conference meeting with the Arizona Wildcats on Wednesday April 29. The afternoon game will get underway at 3 p.m. from Sancet Stadium. Following the game at Arizona, the Devils will head to Corvallis, Oregon for a three-game Pac-10 series with the Oregon State Beavers.