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No. 4 Baseball Returns Home For Three-Game Series With UCLA Bruins
Courtesy: Sun Devil Athletics
Release: 04/16/2003
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April 16, 2003

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  • Baseball America Top 25
  • Sports Weekly/ESPN Top 25
  • Collegiate Baseball Top 30

    Probable Starting Rotation:
    Apr. 17 vs. UCLA, 7 p.m.
    UCLA - Mike Kunes, LHP (4-1, 5.40 ERA)
    ASU - Erik Averill, LHP (7-0, 2.75 ERA)

    Apr. 18 vs. UCLA, 7 p.m.
    UCLA - Wes Whisler, LHP (3-5, 5.40 ERA)
    ASU - Robbie McClellan, RHP (5-0, 3.79 ERA)

    Apr. 19 vs. UCLA, 1 p.m.
    UCLA - Casey Janssen, RHP (3-4, 6.04 ERA)
    ASU - Ben Thurmond, RHP (3-0, 2.91 ERA)

    The Rankings:
    Arizona State (38-7) is ranked in all three national polls and is the No. 4 team in the nation by Sports Weekly/ESPN and also ranked No. 6 by both Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball. ASU has been in the national top 10 all season including spending two weeks at No. 1 (SW). The Sun Devils have now been ranked in the national polls for 70 consecutive polls. UCLA (17-23) is not ranked in any of the current polls.

    Media Exposure:
    The ASU-UCLA three-game series will be carried over the radio on NBC 1190 AM. Tim Healey and Bob Eger will call the three-game series from the Packard Stadium press box. The games will also be available on the world wide web at www.TheSunDevils.com. The statistical GameTracker will also return for all three games this weekend. Two of the games will also be televised this weekend. Friday's game will air on a tape-delay basis Sunday on Fox Sports Net with Barry Tomkins and Jerry Kindall calling all the action. Saturday's game will feature a live broadcast on AZ-TV with George Allen and Doug Gerlach handling the play-by-play duties.

    What's On Tap:
    The Sun Devils (38-7, 6-3) face a crucial Pac-10 series this weekend at home against the UCLA Bruins. ASU is coming off a three-game sweep of the California Golden Bears on the road last weekend and will be looking to gain ground on first-place Stanford (7-2). The Devils lead the Pac-10 in hitting (.345) and pitching (3.32) heading into the series. Sophomore shortstop Dustin Pedroia leads the Pac-10 with 25 doubles and is third in hitting at .418. Senior Jered Liebeck and freshman Erik Averill are tied for the league lead with seven wins each. ASU has won seven of its last nine games against UCLA.

    Consecutive Games Scoring Streak Reaches 478:
    The Arizona State baseball program has now scored in an NCAA record 478 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 Devils recently celebrated the eighth anniversary of the start of the streak with a 10-2 win over Grand Canyon on April 7. The one run scored in the 3-1 loss to Stanford (4/12/02) marked only the 12th 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 317-160-1 during the streak. Notable 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).

    Poll Mechanics:
    With a current four-game winning streak and having won five of its last six games, Arizona State remained in the top 10 in all three national polls and is ranked No. 4 by Sports Weekly/ESPN, No. 6 by Baseball America and No. 6 by Collegiate Baseball polls. Ranked as high as No. 8 in the preseason polls, the have spent virtually the entire season in the top 10 and for two weeks manned the top spot in two of the three national rakings, marking the first time being No. 1 since heading into the 1993 College World Series. ASU has been ranked for 70 consecutive national polls dating back to the start of the 2000 season. ASU 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.

    Pitching and Defense Dominate in Cal Series:
    The pitching staff dominated the California Golden Bears over the weekend combining to give up only four runs (three earned) and tallied an 1.00 ERA in the series. The four runs given up are the lowest combined total in a three-game conference series during ASU's 25-year history in the Pac-10. In Sunday's doubleheader the Devils allowed only one run in 18 innings and outscored the Bears 16-1. Giving up the only run of the second game in the seventh inning, ASU nearly recorded its first back-to-back shutouts in Pac-10 play. The four runs given up in a three-game Pac-10 series are the least dating back to giving up seven runs in three-game sweep vs. Cal in 1993 (11-1, 11-4, 11-2). The lowest number of runs given up in a three-game Pac-10 series before the Cal series was five runs vs. USC (4/16-18) during the national championship 1981 season. Behind every good pitching note is an even better defensive stat. ASU turned six double plays (two in each game) during the series and committed only two errors. Solid defense from the outfield also included an outfield assist from right fielder Andre Ethier to gun down a potential run at the plate.

