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#13 Baseball Heads To #19 USC To Open Pac-10 Play
Courtesy: Sun Devil Athletics
Release: 03/21/2007
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Courtesy: Sun Devil Athletics
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March 21, 2007

TEMPE, Ariz. -

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Leading Off:

Coming off a spring break week that saw the Sun Devils go 6-0 against Kansas State and Maine, they now turn their attention to conference play as they head to USC for the opening weekend of Pac-10 action. USC enters the three-game series as one of the hottest teams in the nation. They are 16-10 and ranked as high as #19.

 

The Sun Devils vs. The Trojans:

Two of the most storied college baseball programs in the country, USC leads the all-time series with ASU 92-86. The Devils took two of three from the Trojans last season in Tempe. Arizona State and USC have also met eight times in the College World Series, including four times in the National Championship game.

 

Facing Tough Competition:

Of ASU's seven losses this season, six have come at the hands of teams ranked in the Top 25, including one to Vanderbilt, who is #1 in three polls. Their only loss to an unranked team was to Missouri, who advanced to a Super Regional in 2006. According to BoydsWorld.com, Arizona State has an RPI of 15, and has already faced or will face four teams rated in the top 15 in RPI (Long Beach State, Vandy, USC and Oregon State). Also, four of the seven losses have been by one run, including an extra inning game with Vanderbilt. ASU has faced or will face five teams ranked in the Top 20 in the latest ISR rankings on BoydsWorld.com, where the Sun Devils are currently ranked 17th. Arizona State has 17 teams on their 2007 schedule that are currently ranked or have been ranked at some point this season.

 

Lights, Camera, Action:

Friday night's Pac-10 opener will be televised live on FSN Arizona. It will be the first of three Sun Devil games that will be televised. Barry Tompkins and Jerry Kindall will be the announcers for the game with the Trojans. ASU will also be on FSN Arizona when they host Stanford on April 7 and when they host UCLA on May 12.

 

Rankings:

ASU moved up one spot to #17 in the Baseball America poll while they rose five spots to #14 in the NCBWA poll. They stayed at #13 in the Rivals.com poll and were jumped up to #14 in Collegiate Baseball. They came in at #13 in the Coaches poll, up one spot.

 

Kansas State Wrap-Up:

After struggling against Long Beach State the previous weekend, the Kansas State series was a pivotal one for the Sun Devils. They came out prepared on Tuesday night, jumping out to a 9-2 lead before holding off a late Wildcat charge for a 9-6 victory. Ike Davis went 3-3 with three RBI and Josh Satow struck out five over 6.2 innings of work to improve to 5-1 on the year...Wednesday night had the look of a pitcher's duel, as the two teams combined for two runs through the first five innings. Kiel Roling changed all that in the sixth, blasting a three-run shot that put the Sun Devils up for good. Brian Flores was masterful on the hill, fanning eight in a complete game for the 6-2 victory.

 

Maine Wrap-Up:

The Sun Devil bats showed no mercy on the Black Bears, outscoring Maine 58-11 over the four-game series...ASU played long ball in the series opener, as Ike Davis and Brett Wallace both hit moonshot homers to lead Arizona State to a 12-3 win. Wallace knocked in five runs, one of four Devils with multiple RBIs...Saturday saw ASU sweep a St. Patrick's Day doubleheader by continuing to flex their muscles. as they pounded out nine extra base hits on their way to a 12-1 win. Rocky Laguna fell a triple short of the cycle during his four-hit game...Things got worse for Maine in the nightcap, as Kiel Roling and Brett Wallace held their own personal home run derby. Roling and Wallace each hit two out, but it was Roling who won the RBI competition, knocking in eight in a 23-2 Sun Devil rout...Arizona State completed the sweep on Sunday, outlasting the Black Bears 11-5. Eric Sogard and Roling each brought home three wins as ASU took all four games of the series.

 

Pac-10 Sweeps Week:

Not only did ASU sweep Kansas State and Maine over Spring Break, they also swept the weekly Pac-10 awards. Junior LHP Brian Flores was named the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week, and sophomore C/DH Kiel Roling was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week. It marks the first time that Arizona State has swept the weekly awards since the 2004 season, when Jason Urquidez and Dustin Pedroia both earned the honors. Flores and Roling join Josh Satow as Pac-10 award winners this season. Satow was named the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week on February 13.

 

National Honor Roll:

Junior lefthander Brian Flores and sophomore catcher Kiel Roling were both named College Baseball Foundation National Honor Roll Players Of The Week for their spring break performances. The two join Matt Spencer and Petey Paramore Sun Devils who have been honored this year. Spencer and Paramore each earned recognition earlier in the season.

 

Roling, Roling, Roling...:

Sophomore catcher Kiel Roling had a spring break to remember, batting .600 (12-20) during the five games he saw action in. He also knocked in 15 runs, scored eleven times and had seven extra base hits, including two homers. In the second game of the doubleheader on Saturday, Roling was 5-5 with six runs scored and eight RBI. He homered twice in that game, and the eight RBI were one shy of tying a school record. The six runs scored did equal a school record, held by Mike Colbern, Jeff Larish, Andrew Beinbrink and current graduate manager Mikel Moreno.

