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No. 2/4 Baseball Looks To Continue Hot Start With Three-Game Series With Penn State
Courtesy: Sun Devil Athletics
Release: 02/26/2003
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Feb. 26, 2003

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    Probable Starting Rotation:
    Feb. 28 vs. Penn State, 7 p.m. MST
    PSU - Clayton Hamilton - RHP (2-8, 6.48 ERA)*
    ASU - Jered Liebeck - RHP (4-0, 2.25 ERA)

    Mar. 1 vs. Penn State, 1 p.m. MST
    PSU - Aaron Tressler - RHP (4-4, 6.41 ERA)*
    ASU - TBA (Vaughan/McClellan/Sopko)

    Mar. 2 vs. Penn State, 12 p.m. MST
    PSU - Josh Palm - RHP (2-5, 7.16 ERA)*
    ASU - Ben Thurmond - RHP (2-0, 1.80 ERA)
    * = 2002 Statistics

    The National Rankings:
    Arizona State (21-1) is ranked in all four national polls with its highest ranking of No. 2 by Sports Weekly/ESPN. ASU is also No. 4 in the Baseball America, NCBWA and Collegiate Baseball Polls The Sun Devils have now been ranked in the national polls for 63 consecutive polls.

    Media Exposure:
    The Sun Devils will have one of the three games this weekend broadcast live on NBC 1190. Vince Morotta and Bob Eger will call all the action of Friday's game vs. Penn State from Packard Stadium. The game will also be broadcast on the internet at www.thesundevils.com. The statistical GameTracker will be available for all three games over the weekend as well.

    What's On Tap:
    The Sun Devils (21-1) look to continue their second best start in school history and aim for the best start ever as they are only two wins short of the 1972 squad going 23-1 to start the year. ASU is on a current 12-game winning streak and is coming off a 4-0 week that included two wins against No. 11 Notre Dame. The Sun Devils host Penn State (0-0) this weekend to a three-game series at Packard Stadium. ASU has won 12 straight at Packard dating back to the end of the 2001 season and will be facing the Nittany Lions for the first time since 1973 when the two schools met in the opening game of the College World Series.

    Consecutive Games Scoring Streak Reaches 455:
    The Arizona State baseball program has now scored in an NCAA record 455 consecutive games dating back to the 1995 season. The Devils made history on April 7, 2001 when they scored at least one run in their 350th consecutive game. The Devils broke the 12-year-old NCAA record in a 5-1 loss to USC exactly six years to the day when they were last shut out. ASU was shut out 9-0 in that game on April 7, 1995 at Dedeaux Field. The one run scored in the 3-1 loss to Stanford (4/12/02) marked only the 13th time during the streak that ASU has scored only one run. Coastal Carolina previously held the NCAA record at 349 games set from 1983-1989. ASU also had a stretch of 278 games without being shut out from 1990 to 1994, meaning the program has only been shutout in three games dating back to the 1990 season. ASU is a combined 300-154-1 during the streak. Noteable pitchers the Devils have faced during the streak include Jeremy Guthrie (Stanford), Barry Zito (USC), Kirk Saarloos (CS Fullerton), Jason Young (Stanford), Ben Diggins (Arizona), Adam Johnson (CS Fullerton), Ryan Drese (Cal), Jeff Weaver (Fresno State), Chad Hutchinson (Stanford), Abe Alvarez and Adam Pettyjohn (Fresno State).

    Sun Devils Inch Towards Best Start in School History:
    With the four wins last week, ASU improved to 21-1 to open the season, establishing the program's best start to a season in 31 years since going 23-1 in 1972. ASU was also 17-1 in 1978 and 1988, but each time lost in the 19th game of the season. ASU also had a 19-1 start in 1964 when Bobby Winkles was the head coach, with 12 of those wins coming against schools that no longer have a baseball program. The 1972 club ended the season with an amazing 64-6 overall record, placed second in the College World Series and set a standing NCAA record for season winning percentage at .914. If ASU sweeps the series against Penn State the 2003 squad will eclipse that record.

    The Last Time vs. Penn State:
    Arizona State holds a 1-0 lead in the all-time series with Penn State. The last time the two teams met was in the 1973 College World Series in Omaha, Neb., when ASU defeated the Nittany Lions 3-1. All-American pitcher Jim Otten recorded the win in the game to improve to 14-1. ASU also Minnesota and Texas in the '73 CWS, but lost twice to eventual champion USC. ASU finished the 59-8 and placed second in the CWS in Jim Brock's second year at the helm of Sun Devil baseball.

