May 1, 2001
#22 Tennessee Volunteers (34-13) Lindsay Nelson Stadium * Knoxville, Tenn. Tuesday, May 1, 7 p.m. (Live Stats) Bryce Kartler (0-0, 5.96) vs. Dusty Johnson (2-0, 2.25) Wednesday, May 2, 7 p.m. (Live Stats) Mike Esposito (3-2, 4.10) vs. Dennis Gomez (0-0, 0.00) *Probable Pitchers/times are Eastern Standard Time
What's On Tap:
The No. 20 Arizona State Sun Devil baseball (30-15-1) team travels to Knoxville, Tenn., for a two-game set with the No. 22 Volunteers. The series will be played Tuesday and Wednesday at Lindsay Nelson Stadium on the University of Tennessee campus. Both games are scheduled for 7 p.m. EST. The Sun Devils are coming off their second consecutive Pac-10 series win, sending the Arizona Wildcats back home to Tucson with two losses in the heated three-game series. After taking the opening game 7-4 Friday night, ASU lost Saturday 3-1 and won the rubber match with a 6-5 win Sunday in 11 innings. ASU is now just a half game back of third place in the Pac-10 standings with a 9-9 mark in conference play. With 30 wins ASU extended its streak of gaining at least 30 wins for the 39th straight season.
The All-Time Series:
The Sun Devils and Volunteers have met six prior times with ASU winning all six games. The Sun Devils and Tennessee last met in 1994 at an NCAA Regional at Lindsay Nelson Stadium. ASU is 4-0 all-time at the home of Tennessee baseball, taking two games over the Volunteers in that regional (10-5, 5-4) and also beat Western Carolina and Wright State to advance to the College World Series in Jim Brock's last year at the helm of the Sun Devils. ASU and Tennessee last met in a non-conference series back in 1988 when the Devils swept a three-game series in Tempe.
The Record Is In The Books. ASU Has Scored In 363 Straight Games:
The Arizona State baseball program made history on April 7 when they scored at least one run in its 350th consecutive game. The Devils broke the 12-year-old record in a 5-1 loss to USC exactly six years to the day when they were last shut out. ASU was shut out 9-0 on April 7, 1995 at Dedeaux Field. The one run scored in the 3-1 loss to Arizona on Saturday marked only the ninth time during the streak that ASU has scored only one run. The record is still in tact at 363 straight games. ASU was neck-in-neck with Wichita State who was not shutout in 332 games, but when the Shockers fell 1-0 vs. Louisiana-Lafayette ASU took over the national lead. Coastal Carolina held the record at 349 games set from 1983-1989. ASU also had a stretch of 278 games without being shut out from 1990 to 1994, meaning the program has only been limited to no runs three times dating back to 1990.
The National Rankings:
The Sun Devils are ranked 20th by Baseball America, 16th by Collegiate Baseball and 15th in the Baseball Weekly/ESPN Coaches poll. ASU has now been ranked in the top 20 for 27 consecutive weeks in at least one of the three college baseball polls. After going 1-3 last week and being swept at home by SEC rival Georgia, Tennessee fell from eight spots in the Baseball America poll to its current ranking of No. 22. The Volunteers are also ranked 19th in both the Collegiate Baseball poll and the Baseball Weekly/ESPN Coaches poll. ASU is 4-7-1 this year when playing a team that is currently ranked and have faced one of the toughest schedules in the nation having played 11 games against teams that are currently ranked in Baseball America's top 10 (LSU/USC/CSUF/STAN).
Casey Myers is Chasing 300 and 283:
One of the hottest and best hitters in college baseball and making a name for himself as one of the best Sun Devils to ever wear the Maroon and Gold, Casey Myers has 299 hits in his illustrious career at ASU and is now just one short of becoming only the third Sun Devil hitter in history to record 300 hits. Myers is a career .387 hitter in Tempe (299x773) in 207 career games. The senior All-American catcher is also chasing the Pac-10 and ASU career RBI record of 283 set by former Sun Devil Andrew Beinbrink (1996-99). Myers is 21 short of the record with 262 in his career and 56 this year. He is only one short of reaching second place in the Pac-10 record books, a spot held by former Stanford Cardinal standout John Gall (263). Myers is also ranked sixth with 38 career home run, seventh with a .387 career batting average, fifth with 474 total bases, fourth with 61 doubles and sixth with 773 career at-bats. Myers has recorded 26 multi-hit games in 2001 and 92 in his career.