    Four Sun Devils Bring Home Midseason Honors:
    Four Sun Devils earned mention in Baseball America's midseason review. Freshmen Travis Buck (OF) and Erik Averill (LHP) both were named to the midseason All-America freshman team, while sophomores Dustin Pedroia (SS) and Jeff Larish (DH) were picked for their respective class. Here is what BA had to say about Larish being named the "Biggest Surprise of the First Half of the Season":

    "Larish slowed down a bit after a torrid start to the 2003 season. He came down with back spasms in mid-March and missed a couple of games, but few college players have ever put together a better half season than Larish, a sophomore who was supposed to redshirt last year but was pressed into the lineup at midseason and hasn't stopped hitting. A left-handed hitter, he was batting .372-13-64. He had driven in all those runs in just 38 games despite drawing 51 walks, and his .551 on-base percentage probably has Athletics general manager Billy Beane drooling for the '04 draft."

    Last Year vs. UCLA:
    The Sun Devils took two of three last year in the three-game series held at Jackie Robinson Stadium April 12-14. ASU won the opener 4-3 in 11 innings behind four innings of one-hit ball from Ryan Schroyer. After losing the second game 10-2, the Devils rebounded for a 15-2 victory in the series finale. Steve Garrabrants provided the big blow in the win with a bases loaded triple as part of a four-run second inning. For the series Garrabrants hit .385 (5-for-13) and Rod Allen went 3-for-8 (.375). On the mound Schroyer (1-0, 0.00 ERA) and Robbie McClellan (1-0, 2.25 ERA) recorded the wins.

    The Averill Brothers:
    The weekend series between the Sun Devils and Bruins will feature more than a Pac-10 rivalry, as the Averill brothers (Brandon - UCLA and Erik - ASU) will face off for the first time at the collegiate level. Erik is having a banner freshman season leading the Pac-10 in wins with seven (7-0) and is second with a 2.75 ERA. Brandon is also having a solid junior season for the Burins hitting .275 with six home runs and 20 RBI. The brothers played together at Villa Park High School in Orange, Calif., combining to win the 2000 CIF State Championship. They are the sons of Don and Gale Averill who have spent a majority of the season splitting time between ASU and UCLA games.

    Last Time vs. UCLA at Packard Stadium:
    UCLA makes a return trip to Packard Stadium after playing in Tempe in both 2000 and 2001. ASU took two of three in both series', winning the first and third games each time. ASU has won the seven of the last nine games in the all-time series and has won 12 of the 18 games against UCLA played at Packard Stadium dating back to 1995.

    Sun Devils Record Best Start in School History:
    Arizona State's 28-1 start to the season goes down in the record books as the best start in school history. The 28-1 record includes an 11-game winning streak to start the season before a loss at nationally ranked Long Beach State (Jan. 31) and a 19-game win streak up until suffering a 6-5 loss to Oklahoma (3/14). During the 28-1 start to the season ASU's pitchers posted an impressive 3.11 ERA and the hitters combined for a .360 team batting average.

    Home Run Notes:
    Through 45 games of the 2003 season the Sun Devils have already surpassed their entire season total from 2002 with 49 home runs. ASU has hit 33 of those home runs at Packard Stadium and 16 in its 18 road or neutral site games. Of the 27 games played at Packard Stadium the Devils have hit at least one home run in 18 games. A total of 12 different players have hit at least one home run and eight players have two or more home runs. Sophomore Jeff Larish leads the way with 13 round-trippers, including three grand slams. The Devils have homered in 27 of their 45 games, including 16 multi-home run games. The Devils also have nine grand slams on the season with Larish (3), Steve Garrabrants (2), Jeremy West, Rod Allen and freshmen Ryan Bosch and Travis Buck all leaving the yard with the bases loaded. ASU had only one grand slam in 2002 and four in 2001. ASU's home run breakdown includes 12 solo shots, 17 two-run homers, 11 three-run home runs and nine grand slams.