    Sun Devils on 12-Game Win Streak:
    Arizona State started the year hot with a nine-game winning streak, but after a loss to nationally ranked Long Beach State has started an even hotter streak winning 12 straight. ASU has gone undefeated in the month of February and outscored its opponents 117-45. The 12-game win streak is the longest during the Pat Murphy era (previous was three separate 11-game streaks) and the longest by an ASU team since posting a 23-game winning streak in 1990. ASU is hitting .309 during the streak and the pitchers have caught fire with a combined 2.75 ERA with 79 strikeouts in 108.0 IP.

    30th Anniversary ASU's Only Perfect Game on Sunday:
    While Arizona State baseball has had several legendary pitching performances in its 92-year history, none are more memorable than the perfect game thrown by Eddie Bane in 1973. ASU will celebrate the 30th anniversary of this historic event this Sunday (Mar. 2), when they square off against Penn State. Bane recorded ASU's only perfect game in a 9-0 win over Cal State-Northridge. He struck out 19 batters and allowed only one fly ball to be hit out of the infield. The mark of 19 strikeouts is fourth best in ASU single-game history. In his career, Bane was 40-4 with a 1.64 ERA and ranks first in school history with 505 strikeouts. A first-round pick of the Minnesota Twins in 1973, Bane jumped right to the major leagues and made his first start on July 4, 1973. Bane will throw out the ceremonial first pitch Sunday.

    Pitching To Near Perfection:
    A big reason behind ASU's stellar 21-1 start is because of the Chris Sinacori led pitching staff. Through 22 games the pitchers have combined for a 3.40 ERA while striking out 169 and walking 74. On 11 different occasions the staff has combined to walk three or less batters, including not allowing a walk in two of the last seven contests (Gonzaga and Notre Dame). ASU's pitchers have also combined to strike out eight or more batters in 10 games and have posted double-digits in K's seven times. The starters are a combined 10-0 with a 2.41 ERA, while the relievers are 11-1 with four saves and a 4.45 ERA.

    West and Schroyer Sweep Pac-10 Weekly Awards:
    ASU juniors Ryan Schroyer and Jeremy West swept the Pac-10 Weekly Player of the Week honors after helping lead the Sun Devils to four wins last week. West hit .556 (5-for-9) with six runs scored, three home runs and 10 RBI to earn his third Pac-10 POW honors. He broke out versus the 11th-ranked Irish on Feb. 22, with three hits, six RBI, two home runs, including a grand slam, to help ASU defeat Notre Dame, 16-3. Schroyer pitched four scoreless innings out of the bullpen and recorded his fourth save of the year in ASU's 14-8 win over Notre Dame on Feb. 23. Now alone in sixth place in the ASU record books with 12 career saves, he has yet to allow an earned run on the year (0.00 ERA) in 13.1 innings and has recorded 18 strikeouts. The Player of the Week honor is the third for West in his career and the 67th selection all-time for ASU. The Pitcher of the Week is the first such honor for Schroyer, the 46th Sun Devil to earn the weekly recognition. Senior pitcher Jered Liebeck earned the honor earlier in the year after his complete-game, three-hit shutout of nationally ranked Long Beach State.

    Sun Devils Move Up To No. 2 in National Polls:
    Off its best start in 31 years at 21-1, ASU again moved up in the national polls from No. 4 to No. 2 in the Sports Weekly/ESPN coaches poll. ASU received 938 votes and 11 first-place votes in the poll. Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball and NCBWA also rank ASU No. 4. The No. 2 ranking is the highest since ending the 1998 season in the second spot in all the polls after placing second in the College World Series. ASU has been ranked for 63 consecutive national polls dating back to the start of the 2000 season. The Sun Devils entered the 2003 season ranked as high as No. 8 in the nation by Baseball America in the preseason collegiate polls. Arizona State also earned a preseason No. 9 ranking by Sports Weekly/ESPN, No .10 by NCBWA and No. 12 ranking by Collegiate Baseball. The No. 8 preseason ranking is the highest by an ASU squad since opening the 2001 season as the consensus No. 6 team in the nation.

    Attendance Marks Impressive at Packard Stadium:
    Arizona State is always in the national top 10 for attendance marks when playing at Packard Stadium and once again fans keep coming through the turnstile in 2003. In ASU's 10 home games this year, the Devils are averaging a home crowd of just under 3,000 (2,928) with a total of 29,287 fans attending the games. ASU's largest single-game crowd was the home season opener vs. San Diego State (3,972). ASU also had 10,043 attend the three-game series against San Diego State and 7,008 attend the two games against Notre Dame.