Rod Allen Is "DANGER"ous:
Freshman left fielder Rod Allen has quickly making a name for himself in his rooking campaign at the collegiate level. A legitimate candidate for Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and Freshman All-American status, Allen entered last week with the 12th highest batting average in the NCAA and after going 6-for-19 in the last five games is now hitting at a team-leading clip of .423 (55x130). Allen recently had a seven-game hitting streak snapped (14x27, .519), but had gotten back on the hit train to pick up mulit-hit games in the last two contests vs. Arizona. Allen now has hits in 31 of 38 games this year and is 4-for-his-last-9. He is hitting .471 with 16 RBI and two home runs while gathering hits in nine of ASU's last 10 games. His .423 average ranks third in the Pac-10 and was listed as the second highest batting average of all freshman in last week's NCAA rankings. ASU is 8-2 when Allen bats fourth and Allen is a .474 hitter (18x38) with 16 RBI since moving to that spot in the lineup.
Offensive Powerhouse ASU Tops In Scoring in NCAA Last Two Years:
Arizona State has led the NCAA in scoring each of the last two years, averaging 11.32 runs per game in 1999 and 10.97 runs per game last year. ASU also led the nation in batting average with a team total of .356 in 1999. The Sun Devils .346 average in 2000 fell just percentage points shy of matching that feat a second year in a row, trailing Stony Brook by one point. ASU out-hit Stony Brook 738-500. During Pat Murphy's seven seasons in Tempe, the Sun Devils have been a scoring machine with 3,728 runs, averaging 9.30 runs per game. 2001 has been no different for ASU, averaging 8.20 runs per game and hitting .332 as a team.
Murphy Chasing 100 Pac-10 Victories:
ASU head coach Pat Murphy has posted an impressive 262-139-1 record during his six-plus seasons in Tempe. With two wins vs. Arizona last weekend he now has recorded 99 Pac-10 wins during that time and is within one of reaching the 100-win plateau in conference games. The Sun Devils won their first Pac-10 Championship under Murphy last year with a 17-7 record in league play and are 9-9 in 2001. During his tenure in Tempe, Murphy's teams have dominated Arizona with a 25-14 record, including a stretch of seven of the last nine games. Murphy has never lost a Pac-10 series to his rivals from the South.
Torres Ranks High in NCAA With 11 Wins:
Junior college transfer Andy Torres not only leads ASU with 11 wins, but is among the national leaders in the NCAA. Tied last week with three others, Torres is 11-3 on the year with one save. Posting an impressive 4.02 overall ERA, Torres has really shined for ASU since moving to the bullpen. As a relief pitcher this year the crafty right-hander is 5-0 with a 2.73 ERA. He has struck out 28 in 26.1 innings out of the bullpen. Overall Torres has made a team-high 20 appearances, with nine coming as starts, and has struck out 60 batters in 71.2 innings. He picked up wins in both of ASU's extra inning games at Oklahoma and Oral Roberts. Torres came to Arizona State from East Los Angeles Junior College where he was 11-3 with a 2.19 ERA.
Lopez Named Pac-10 Player of the Week:
Sun Devil senior third baseman Mike Lopez has been named Pac-10 Baseball Player of the Week for April 23-29. Lopez, from Phoenix, Ariz., hit .500 over five games last week, helping the Sun Devils to a 4-1 record against Gonzaga and Arizona. Lopez also scored three runs, hit his third home run of the season and notched five RBI. He tallied the game-winning RBI in ASU's 6-5 extra-inning win over Arizona Sunday. Lopez is batting .343 with three homers, 17 doubles and 42 RBI.The Player of the Week honor is the first for Lopez in his career, and the 63rd selection all-time for Arizona State. Lopez has also been ASU's best clutch hitter over the course of the year with a .381 batting average (24x63) with runners in scoring position. He is 4-for-11 with the bases loaded.
