May 9, 2007
TEMPE, Ariz. -
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After taking a week off for final exams, the Sun Devils return home for a huge three-game series with Pac-10 leading UCLA. The Bruins are ranked 10th in the nation and took two of three from Cal last weekend in Los Angeles before beating Pepperdine on Tuesday. They are 28-19.
The Sun Devils vs. The Bruins:
ASU leads the all-time series with UCLA 100-60. The Bruins took two of three from the Devils last season at Jackie Robinson Stadium in Los Angeles.
Lights, Camera, Action!:
Saturday night's game will be televised by FSN Arizona. Barry Tompkins and Jerry Kindall will be on the call. This is the third game FSN has televised this season, having already broadcast a game at USC and at home vs. Stanford.
Dr. Jim Brock, Hall of Famer:
Former Sun Devils head coach Jim Brock has been named a 2007 College Baseball Hall of Fame inductee. Brock, who coached at ASU from 1972 until his death in 1994, will become the third Sun Devil in the Hall of Fame, joining fellow coach Bobby Winkles and former Golden Spikes Award winner Bob Horner.
Facing Tough Competition:
So far in 2007, ASU has nine losses that have come at the hands of teams who have been ranked at some point this season, including one to Vanderbilt, who is the top ranked team in the nation. The Sun Devils also have 16 wins against teams that have been ranked at some point this year, including a 22-8 win over Arizona, who has been ranked as high as 7th. Also, seven of the losses have been by one run, including an extra inning game with Vanderbilt. ASU has faced or will face seven teams ranked in the Top 25 in the latest ISR rankings on BoydsWorld.com, where the Sun Devils are currently ranked 8th. Arizona State has 13 teams on their 2007 schedule that are currently ranked or have been ranked at some point this season, continuing the Sun Devil tradition of playing one of the most difficult schedules in the nation. This weekend they will face their fifth opponent that has been ranked in the Top 10 at some point this season.
The Devils took on the Rainbows in a midweek contest before heading to Cal, beating Hawai'i 9-2. Mike Jones had three hits and CJ Retherford picked up his first collegiate victory on the mound for the Sun Devils...Cal ace Tyson Ross quieted the ASU bats in the series opener on Friday, snapping Arizona State's win streak at 12 in the process. Ross struck out nine to lead Cal to the 4-2 win. Ike Davis wasn't shut down by Ross however, going 3-4 with a home run...The Sun Devil bats awoke on Saturday, as ASU pounded out 19 hits in a 15-2 rout. Nine Sun Devils recorded hits, led by the three each of Ryan Sontag, Kiel Roling and Eric Sogard. Roling also knocked in four runs. Mike Leake was the benefactor of those 15 runs, going eight strong to pick up his 10th win of the year...The Sunday rubber match started off well for ASU, as they jumped out to a 2-0 lead after one. But Cal battled back to take a 9-3 lead at one point. The Devils wouldn't quit, and eventually tied things up in the eighth, but Jason Jarvis allowed two Golden Bear homers in the bottom of the eighth to give Cal a 13-9 win. It was the first Pac-10 series loss of the year for the Devils.
2007 marks the first time in history that the NCAA will be releasing current RPI numbers for Division I baseball. The Sun Devils come in at #15 after taking the weekend off. ASU is the highest ranked Pac-10 team, and has already faced four teams in the top 20: Vanderbilt (#2), Texas A&M (#6), Long Beach State (#9) and Louisiana-Lafayette (#16). Of Arizona State's three remaining conference opponents, UCLA is #48, Oregon State is #35 and Arizona is #27.
The Sun Devils' 12-game win streak was snapped by Cal on April 27th, ending the longest win streak for ASU since 2003. Arizona State won 19 straight from February 1st until March 9th that year. This year's streak was the first win streak in double-digits since an 11-game run from April 27th to May 22nd in 2004. The school record for longest win streak? 32 games, accomplished by Hall of Famer Jim Brock's 1972 squad. That team went 64-6 and lost in the national championship game.
