April 28, 2009
TEMPE, Ariz. -
Leading Off: Arizona State closes out their three-city, seven-game road trip by visiting Tucson for a non-conference tilt with Arizona on Wednesday before heading to Corvallis, Oregon for a three-game Pac-10 series with Oregon State. The Devils beat Hawai'i last Tuesday before taking two out of three from the California Golden Bears at Evans Diamond. It was ASU's first series win in Berkeley since 2003.
Devils vs. Wildcats: Arizona State holds a 176-114 edge over Arizona since ASU began varsity baseball in 1959. The Devils swept the three-game Pac-10 series from the Wildcats in March.
Devils vs. Beavers: The Sun Devils hold a 37-19 edge over the Beavers. Arizona State won the non-conference meeting in February 6-3 in the DeMarini Invitational.
Elite Company: With his victory on April 24 at Cal, Mike Leake recorded his 10th victory of the season, giving him 10+ wins in three straight years. Leake becomes only the second pitcher in Arizona State Baseball history to accomplish that feat, joining Eddie Bane, who did it from 1971 to 1973. Leake is also only the third Sun Devil to ever win 10+ three times in his career. Kendall Carter won 19 in 1981, 12 in 1983 and 10 in 1984. Carter won six in 1982.
30 Rock: With the 3-1 victory over Cal in the series opener, Arizona State Baseball recorded its 49th season with at least 30 wins and 47th straight.
Rankings: Arizona State is ranked #1 by Rivals.com. The Sun Devils are ranked #3 by Baseball America. The USA Today/Coaches poll ranks ASU #2 as does Collegiate Baseball and the NCBWA.
Hawai'i/at Cal Recap: Jordan Swagerty made his first career start a memorable one, going seven innings and earning his first career win in a 17-2 ASU victory over the Hawai'i Rainbows. Jason Kipnis, Carlos Ramirez, Riccio Torrez and Zack MacPhee all homered in the victory...Mike Leake turned in another dominating performance in the opener at Cal, throwing his third complete game of the year in a 3-1 Sun Devil triumph. Ramirez drove in two runs for the Devils in the win...Josh Spence suffered his first loss as a Devil in the Saturday tilt, as ASU fell 10-6. Matt Newman hit two homers in the loss...Arizona State took the series from the Golden Bears on Sunday, thanks to some clutch hitting and shut down pitching. Seth Blair fanned a career-high nine, while Mitchell Lambson earned the win out of the pen and Swagerty earned his fourth save of the year in the 6-5 win. Raoul Torrez knocked in the go ahead run in the seventh, while Riccio Torrez brought home the eventual game-winner in the eighth.
500 Club: With the win over Washington State on Friday, April 10, Arizona State Baseball recorded its 500th victory in Pacific-10 Conference 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 506-348 in Pac-10 play. They joined the conference in 1979.
600: With the win over the Huskies on April 4, head coach Pat Murphy recorded his 600th career victory at Arizona State. Murph has the second most wins in school history, trailing only Jim Brock (1,100). In his 15 years at Arizona State, Murphy is 609-279-1 and is 227-150 in Pac-10 play.
Ace In The Hole: Mike Leake turned in yet another stellar performance, throwing his seventh complete game, third this year, in a 3-1 win against California on April 24. Leake allowed only one run on five hits, striking out seven to up his record to 10-1 on the year. In his 81.2 innings of work, he has struck out 90 batters and walked only 16. He now has 34 career wins at Arizona State. Of his 34 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.
Maggic Man: Freshman Drew Maggi has solidified himself as the Sun Devil leadoff man and shortstop. Since taking over the leadoff spot before the first game of the Stanford series, Maggi has hit .423, reaching base 18 times in the seven games. He has scored 11 times, driven in five and stolen three bases. Maggi's also recorded two sac flies and a sac bunt as the leadoff man.
One-Two Punch Out: Sun Devil starting hurlers Mike Leake and Josh Spence have been racking up strikeouts all season long. The tandem have made a combined 18 starts, and in 10 of those starts they have fanned 10 or more batters, with each recording five double-digit strikeout games. Mitchell Lambson also has a 10+ strikeout outing, however his 12 K game came in 5.2 innings of relief work against Kansas. Spence has a season high of 14 Ks, while Leake has a season and career high 15 Ks.
Blair Pitch Project: Despite getting a no decision in Sunday's 6-5 win over the Golden Bears, sophomore righty Seth Blair pitched well for ASU. Blair set a new career high by fanning nine Golden Bears, bettering his previous high by one which he set against Wisconsin-Milwaukee in February.
Mr. Versatile: Freshman Jordan Swagerty showed off just how important he is to the Sun Devil pitching staff last week. Against #20 Hawai'i, the righty from Texas made his first career start, going seven innings and allowing only one run on five hits. He struck out six and earned his first career victory on the mound. On Sunday against Cal, Swagerty slammed the door on a late Golden Bear rally, recording the final five outs of the game to lock up a series win for ASU and record his team-leading fourth save.
Honoring the Past: Prior to the April 11 game with the Cougars, Arizona State baseball celebrated the 40th anniversary of the 1969 National Championship team. Several members of the team, including 1969 National Player of the Year Paul Ray Powell, team captain Roger Detter and head coach Bobby Winkles, were honored before the game. Winkles, a College Baseball Hall of Famer, threw out the first pitch.
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 and another, Jeff Lusardi, who is redshirting. It is the smallest roster in the Pac-10 Conference. Of the 29, only two have played for two seasons at Arizona State.
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, recording four 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 several 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.
Mid-Season Awards: Jason Kipnis, Mike Leake and Josh Spence were all named Mid-Season All-Americans by Baseball America. In addition, Leake, Spence and Mitchell Lambson have been named to the National Pitcher of the Year Watch List.
Field of Dreams: The Sun Devils played at Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners, on April 3 when they beat the Washington Huskies 3-1. It marked the third Major League park ASU has played in since 2007, joining Minute Maid Park (Houston Astros) and Chase Field (Arizona Diamondbacks). ASU is 3-3 in those games (0-2 at Chase Field, 1-0 at Safeco Field, 2-1 at Minute Maid Park).
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.
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 (418), conference wins (151), 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 Marker: With his win against California, junior RHP Mike Leake now has 34 career pitching victories. That is the third most wins at ASU in the Aluminum Bat Era (1974-Present). Overall, Leake is fifth on the school's all-time list.
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.
Up Next: The Sun Devils return home for the remainder of the regular season, kicking off the homestand with a two-game mid-week series with San Diego that gets underway on May 5. Following the pair with the Toreros, Arizona State will welcome Winthrop to Tempe for the final non-conference games of the regular season. The three game series with the Eagles begins on May 8.