After hitting only .245 vs. the Wildcats (24x98), ASU saw its team batting average drop from .337 to .332... regardless, the Sun Devils are still leading the Pac-10 in hitting... in Pac-10 games only ASU is hitting .280 with six home runs and 33 doubles... for the first time this year in a Pac-10 series the ASU hitters tabbed more than one home run... over the last five games ASU is hitting .292 with four home runs and 29 RBI... in the last 10 games the Sun Devils are hitting .329 with a 8-2 record... during that stretch of games the team is slugging .462 with a .417 on-base percentage... ASU has drawn an average of 1.0 HPB per game over the last 10 games... the Sun Devils lead the Pac-10 with 72 hit-by-pitch on the year... ASU has scored double-digits in runs in 18 games this year.... ASU has 120 two-out RBI.
The Sun Devil pitching staff is currently sporting a 4.46 ERA and has allowed 204 earned runs in 441.1 innings... in Pac-10 play the pitching staff has combined for a 5.00 ERA with 88 earned runs given up in 158.1 combined innings... Sun Devil pitchers have chalked up 440 strikeouts, with 129 of those being strikeouts looking... in the last five games in which ASU is 4-1, the pitching staff has an impressive 3.45 ERA... ASU entered the week ranked fifth in the league in ERA... senior relief pitcher Drew Friedberg leads the team with a 2.02 ERA and is 4-1 on the mound... redshirt freshman Aaron Klusman has maintained a 3.23 ERA and junior Andy Torres has a 4.02 ERA... the starting pitchers have combined for a 17-12 record, posting one complete game and allowing 100 earned runs in 215.0 innings (4.19)... the starters have combined for a 4.19 ERA and struck out 222 batters... the bullpen is 13-3 on the year with seven saves in 196.1 innings of work.
ASU Has Tennessee Ties:
ASU head coach Pat Murphy knows the state of Tennessee. Murphy coached at Maryville College in 1983. As one of the NCAA's winningest coaches, Murphy's coaching career began right here in Tennessee when he led the Division III Scots to their best record at the time in the previous 10 seasons. Murphy also coached football at Maryville. ASU volunteer assistant coach Bill Mosiello was an assistant at Tennessee in the early 1990's and helped coach/recruit current Colorado Rockie and former Tennessee standout Todd Helton. ASU shortstop Dennis Wyrick was recruited to play football at Tennessee and Casey Myers and Jon Switzer were summer teammates of Tennessee's Chris Burke on Team USA.
The Best Freshmen Class Ever?:
The freshman class of 2001 was ranked as the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation and have lived up to that billing with a phenomenal coming out party. Dubbed the "Fabulous Frosh," Rod Allen, Jeremy West, Steve Garrabrants, Mike Esposito, Aaron Klusman, Nick Walsh, Ryan Schroyer, Eric Keefner and Ryan McKenna are the future of this program who are making huge contributions immediately. Allen is third in the Pac-10 in hitting at .423 and is bidding to record the best statistical year for a freshman in ASU history. No freshman, not even Barry Bonds, Reggie Jackson, Alvin Davis, Bob Horner or Willie Bloomquist ever hit over .400 in their rookie campaigns in Tempe. Through 46 games Allen is hitting .423 with four home runs and 38 RBI. Garrabrants is hitting a solid .323 and according to ASU records has already tied the freshman record with 16 stolen bases. Jeremy West is tied for the team lead with six home runs, ranking fifth of all ASU freshman behind Bond's 11 back in 1983. Casey Myers was the last freshman to enjoy great numbers in his first year in Tempe, recording a believed freshman batting average record of .386 with eight home runs and 58 RBI in 1998 when ASU advanced to the College World Series. On the mound, true freshman Ryan Schroyer has started seven games and posted a 6.59 ERA. Redshirt Klusman is second on the team with a 3.23 ERA and has struck out 45 batters in 30.2 innings. Esposito is also a redshirt freshman and has overtaken the role as the Friday night starter.
Chris Duffy Makes An Immediate Impact:
Junior Chris Duffy started the season with some bad news by spraining his right MCL before the Alumni game. After a month of intense rehab, the highly touted JC transfer from South Mountain CC saw his first action of his ASU career in the Creighton series and has faired well since his return by racking up a team-high 19-game hitting streak. During the streak, Duffy hit .378 (28x74) with 19 runs scored, 16 RBI, four doubles and a triple. Duffy, who was the nation's top base stealer at the JC level last year with 59, is described as a five-tool player and has been solid in center field for ASU. Duffy is rated as one of the top 100 prospects in the nation by Baseball America (62) and earned the distinction of having the best outfield arm and best speed in the Pac-10's preseason outlook by Baseball America. Duffy hit .409 at South Mountain last year and was a 43rd round draft choice of the Boston Red Sox. Duffy also has three outfield assists, cutting down runners at home plate each time, and has recorded at least one hit in 31 of his 37 games played. Duffy also has 20 multi-hit games and three multi-RBI affairs. He clubbed his first collegiate home run Tuesday vs. Gonzaga. For the season he is third on the team with a .363 batting average (53x146) with 29 runs, four doubles, two triples and 20 RBI. He has ASU's longest active hitting streak at seven games in which he has multi-hit games in his six of those games and is hitting .433 (13x30) during the streak.
