March 14, 2001
Cal Golden Bears (12-9)
Evans Diamond -- Berkeley, Calif.
Friday, March 16, 2 p.m. (Radio/Live Stats)
Jon Switzer (3-0, 4.08) vs. Trevor Hutchinson (2-3, 3.43)
Saturday, March 17, 1 p.m. (Radio/Live Stats)
Mike Esposito (1-0, 6.10) vs. Ryan Atkinson (0-2, 3.86)
Sunday, March 18, 1 p.m. (Radio/Live Stats)
Andy Torres (7-1, 3.54) vs. Jason Dennis (1-1, 4.00)
*Probable Pitchers/times are PST
What's On Tap: The No. 4/6 Arizona State Sun Devil baseball team will take to the road for the second time this season, opening its 2001 Pac-10 schedule with a three-game series at Evans Diamond against the California Golden Bears. The Sun Devils and Bears will meet Friday through Sunday (2 p.m./1 p.m./1 p.m.). Jon Switzer will try to break his string of three consecutive no decisions, with Mike Esposito and Andy Torres starting the last two games of the series. After going 4-0 last week with convincing wins against Oral Roberts and a series sweep of South Florida, the Sun Devils carry a 17-4-1 record into the weekend. The Sun Devils will be defending their 2000 Pac-10 championship. ASU was 17-7 last year in league play, winning the outright bid to the NCAA Tournament. It was ASU's sixth Pac-10 title since joining the league in 1979 and the first since 1993. ASU also opened its 2000 Pac-10 slate at Evans Diamond, taking two of three from the Golden Bears. Pat Murphy is 21-8 in his ASU career against the Bears, including a stretch of 12 wins in the last 14 meetings. ASU is 3-0 all-time when opening Pac-10 play with the Bears. Led by three starters hitting over .400, ASU is hitting .371 as a team. Freshman first baseman Jeremy West is the hottest Sun Devil with 10 hits in his last 15 at bats. West is leading the team with a .452 batting average, while Casey Myers is right behind him at .441 and Rod Allen's 14-game hitting streak has him hitting .423 on the year. On the mound Torres is 7-1 to rank among the national leaders in wins.
Around The Horn With ASU Baseball: The Sun Devils lost their first season opener since 1993 to Texas-Arlington, but not to worry because the last time that happened the Sun Devils advanced to the College World Series... sophomore shortstop Dennis Wyrick has three doubles in 2001, already bettering his 2000 output by one... The Sun Devils went 4-0 last week with impressive wins over Oral Roberts and a series sweep of South Florida... ASU outscored the Golden Eagles and Bulls 55-13 in the four games combined... Freshman Rod Allen was 8-for-15 with a double, home run and six RBI... the son of former major leaguer Rod Allen Sr., has a 14-game hitting streak intact and is batting .423 (22x52) on the year with 20 RBI... Andy Torres picked up two wins to improve to 7-1 on the year... he is among the national leaders with the seven wins with New Mexico State hurler Dan Bivian (7-0)... Jeremy West leads the Sun Devils in hitting with a .452 batting average and in home runs with five... the Sun Devils have three regular starters (West/Myers/Allen) all hitting over .400... ASU, who has led the nation in scoring each of the past two years and was 1-2 in the nation in batting in 1999 and 2000 respectively, is averaging 11.05 runs per game and is hitting .371 as a team... the Sun Devils have reached double-digits in runs in 15 games this year, including four straight... senior All-American catcher Casey Myers continues to tear it up at the plate, going 8-for-16 (.500) in the four games last week with a double, two home runs and seven RBI... the senior backstop is hitting .441 (41x93) on the year with four home runs, eight doubles and a whopping 40 RBI... Myers has recorded at least one hit in 18 of ASU's 22 games, including 17 multi-hit games... he also has 13 multi-RBI games... With 40 RBI this year (1.82 avg.), Myers now has 246 during his career, just 37 short of the ASU and Pac-10 record of 283 set by former Sun Devil Andrew Beinbrink (1996-99)... senior third baseman Mike Lopez is hitting .387 and with 12 doubles has already equaled his season total from 2000... junior center fielder Chris Duffy went 7-for-15 at the plate last week with five runs scored, a double, triple and seven RBI... the junior college transfer who led the nation in stolen bases last year at South Mountain CC (59) is riding a 12-game hitting streak in which he is 18-for-46 (.391)... reserve players Cesar Castillo and Lucas Weber recorded their first career hits last Tuesday vs. Oral Roberts... as a team ASU is hitting .406 (146x360) with runners in scoring position.
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 3,613 runs, averaging 9.58 runs per game. 2001 has been no different scoring 11.05 runs per game and hitting .371 as a team.
