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#3 Baseball Hosts Cal State Fullerton, Heads To Washington
Courtesy: Sun Devil Athletics
Release: 03/31/2009
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Courtesy: Sun Devil Athletics
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March 31, 2009

TEMPE, Ariz. -

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Leading Off: Following a 2-1 series win at USC, Arizona State returns home for the DeMarini West Coast Challenge, a two-game set with Cal State Fullerton, before hitting the road for Seattle for a three-game Pac-10 series with the Washington Huskies. ASU is in the middle of a stretch that will see them play 13 games in 17 days in four cities, including Tempe twice. Friday night's game with Washington will be played at Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners.

Devils vs. Titans: Arizona State and Cal State Fullerton have one of the best rivalries in college baseball, having met 50 times, with Arizona State holding a 26-24 advantage. The two teams split their two-game set in Fullerton last year.

Devils vs. Huskies: Arizona State holds a 21-12 advantage in the all-time series with Washington, including a series sweep in Tempe last year. ASU won two of three from UW in Seattle in 2007.

Pac-10 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 496-346 in Pac-10 play. They joined the conference in 1979.

Big League Fields: The Sun Devils will play at Safeco Field on Friday night, the home of the Seattle Mariners. It will be the sixth time ASU has played in a big league stadium. Arizona State is 2-3 in those games, going 0-2 at Chase Field and 2-1 at Houston's Minute Maid Park.

Rankings: The Sun Devils are ranked #3 by Baseball America, #4 by the NCBWA, #7 in the Collegiate Baseball poll, #5 by Rivals.com and #3 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll.

Leading Off: Following a 2-1 series win at USC, Arizona State returns home for the DeMarini Invitational, a two-game set with Cal State Fullerton, before hitting the road for Seattle for a three-game Pac-10 series with the Washington Huskies. ASU is in the middle of a stretch that will see them play 13 games in 17 days in four cities, including Tempe twice. Friday night's game with Washington will be played at Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners.

Devils vs. Titans: Arizona State and Cal State Fullerton have one of the best rivalries in college baseball, having met 50 times, with Arizona State holding a 26-24 advantage. The two teams split their two-game set in Fullerton last year.

Devils vs. Huskies: Arizona State holds a 21-12 advantage in the all-time series with Washington, including a series sweep in Tempe last year. ASU won two of three from UW in Seattle in 2007.

Pac-10 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 496-346 in Pac-10 play. They joined the conference in 1979.

Big League Fields: The Sun Devils will play at Safeco Field on Friday night, the home of the Seattle Mariners. It will be the sixth time ASU has played in a big league stadium. Arizona State is 2-3 in those games, going 0-2 at Chase Field and 2-1 at Houston's Minute Maid Park.

Rankings: The Sun Devils are ranked #3 by Baseball America, #6 by the NCBWA, #7 in the Collegiate Baseball poll, #6 by Rivals.com and #2 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll.

USC Recap: Josh Spence was masterful in the series opener at Dedeaux Field on Friday night, going the distance in a 2-1 ASU victory. The Aussie lefty recorded his first career complete game thanks to 10 punch outs. The only run he allowed was unearned. Jason Kipnis and Carlos Ramirez each knocked in a run, all the offense Spence would need...Mike Leake matched Spence on Saturday, throwing eight innings and allowing only a first inning run in a 10-1 Sun Devil win. Leake scattered four hits, while Matt Newman and Jason Kipnis each had three hits to lead the offense. Newman knocked in two and Kipnis brought home four in the win...USC salvaged a game on Sunday, jumping on starter Seth Blair early on the way to a 8-2 win. Blair would last just two innings for the second straight start as he took the loss. Kipnis just missed the cycle in the loss, going 4-5 with a homer, a double and two singles.

Ace In The Hole: Mike Leake continues to do amazing things on the diamond for the Sun Devils. Leake is now 6-1 on the year after turning in another yet another stellar effort on the mound. Leake went eight innings at Dedeaux Field on Saturday, allowing only one run in a 10-1 Sun Devil victory. In his 48 innings of work, he has struck out 52 batters and walked only eight. He now has 30 career wins at Arizona State. Of his 30 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.

Welcome To The Hotel California: No one loved hitting at Dedeaux Field more than Jason Kipnis. The Sun Devil centerfielder had a monster weekend, going 7-10 with two homers, three doubles and six RBI. Kip slugged 1.600 in the series and also stole two bases. The Illinois native 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. In Southern California alone, Kipnis is hitting .485.

Exhibition Game: The Sun Devils will be playing an exhibition game at Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark on April 15 with the Technology Institute of Hermosillo (Mexico).

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. The Devils will also lose Brandon Magee for two weeks for spring football starting this week. It is the smallest roster in the Pac-10 Conference. Of the 29, only two have played for two seasons at Arizona State. Magee participated in spring football on Friday and Saturday before driving to Los Angeles to join the team on Sunday. He pinch-hit in the Sunday game.

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, already 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 six 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).

School Ties: Many players on the ASU roster are quite familiar with one another. The Sun Devils have five student-athletes who were all teammates at Brophy Prep in Phoenix. RJ Preach, Raoul and Riccio Torrez, Drew Maggi and Matt Newman all played together on the Brophy baseball team.

Double Duty: Freshman OF Brandon Magee is no stranger to ASU athletics, having played football in the spring. The linebacker, who missed four games due to injury, recorded 11 tackles playing mostly on special teams.

Golden Spikes Watch List: Both Mike Leake and Jason Kipnis have been named to the 2009 Golden Spikes Award Watch List. The award is given to the nation's top college baseball player.

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 will play at Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners, on April 3 when they face the Washington Huskies in the opening game of a three-game Pac-10 series. It will be the third Major League park ASU will have played in since 2007, joining Minute Maid Park (Houston Astros) and Chase Field (Arizona Diamondbacks).

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.

Ay Ay Captain: Head coach Pat Murphy has named junior infielder Raoul Torrez and junior RHP/UTL Mike Leake as the captains of the 2009 Sun Devils. Petey Paramore served as captain last season.

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 (406), conference wins (141), 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 Markers: Pat Murphy is approaching a significant milestone in his career, as he is 3 wins shy of 600 victories as the Arizona State head coach. His 597 wins at ASU is second most in school history, trailing only Jim Brock's 1,100...The Arizona State baseball program is four Pac-10 wins shy of 500...With his win against USC, junior RHP Mike Leake now has 30 career pitching victories. That is the third most wins at ASU in the Aluminum Bat Era (1974-Present).

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).

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.

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: Arizona State heads to Arkansas for a two-game midweek series at Baum Stadium with the Razorbacks before returning to Tempe for a three-game Pac-10 set with Washington State at Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark.

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