The Espo Report:
Possibly the best news of the season for the Sun Devils is the fact the RHP Mike Esposito (Las Vegas) is back in the starting rotation. A reliever on strict pitch counts through much of the early season, Esposito made his return as a starter vs. LSU. Leaving the game with a lead against the Tigers, Esposito made good in his second start of the year, picking up the win against South Florida with 3.1 solid innings. Only 11 months from successful Tommy John surgery, Esposito turned in possibly ASU's most impressive pitching performance of the season. Despite picking up the no-decision vs. Cal, the hard-throwing right-hander allowed only four hits and two runs in seven innings against California. He struck out six and did not walk a better in his start. Esposito is 3-2 on the year with a 4.10 ERA. He has emerged as ASU's Friday night starter and taking away his early season bullpen outing, Esposito has a stellar 3.95 ERA in his nine starts. He is coming off strong consecutive outings, with a sterling start at Oklahoma in which he struck out six and scattered three hits in five innings. He picked up the win Friday vs. Arizona by allowing only one run in six innings. He has struck out at least six batters in five of his last seven starts and has 45 K's on the year. His start vs. Stanford (3/30) came exactly one year to the day after his Tommy John surgery. Esposito was a fifth-round draft pick by the Cincinnati Reds in 1999 and was ASU's opening day starter in 2000 before going down with the injury.
42 Years of Sun Devil Baseball:
While the history of baseball at Arizona State University goes back all the way to the early 1900's, the school officially began sponsoring varsity baseball in 1959. In 42-plus years of varsity baseball at Arizona State, the program has built a legacy matched by few in the college baseball world. With a 1,887-751-1 all-time record, Arizona State has recorded winning seasons in all but one year, advanced to the College World Series 18 times, won five national championships, won six Pac-10 titles, produced 13 Players of the Year and three Golden Spikes Award winners, and has gone to the NCAA Tournament 24 times. Under current head coach Pat Murphy, the Sun Devils have finished in the top 12 in three of the last four years and finished second in the nation in 1998. They have been ranked in the top 20 since the start of the 2000 season.
What is Left in 2001:
The Arizona State Sun Devils have nine remaining games in 2001 and with a 30-15-1 record, ASU will need a strong finish in Pac-10 play to secure a NCAA berth or to host a regional. Winning eight of their last 10 games, the Sun Devils have six remaining games left at Washington and host UCLA.
Pat Murphy at ASU:
Arizona's State has had only three coaches in its illustrious history. The latest to join the legacy is Pat Murphy who has enjoyed great success since arriving in Tempe six years ago in 1995. Murphy has guided ASU to a 262-138-1 (.654) and posted an impressive 99-86 record in the tough Pac-10. ASU has advanced to postseason play in three of the six years under Murphy, including a 2nd place finish at the College World Series in 1998. With his 262 wins at ASU, Murphy has the third best winning percentage of Pac-10 coaches. Murphy is three wins shy of 100 career Pac-10 victories . Of all active Division I coaches, Murphy entered 2001 ranked 14th with a career .675 winning percentage.