Lights Out Leake:
With his eight inning, five-hit performance against Cal, freshman righty Mike Leake picked up his 10th win of the season. He is the first Sun Devil to get 10 wins in a year since Erik Averill and Jason Urquidez did it in 2005. Averill finished 11-4, while Urquidez ended up 10-4 for the team that finished 3rd in the nation. The 10 wins in his freshman season puts Leake in a tie for fourth most wins by a freshman in school history. Kendall Carter set the mark in 1981, winning 19 games for the National Champs. Skip Hancock won 13 in 1964, as did Ken Jones in 1978. Leake is tied with Kaipo Spenser, who won 10 in 1994, and Doug Newstrom, who did it in 1991.
Despite getting a late start on the 2007 season, freshman righty Jason Jarvis is moving his way up the freshman saves list. His five saves so far are good for a fourth place tie with Pat Bresnehan (2004) on the school's all-time freshman saves list. Mitch Dean (1976) and Zechry Zinicola (2004) each recorded eight during their rookie years.
I'm Gonna Knock You In:
Last season, Ike Davis set a new Pac-10 freshman record and led the team with his 65 runs batted in. Brett Wallace has already put that number in his rear view mirror, as he now has 66 RBI so far this year.
Revenge, Diamond Style:
After the football team fell to Hawai'i in the Hawai'i Bowl 41-24, Mike Jones wanted to get rid of the sour taste of that loss. He was able to exact a little piece of revenge against the Rainbow baseball team, breaking out offensively in the 9-2 ASU win. Jones, who plays wide receiver for the football team, went 3-3 with a walk and three runs scored, and was a homer short of the cycle. Jones has been limited by a back injury all season, and had just seven at-bats coming into the Hawai'i game.
Pac-10 Players of the Week:
Four Sun Devils have earned weekly honors from the Pac-10 so far this season, including Kiel Roling twice. Roling and Brett Wallace have both been named Pac-10 Player of the Week while Josh Satow and Brian Flores have both earned Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week recognition.
National Honor Roll Honorees:
Brett Wallace, Matt Spencer, Josh Satow, Petey Paramore, Brian Flores and Kiel Roling have all been named College Baseball Foundation National Honor Roll Players of the Week so far this season. Roling has twice earned the distinction.
30 Is Nothing New:
Arizona State baseball has now topped the 30-win mark for the 45th consecutive season and 47th season overall in school history. Head coach Pat Murphy has never failed to win at least 30 games as a Division I head coach. ASU has the longest 30-win season streak in the nation. Florida State has hit the mark 43 straight times, including 2007.
O Captain! My Captain!:
Head coach Pat Murphy named junior OF Rocky Laguna the team captain, prior to the season. This is the first time in the 13 years that Murphy has been at ASU that he has named a team captain. Laguna is a redshirt junior who is in his fourth year with the program. The Yuma, Ariz. product is a key reserve, providing a steady glove in the outfield and an experienced bat.
Consistency In The New Millenium:
Since the 2000 season, Pat Murphy and Arizona State Sun Devils have the highest winning percentage in the Pac-10 entering this weekend, and the 13th highest winning percentage in the nation. ASU enters this weekend at 326-146-2 since 2000, a winning percentage of .690. Stanford is the next highest Pac-10 club, with a 331-160 record this millenium, a winning percentage of .674. They have the 17th most victories (326) in the NCAA since 2000. Florida State is on top at 398.
Big League Splash:
Former Sun Devil Travis Buck, who played at ASU from 2003-2005, became the 87th Sun Devil to play Major League Baseball when he started in right field for the Oakland A's on opening day. Buck is one of nine Sun Devils on opening day rosters. He is joined by Barry Bonds (Giants), Willie Bloomquist (Mariners), Paul Lo Duca (Mets), Chris Duffy (Pirates), Ian Kinsler (Rangers), Dustin Pedroia (Red Sox), Andre Ethier (Dodgers) and Jon Switzer (Devil Rays). Switzer is currently on the 60-day DL for Tampa. Only USC and Texas have produced more Major Leaguers than Arizona State.
Petey Paramore has been a walks machine this season. Paramore has drawn 41 walks already this year, tops in the conference. He was third on the team last season with 34 free passes...Andrew Romine has 15 bunt singles this season...The Challenge at Chase marked the third time in 2007 ASU has played in a Major League facility. They played at Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros and at Surprise Stadium, Spring Training home of the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals...Sophomore LHP Jeff Urlaub is expected to undergo Tommy John surgery in June. His expected recovery time is 10-16 months...Tim Smith is hitting .429 in the leadoff spot, a role he assumed against Washington on March 28.
