Feb. 23, 2012
GETTING TO THE GAME
Tickets to games at ASU's Packard Stadium start at $8 for adults and $6 for youth (ages 16 and under) and seniors. ASU students earn free admission with their SunCard. The Sun Devils' home stadium is located on the Northeast side of campus, along Packard Dr., just east of Sun Devil Stadium and south of Loop 202.
Following a three-game season-opening series sweep of Western Michigan, Sun Devil baseball continues its home stand by hosting the UC Riverside Highlanders for three games at Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark. The Devils and Highlanders will begin the series on Friday night, followed by a day game on Saturday before wrapping up the weekend with a 12:30 p.m. contest on Sunday.
Devils vs. UC Riverside:
ASU is 34-5 all-time against University of California-Riverside, with the last meeting coming in the final contest of the Coca-Cola Classic at Surprise Stadium on March 6, 2011. The Sun Devils won that game 5-4 behind a bases-loaded walk-off single by Riccio Torrez in the 11th inning.
Leading The Pac:
The Sun Devils lead the Pac-12 in five offensive categories, including batting average (.413), slugging percentage (.625), on-base percentage (.518), runs scored (40) and RBI (37). They are also tops in the conference in four pitching categories, including ERA (0.33), opposing batting average (.168), hits allowed (16) and runs allowed (2). On the individual side, Abe Ruiz paces the Pac-12 in slugging percentage (1.400) and total bases (14), and Andrew Aplin, Joey DeMichele and Ruiz are tops in runs scored (7). Ruiz's two home runs are also tied for the most in the conference.
Making Them Earn It:
Nine Sun Devil pitchers did not give up an earned run in a combined 26 innings during the weekend. Brady Rodgers, Trevor Williams, Alex Blackford, Adam McCreery, Darin Gillies, Matthew Dunbar, Robert Ravago, Jake Barrett and Brandon Bonilla each pitched at least one inning and struck out a total of 33 batters, good for second in the Pac-12.
Player of the Week: Senior first baseman Abe Ruiz was named the first-ever Pac-12 Player of the Week for Feb. 13-19, marking the fifth straight season a Sun Devil has earned Player of the Week honors following opening weekend. Ruiz established new career game highs in RBI, hits, home runs and runs in the first game of the season, and is tops in the Pac-12 in slugging percentage and tied for the lead in total bases and runs scored. It is the first career Player of the Week honor for Ruiz and the 100th by an ASU player, most in Pac-12 history.
A Career Weekend:
Twelve Sun Devils made their first career appearances in an ASU uniform over the weekend, including seven true freshman, two redshirt freshmen and three junior-college transfers. Six players recorded their first career hits and RBI, including Nathaniel Causey, while Max Rossiter garnered his first career hit and RBI as a Sun Devil. James McDonald collected his first career RBI, Kasey Coffman scored his first career run and Abe Ruiz set new career highs in RBI, hits and runs scored. Brandon Bonilla, Adam McCreery, Darin Gillies and Matthew Dunbar each recorded their first career strikeout at ASU, and McCreery and Trevor Williams each earned their first career wins as starters.
Freshmen pitchers Brandon Bonilla, Adam McCreery and Darin Gillies combined for 12 strikeouts across eight scoreless innings over the weekend. McCreery started the second game and earned the win after giving up just two hits with five strikeouts in four innings. Gillies, who relieved McCreery and went three innings, also allowed just two hits and recorded five strikeouts, including a string of four consecutive K's against the first four batters he faced. Bonilla pitched the eighth inning of the first game and permitted one hit to go with a pair of strikeouts.
Not Only Can They Catch, But They Can Hit Too
ASU catchers Nathaniel Causey and Beau Maggi went a combined 10-for-16 from the plate with nine RBI and six runs scored over the weekend. Newcomer Rossiter collected six hits, three RBI and four runs scored in two starts, freshman Causey capped off a four-run seventh inning for the Devils with a two-run triple in the third game of the series and finished the game with four RBI, while redshirt sophomore Maggi manned the plate for the second game and collected thee hits and two RBI.
Western Michigan Recap:
Arizona State improved to 42-11-1 all-time in season openers, beating Western Michigan 10-0 on Opening Night. Abe Ruiz led the way for the Devils with a pair of two homers and six RBIs, and starter Brady Rodgers picked up the win after allowing just four hits and no runs to go along with eight strikeouts in six innings. Freshman right-hander Adam McCreery, in his first collegiate start, earned the win on Saturday after allowing a pair of hits and no runs in four innings, and Michael Benjamin collected four RBIs to help the Devils to a 13-0 win. The Sun Devils, who outscored WMU 40-2 over 27 innings during the weekend, completed the series sweep on Sunday with a 17-2 win behind right-hander Trevor Williams and infielder James McDonald. Williams got the win after giving up two hits and no earned runs in four innings, and McDonald added three hits, three runs and four RBI.