The Ultimate Team Player, Dennis Wyrick:
Dennis Wyrick has had his ups and downs so far in 2001, but the ups have far outweighed the downs. After entering the weekend series in Southern California, Wyrick was hitting .425, but after going hitless in 14 at-bats vs. the Trojans and Cal State Fullerton and 0-for-3 vs. Washington State, entered the "Southwest Roadtrip" with an 0-for-17 slump. He broke out of that in a big way with three hits vs. New Mexico State and i.349 on the season, forth best on the team. Wyrick hit .500 (6x12) during the Oregon State series with a double and a RBI, Wyrick followed that with a stellar series against top-ranked Stanford. In the three games he hit .556, going 5-for-9 with two doubles, two runs scored and three RBI. Over the last five games before USC he was hitting .500 (8x16). For the year the Azusa, Calif., native is hitting .349 (45x129) with 21 runs scored, seven doubles and 20 RBI. His seven doubles are already four more than his 2000 season total of two in which he earned freshman All-America honors. Wyrick had a career-long seven-game hitting streak snapped vs. USC. He collectively went 12-for-24 (.500) with four runs scored and three doubles during the streak. Wyrick provided the game-winning, two-run single in ASU's 5-3 win over Oklahoma in 11 innings (4/18).
Bobby Winkles Field:
The Baseball Field at Packard Stadium was officially named Bobby Winkles Field April 3 as part of a special weekend honoring ASU's first varsity baseball coach. Winkles Field was officially named during a special ceremony before Saturday's game with LSU. Around 90 of Winkles former players joined a sellout crowd at Packard Stadium to honor Winkles and his tremendous strides to put ASU baseball on the map. Winkles was ASU's first varsity coach, compiling an impeccable 524-173 record during his 13-year career at ASU. He guided the Sun Devils to three national championships (1965, 67,69) and tutored future major league greats Rick Monday, Reggie Jackson and Sal Bando. ASU is 11-5-1 on the newly named Bobby Winkles Field. ASU recently played its 1,000th career game at Packard Stadium, posting an all-time 783-227-1 record at the home of Sun Devil baseball dating back to April 7, 1972.
Around the Horn With ASU Baseball:
ASU has won eight of its last 10 games overall... senior All-American catcher Casey Myers needs just one hit to become only the third Sun Devil to ever reach 300 career hits... with 262 career RBI he is one off second place in the Pac-10 career record book held by former Stanford standout John Gall... Myers needs 21 RBI to match the Pac-10 and school record of 283 set by Andrew Beinbrink (1996-99)... Sunday's 6-5 win over Arizona in 11 innings continued a streak for ASU head coach Pat Murphy that has never seen him lose a series to his rivals from the South... he is now 25-14 in his seven-year career against the Wildcats... Murphy's teams have won seven of the last nine vs. Arizona and the Sun Devil skipper is now one win shy of 100 Pac-10 victories for his career... junior LHP Jon Switzer tallied his 300th career strikeout vs. Arizona Saturday... Switzer had not recorded a victory since his complete game win over Oregon State (March 23)... freshman Rod Allen leads the team with a .423 batting average... he also has four home runs, 30 runs, 12 doubles and 38 RBI during his rookie campaign in Tempe... no freshman in ASU history has ever hit over .400 during their first year as a Sun Devil... Allen is hitting .415 in league play and over his last 10 games is a .474 hitter. .. Steve Garrabrants' 16 stolen bases has tied a freshman record... junior Chris Duffy has the longest current hitting streak on the team at seven games... Duffy is hitting .433 (13x30) during the streak with six multi-hit games... Mike Lopez was ASU's hottest hitter last week with a .500 average over the five games and is also ASU's best hitter with runners in scoring position at .381 (11 2B, 37 RBI)... as a team ASU is hitting .329 (27x82) in pinch-hitting situations... the Sun Devils are 6-1-1 when utility player Nick Walsh starts a game... Walsh has three game-winning hits this year and recorded his first career three-hit game Sunday vs. Arizona... Andy Torres entered the week tied for the NCAA lead with 11 wins... senior relief pitcher Drew Friedberg has been on fire all year and continued his dominating pitching Saturday vs. Arizona... Friedberg lowered his team-leading ERA to 2.09 with five innings of two-hit, shutout ball... he has struck out 47 and walked only eight in 43.0 innings pitched to rank him as a legitimate candidate for All-America status in 2001... in his last 11 innings pitched, Friedberg has allowed only one run and struck out 13... redshirt freshman Aaron Klusman (Phoenix) has been equally impressive out of the bullpen, pitching in a team-leading 19 games this year and ranking second behind Friedberg with a 3.23 ERA... a candidate for freshman All-American, Klusman has struck out 45 in 30.2 innings pitched and opponents are hitting only .200 against him on the year... for the first time this year ASU hit more than one home run in a Pac-10 series... the Sun Devils belted three home runs, with two coming off the bat of junior Brooks Conrad Friday night... with his start at first base tonight vs. Tennessee, Conrad has now started at least one game at all four infield positions this year.