Media Exposure: All three of the ASU-Cal games can be heard over the airwaves on XTRA 910 AM. Friday's game will be tape-delayed due to the ASU's women's basketball game in the NCAA Tournament. The 2 p.m. game should be aired around 7-8 p.m. MST. The Saturday and Sunday games will air live from Evans Diamond with both games starting at 2 p.m. MST. All three games can be heard over the internet as well on the official site of ASU Athletics at www.TheSunDevils.com. The games can also be viewed utilizing the Live Stats feature on the internet. Saturday's game will be televised in the Bay Area on Fox Sports Bay Area.
The Wild, Wild West, Jeremy West: While the stock market went down last week, it was nothing but up for Jeremy West. Entering the week with a .400 batting average, West went on a tear to raise it to a team-leading mark of .452. Possibly the best surprise of 2001 so far has been the stellar play of the true freshman first baseman/designated hitter. The product of Silverado High School in Las Vegas, Nev., West has recorded a hit in 17 of 21 games this year and is hitting at a .452 team-leading clip (28x62). West also leads the team with five home runs, three of which have come over the last six games, and is averaging one homer every 12.4 at-bats this year. The sweet-swinging West has been hot as of late, hitting .667 (10x15) over his last four games with two doubles, two triples and two home runs. In the South Florida series West was 8-for-12, including a career high four hits in the series opener. West was 4-for-5 with two RBI that night, falling just a double short of the elusive cycle.
More Sun Devil Tidbits: The Sun Devils own the nation's longest streak of consecutive games without being shutout at 339... ASU has not been shutout since April 7, 1995 at USC... they can break the national record of 349 (Coastal Carolina) ironically on April 7, 2001 at USC... Sunday's 12-4 win over South Florida marked the 1,000th career game at Packard Stadium... ASU is 776-223-1 all-time at the home of Sun Devil baseball... ASU played its first game at Packard Stadium on April 7, 1974 (yes, there is a weird thing here about the date April 7) against USC... junior outfielder Mel Stocker is 15-for-15 in stealing bases this year... ASU has 64 stolen bases as a team, already more than halfway to the 2000 season total of 92... junior LHP Jon Switzer has recorded three straight no-decisions... senior left-handed relief pitcher Drew Friedberg has been ASU's go-to guy out of the bullpen this year posting a 2-0 record with a 1.02 ERA in seven appearances... the 29th round draft choice of the Milwaukee Brewers last June has allowed only nine hit and two runs in 17.2 innings, while striking out 21... opposing batters are only hitting .143 off him... he inherited a bases loaded, no out jam vs. South Florida Friday night and not only did not allow a run that inning, but was near perfect in his outing giving up only one hit and striking out six in four innings to pick up his second win of 2001... RHP Mike Esposito recorded his first win since opening day 2000 Saturday when he pitched 3.1 solid innings... it was Esposito's second start and fifth appearance after battling back from Tommy John surgery... ASU will defend its 2000 Pac-10 championship starting Friday with a three-game series at Evans Diamond vs. the Cal Bears... the Sun Devils own an all-time 369-276 (.572) record in Pac-10 play since joining the "Conference of Champions" in 1979... ASU has won six conference titles and are coming off a 17-7 year... Pat Murphy is the reigning Pac-10 Coach of the Year... the Sun Devils also opened the 2000 Pac-10 season at Evans Diamond, winning two of three from the bears... ASU is 3-3 under Murphy in conference openers, but 3-0 overall since '79 when opening league play with the Cal Bears... Murphy is 10 wins away from 100 Pac-10 wins, posting a 90-77 record in league play.
Blame It On The Rain: Rain in Arizona, yeah, that's right, and it has put a damper on the 2001 baseball season so far. Record amounts of rain in the Southwest have forced three cancellations at Packard Stadium, with two more being cancelled when ASU traveled to Fullerton to play the Titans. ASU has already made up one game with St. Mary's (6-4, L) and have a make-up game with Cal State Fullerton scheduled for April 9. ASU is also looking into playing Oral Roberts when they go back to Oklahoma to play the Sooners in mid April.
Espo Is Back: 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. Recovering from successful Tommy John surgery, Esposito has thrown 10.1 innings for ASU, striking out 10 and posting an ERA of 6.10. 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. He is slated to start Saturday vs. Cal.