    Pedroia On Fire at the Plate:
    Sophomore shortstop Dustin Pedroia (Woodland, Calif.) has been the spark plug to ASU's early season success and an integral part to ASU's 38-7 record. ASU's only player to play and start in all 45 games, Pedroia is third in the Pac-10 in hitting at .418 (79x189) with 25 doubles and 34 RBI. He is first in the Pac-10 in hits (79), doubles (25) and total bases (115) and leads ASU with 29 extra base hits. He has also recorded 28 multi-hit games to pace the ASU offense and has ignited several ASU scoring rallies as is evident by his .506 (41x81) average as a leadoff hitter (inning and game). In a rare performance, 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). He also recently had a 17-game and 13-game hitting streaks come to an end. Pedroia now has a hit in 53 of his last 56 games, including hits in all but three games this year (42 of 45). In his two years as a Sun Devil he already has 161 hits, 37 of which are doubles, and has never missed a start in 103 consecutive games. In the field Pedroia has also been the rock to ASU's solid .971 team fielding percentage. The slick fielding shortstop has committed eight errors in 207 total chances for a .961 fielding percentage.

    Pedroia Going For School and Pac-10 Doubles Record:
    With his two-run double in vs. Cal in the second game of Sunday's doubleheader, Pedroia notched his 25th double of the season. He is now just five off the school record of 30 set by Chris Bando in 1978 and six off the Pac-10 record of 31 set by Washington State's Mike Kinkade in 1994. Pedroia is ranked third in the NCAA with his average of 0.56 doubles per game.

    Single Season Doubles:
    1.	Chris Bando, 1978	30
    2.	Antone Williamson, 1993	29
    	Steve Willis, 1988	29
    4.	Clay Westlake, 1976	26
    5.	Dustin Pedroia, 2003	25
    
    Pedroia Named To Initial Watch List For Golden Spikes Award:
    Arizona State sophomore shortstop Dustin Pedroia was included among 25 players named to the initial watch list for the 2003 Golden Spikes Award, given annually to the nation's top amateur baseball player. Pedroia (Woodland, Calif.) is having a banner year leading the team hitting .418 (79-for-189) while also leading the Pac-10 with 25 doubles, 115 total bases and 79 hits. The 2002 Team USA member was one of only two Pac-10 players to be named to the initial watch list (Carlos Quentin, Stanford). Five finalists will be announced in June, with the winner being revealed in July. Arizona State sophomore first baseman Jeff Larish is also among 175 players around the nation that remain in contention for the prestigious award. Arizona State has a long tradition of Golden Spikes Award winners as three past Sun Devils have won the award. Bob Horner (1978), Oddibe McDowell (1984) and Mike Kelly (1991) have all won the award. Only Florida State and Cal State Fullerton have matched ASU's legacy also with three winners of the annual Golden Spikes Award.

    The Jeff Larish Watch:
    Sophomore first baseman Jeff Larish has quickly put his name atop the list of as a top candidate for national player of the year and the Golden Spikes Award in 2003. Larish is hitting .378 (54-for-143) with 13 home runs, 11 doubles and leads the conference with 67 RBI. Larish has recorded at least one hit in 34 of 42 games and one RBI in 32 of 42 games this year. He also leads the conference with 54 walks (1.29 per game) and has an unbelievable on-base percentage of .546. For the season he is slugging .755 (fourth in Pac-10) and is second on the team with 26 extra base hits. He had connected on three grand slams this year, already tying the single-season school record set by Dave Hudgens in 1977. In addition, he is batting .667 (12x18) with the bases loaded and leads the team with 25 two-out RBI. Larish, who was supposed to redshirt in 2002 but played midway through the season, hit .328 with three home runs in 34 games last year. 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 then tied the 13-year-old school record (Tommy Adams) by walking with the bases loaded in the eighth.

    Freshman Lefty Leads Pac-10 in ERA:
    Freshman left-handed pitcher Erik Averill wasted little time showing he belonged at the college level after he opened his career with seven and a third innings of no-hit baseball. Since that debut vs. Hawaii-Hilo, Averill has not disappointed. He is tied for the Pac-10 lead with seven wins and is second with a 2.75 ERA.

    Freshman Records About To Go Down:
    Freshman Travis Buck and Erik Averill are making a serious dent in the ASU freshman record books despite there being 17 games left in the regular season. Averill is already tied for ninth with his six wins, fourth in ERA (2.75), and only one strikeout off the top 10. Buck is ranked ninth with 60 hits, eighth with 11 doubles and fifth with 44 runs scored.