    Making The Most of Their Hits:
    Taking a closer look at the stat sheet, you will find that ASU has scored its 242 runs by way of only 268 hits. While the number seems low, ASU's ability to reach base by walk (151) and HBP (27) have led to a team on-base percentage of .458.

    The Jeff Larish Watch:
    Sophomore first baseman Jeff Larish has quickly put his name atop the list of college baseball players to watch in 2003. Larish has recorded at least one hit in 18 of ASU's 22 games this year and leads ASU's everyday players in hitting at .423 (30x71). He has a team-best 42 RBI (1.91 per game average) and leads the club with eight home runs. He also leads the Devils with 32 walks (1.45 per game) and has recorded eight doubles. He is coming off another solid weekend vs. Dayton and Notre Dame, hitting .400 (4x10) with six runs, two doubles, a grand slam home run and nine RBI. For the season he is slugging .859 and leads the team with 15 extra base hits. Larish, who was supposed to redshirt in 2002 but played midway through the season, has already surpassed his entire total of doubles, home runs and RBI from last year when he played in 34 games. Drafted in the 32nd round in 2001 by the Chicago Cubs, Larish etched his named in the ASU record books with a memorable game in the series finale vs. San Diego State (1/26). In what turned out to be a 24-9 ASU route, Larish was 3-for-4 and tied the school single-game record with nine RBI. He had a two-run single in the first inning, a two-run home run in the third, a grand slam homer in the fourth and tied the 13-year-old school record by walking with the bases loaded in the eighth.

    Two Out Rallies:
    Over the last two years the Sun Devils have had a flare for scoring runs with two outs. In 2002 the Devils scored 232 of their 450 total runs (52%) with two outs. ASU is back at it again in 2003 scoring 107 of their 242 runs (44%) after two outs have been recorded. During the season-high nine-run sixth inning that led to ASU's 14-8 come-from-behind victory over Notre Dame (2/23), all nine runs came with two outs after a full-count walk to Jeff Larish.

    Home Run Notes:
    Through the first 22 games of the season the Devils have scored 442 runs, much in part to hitting 31 home runs. ASU has hit 19 home runs at Packard Stadium and 12 in its 12 road or neutral site games. Of the 10 games played at Packard Stadium the Devils have hit at least one home run in nine games. A total of 11 different players have hit at least one home run and six players have two or more home runs, with sophomore Jeff Larish leading the way with eight. The Devils have homered in 16 of their 22 games, including nine multi-home run games. In comparison, the 2002 Devils hit only 38 home runs all season long and it took until May 12 to hit No. 31 (Gm. 46). With grand slams by Jeff Larish and Jeremy West against Notre Dame (2/22), the Devils now have six on the season with Larish (2), Steve Garrabrants (2), Jeremy West and freshman Ryan Bosch all leaving the yard with the bases loaded. ASU had only one grand slam in 2002 and four in 2001. After Larish's eight HR, junior Jeremy West is second with seven (three in last two games) and Garrabrants has four. The 31 home runs have resulted in 71 runs (29% of entire team run total).

    Murphy Records Milestone Win No. 700:
    Arizona State head coach Pat Murphy notched his 700th career coaching victory with a 14-8 win over Notre Dame (2/23). In his 19 years in college baseball, Murphy now has a 700-336-4 overall record and a career 327-165-1 record in his nine years at Arizona State. The 1998 Baseball America Coach of the Year has led ASU to the NCAA tournament in five of the last six years.

    Home Sweet Home:
    ASU returns to Packard Stadium in 2003 after playing in Mesa (Hohokam Park) in 2002. The Devils are two wins short of recording the 800th victory at Packard Stadium and have an all-time 798-228-1 dating back to 1974. ASU will play 40 of its 62 games in the state of Arizona and 37 at Packard Stadium this year. After playing nine of its first 12 games on the road, the Devils will spend the entire months of February and March in the state of Arizona with only three games away from Packard Stadium at the new spring training facility of the Texas Rangers/Kansas City Royals in Surprise. The Devils will play their next 15 games at Packard Stadium, including a Pac-10 opening series to end the stretch against nationally ranked Stanford (Mar. 22-24). After going 29-10 in designated home games last year, the Devils now have a combined 143-43-1 (.764) home record in the last five years dating back to 1998. Dating back to the end of the 2001 season, ASU has won 14 straight at Packard Stadium.

    Arizona State in Home Games (1998-2003):
    2003:	10-0
    2002:	29-10
    2001:	25-9-1
    2000: 	33-8
    1999:	27-7
    1998:	19-9
    Total:	143-43-1
    
    Buck and Bosch Among Fab 50 Freshmen:
    ASU's freshman outfield tandem of Travis Buck and Ryan Bosch has both been tabbed as part of Baseball America's Freshman Fab 50. Buck, a 23rd round draft choice of the Seattle Mariners last June, is ranked No. 25 on the list. Buck has started 21 of ASU's 22 games and is fourth on the team in hitting (.384-1-13). Bosch, ranked No. 41, has started 12 games in center field and is hitting .200 with 11 hits, one home run and 12 RBI.

