May 25, 2009
TEMPE, Ariz. - Leading Off: Three-time defending Pac-10 Champion Arizona State will make its 33rd all-time NCAA Tournament appearance, 10th consecutive, when it hosts the Tempe Regional at Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark. This is the third straight year the Sun Devils will be a Regional host and the 18th time Packard Stadium will host an NCAA Regional.
Pac-10 Champions (Times Three): Arizona State won their third straight Pacific-10 Conference championship and ninth overall. It is the fourth Pac-10 title for Pat Murphy and the 20th overall conference title (11 WAC, 9 Pac-10). ASU becomes the first team since the divisions merged in 1999 to win three straight conference crowns and it is the first time that Arizona State has won three straight Pac-10 titles since they joined the conference in 1979.
National Seed: The Sun Devils earned a national Top Eight seed for the third straight season and fifth time since the NCAA began using the format in 1999. This is the second time Arizona State will be the #5 national seed, joining the 2007 season, when ASU advanced to the College World Series. ASU was the #3 seed last season and #7 in both 2000 and 2004.
Wx40: For the third straight season and sixth time in the last seven years, Arizona State has eclipsed the 40-win mark. It is the 30th time in school history that ASU has won 40 or more games and the eighth time in Pat Murphy's 15 years.
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 just completed its 31st season of Pac-10 play in 2009. The Sun Devils have won nine Pacific-10 Conference championships, including the last three. ASU holds an all-time mark of 512-351 in Pac-10 play. They joined the conference in 1979.
The Tempe Regional Field: Arizona State will be welcoming a new face and some old friends to Tempe for the 2009 Tempe Regional. The Sun Devils have never faced their opening game opponent, Kent State. The second-seeded Oral Roberts Golden Eagles last faced the Devils in 2004 in Tempe, while ASU and Cal Poly have not met since 1985.
Ace In The Hole: Mike Leake picked up his 14th win of the season on Friday night against UCLA, throwing his second consecutive complete game shutout. He allowed only four hits while striking out 12 and walking none in a 4-0 victory. It was his sixth complete game this year, all of which came during Pac-10 play. In his 115.2 innings of work, he has struck out 128 batters and walked only 18. The 128 Ks is a new career high, eclipsing the 104 he had last season. He now has 38 career wins at Arizona State. Of his 38 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. He earned both awards again for his performance against the Ducks and won the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week award again following the UCLA series. Leake went 9-0 in Pac-10 play with a 1.27 ERA.
The All-American Man: Mike Leake has been named the Academic All-American of the Year, marking the third time in school history a Sun Devil has earned the distinction. Casey Myers earned the award in both 2000 and 2001. Leake becomes the 12th Academic All-American in program history and the seventh under Pat Murphy. For the second straight season, Mike Leake earned ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District VIII honors. Last season, Petey Paramore was named a Second Team Academic All-American.
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 .310, collecting 27 hits, drawing 23 walks and has twice been hit by pitches. He's scored 34 runs and stolen 12 bases in the 23 games, tallying a .460 on base percentage. Maggi's also recorded one sac fly and three sac bunts as the leadoff man, driving in 10 runs.
First Year Phenoms: Drew Maggi has been a terror on the basepaths this season, stealing 18 bases so far. The 18 steals is a new ASU Freshmen record for stolen bases in a season. Maggi passed Barry Bonds (1983), Steve Garrabrants (2001) and Mike Kelly (1989), who all stole 16 bases during their rookie seasons in Tempe. Maggi has also scored 53 times this season, second most ever by a freshman. He trails only Barry Bonds, who scored 60 times during his debut season in 1983. Not to be outdone, lefty hurler Mitchell Lambson is also putting his name in the freshmen record book. His eight wins are tied for 10th most by a Sun Devil frosh, while his 80 strikeouts place him in a tie for fourth place with Craig Swan (1969).
Golden Spikes Fill Your Mind: Arizona State is one of only five schools to have two student-athletes selected as Golden Spikes Award semifinalists. Both Mike Leake and Jason Kipnis were named semifinalists for the award, which is given to the top player in college baseball. Ike Davis and Brett Wallace were both semifinalists last season, with Wallace a finalist.
Monster Ram Jam: Against Winthrop, Carlos Ramirez put his name in the Arizona State record books, blasting a home run over the Green Monster in centerfield. Ramirez becomes the 23rd player in history to hit a ball over the batter's eye, joining teammate Jason Kipnis, who accomplished the feat last year. Ramirez is the 17th Sun Devil to do it. He has 18 homers so far this season, the most by a Sun Devil catcher since Casey Myers hit 18 in 2000.
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. Members of the 1969 team will be holding a reunion in Omaha during the College World Series.
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 3,000 fans a game in 2009.
USA! USA!: Sophomore Matt Newman has been selected to participate in the Team USA Trials this summer. Newman will participate as both an outfielder and a pitcher.
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 entered the season having 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 become a key member of the pitching staff, 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.
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. Only eight members of the 2009 Sun Devils have postseason experience (Leake, Ra. Torrez, Kipnis, Blair, Franzblau, Workman, Murphy, Newman).
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.
Pac-10 Players of the Week: Arizona State earned six Player or Pitcher of the Week awards during the 2009 season. Jason Kipnis was the Player of the Week following the opening weekend of play, while Josh Spence was named Pitcher of the Week following the Washington series. Mike Leake was four times named Pitcher of the Week, following the DeMarini Invitational, the Arizona series and each of the last two weeks.
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: Pac-10 Coaches picked the Sun Devils to win the Pac-10 Championship, and they were correct. This is the second time in school history Arizona State has been picked to win the conference, with the first time being 2007, when they also won. ASU was picked to finish second in 2008, but won the title.
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 (426), conference wins (157), NCAA Tournament appearances (10), 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 four Pac-10 titles since 2000, including the last three.
Moving On Up: With his win against UCLA, junior RHP Mike Leake now has 38 career pitching victories. That is tied for the second most wins at ASU in the Aluminum Bat Era (1974-Present) with Floyd Bannister (1974-76). Overall, Leake is tied for fourth on the school's all-time list.
Elite Company: With his 14 victories so far this season, Mike Leake has recorded 10+ wins in three straight years. Leake became only the second pitcher in Arizona State Baseball history to accomplish the 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.
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.
Desert or Grass?: Oral Roberts will travel 1,122 miles from Tulsa, Oklahoma to Tempe, Arizona. Cal Poly will cover 582 miles from San Luis Obispo, California and Kent State will travel 2,156 miles from Kent, Ohio. The temperatures in Tempe are expected to exceed 100 degrees all weekend, slightly warmer than the mid-70's expected in Kent and San Luis Obispo and the mid-80's in Tulsa.
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, 20 conference championships, played in 20 College World Series, had 90 Major League players and has had 106 All-Americans in 50 years.