April 14, 2009
TEMPE, Ariz. -
Leading Off: Arizona State continues their seven-game home stand with a three-game Pac-10 series against Stanford. The Sun Devils dropped two midweek games at Arkansas last week before returning home and taking two out of three from the Washington State Cougars. The second straight home series ends a stretch that saw Arizona State play 13 games in 17 days in four cities, including Tempe twice.
Devils vs. Cardinal: Arizona State holds an 86-84 lead in the all-time series with Stanford. The Cardinal took two of three from the Sun Devils last season in Sunken Diamond in Palo Alto.
Lights, Camera, Action!: Friday night's game against Stanford will be televised on a tape delay basis by Fox Sports Net. Barry Tompkins and John Jackson will call the action.
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 501-347 in Pac-10 play. They joined the conference in 1979.
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 16 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.
Rankings: The Sun Devils are ranked #4 by Baseball America and Rivals.com. The NCBWA poll has them at #5, the USA Today/Coaches poll ranks ASU #2 and Collegiate Baseball has them at #6.
At Arkansas/Washington State Recap: Seth Blair allowed only three hits over 6.1 innings in Fayetteville, Ark. on Tuesday, but ASU could not hold off a late rally by No. 1 Arkansas, as the Razorbacks scored five runs in the seventh inning and went on to a 7-3 victory...The Sun Devils jumped out to a five-run lead on Wednesday, but the top-ranked Razorbacks again rallied to take an 8-7 win. Jason Kipnis led ASU with three RBI, including his 10th home run of the season, in the loss...Returning home to continue Pac-10 play on Friday, ASU hit four home runs on a windy night in Tempe, with Kole Calhoun and Carlos Ramirez each hitting three-run homers while Riccio Torrez and Jared McDonald each added solo shots to lead the Sun Devils to a 13-3 win over Washington State. Mike Leake earned the win to improve to 8-1, throwing his second complete game of the season and striking out 12...Matt Newman had his first career five-hit game and Josh Spence threw eight shutout innings on the mound to lift ASU to an 11-1 victory over the Cougars on Saturday. Newman drove in five runs, including a three-run homer, while Spence struck out 10 and lowered his season ERA to 1.01 in improving to 7-0 on the season...Washington State capitalized on three ASU errors on Sunday, scoring nine unearned runs en route to a 10-4 victory. Freshmen Drew Maggi and Abe Ruiz drove in two runs each in the loss.
600: With the win over the Huskies on April 4, head coach Pat Murphy recorded his 600th career victory at Arizona State. The 600 wins is second most in school history. In his 15 years at Arizona State, he is 603-278-1 and is 222-149 in Pac-10 play.
Ace In The Hole: Mike Leake continues to do amazing things on the diamond for the Sun Devils. Leake is now 8-1 on the year after turning in another yet another stellar effort on the mound. Leake threw his sixth career complete game, second of the season, in the Friday night win over Washington State. He struck out 12 and walked only one in the 13-3 ASU victory. In his 64.2 innings of work, he has struck out 74 batters and walked only 14. He now has 32 career wins at Arizona State. Of his 32 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.
Fair Dinkum: Junior lefty Josh Spence has returned from his facial injury suffered on March 1 without showing any ill effects. Spence was on his game once again on Saturday against Washington State, throwing eight innings of shutout ball in an 11-1 ASU He struck out 10 Cougars and did not allow a walk on the way to his seventh win of the year. Spence was named the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week following the Washington series.
Honoring the Past: Prior to Saturday's 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. 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 at USC for the series finale.
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 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 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.
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 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 (412), conference wins (146), 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 Washington, junior RHP Mike Leake now has 32 career pitching victories. That is the third most wins at ASU in the Aluminum Bat Era (1974-Present). Overall, Leake is tied for sixth with Jeff Pentland. 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.
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).
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.
Feeling The Draft: There are 16 members of the 2009 Sun Devils who have had their name called during the annual Major League Baseball draft, including Jason Kipnis, who was drafted last season but opted to return to school.
Up Next: Arizona State will host the Hawai'i Rainbows in a Tuesday night tilt at Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark. The Devils will then hit the road for Berkeley, where they will face the California Golden Bears in a three-game set that gets underway Friday afternoon.