March 10, 2001
What's On Tap:
Arizona State (15-4-1) vs. South Florida (8-8)
Mike Esposito (0-0, 5.14) vs. John Vigue (1-1, 2.15)
7:00 p.m. (Packard Stadium)
Game 21 -- Home Game No. 20
Radio: None, TV: None
ASU Looking To Continue Dominance Of South Florida: Mike Esposito will face South Florida's LHP ace John Vigue in a 7 p.m. game tonight at Packard Stadium. The Sun Devils have won two in a row after demolishing the Bulls 16-5 last night. Freshman first baseman Jeremy West carried the hot stick for the Sun Devils, going 4-for-5 with four runs scored, two RBI and fell just a double short of hitting for the elusive cycle. The freshman from Las Vegas belted his team-leading fifth home run of the year, a solo shot to left-center in the second, and added a run-scoring triple in the seventh. West is the hottest Sun Devil as of late with 10 hits in his last five games, including three home runs. ASU capitalized on six fielding errors by South Florida (8-8) leading to nine unearned runs. USF starter John Gorham (2-2) was saddled with the loss, giving up 11 hits and nine runs in 6.1 innings. Sun Devil senior relief pitcher Drew Friedberg (Middleton, Wisc.) continues to shine for ASU out of the bullpen. The 29th round draft choice of the Milwaukee Brewers last June entered the game with a bases loaded jam and no outs, and proceeded to strikeout two and record a groundout to get ASU out of the jam. The senior went on to allow only one hit and struck out six in four innings to improve to 2-0 on the season. Senior All-American catcher Casey Myers collected two hits and now has a hit in 17 of ASU's 20 games. Amazingly enough, 16 of those game are multi-hit affairs. Chris Duffy extended his hitting streak to 10 games with his fourth multi-hit game in his last five starts. Freshman DH Rod Allen also extended his season hitting streak, going 1-for-2 with an RBI and now has hits in 11 straight games.
Sun Devils Scoring Streak Longest Active In NCAA At 337 Games: The Arizona State baseball program has scored in a Pac-10 record 337 straight games, not having been shutout since a 9-0 setback to USC on April 7, 1995. The streak is currently the longest in NCAA Division I and the second longest in NCAA history. ASU was neck-in-neck with Wichita State which was not shutout in 332 games, but when the Shockers fell 1-0 vs. Louisiana-Lafayette ASU took over the national lead. Coastal Carolina holds the record at 349 games set from 1983-1989. If ASU were to break the record of 349 games without being shutout, they would have to score at least one run in the next 13 games, with the record-breaker possibly coming against nationally ranked USC on April 7 in Los Angeles. During the streak ASU has scored one run in only five games.
The National Rankings: The Sun Devils fell five spots in the Baseball Weekly and Baseball America polls from No. 3 to No. 8 in the nation. ASU maintained its sixth spot in the Collegiate Baseball poll. Despite coming two at-bats from going 2-1 vs. the Tigers (who are ranked second in all three polls) the Sun Devils still dropped five spots. With an 8-7 record South Florida is not ranked.