    Liebeck Making Most of Senior Season:
    Senior right-handed pitcher Jered Liebeck is making the most of his senior season turning into one of ASU's go-to pitchers in crucial game situations. Liebeck leads the Pac-10 with a 2.54 ERA after throwing six shutout innings in his 11th start of the year last weekend vs. Cal. He is also tied for the league lead with seven wins and has struck out 36 in 56.2 innings. He earned national and Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honors early in the season (2/3) when he threw a complete-game three-hit shutout against Long Beach State.

    2,300 In The Books:
    With the series sweep of California last weekend ASU notched win No. 2,300 since baseball start in 1907. ASU is now 2,301-1,122-6 in its 92nd year of baseball competition.

    Senior Dennis Wyrick Lights Up Pac-10 Pitching:
    Senior 3B Dennis Wyrick is ASU's hottest hitter at the plate going 27-for-74 (.365) in his last 19 games. Wyrick is sixth on the team in hitting at .360 overall, going 41-for-114 with 27 runs scored, five doubles and 22 RBI in 38 games (24 starts). Wyrick has a hit in 15 of his last 19 games, including five three-hit games. Wyrick has had great success in his career in Pac-10 play hitting .366 (70-for-191) with 39 runs scored and 30 RBI in 56 career league games. Returning to his native Southern California two weeks ago against USC, Wyrick an 0-for-15 career slump vs. the Trojans by going 5-for-16 in the series.

    Travis Buck Hits For The Cycle:
    Freshman outfielder Travis Buck went 5-for-5 with even RBI and hit for the cycle in ASU's 19-0 win over Southern Utah (3/7). He became only the seventh Sun Devil in recorded history to record the elusive cycle and became the first freshman in Pac-10 history to hit for the cycle. Buck capped his perfect night with a grand slam home run as part of an eight-run sixth inning to become ASU's first player to hit for the cycle since Mitch Jones on May 21, 2000 at Arizona. Buck, ASU's normal starting left fielder who was making only his second start in right field, had a single in the first, a double in the third and a triple in the fifth before connecting on his second home run of the year for the cycle. He also added a run-scoring single in the fourth and tied a career high with two stolen bases. For the season Buck, who was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week after going 8-for-11 (.727) vs. USC, is hitting .380 (60-for-158) with 11 doubles and two home runs. Below is a list of ASU player who have hit for the cycle:

    Travis Buck	March 7, 2003 vs. Southern Utah
    Mitch Jones	May 21, 2000 vs. Arizona
    Dan McKinley	April 1, 1997 vs. Grand Canyon
    Antone Williamson	May 27, 1993 vs. George Mason
    Kevin Higgins	May 1, 1988 vs. UCLA
    Todd Brown	March 18, 1984 vs. USC
    Paul Ray Powell	March 21, 1969 vs. Michigan
    
    Schroyer Ranks Fifth in ASU History With 14 Career Saves:
    Junior closer Ryan Schroyer has been all but unstoppable in 2003 out of the bullpen. The hard-throwing right-hander is 4-2 with seven saves this year and has a 0.98 ERA allowing only three earned runs to score in his 27.2 innings pitched. The preseason All-American has scattered 26 hits in his 20 outings and has struck out 29 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. He also gave up only two hits in three innings to record his fourth win of the year in ASU's 7-6 win over Stanford in 11 innings. He added his sixth save of the year by striking out the side in the ninth vs. Utah (3/8) to preserve ASU's 6-4 come-from-behind win. The save over USC (3/30) moved him into fifth place in the ASU career record books with his 14th career save. Including his summer All-American season with the NBC World Series Champion Alaska Goldpanners, Schroyer is 5-2 with 14 saves in his last 45.2 IP (64 K's). 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.	Ryan Schroyer, 2001-P	15
    
    Pitching To Near Perfection:
    A big reason behind ASU's stellar 38-7 season is because of the Chris Sinacori led pitching staff. Through 45 games the pitchers have combined for a Pac-10 best 3.32 ERA while striking out 357 and walking 149. On 23 different occasions the staff has combined to walk three or less batters, including not allowing a walk in three games, most recently in a 10-2 win over Grand Canyon. ASU's pitchers have also combined to strike out eight or more batters in 24 games, including a season-high 16 vs. Utah (3/8). The starters have been especially hot, combining to go 20-2 with a 3.14 ERA, while the relievers are 18-5 with seven saves and a 3.50 ERA. Seniors Jered Liebeck and freshman lefty Erik Averill lead the team with seven wins each. After shutting down the Cal offense last week allowing only four runs, ASU is now ranked 19th nationally with the 3.32 ERA.