    ASU Continuing To Mix Things Up:
    After mixing and matching for 41 different starting batting lineups in 58 games last year, head coach Pat Murphy continues to keep the lineup fresh in 2003. Through the first 22 games of the season the Devils have mixed and matched for 21 different batting lineups and 15 different positional lineups.

    Pedroia Leads The Way With 14 Multi-Hit Games:
    Sophomore shortstop Dustin Pedroia has been the spark plug to ASU's early season success and 21-1 start. One of only three players to start all 22 games, Pedroia is second on the team in hitting at .419 (39x93) and leads the team with 39 hits and 10 doubles. He has also recorded 14 multi-hit games to pace the ASU offense and has ignited several ASU scoring rallies as is evident by his .400 average as a leadoff hitter (inning and game). Pedroia went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts in ASU's 4-2 win over LBSU (2/2) to have his career-long 22-game hitting streak come to a halt. The streak, which spanned 11 games each at the end of 2002 and 11 games to begin 2003, fell just two games off the top six in ASU Baseball history. It is the longest streak since current Houston Astros prospect Brooks Conrad had a 21-game streak in 2000. During the streak Pedroia combined to hit .390 (41x105). Dating back to the end of the 2002 season, Pedroia has a hit in 32 of his last 33 games, including hits in all but one game this year In his two years as a Sun Devil he already has 121 hits, 23 of which are doubles, and he has never missed a start in 80 consecutive games. He is coming off a solid week in which he hit .529 (9x17) with six runs and three RBI. He has a current 10-game hitting streak and has not made an error during ASU's 12-game winning streak.

    Schroyer Ranks Sixth in ASU History With 12 Career Saves:
    Junior closer Ryan Schroyer has been all but unstoppable in 2003 out of the bullpen. The hard-throwing right-hander is 3-0 with four saves this year and has a 0.00 ERA not allowing an earned run to score in his 13.1 innings pitched. The preseason All-American has scattered 10 hits in his 10 outings and has struck out 18 batters. His longest outing of the year came with a three-innings save against Notre Dame (2/23) where he allowed only three hits and struck out three The save moved him into sixth place in the ASU career record books with 12. After recording eight (8) as the league's top pitcher (2.37 ERA) in 2002, Schroyer is looking to continue to move up the charts. Here is a look at ASU's top save leaders in school history:

    ASU's Career Saves Leaders:
    1.	Doug Nurnberg, 1965-67 -- 25
    2.	Kevin Dukes, 1978-81 -- 20
    3.	Noah Peery, 1993-94 -- 17
    4.	Ryan Bradley, 1995-97 -- 16
    5.	Dave Graybill, 1982-84 -- 13
    6.	Ryan Schroyer, 2001-P -- 12
    7.	Mitch Dean, 1976-80 --11
    8.	Eric Doble, 1999-2001 -- 10
    
    Larish, Pedroia and Schroyer on Player of the Year Watch List.
    Sophomores Jeff Larish and Dustin Pedroia, and junior Ryan Schroyer have been named to the Rotary Smith Award's preliminary watch list for the annual player of the year award. Amongst the 130 Division 1 college baseball players to be selected to the initial list, the ASU trio is in contention for the prestigious award that is celebrating its 16th year of honoring the nation's finest collegiate baseball player. The only Sun Devil to ever win the Smith Award was Mike Kelly in 1990. The Smith Award is conducted by the Rotary Club of Houston and benefits several charities, including the Texas Children's Hospital and the Karl Young League.

    Liebeck Sweeps Pac-10 and National Pitcher of the Week Honors:
    Senior RHP Jered Liebeck swept the national and Pac-10 awards (Feb. 4) after throwing a complete-game, three-hit shutout against the No. 13 Long Beach State 49ers. Liebeck struck out two and did not allow a hit past the fifth inning to improve to 2-0. He allowed only one runner reach second base and until issuing his first walk of the game in the ninth inning, had retired 10 straight LBSU batters down the stretch. The complete-game shutout (9.0 IP) was the first by a Sun Devil since Drew Friedberg one-hit Hawaii-Hilo in 1999. He was named the Collegiate Baseball and NCBWA National Pitcher of the Week and became the 45th ASU pitcher to earn Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week acclaim. For the season Liebeck leads ASU with a 4-0 record with a 2.25 ERA in his six starts.