Golden Spikes Watch List:
Three Arizona State student-athletes have been named to USA Baseball's 2012 preseason Golden Spikes Award watch list: Joey DeMichele, Deven Marrero and Brady Rodgers. Marrero was named to the watch list last year as well.
The Sun Devils finished the 2011 season with a 43-18 record, a 17-10 Pac-10 Conference record and earned an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament, advancing to the Super Regionals before falling to the University of Texas in three games. ASU swept the Tempe Regional, the fifth straight year on the field that Packard Stadium has played host to a Regional, beating New Mexico, Charlotte and Arkansas. Last season marked the 49th straight year that Arizona State has topped the 30-win mark on the field and the 32nd time with more than 40 victories. Head coach Tim Esmay recorded the second highest winning percentage (.810) among ASU head coaches over their first 100 games. Joey DeMichele won the Pac-10 batting crown with his .368 average, the second straight year and fourth time in the last five years a Sun Devil has won the title, and also led the conference in slugging percentage at .663. Zack MacPhee won the Pac-10 stolen base title with 27 swipes, the third straight year a Sun Devil led the Pac-10 in steals. Deven Marrero was named the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year, becoming the second Sun Devil to ever win the award (Eric Sogard, 2007) and marking the sixth straight year Arizona State had at least one Pac-10 individual award winner. The Sun Devils also led the Pac-10 in extra base hits (201), doubles (136), triples (28) and home runs (37).
Arizona State welcomes 17 newcomers to Tempe as they begin their Sun Devil careers. Those 17 include 10 true freshmen and seven JC transfers. The junior college transfers are OF/INF Nathaniel Causey (Gilbert, Ariz.), INF L Grant Davis (Newport Beach, Calif.), C Dylan Delso (Broken Arrow, Okla.), RHP Darin Gillies (Hollister, Calif.), OF Jake Peevyhouse (Phoenix), LHP Adam McCreery (La Verne, Calif.), INF Drew Stankiewicz (Gilbert, Ariz.) and INF/OF Jake Wakamatsu (North Richland Hills, Texas).
The 2012 Sun Devil team features four student-athletes with unique connections to Arizona State. Sophomore Trever Allen is the son of Jamie Allen, who played three seasons at ASU, including the 1977 National Championship year. Jamie was a lifetime .333 hitter at ASU and he also went 6-2 on the mound. He was a two-time All-WAC team member and was a member of the 1977 All-College World Series team. Freshman INF/OF Jake Wakamatsu also has Maroon and Gold in his blood, as his father Don was a four-year letterwinner for Arizona State from 1982 to 1985. A three-year starter at catcher, Don was a three-time First Team All-Pac-10 selection and was a member of two Pac-10 Championships teams and twice played in the College World Series. Don played for the Chicago White Sox in 1991 and became the first former Sun Devil baseball player to be named a Major League Baseball manager when he was hired by the Seattle Mariners prior to the 2009 season. He is currently the bench coach of the Toronto Blue Jays. Joining Wakamatsu and Allen as Legacy Devils are redshirt freshman Tucker Esmay and sophomore Michael Benjamin. Esmay is the son of head coach Tim Esmay and Benjamin is the son of assistant coach Mike Benjamin. The elder Esmay and Benjamin were teammates on the 1986 and 1987 Sun Devils.
Freshman LHP Brandon Bonilla's father Bobby played 16 seasons in the Major Leagues (1986-2001) for eight different teams, including the Chicago White Sox, New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals. He was a six-time All-Star and won the 1997 World Series as a member of the Florida Marlins. Brandon is also the godson of former Sun Devil legend and MLB Home Run King Barry Bonds, who was teammates with his father on the Pittsburgh Pirates...Fellow freshman INF Drew Stankiewicz's father Andy also played in the Major Leagues, spending seven seasons with the New York Yankees, Houston Astros, Montreal Expos and Arizona Diamondbacks. Andy was an assistant coach at Arizona State from 2007-09, collecting two Pac-10 titles and a trip to the 2009 College World Series, and is currently the head baseball coach at Grand Canyon University...Redshirt sophomore catcher Beau Maggi is the brother of Drew Maggi, who starred at ASU in 2009 and 2010...Sophomore RHP Mark Lambson is the brother of Mitchell Lambson, who made 102 appearances for ASU from 2009-11, tied for the second most in school history...Sophomore shortstop Deven Marrero is the cousin of Chris Marrero, a first baseman for the Washington Nationals.
