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Baseball Hosts UAB This Weekend
Courtesy: Sun Devil Athletics
Release: 02/22/2007
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Courtesy: Sun Devil Athletics
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Feb. 22, 2007

TEMPE, Ariz -

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Leading Off:

The Sun Devils are coming off a 2-2 weekend that saw them defeat Missouri Thursday night in Tempe, but lose two of three at the Surprise College Classic. ASU returns to Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark to host Conference USA's UAB Blazers in a three-game series. UAB enters the weekend 2-2 after going 1-2 against Central Michigan and beating Alabama A&M.

 

The Sun Devils vs. The Blazers:

This will be the first ever meeting between these two schools on a baseball diamond.

 

ASU and Conference USA:

The Sun Devils have become quite familiar with Conference USA foes over the past few seasons. In 2005 they faced Tulane and East Carolina, last season they faced Rice and Houston and this year they have played Houston and meet UAB this weekend. They are 7-3 against Conference USA teams since 2005 entering the UAB series. All three losses came to Tulane in New Orleans in 2005.

 

Surprise House of Horrors:

The Sun Devils struggles in the Coca-Cola Classic continued with the 2007 edition. ASU was 5-1 during the first two years of the tournament's existence, but has gone just 3-6 since, including a six game losing skid that game to a halt with the win against Gonzaga. Surprise Stadium was also the site where the Devils' NCAA scoring streak came to an end. ASU had scored in 506 straight games before Oklahoma shut them out 6-0 in 2004. Since then, Arizona State has been shut out five more times, twice coming in Surprise. Oregon State, which has played in four of the five Coca-Cola Classics, has the best record in the tournament's history at 9-3.

 

Rankings:

ASU fell three spots to #14 in the Collegiate Baseball poll, while Baseball America dropped them one spot to #14. The NCBWA poll moved them down to #13 from #12 and Rivals.com kept them at #5. The USA Today/Coaches Poll will not begin until next week.

 

Coca-Cola Classic Wrap-Up:

The Devils started off the weekend with a Thursday night affair against the Missouri Tigers in Tempe. The pitching combo of Brian Flores and Mike Leake overmatched the Tigers as ASU won 7-1. Matt Hall had three RBI to lead the Sun Devil offense...Arizona State's woes at Surprise continued, as they struggled on Friday night against Missouri. Despite a great pitching effort from Josh Satow, the Sun Devil offense could not put enough runs on the board as ASU fell 3-2...Saturday saw the much-anticipated match-up between Pac-10 foes when ASU faced defending National Champion Oregon State. The Beavers had no trouble scoring and no trouble containing the ASU bats as OSU won 12-4...The Sun Devils were finally able to exorcise their demons in Surprise Stadium when they snapped a six-game losing skid in that building with a 9-2 win over Gonzaga on Sunday. Brett Wallace and Eric Sogard each knocked in two runs to help ASU pick up the victory.

 

Coca-Cola Classic All-Tournament Team:

After setting a Houston College Classic record with six All-Tournament Team selections, the Sun Devils followed that up by placing three on the Coca-Cola Classic All-Tournament Team. Brett Wallace and Mike Leake earned All-Tournament selections for the second straight week, while Joe Persichina earned recognition in Surprise for the second time in his career. Persichina also made the Coca-Cola Classic All-Tournament Team in 2005.

 

Lights Out Leake:

Freshman Mike Leake continues to impress during his debut season. Leake picked up two more wins this weekend, coming on in relief of Brian Flores on both Thursday and Sunday. He is now 3-0 on the year with a 0.92 ERA.

 

Leaders In The Pac:

The Sun Devils are well represented in the Pac-10 stats this week. ASU leads the conference in nine offensive categories, including batting average runs scored and hits. Petey Paramore is second in the conference in batting average, while Matt Spencer leads the conference in slugging percentage, RBI and is tied for the lead in home runs. Brett Wallace is the conference leader in stolen bases. On the mound, Mike Leake is number one in wins (3) and Josh Satow is tied for the lead in strike outs.

 

Uncharted Territory:

While Arizona State has become quite familiar with Conference USA opponents, UAB is on the opposite end of the spectrum with Pac-10 opponents. This weekend will mark the first time that the Blazers have ever played a Pac-10 team. In addition, this will be the first time the UAB baseball program has ever played a game west of Houston, Texas.

 

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.

 

Arms Race:

The Sun Devil pitching staff looks a little different from what it was in 2006 season. The 2007 staff features 13 new arms, with only three returners from last year (Urlaub, Satow, Trink). Leading the charge of newcomers is LHP Brian Flores, who is expected to take over the Friday night starter role. Last season, ASU used 11 different starting pitchers, the most ever in the Pat Murphy era.

 

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.

 

Challenge At Chase:

The Second Annual Challenge at Chase will be played on Wednesday March 28th, when the Sun Devils and Arizona Wildcats meet in a non-conference battle at the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

 

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.

 

Pac-10 Pitcher Of The Week:

Thanks to his complete game, Josh Satow was named the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week following the Houston College Classic. It marked the first time in Satow's career that he had been honored by the conference and he became the 49th all-time Sun Devil to earn the Pac-10 weekly honor. Last season, three Sun Devils picked up Player of the Week awards from the Pac-10, but Satow is the first ASU hurler to be honored since Pat Bresnehan earned the award in March of 2005.

 

Feeling The Draft:

There are 18 members of the 2007 Sun Devils who have had their name called during the annual Major League Baseball draft, including four players who have had their name called twice.

            Player             Round    Team        Year

            Mike Leake     7th        Athletics    2006

          Matt Hall       8th        Angels      2005

          Derik Olvey    13th      Dodgers    2003

          Jarred Bogany 15th      Pirates      2005

          Tim Smith      17th      Brewers    2005*

          Ike Davis       19th      Devil Rays 2005

          Tim Smith      21st      Mets        2004*

          Brian Flores    21st      White Sox 2004*

          Petey Paramore          22nd        Mets     2005

          Matt Spencer 24th      Red Sox    2004

          Jason Jarvis   25th      Cardinals   2006

          Jeff Urlaub     26th      Devil Rays 2005

          Kiel Roling      31st      D-Backs    2006

          Andrew Romine           36th         Phillies   2004

          Matt Trink      36th      Blue Jays  2003*

          Scott Mueller  37th      D-Backs    2005*

          Brian Flores    37th      White Sox 2005*

          Matt Trink      39th      Blue Jays  2004*

          Scott Mueller  41st      Reds        2004*

          Brett Wallace 42nd      Blue Jays  2005

          Tommy Rafferty          42nd        Astros   2004

          Kyle Williams   47th      White Sox 2006

          *-Denotes players drafted twice

 

The Waiting Is The Hardest Part:

Arizona State is still waiting to hear a ruling from the NCAA on the eligibility of Jason Jarvis. Jarvis was able to practice with the team during the first two weeks of the season, but has not been able to participate in drills since Feb. 12. A ruling is expected by the end of this week.

 

Up Next:

The Sun Devils head south to face the Arizona Wildcats in Tucson on Tuesday afternoon before heading to Auburn, Alabama for a three-game series with the Auburn Tigers next weekend.

 

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