Around The Horn With ASU Baseball: The Sun Devils lost their first season opener since 1993 to Texas-Arlington, but not to worry because the last time that happened the Sun Devils advanced to the College World Series... Casey Myers has hits in 17 of ASU's 20 games, 16 of which have been multi-hit affairs... he also has at least one RBI in 16 of the 20 games... junior outfielder Mel Stocker is 15-for-15 in the stolen bases department and recorded two last night for his first stolen bases in last nine... freshman Jeremy West has hit five of ASU's 11 home runs and is averaging one homer every 11.2 at-bats... the power outage in 2001 has seen the Sun Devils hit only 11 home runs in 20 games... through 20 games last year, ASU hit 35 home runs, with outfielder Mitch Jones connecting on 14 through that stretch of games last year... the three-game attendance vs. LSU was 18,465 was the biggest three-game draw since 1989 when Arizona came to town and 20,095 came out to Packard Stadium... senior Mike Lopez has 11 doubles this year, only one short of his season total from 2001... sophomore shortstop Dennis Wyrick has three doubles in 2001, already bettering his 2000 output by one... freshman Rod Allen is currently riding an 12-game hitting streak in which he has collectively gone 17-for-43 (.395)... redshirt freshman utility player Nick Walsh made his first career start Sunday vs. LSU when he was inserted into the leadoff spot in the lineup... Walsh was hit by two pitches and had a clutch sacrifice bunt in the ninth inning... injured Jeff Phelps recorded his third three-hit game of the year in his only start of the weekend Friday vs. LSU... the field at Packard Stadium was officially named Bobby Winkles Field last Saturday as part of a special ceremony honoring ASU's first varsity baseball coach... ASU debuted the maroon uniforms last weekend, going 0-1-1 in two games... ASU also reintroduced the maroon caps with black bills that were used in the 1998 College World Series season... junior RHP Andy Torres is 6-1 this year and at one point led the nation in wins... he is currently one off the national lead of seven by Dan Bivian of New Mexico State... Mike Lopez had a career game vs. Creighton (2/18), going 4-for-5 with three doubles and seven RBI... freshman Steve Garrabrants is 9-for-18 (.500) in the last four games and is hitting .364 for the year while playing in all 20 games... Garrabrants leads the team with four triples... the Sun Devils have outscored their opponents 221-89 in 2001... the second inning has been the most kind to ASU, having outscored its opponents 34-6 in the second frame... in 18 home dates, ASU is averaging 2,891 per game... the ASU bullpen has retired 40 of the 61 first batters they have faced... while inheriting 41 runners, the ASU bullpen has allowed only 15 runs to score... ASU's pinch-hitters are 17-for-43 (.395) in 2001... ASU is 4-2-1 when facing teams with better than a .500 record... when Casey Myers records a hit, ASU is 14-2-1... two of ASU's four losses have come when ace Jon Switzer started the game... three of ASU's four losses have come when recording more than 10 hits... when Jonah Martin leads off, ASU is 12-1.
Offensive Powerhouse ASU Tops In Scoring in NCAA Last Two Years: Arizona State has led the NCAA in scoring each of the last two years, averaging 11.32 runs per game in 1999 and 10.97 runs per game last year. ASU also led the nation in batting average with a team total of .356 in 1999. The Sun Devils .346 average in 2000 fell just percentage points shy of matching that feat a second year in a row, trailing Stony Brook by one point. ASU out-hit Stony Brook 738-500. During Pat Murphy's seven seasons in Tempe (375 Games), the Sun Devils have been a scoring machine with 3,576 runs, averaging 9.54 runs per game. 2001 has been no different scoring 11.05 runs per game and hitting .373 as a team.
Pat Murphy at ASU: Arizona's State has had only three coaches in its illustrious history. The latest to join the legacy is Pat Murphy who has enjoyed great success since arriving in Tempe six years ago in 1995. Murphy has guided ASU to a 247-127-1 (.660) and has posted an impressive 90-77 record in the tough Pac-10. ASU has advanced to postseason play in three of the six years under Murphy, including a 2nd place finish at the College World Series in 1998. With his 245 wins at ASU, Murphy has the third best winning percentage of Pac-10 coaches. Murphy is 10 wins shy of 100 career Pac-10 victories. Of all active Division I coaches, Murphy entered 2001 ranked 14th with a career .675 winning percentage.
Bobby Winkles Field: The Baseball Field at Packard Stadium was officially named Bobby Winkles Field last Saturday as part of a special weekend honoring ASU's first varsity baseball coach. Winkles Field was officially named during a special ceremony before Saturday's game with LSU. Around 90 of Winkles former players joined a sellout crowd at Packard Stadium to honor Winkles and his tremendous strides to put ASU baseball on the map. Winkles was ASU's first varsity coach, compiling an impeccable 524-173 record during his 13-year career at ASU. He guided the Sun Devils to three national championships (1965, 67,69) and tutored future major league greats Rick Monday, Reggie Jackson and Sal Bando. ASU is 2-1-1 on Winkles Field.