    Dueling Catchers:
    If there is one thing better than a hot hitting catcher, then it is two hot hitting catchers. A year after exhausting efforts landed ASU with a fourth-string catcher who turned out to be a future professional baseball player (Cesar Castillo), the Devils have only one tough decision to make... which catcher to go with. Sophomores Tuffy Gosewisch and Joel Bocchi have combined to hit .367 (29x79) with 26 RBI. Bocchi has started 14 games and is hitting .390 with two home runs. Gosewisch has started the remaining eight games and is hitting .343 with 11 RBI.

    A Tough Schedule Ahead For ASU Baseball:
    The Sun Devils 2003 schedule will once again be one of the toughest in the nation, which includes 11 teams that are listed on Baseball America's Preseason Top 50. The 62-game regular-season schedule also features 25 games against nine teams that advance to the NCAA Tournament a year ago. In the current stretch of 25 straight games in the state of Arizona, ASU will host Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Wichita State, Notre Dame and Stanford. In late March, the Devils will endure a stretch of eight games in 11 days against the likes of Oklahoma (3 games), Wichita State (2 games) and Pac-10 foe Stanford (3 games). ASU has already gone 5-1 against teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament last year and is 4-1 against ranked opponents.

    Up Next For the Sun Devils:
    Arizona State will remain at home for most of the month of March, next hosting the annual Bob Schaefer Memorial Tournament with Utah, Southern Utah and Cal State Northridge visiting Packard Stadium (Mar. 6-9). ASU will play two games against CSUN, then single contests with Utah and Southern Utah in the tournament.

    Beau Vaughan Is No Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughan:
    Senior transfer Beau Vaughan (New Orleans) comes out to the song "Wild Thing" in home games, but has proven he is anything but wild in his nine appearances thus far as a Sun Devil. He wasted little time putting his name in the ASU record books during his opening weekend as a Sun Devil. Vaughan struck out the side in his first appearance in a 9-0 win over UHH (1/16) and then came back the next day to strike out nine batters in 4.2 innings to pick up his first win (1/17). During his nine-strikeout effort, Vaughan struck out eight consecutive batters from the third through fifth innings to ranks as the second most consecutive K's in ASU single-game history. In 27.0 innings of work Vaughan has struck out at team-high 33 batters and is 3-1 with a 3.67 ERA. Vaughan also set a high for ASU's starting pitchers when he struck out eight in five innings against Oklahoma State (2/15) in his first start as a Sun Devil. In his two starts, Vaughan is 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA.

    Four Sun Devils Earn Preseason All-American Honors:
    Four Sun Devils enter the 2003 season with preseason All-America honors. Junior pitcher Ryan Schroyer, who led the Pac-10 with a 2.37 ERA and eight saves as a sophomore in 2002, was a second-team selection by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and a third-team pick by Collegiate Baseball. Junior right fielder Andre Ethier is coming off a solid rookie campaign in which he hit .363 and enters the season as a third-team preseason All-American as selected by the NCBWA. Junior catcher/designated hitter Jeremy West was also a third-team pick by Collegiate Baseball and junior outfielder Rodney Allen was a third-team selection by Baseball America. The Devils also feature 2002 USA Baseball National Team member Dustin Pedroia and 2001 All-American pitcher Ben Thurmond, who transferred from Winthrop.

    ASU Traditionally Hot in January and February:
    As tradition would have it, the Devils are usually a fast-starting team. Dating back to the start of varsity baseball in 1959, ASU is a combined 67-7 in the month of January (9-1 in 2003) and 377-139 in the month of February (12-0 in 2003). ASU head coach Pat Murphy has also enjoyed great success in the early months of the season, combining to go 40-4 in January in his nine seasons at the helm of the Sun Devil program.

    Murphy's Teams Know How To Score:
    A true icon of the Pat Murphy system is scoring runs. The Sun Devils have done plenty of that since he arrived in 1995. ASU has led the NCAA in scoring in two of the last five years, averaging 11.32 runs per game in 1999 and 10.97 runs per game in 2000. The Devils paced the Pac-10 in 2001, hitting at a .327 clip and averaging 8.26 runs per game to rank 17th in the nation. ASU also led the nation in batting average with a team total of .356 in 1999 and fell just percentage points shy of matching that feat a second year in a row in 2000 with a .346 mark, trailing Stony Brook by one point. During Pat Murphy's nine seasons at ASU, the Sun Devils have been a scoring machine with 4,541 runs in 493 games, averaging 9.21 runs per game and hitting at an overall .329 clip. Below is an offensive team breakdown of Murphy's ASU teams:

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