June 5, 2002
TEMPE, Ariz. -- After setting the freshman school record with 82 hits and hitting .347, Arizona State shortstop Dustin Pedroia was named a Louisville Slugger/Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-American. Sun Devil teammates Jeff Larish and Mark Sopko were both named to the honorable mention freshman All-American team as well when the awards were announced today by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper.
Pedroia, who finished fourth on the team with his .347 batting average after hitting .500 (10x20) in the NCAA Regionals, was the only Sun Devil to play in all 58 games. He ended the season with a career-high 11-game hitting streak and was second on the team with 51 runs scored. He also had one home run, 13 doubles, two triples and drove in 45 runs. Starting at three different positions during his rookie campaign (8 at 2B, 16 at 3B, 34 at SS), Pedroia made only four errors in 224 total chances for a remarkable .982 fielding percentage. He, along with teammate Ryan Schroyer, was selected to try out for the Team USA National Team. He became only the second Sun Devil in school history to be named a first-team All-Pac-10 member as a freshman.
Larish (Tempe) finished his freshman year hitting .328 with three home runs and was selected as an honorable mention All-Pac-10 member. Playing in 34 games and making 33 starts (all at 3B), Larish was scheduled to redshirt the season until making a surprise start against Oklahoma (3/16).
Sopko (Joliet, Ill.) was solid out of the bullpen for the Sun Devils all year, maintaining a 2-2 record with one save. Despite hit 5.56 ERA in 34.0 innings pitched, Sopko was ASU's most effective pitcher when inheriting runners and not letting them score. In fact, Sopko allowed only 10 of 36 inherited base runners to score throughout the course of the season.
The ASU Baseball program has now had 10 players selected to the Collegiate Baseball/Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American team in the last two years, with Rod Allen, Jeremy West, Mike Esposito, Aaron Klusman, Ryan Schroyer, Steve Garrabrants and Nick Walsh all earning recognition in 2001.