USF - ASU Rivalry Long Time In The Making: The series between the Sun Devils and the South Florida Bulls has been a long time in waiting... 23 years to be exact. The only time ASU and USF have ever met was back in 1979 when the Sun Devils defeated the Bulls in two games in Tampa, Fla. ASU won by scores of 6-1 and 3-2. The 1979 Sun Devils, coached by the legendary Jim Brock, finished with a 32-31 record in the schools first year as a Pac-10 school. ASU is now 24-31 all-time according to ASU records vs. schools from the state of Florida. ASU is now 3-0 vs. USF.
All-American Myers On An RBI Tear At The Plate: Senior All-American catcher Casey Myers is quickly reminding players why he is one of the best players in all of college baseball. A legitimate candidate for Player of the Year honors, Myers is hitting .443 with hits in 17 of ASU's 20 games. After having his 12-game hitting streak snapped vs. LSU (3/2), Myers is 10 for his last 20 (.500) with six RBI. The senior catcher has hits in 17 of ASU's 20 games this year, 16 of which have been multi-hit games. With an average of nearly 2.0 RBI per game in 2001, Myers already has 35 and is quickly approaching the school and Pac-10 career record. With 241 in his four-year career, he is just 43 short of breaking both records set by former Sun Devil Andrew Beinbrink. Dating back to the start of 2000, Myers is hitting .420 (137x326) with 132 RBI and 21 home runs in 79 combined games. Myers, who hit .412 last year and was a finalist for the National Player of the Year award. Behind the plate Myers has been instrumental in the success of the ASU pitching staff, calling all the pitches and helping the Sun Devil staff to a 3.86 team ERA. Myers has been on fire as of late with eight hits in his last 14 at-bats, including a career-high tying four hits vs. Oral Roberts. Myers needs 60 more RBI to rank among the top seven run-producers in college baseball history, a list that includes Robin Ventura, Joe Carter and Pete Incaviglia. Defensively, the 2000 Collegiate Baseball Defensive Player of the Year has also been solid, carrying a .995 fielding percentage into this weekend's action.
Myers And Rest Of the Devils Gain National Attention From Street & Smith's: Senior Casey Myers was recently named to the preseason Street & Smith's College Baseball All-Americas list. Myers, who was also a preseason All-American as selected by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball, has been one of the hottest hitters in all of college baseball with a .418 batting average (124x297) dating back to the beginning of last year. The Arizona State baseball team was selected fourth in the Street & Smith's Preseason College Baseball Rankings. Myers was also tabbed as a player to watch for 2001 by the Sporting News.
ASU To Play 1,000th Game At Packard Stadium Sunday: Arizona State is 2-1-1 on the newly named Bobby Winkles Field, but an amazing 773-223-1 (.776) at Packard Stadium. Such greats as Jim Brock, Bobby Winkles, Barry Bonds, Larry Gura, Floyd Bannister, Hubie Brooks, Reggie Jackson and Bob Horner all have their names honored on the outfield "Wall of Honor." Sunday's game against South Florida will mark a special occasion, marking the 1,000th career game at Packard Stadium. The stadium was made part through a gift from Guthrie and Peter Packard as a tribute to their late father William Guthrie Packard. The first game ever played at Packard Stadium was a 6-4 loss to USC on April 7, 1974.
Blame It On The Rain: Rain in Arizona, yeah, that's right, and it has put a damper on the 2001 baseball season so far. Record amounts of rain in the Southwest have forced three cancellations at Packard Stadium, with two more being cancelled when ASU traveled to Fullerton to play the Titans. ASU has already made up one game with St. Mary's (6-4, L) and have a make-up game with Cal State Fullerton scheduled for April 9. ASU is also looking into playing Oral Roberts when they go back to Oklahoma to play the Sooners in mid April.
Espo Is Back: Possibly the best news of the season for the Sun Devils is the fact the RHP Mike Esposito (Las Vegas) is back in the starting rotation. A reliever on strict pitch counts through much of the early season, Esposito made his return as a starter last Sunday vs. LSU. Although lasting only two innings and 54 pitches, Esposito left the game with the lead and looked strong. Recovering from successful Tommy John surgery, Esposito has thrown 7.0 innings for ASU, striking out seven and posting an ERA of 5.14. Esposito was a fifth-round draft pick by the Cincinnati Reds in 1999 and was ASU's opening day starter in 2000 before going down with the injury.
