Dec. 31, 2008
TEMPE, Ariz. - As we count down the final days of 2008, TheSunDevils.com and Arizona State Baseball countdown the Top 12 Sun Devil Baseball moments of 2008.
#1- Sun Devils Dominate Pac-10 Conference In 2008
For the past two seasons, the Pacific-10 Conference, widely considered the best conference in college baseball, has been dominated by the Arizona State Sun Devils. After winning the conference championship in 2007 with a record-tying 19 Pac-10 victories, Arizona State maintained their grip on the top spot in the Pac-10 in 2008. The Sun Devils won their second straight conference title, finishing two games ahead of Stanford. It was ASU's eighth Pac-10 Championship and third under head coach Pat Murphy.
Arizona State also dominated the individual awards for the second straight year. ASU had five players earn First Team All-Conference honors, including Petey Paramore and Ike Davis, who earned the distinction for the third straight year. Over the past two years, 22 Sun Devils have been named All-Pac-10 (either First Team or Honorable Mention), while five players were also named Academic All-Pac-10 selections.
Pat Murphy was named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year in 2008, the second consecutive year he earned the award. It was the third time in his career he has been named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year. He has led the Devils to 98 wins over the past two seasons, including 74 wins at home. Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark hosted Super Regionals in each of the past two years, the first two home Super Regionals in school history.
Brett Wallace, who won an unprecedented second straight Pac-10 Triple Crown, was named the Pac-10 Player of the Year for the second straight season. It was the 13th all-time Player of the Year award for ASU, and Wallace became the second player in school history, joining Casey Myers, to win the award in back-to-back seasons. He was also a First Team All-American and a Golden Spikes Award Finalist.
Mike Leake was named the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year, the third ever Sun Devil to win the award, and the first since the Pac-10 ended divisional play in 1999. Leake was also named First Team All-Pac-10 for the second straight year, was an Academic All-Pac-10 selection, as well as an All-American. After leading the Pac-10 in victories in 2007, he finished second in 2008 with 11, behind only teammate Tommy Rafferty's 12.
Jason Kipnis, who transferred to ASU from Kentucky, was named the Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year. Kipnis hit .371 with 14 homers, 73 RBI and 24 stolen bases. He is the second ever Sun Devil to win the award, joining teammate Ike Davis, who won in 2006.
Over the past three seasons, Arizona State baseball has taken home every major individual award the Pac-10 conference awards. In 2006, Ike Davis was named the Newcomer of the Year. In 2007, Wallace was the Player of the Year and Murphy was the Coach of the Year, while Eric Sogard was named the Defensive Player of the Year. Mike Leake completed the trophy case by taking home the Pitcher of the Year honors in 2008, joining Wallace (Player), Kipnis (Newcomer) and Murphy (Coach) as award winners last season.
Arizona State has continued their storied tradition of baseball excellence in 2008, while the future of 2009 and beyond looks just as bright. The Arizona State Sun Devils continue to be one of the elite college baseball programs in the nation, and there is no sign of slowing down. Over the past 50 years, Arizona State has brought home five National Championships, 20 College World Series appearances and 19 conference titles (WAC and Pac-10) in addition to over 100 All-Americans. It continues to be the most storied athletic program in the state and in the country.
2008 was truly a year to remember for Sun Devil fans.