Fifteen members of the 2012 Arizona State baseball team participated in summer collegiate baseball this past summer: Joey DeMichele, Hyannis HarborHawks, Cape Cod Baseball League; Andrew Aplin, Orleans Firebirds, Cape Cod Baseball League; Jake Barrett, Brewster Whitecaps, Cape Cod Baseball League; Mark Lambson, Cowlitz Black Bears, West Coast Collegiate League; Michael Benjamin, Bend Elks, West Coast Collegiate League; Josh McAlister, Bend Elks, West Coast Collegiate League; Alex Blackford, Mankato Moondogs, Northwoods League; James McDonald, Mankato Moondogs, Northwoods League; Tucker Esmay, Orange County Pioneers, California Collegiate League; Beau Maggi, East Texas Pump Jacks, Texas Collegiate League; Trever Allen, East Texas Pump Jacks, Texas Collegiate League; Kasey Coffman, Okotoks Dawgs, Western Major League; Abe Ruiz, West Virginia Miners, Prospect League; Deven Marrero, Team USA National Collegiate Team; and Brady Rodgers, Team USA National Collegiate Team.
2012 Preseason Honors:
Deven Marrero was the sole unanimous First Team selection in Baseball America's Preseason All-American poll and was one of just six repeat recipients (Second Team in 2011). He was also named a Preseason First Team All-American by Collegiate Baseball, CollegeBaseballInsider.com, Perfect Game and College Baseball Daily, and earned a spot on College Sports Madness' Second Team. He was joined on both NCBWA's Third Team and College Sports Madness' All-Conference First Team by Brady Rodgers and Joey DeMichele, who were both also named honorable mentions by CollegeBaseballInsider.com. Rodgers was selected to the Second Team by Collegiate Baseball and was a Third Team choice by both Baseball America and Perfect Game, while DeMichele was named to Perfect Game's Second Team and College Sports Madness' Fourth Team. Jake Barrett was a Second Team pick by Baseball America. Head coach Tim Esmay was selected as the Pac-12 Coach of the Year by College Sports Madness.
2011 Pac-10 Awards:
Arizona State, after finishing second in the Pac-10, took home a litany of conference accolades, headlined by Defensive Player of the Year recipient Deven Marrero. ASU had five First Team All-Pac-10 performers: Austin Barnes, Joey DeMichele, Marrero, Johnny Ruettiger and Riccio Torrez. Alex Blackford, Kramer Champlin, Mitchell Lambson, Zack MacPhee, Matt Newman, Brady Rodgers, Trevor Williams and Zach Wilson all earned Honorable Mentions. DeMichele joined Andy Workman on the Academic All-Pac-10 first team. Marrero and Torrez earned a spot on the Second Team, and Xorge Carrillo and Newman were Honorable Mentions.
Joey DeMichele earned First Team honors from the ABCA and took home Third Team honors from Baseball America. Trevor Williams earned Freshman All-American honors from Baseball America and Andy Workman was named a Second-Team Academic All-American.
In addition to facing the schools in the Pac-12, which now includes Utah, the Devils will also take on teams from nine different conferences in 2011. ASU will face three teams from the Big West (Long Beach State, Cal State Fullerton, UC Riverside), two from the Mid-American (Northern Illinois, Western Michigan), two from the West Coast (Gonzaga, Saint Mary's) and one each from the Atlantic 10 (Saint Louis), Big 12 (Texas Tech), Big South (Winthrop), Great West (Utah Valley), Mountain West (New Mexico) and Western Athletic (UNLV).
Feeling The Draft:
There are 13 members of the 2012 Sun Devils who have had their name called during the annual Major League Baseball draft, including five freshmen. Everyone except for Max Rossiter, who was drafted following two successful seasons at Central Arizona College, was selected after high school but opted to attend ASU.
Arizona State was picked to finish third in the 2012 Preseason Pac-10 Coaches' Poll and received one first-place vote. Stanford was picked to finish first, receiving 10 first-place votes, with Arizona in second.
The Sun Devils will play 19 games this season against teams ranked in the Preseason Top 30, including 10 at Packard Stadium and nine on the road. ASU will host a three-game series against both No. 26 Cal (March 23-25) and No. 22 Oregon State (April 5-7), and will welcome No. 18 Arizona for two separate single-game sets on April 17 and May 16, respectively. No. 19 Cal State Fullerton will also come to Tempe for a two-game tilt March 27-28. The Devils travel to Los Angeles March 16-18 to face No. 20 UCLA and will play No. 2 Stanford in Palo Alto, Calif., April 20-22. They finish the season with a three-game series against the Wildcats in Tucson, Ariz., May 25-27.
Arizona State will once again participate in the Coca-Cola Spring Training Classic at Surprise Stadium, the 10th straight year the Sun Devils will head to the West Valley. ASU will face Saint Louis, Northern Illinois, Winthrop and Saint Mary's during the tournament. They open play in Surprise Thursday against Saint Louis with first pitch set for 4 p.m. (MT).