Arizona State Head Coach Pat Murphy achieved a coaching milestone against USC, collecting his 500th victory as skipper of the Sun Devils. Earlier this season, Murphy won his 800th career Division I game. ASU's first head coach, Bobby Winkles, totaled 524 wins in his 13 years at ASU. Jim Brock amassed 1,100 victories in his 23 years at the helm. Murphy is in his 13th season at Arizona State.
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 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. Also, senior infielder Joe Persichina is a Tillman Scholar. A Tillman Scholar is a student that must possess passion, leadership abilities and an entrepreneurial spirit. Tillman Scholars commit to a two-semester experience that begins each fall.
Junior second baseman Eric Sogard earned three Preseason All-American mentions, including two First Team honors. Both the NCBWA and Rivals.com had Sogard as a First Team Preseason All-American, while Collegiate Baseball listed him as a Third Team Preseason All-American.
That's The Pick:
In a poll of all Pac-10 baseball coaches, Arizona State was picked to win the Pac-10 conference. This marks the first time that the Sun Devils have ever been picked to win the conference in the preseason coaches vote. Oregon State was picked second and Stanford was third.
RHP/OF Mike Leake was rated the 39th best freshman in the country by Baseball America as part of their Fabulous 50 Freshmen list. Leake was a seventh round draft pick of the Oakland A's in last year's draft.
The Sun Devils had two transfers make the top ten of Baseball America's Top 25 Transfers list. LHP Brian Flores, who came to ASU from New Mexico Junior College, checked in at #7, while OF Tim Smith, who played the last two years at Midland College in Texas, was #10. The list did not include Matt Spencer, who came to ASU from North Carolina. Spencer had not yet completed his transfer to ASU when the list was released.
You Look Mahvelous!:
The Sun Devils got a surprise during a practice before the season, as actor/comedian Billy Crystal took a break from his performances at Gammage to practice with the Devils. Crystal donned the Maroon and Gold, complete with a jersey with his name and #10 on the back, and took part in drills and batting practice. After practice, he invited the coaching staff to his show, "700 Sundays" at Gammage Auditorium.
Back For More:
Former ASU baseball standouts Mikel Moreno and Michael Collins are both back with the program for the 2007 season as managers. Moreno was a four-year starter for the Devils from 1995 to 1998, when he earned All-American accolades and helped lead ASU to the National Championship game. Collins played from 1996 to 1998 before leaving ASU to sign a contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Collins and Moreno join fellow manager Jeff Mousser as former Sun Devil baseball players to join the baseball staff in 2007.
You Complete Me:
LHP Josh Satow did something on February 11 that no Sun Devil pitcher had done since 2005: throw a complete game. Satow's masterpiece against Houston was the first complete game thrown by an ASU pitcher since Erik Averill beat Florida 6-1 on June 22, 2005 in the College World Series. Satow allowed only one run on six hits while fanning eight Cougars. It was only the second complete game in the seven-year history of the Houston College Classic, and the first since the inaugural year in 2001. Not to be outdone, LHP Brian Flores threw his first career complete game against the Kansas State Wildcats, striking out eight in a 6-2 victory on March 14. Satow outdid himself against USC on March 23, throwing a complete game shut out in a 10-0 win over the Trojans. He threw his third complete game of the year against UW.
20,000 Leagues On The Diamond:
The Sun Devils have faced teams from nine different conferences this season, not counting their own. The Sun Devils met the Mid-Continent (Southern Utah), Big XII (Texas A&M, Missouri, Kansas State), SEC (Vanderbilt, Auburn), Conference USA (Houston, UAB), West Coast (Gonzaga), Big West (Long Beach State), America East (Maine), Sun Belt (Louisiana-Lafayette) and the WAC (Hawai'i). In addition, ASU faces Utah Valley State, which is an independent.
The Sun Devils host Utah Valley State on Wednesday night before departing to Corvallis, Oregon for a three-game series with the defending national champion Oregon State Beavers.