Previewing The Pac-10 Opener With Cal: With the Pac-10 opener a week away, the Sun Devils will make the trek to Berkeley, Calif., for the second straight year to take on the Bears. ASU will be defending its 2000 Pac-10 Championship as they posted a 17-7 record and won a tiebreaker with Stanford and UCLA for the outright Pac-10 crown. The Sun Devils are 3-0 in Pac-10 openers when playing Cal (since joining the Pac-10 in 1979) and are overall 11-11 in Pac-10 openers. ASU is 3-3 in Pac-10 openers and 90-77 overall in conference play under current head coach Pat Murphy. Since joining the Pac-10 in 1979 after leaving the WAC, ASU is 369-276 (.572) in league action, with six conference titles.
The Wild, Wild West, Jeremy West: Possibly the best surprise of 2001 so far has been the stellar play of true freshman first baseman/designated hitter Jeremy West. The product of Silverado High School in Las Vegas, Nev., West has recorded a hit in 15 of 19 games this year and after recording a career-high four hits vs. South Florida (3/9) is hitting .436 (24x56). West also leads the team with five home runs, three of which have come over the last four games, and is averaging one homer every 11.2 at-bats this year. The sweet-swinging West has been hot as of late, hitting .58 (10x17) over his last four games. The freshman had a career night against South Florida, going 4-for-5 with two singles, his second triple of the year and fifth homer of the year. He scored four runs and plated two more to bring his 2001 RBI total to 21. West has started six games at first base and seven as ASU's designated hitters.
Danger...Rod Allen On Deck: One of the hottest hitters in the Sun Devil lineup as of late has been freshman designated hitter Rod Allen. The product of Desert Vista High School in Phoenix, Allen has been on a tear with a 12-game hitting steak. Allen is hitting .386 with six doubles, one triple and one home run. Eight (8) of his 17 hits in 2001 have gone for extra bases. His two-run blast vs. Creighton (2/17) cleared both fences in left field and landed on Rio Salado Drive. The son of former major leaguer Rod Allen, Sr., who is also a broadcaster for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Allen hit .419 his senior year at Desert Vista while leading them to a state championship.
El Torrito, Andy Torres: He doesn't look like much and he doesn't dazzle you with fancy stuff, he just gets you out. ASU's latest addition to the roster is junior college transfer RHP Andy Torres. Torres, who came to ASU from East Los Angeles CC, had a stellar career on the mound at the JC level, capping his career with a 12-3 record, 2.11 ERA, one save and 113 strikeouts in 119.1 innings pitched. The 6-0, 165 Torres recorded a win in his ASU debut and has since tacked on five more to enter this weekend with a 6-1 record. With a fast and fluid motion, the quick-worker has managed a 3.48 ERA in his six outings, with five coming as starts. He has struck out 24 and walked only 12 this year and is coming off a stellar 6.1 inning outing in which he picked up his sixth win of the year Tuesday vs. Oral Roberts. Torres is one off the national lead in wins, with New Mexico State's Dan Bivian having a perfect 7-0 record in 2001. He is scheduled to start Sunday vs. South Florida.
As Cool As Friedberg: Senior LHP Drew Friedberg continues to get the job done out of the bullpen. The senior is part of a trio of three solid left-handed pitchers out of the ASU bullpen (Friedberg, Pezely, Kartler), Friedberg has been stellar out of the bullpen with a 1.02 ERA in 17.2 innings on the mound. Allowing only nine hits and two runs this year, Friedberg has struck out 21 in his seven outings. His best performances came vs. Cal State Fullerton (2/23), coming out of the bullpen to throw three shutout innings in picking up his first win in over a year, and vs. South Florida last night. Friedberg entered the game vs. the Bulls with no outs and the bases loaded, and pitched out of the jam. He went four strong in his outing, allowing only one hit and striking out four to improve to 2-0 on the season. The Middleton, Wisc., native has bounced between being a starter and reliever in his four-year ASU career, peaking when he threw a complete-game one hitter vs. Hawaii-Hilo to open his 1999 season. As a junior he was 1-0 with a respectable 4.00 ERA in 27.0 innings. He has been drafted twice in his career, most recently last year by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 29th round.