 

Green Hats, Green Socks, Green Monster:

For the second straight year, the Sun Devils celebrated St. Patrick's Day by donning green hats and socks. Brett Wallace took the "green theme" one step further during the second game of the doubleheader with Maine, hitting a home run over the green monster in centerfield. It was the second round-tripper of the game for Wallace and it made him the first player since Brooks Conrad in 2000 to hit one over the monster. Wallace is the 19th player in the 33-year history of the stadium to clear the fence, joining a list that includes names like Kevin Romine, Mike Kelly, Antone Williamson and Barry Bonds.

 

Quick Hits:

Petey Paramore has been a walks machine so far this season. Paramore has drawn 25 walks already this year, tops in the conference. He was third on the team last season with 34 free passes...Andrew Romine has ten bunt singles this season...The Challenge at Chase will mark the third time in 2007 ASU will have played in a Major League facility. They played at Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros and at Surprise Stadium, Spring Training home of the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals...Josh Satow's six wins already this season are a new career high, and put him only one behind last year's team leader, Tony Barnette.

 

Countdown to 500:

Having already collected his 800th career Division I victory this season, ASU Head Coach Pat Murphy is just one win away from 500 victories at Arizona State. ASU's first head coach, Bobby Winkles, totaled 524 wins in his 13 years at ASU. Jim Brock amassed 1,100 victories in his 23 years at the helm. Murphy is in his 13th season at Arizona State.

 

Preseason Honors:

Junior second baseman Eric Sogard earned three Preseason All-American mentions, including two First Team honors. Both the NCBWA and Rivals.com had Sogard as a First Team Preseason All-American, while Collegiate Baseball listed him as a Third Team Preseason All-American.

 

That's The Pick:

In a poll of all Pac-10 baseball coaches, Arizona State was picked to win the Pac-10 conference. This marks the first time that the Sun Devils have ever been picked to win the conference in the preseason coaches vote. Oregon State was picked second and Stanford was third.

 

Fabulous Freshman:

RHP/OF Mike Leake was rated the 39th best freshman in the country by Baseball America as part of their Fabulous 50 Freshmen list. Leake, who is expected to play in the outfield as well as pitch, was a seventh round draft pick of the Oakland A's in last year's draft.

 

Talented Transfers:

The Sun Devils had two transfers make the top ten of Baseball America's Top 25 Transfers list. LHP Brian Flores, who comes to ASU from New Mexico Junior College, checked in at #7, while OF Tim Smith, who played the last two years at Midland College in Texas, was #10. The list did not include Matt Spencer, who came to ASU from North Carolina. Spencer had not yet completed his transfer to ASU when the list was released.

 

You Look Mahvelous!:

The Sun Devils got a surprise during a practice before the season, as actor/comedian Billy Crystal took a break from his performances at Gammage to practice with the Devils. Crystal donned the Maroon and Gold, complete with a jersey with his name and #10 on the back, and took part in drills and batting practice. After practice, he invited the coaching staff to his show, "700 Sundays", at Gammage Auditorium.

 

Road To ASU Baseball:

Freshman UTL Tyler Hoechlin is adjusting to life as a college student and baseball player, but  he is well versed in the glitz and glamour of the big screen. Hoechlin starred with Tom Hanks in the 2002 motion picture "Road To Perdition". Hoechlin played Michael Sullivan, Jr., the son of Hanks' character. Hoechlin also appears in the CW's "7th Heaven", playing the character of Martin Brewer. Hoechlin will balance school, baseball and the show this semester, filming episodes during off days.

 

Oh Captain, My Captain:

Head coach Pat Murphy has named junior OF Rocky Laguna the team captain. This is the first time in the 13 years that Murphy has been at ASU that he has named a team captain.

 

Back For More:

Former ASU baseball standouts Mikel Moreno and Michael Collins are both back with the program for the 2007 season as managers. Moreno was a four-year starter for the Devils from 1995 to 1998, when he earned All-American accolades and helped lead ASU to the National Championship game. Collins played from 1996 to 1998 before leaving ASU to sign a contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Collins and Moreno join fellow manager Jeff Mousser as former Sun Devil baseball players to join the baseball staff in 2007.

 

You Complete Me:

LHP Josh Satow did something on February 11 that no Sun Devil pitcher had done since 2005: throw a complete game. Satow's masterpiece against Houston was the first complete game thrown by an ASU pitcher since Erik Averill beat Florida 6-1 on June 22, 2005 in the College World Series. Satow allowed only one run on six hits while fanning eight Cougars. It was only the second complete game in the seven-year history of the Houston College Classic, and the first since the inaugural year in 2001. Not to be outdone, LHP Brian Flores threw his first career complete game against the Kansas State Wildcats, striking out eight in a 6-2 victory on March 14.

 

Up Next:

ASU will face Arizona in the second annual Challenge at Chase before continuing Pac-10 play with a three-game series in Seattle against the Washington Huskies.

 

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