Casey Myers An All-American On The Field And In The Classroom:
One of the best hitters in college baseball, Casey Myers, has not disappointed in living up to that title this year. Recording hits in 36 of his 46 games this year, plus 26 multi-hit games, Myers is second on the team with a .409 batting averege. He has 16 doubles, six home runs and 56 RBI. Myers is hitting .369 in Pac-10 play and is a .411 hitter over the last 15 games. Myers already has 56 RBI on the year to place second in the Pac-10 and is quickly approaching the school and Pac-10 career record. With 262 in his four-year career, he is just 22 short of breaking both records set by former Sun Devil Andrew Beinbrink. Dating back to the start of 2000, Myers is hitting .411 (172x419) with 152 RBI and 24 home runs in 105 combined games. Myers is quickly reminding players why he is one of the best players in all of college baseball. A legitimate candidate for Player of the Year honors. Myers, who hit .412 last year and was a finalist for the National Player of the Year award, is now within one of second place in the ASU record books for career RBI. Behind the plate Myers has been instrumental in the success of the ASU pitching staff, calling all the pitches. He is also just 14 short of second place in the Pac-10 books (John Gall, Stanford). Myers needs 47 more RBI to rank among the top seven run-producers in college baseball history, a list that includes Robin Ventura, Joe Carter and Pete Incaviglia. Defensively, the 2000 Collegiate Baseball Defensive Player of the Year has also been solid, carrying a .991 fielding percentage into this weekend's action. In addition to his 22 multi-hit games this year, he has 88 in his career, including 34, three-hit games. He hit 18 home runs (second on the team) behind teammate Mitch Jones and now has 36 in his career to tie for seventh in school history. The school record is 56 set by Bob Horner. Myers has quietly done an excellent job behind the plate as well, calling the pitches himself and making the pitching staff step up to the next level. He has been named conference player of the week three times during his career at ASU. He reached base safely (hit, walk, HBP) in 54 of 59 games in '00. Myers led the squad in multiple-hit games (31) and multi-RBI games (29). His multi-hit games included three, four-hit affairs. He hit safely in 50 of 59 games. Myers was clutch with 26 two-out RBI and hit .417 with the bases loaded. He hit .466 (48x103) with runners in scoring position and .459 with runners on base. Myers finished his junior campaign ranked 30th in the nation in batting average (.412), third in RBI (97), and 35th in home runs (.31 per game). With one more hit, Myers will join an elite few in ASU history, becoming only the third Sun Devil in history to record 300 hits in a career.
More On Myers:
As asset for the program throughout his career in Tempe, Myers has also been stellar in the classroom. The math whiz that scored a perfect 800 on the math portion of the SAT out of high school, Myers has maintained a near-perfect GPA as a math/accounting major at ASU. He was an Academic All-American in 1999 and 2000, and received college baseball's highest academic honor last year when he was named the GTE/CoSida Academic All-American of the Year. In addition to being named the Academic All-American of the Year, All-American and Pac-10 Player of the Year in 2000, Myers was also named the Collegiate Baseball National Defensive Player of the Year with a .996 fielding percentage. In November, Myers was named the top amateur athlete in the state of Arizona by the March of Dimes. Myers is once again a candidate for Pac-10 Player of the Year and has been nominated for Academic All-America honors.
Casey Myers in the Record Books....... Pac-10 Career RBI 1. Andrew Beinbrink, ASU (1996-99) 283 2. John Gall, Stanford (1997-2000) 263 3. Casey Myers, ASU (1998-P) 262 4. Paul Carey, Stanford (1987-90) 220 5. Eric Valent, UCLA (1996-98) 219
ASU Career RBI 1. Andrew Beinbrink (1996-99) 283 2. Casey Myers (1998-P) 262 3. Clay Westlake (1973-76) 250 4. Bob Horner (1976-78) 229
ASU Career Batting Average 1. Kevin Romine (1981-82) .408 2. Hubie Brooks (1977-78) .396 3. Willie Bloomquist (1997-99) .394 6. Casey Myers (1998-P) .387
The Pac-10 Race:
At 9-9 in the Pac-10, ASU is only one game out of third place. With Oregon State (8-7) taking on Washington this weekend, the Sun Devils can pick up some ground in the standings with a Beaver loss. California helped themselves out with two wins over Stanford to improve to 11-10 in league play. ASU has two Pac-10 series left, with Washington (May 12-14) on the road and UCLA at home. Oregon State plays Washington this weekend, while Cal travels to UCLA.
