June 1, 2004
TEMPE, Ariz. (www.TheSunDevils.com) -- With the Road to Omaha set to begin this Friday in the 2004 NCAA Tournament, the Arizona State Baseball team held its 20th annual awards banquet Tuesday night at the Tempe Mission Palms Hotel in downtown Tempe. Junior shortstop Dustin Pedroia won three awards, including his third straight MVP honor.
Arizona State finished the regular season with a 40-16 record and open NCAA play this Friday at 3 p.m. against Pepperdine in the Fullerton Regional. The Sun Devils earned the national No. 7 seed in the tournament and will be looking to make the 19th trip to the College World Series in school history.
Junior shortstop Dustin Pedroia (Woodland, Calif.) highlighted the evening by winning three awards, including his third straight On Deck Circle MVP Award. Pedroia hit .395 (92-for-233) with 24 doubles, nine home runs and 48 RBI during the regular season and was named a first-team All-American by USA Today/Sports Weekly.
Pedroia was also presented with the Outstanding Offensive Player Award. The junior has hit safely in 46 of ASU's 56 games this season and has recorded 28 multi-hit games. He needs only eight more hits to reach100 for the second straight season and needs just six more hits to reach 300 for his career.
In one of the highlights of the evening, Pedroia was also awarded the inaugural award, The Tillman. Honored after former Arizona State football player Pat Tillman, who passed away last month while serving his country in Afghanistan, the award embodies character, passion, spirit, intensity and the ability to sacrifice everything for your team. Pedroia has never missed a start in his Sun Devil career (182 games) and gave back his scholarship after his freshman season.
The Mr. Fireman Award was given to freshman closer Zechry Zinicola. Appearing in 23 games on the mound this season, Zinicola (San Bernadino, Calif.) has dominated late in games to go 4-2 with seven saves and a 3.46 ERA. He ranks third in the Pac-10 and second in ASU freshman history with seven saves.
Junior catcher Tuffy Gosewisch earned the Outstanding Defensive Player Award. Gosewisch (Scottsdale, Ariz.) is one of 15 semifinalists for the prestigious Johnny Bench Catcher of the Year Award and has been a leading force behind ASU's school-record tying .974 fielding percentage. In addition, Gosewisch is fifth on the team hitting .346 (65-for-188) with 14 doubles, two home runs and 46 RBI. He has made only two errors in 440 total chances and thrown out 17 attempted base stealers.
Junior right-hander Jason Urquidez was named the Pitcher of the Year. Urquidez (Simi Valley, Calif.) heads into the postseason tied for the Pac-10 lead with 11 wins and is second with a 3.31 ERA. The transfer from Central Arizona College has 90 strikeouts in 92.1 IP and was named to the initial Clemens Award Watch List. Urquidez earned national acclaim when he threw a complete-game, three-hitter in a 3-1 win over defending national champion Rice.
Redshirt freshman Seth Dhaenens was selected as the Developmental MVP for his dedicated work ethic and improvement on the field over the past year. Dhaenens (Chandler, Ariz.) made 25 starts at third base and hit .258 (23-for-89) with three doubles during the 2004 regular season. He has been used primarily as a late inning defensive replacement for his solid fielding skills at the hot corner.
The Newcomer of the Year Award was given to junior college transfer Josh Asanovich. The transfer from Central Arizona College has emerged as one of ASU's leading hitters heading into postseason play. Asanovich (Gold Canyon, Ariz.) is hitting .372 (51-for-137) with five home runs and 40 RBI. He is especially hot over his last 23 games, hitting .434 (33-for-76) with three homers and 25 RBI.
Redshirt junior Ryan McKenna earned the Jim Henderson Courage Award. The award that best exemplifies the courage, heart and dedication of one of the Sun Devils, McKenna exemplifies the criteria. The reserve outfielder sat out the 2003 season after enduring numerous health problems and worked hard in the weight room to make sure he would get back on the field. A standout in the classroom as a first-team All-Academic selection this season, McKenna (Elgin, Ill.) recently graduated with a degree in interdisciplinary studies. He is hitting .333 (14-for-42) and has come on strong with a current six-game hitting streak (.500, 9-for-18).
The Jim Brock/Mr. Sun Devil Award was presented to junior outfielder Jeff Larish. Larish (Tempe, Ariz.) is regarded as one of the most feared offensive threats in college baseball and after slow start has turned in another solid season on the diamond. A top prospect for the MLB Draft, Larish is hitting .308 (69-for-224) with seven home runs and 49 RBI. The Jim Brock award is named after legendary head coach Jim Brock, who passed away 10 years ago while coaching the Sun Devils to its 17th trip to the College World Series. Brock was 1,100-440 during his 23-year career.
The Bobby Winkles Award for outstanding hustle and team leadership went to sophomore right fielder Travis Buck. Buck's hard-nosed style and all-out hustle on the diamond have also made him a fan favorite. The sophomore is third on the team hitting .365 (77-for-211) with 16 doubles and leads the team with nine home runs and 56 RBI. He also ranks sixth in the Pac-10 with 12 stolen bases. Buck (Richland, Wash.) is the latest in a long line of Sun Devils who have been invited to the USA Baseball National Team Trials.
2004 ASU Baseball Award Winners: On Deck Circle MVP: Dustin Pedroia, Jr., SS Pitcher of the Year: Jason Urquidez, Jr., RHP Offensive MVP: Dustin Pedroia, Jr., SS Defensive MVP: Tuffy Gosewisch, Jr., C Developmental MVP: Seth Dhaenens, RS-Fr., INF Newcomer of the Year: Josh Asanovich, Jr., INF Mr. Fireman Award: Zechry Zinicola, Fr., RHP/DH Jim Henderson Courage Award: Ryan McKenna, RS-Jr., OF Jim Brock/Mr. Sun Devil Award: Jeff Larish, Jr., OF Bobby Winkles Award: Travis Buck, So., OF The Tillman: Dustin Pedroia, Jr., SS