    Sun Devils Hot at the Plate:
    The Sun Devils are leading the Pac-10 in hitting with a team .345 batting average. ASU has recorded 10 or more hits in 33 of its 45 games and is averaging 12.24 hits per game. The Devils also lead the conference in runs scored with 446 and are fourth in the nation averaging 9.9 runs per game. Dustin Pedroia leads the team in hitting at .418 (79x189) and sophomore first baseman Jeff Larish leads the team with 67 RBI and 13 home runs. ASU has already hit 49 home runs, already surpassing the entire season total of 38 hit in 58 games in 2002. As a team ASU has combined to record 154 multi-hit games (led by the 28 from Pedroia) and 96 multi-RBI contests (led by the 13 from Larish).

    Double Vision:
    ASU has recorded a Pac-10 best 113 doubles on the year (2.5 per game average). Sophomore shortstop Dustin Pedroia leads the team and Pac-10 with 25 and Steve Garrabrants is tied for fifth with 14. The team record for doubles in a season is 185 set in 1988, while the individual season record is 30 set by Chris Bando in 1978.

    Catching Position Split Down The Middle:
    The catching battled between sophomores Tuffy Gosewisch and Joel Bocchi has been about as even as possible. Both have recorded 22 starts and their hitting statistics are nearly identical. Gosewisch has started seven of the last nine games and is hitting .316 (25-for-79) with 21 RBI. Bocchi started the season on a tear hitting over .400 until the Notre Dame series, but has cooled off as of late to bring his season average down to .342 (25-for-73) with two home runs and 20 RBI.

    Not a Bad To Have Him on the Bench:
    When Jeff Larish went down with back spasms, inserting Mike Guerrero into the lineup was not a hard decision to make. Guerrero, a junior who transferred to ASU in 2001 and redshirted last year, responded by hitting .375 (6-for-16) with six doubles with Larish out of the lineup. For the season Guerrero is second on the team in batting at .393 (24-for-61) with 11 doubles, two triples, two home runs and 19 RBI.

    Multi-Hit Madness:
    Led by the 28 from Dustin Pedroia, seven different Sun Devils have 10 or more multi-hit games to their credit this year. Amazingly, Pedroia has recorded 21 two-hit games, five three-hit contests and two four-hit affairs for his 28 multi-hit games. Jeff Larish (16), Steve Garrabrants (16), Travis Buck (15), Andre Ethier (14), Dennis Wyrick (10) and Tuffy Gosewisch (10) all have 10 or more multi-hit games. Last year seven Sun Devils finished the season with 10 or more multi-hit games, led by the 27 from Pedroia.

    The Big Inning:
    The Sun Devils have been a scoring machine this year ranking third in the nation averaging 9.9 runs per game this year. ASU has also proven to be an explosive team at the plate, recording 110 big innings (2 or more runs). The team has also recorded 25 innings when they score five or more runs. ASU's biggest run production in a single frame has been nine runs on two different occasions, most recently with a two-out rally in the 14-8 win over Notre Dame (2/23).

    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 27 home games this year, the Devils are averaging a home crowd of just under 3,000 (2,894) with a total of 74,219 fans attending the games. ASU's largest single-game crowd was the series opener vs. Oklahoma (4,155). The home season opener vs. San Diego State also had a good crowd drawing 3,972 fans. ASU also had 10,043 attend the three-game series against San Diego State and 7,008 attend the two games against Notre Dame. The Oklahoma three-game series had a total of 10,861 fans for the three-game set, while the largest three-game crowd was established last weekend vs. Stanford with 10,889 turning out for the series.

    The Grand Salami:
    After hitting only one grand slam all of last year, the Sun Devils have gone on a binge this year hitting nine in their first 45 games. Sophomore first baseman Jeff Larish has already tied the single-season school record with three slams (Dave Hudgens, 1977) and junior second baseman Steve Garrabrants has two. Ryan Bosch, Travis Buck, Rod Allen and Jeremy West each have one. The NCAA record for grand slams in a season by a team is 12 set by Oklahoma State in 1995. ASU has been clutch in 2003 with the bases loaded hitting at a combined clip of .398 (49-for-123). Larish leads the team hitting .667 (12-for-18) with the sacks full.

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