Filling the Stands:
Through 31 home games of the 2001 season, ASU has drawn 85,360 fans to Packard Stadium to see the nationally ranked Sun Devils get off to a 30-15-1 start overall and 23-8-1 record at Packard Stadium. Averaging 2,753 fans per date at home, ASU is among the nations best so far this year in attendance for college baseball. ASU finished 11th in the nation and second on the west coast in 2000. The 18,465 fans that showed up for the LSU series was the largest draw for at three-game series since 1989 when 20,095 came out to see ASU and Arizona play. The attendance of 6,457 that came out for Bobby Winkles Day (3/3) on the Saturday game of the LSU series was the biggest single-game crowd since April 27, 1996 when 6,969 attended the USC-ASU game at Packard Stadium. ASU averaged 3,341 for the three games vs. Stanford in early April.
Klusman Equals K:
Redshirt freshman Aaron Klusman has earned the nickname "Special K." Through ASU's first 46 games, he may be the biggest surprise of any Sun Devil. Beginning the year as a long-shot to be a big-time contributor, Klusman has relished as a short-reliever and has maintained stellar 3.23 ERA. Klusman is averaging over 13 strikeouts per nine innings pitched and in 30.2 innings on the mound has fanned 45 batters. Opponents are hitting only .200 off him and he has scattered only 23 hits in his 19 appearances. Klusman registered a career day on the mound Saturday vs. Washington State (4/14). He pitched his longest career outing by going six strong, and struck out a career-high 10 batters. Yes, he struck out 10 out of the bullpen, and in doing so picked up his first career collegiate win. In his last two outings he has struck out 15 batters in 8.1 innings. On the year he has inherited 12 runners on base, only two of which have scored. He has also retired 11 of the 16 first batters he has faced. Klusman prepped in the Phoenix area at Brophy Prep High School.
Recruiting Class Draws Rave Reviews:
The recruiting class that makes up the freshman class on the diamond this spring was rated as the top class of recruits in the nation by Baseball America. Highlighted by seven players who were selected in the annual Major League Draft, the group includes several players who are expected to contribute immediately. The recruiting class was also ranked third in the nation by Collegiate Baseball.
Drew Friedberg Having Stellar Senior Season:
Senior left-handed relief pitcher Drew Friedberg (Middleton, Wisc.) continued his dominance on the mound with two more impressive outings last week... Friedberg improved to 4-1 on the year with three innings of one-run ball vs. Gonzaga on Monday... he added an impressive five-inning, shutout performance in ASU's 3-1 loss to Arizona Saturday... the senior LHP lowered his ERA to 2.09 and in 43.0 innings pitched this year, opponents are hitting only .195 off him... in his two combined outings last week, Friedberg maintained a 1.12 ERA with nine strikeouts and only one run in eight innings of work... in Pac-10 play this year Friedberg has a 1.53 ERA with only three earned runs allowed in 17.2 innings.
Bullpen Tears It Up vs. Wildcats:
The Sun Devil bullpen was a main reason for ASU taking two of three games from Arizona last weekend. The ASU relievers posted a 1-0 record with a 2.81 ERA in the three combined games. They allowed only five runs in 16.0 innings on the mound. Drew Friedberg had five shutout innings and Aaron Klusman was stellar in his six inning of work. In the Sunday series finale, the bullpen was a main factor in the win with Andy Torres, Bryce Kartler, Klusman and Franco Pezely combining to hold Arizona scoreless over the final six innings of the game. ASU outscored the Wildcats 14-12 in the series, but hit only .245 between the three games. Chris Duffy was 5-for-12 (.417) to lead ASU at the plate, while Nick Walsh (.400) and Rod Allen (.364) also had good performances at the plate. Mike Lopez hit .300 en route to his first career Pac-10 Player of the Week award and Brooks Conrad had two home runs, both coming in Friday's series opener. ASU is now 156-101 in the all-time series (dating back to 1959) and have won seven of the last nine games.
Copy By Jeff R. Evans
ASU Media Relations