Previewing The Pac-10 Opener With Cal: With the Pac-10 opener a week away, the Sun Devils will make the trek to Berkeley, Calif., for the second straight year to take on the Bears. ASU will be defending its 2000 Pac-10 Championship as they posted a 17-7 record and won a tie-breaker with Stanford and UCLA for the outright Pac-10 crown. The Sun Devils are 3-0 in Pac-10 openers when playing Cal (since joining the Pac-10 in 1979) and are overall 11-11 in Pac-10 openers. ASU is 3-3 in Pac-10 openers and 90-77 overall in conference play under current head coach Pat Murphy. Since joining the Pac-10 in 1979 after leaving the WAC, ASU is 369-276 (.572) in league action, with six conference titles. The Sun Devils lead the all-time series with Cal 85-47. A total of 13 players making the trip to Cal on the travel roster will be making their debuts in Pac-10 play. The last time ASU defended a Pac-10 title was in 1994, the last year of Jim Brock's illustrious career. The Sun Devils backed up a solid 19-11 championship season in 1993 by going 20-10 in 1994, finishing second behind Stanford. ASU advanced to the College World Series that year as well.
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 249-127-1 (.662) and posted an impressive 90-77 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 245 wins at ASU, Murphy has the third best winning percentage of Pac-10 coaches. Murphy is 10 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.
Bobby Winkles Field: The Baseball Field at Packard Stadium was officially named Bobby Winkles Field last Saturday 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 4-1-1 on Winkles Field.
All-American Myers On An RBI Tear At The Plate: Senior All-American catcher Casey 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 is hitting .441 with hits in 18 of ASU's 22 games. Remarkably, 17 of those games have been multi-hit affairs. Myers, who hit .412 last year and was a finalist for the National Player of the Year award. Behind the plate Myers has been instrumental in the success of the ASU pitching staff, calling all the pitches and helping the Sun Devil staff to a 3.88 team ERA. Myers has been on fire as of late with eight hits in his last 16 at-bats, including a career-high tying four hits vs. Oral Roberts (3/6). With 40 RBI in 2001 and 246 for his career, Myers is steadily climbing the ASU and Pac-10 career record list. Now just 37 short of tying both records set by former Sun Devil Andrew Beinbrink (1996-1999), Myers is third in the Pac-10 and ASU record books. He is just 17 short of second place in the Pac-10 books (John Gall, Stanford) and four (4) RBI short of second place in the ASU books (250, Clay Westlake). Myers needs 55 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 .995 fielding percentage into this weekend's action.
Myers Passes Horner On Career Record List: His numbers rank up their with the best of the numerous Arizona State greats, but with 246 RBI and a .388 batting average in his career, senior Casey Myers recently passed one of the greatest former Sun Devils, Bob Horner. Horner, who hit .277 over the course of 10 MLB seasons and hit 218 career home runs, played at ASU from 1976-78. Myers passed Horner's third-place mark of 228 RBI's and now is within 37 of the school record of 283. Myers has also passed for career batting average and is currently tied for sixth at .389 with Chris Bando (1975-78). Horner hit .384 with a school record 56 home runs. Horner was the first overall pick in the 1978 draft by the Atlanta Braves and jumped right to the Major Leagues that year hitting 23 home runs to be named the National League Rookie of the Year.
Sun Devils Offensive Powerhouse Under Murphy: The Sun Devils have been an offensive powerhouse under head coach Pat Murphy. Leading the nation in scoring the last two year and in the top two in batting average, Murph's teams have flat out put the bat on the ball. Compiling an impressive 249-127-1 record since taking the program over, his teams have averaged 9.58 runs per game and collectively hit .334. The following is an offensive breakdown of what ASU has done since 1995:
The Franchise, Jon Switzer: After going 11-3 last year and having a successful summer with Team USA, junior lefty Jon Switzer (Houston, Texas) is off to a great start in what is expected to be a stellar junior campaign. The junior has not disappointed earning the Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Week award (2/5). He earned the honor by striking out 13 of the 16 batters he faced against Southern Utah (2/2). At one point he struck out eight in a row to rank second in the ASU record books. Switzer was named a preseason All-American by Collegiate Baseball (2nd Team) and Baseball America (3rd team). Despite back-to-back rough outings vs. LSU and South Florida, Switzer is still perfect for the season with a 3-0 record and 4.08 ERA. Switzer is averaging 8.57 strikeouts in his seven starts and has 60 for the year in 39.2 innings. Switzer has recorded double-digits in strikeouts in three starts this year. For his career, the hard-throwing lefty has struck out 259 in 242.2 innings and is 21-7 with a 4.01 ERA. He was named an honorable mention on the 2000 Pac-10 All-Conference team. Switzer picked up win No. 11 vs. Arizona May 21 in a relief appearance, making him the first ASU pitcher to reach 11 wins since 1993. Switzer finished with an impressive 5-2 record in conference play with a 4.47 ERA. He was honored as Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week three times in '00 (tying UCLA's Rob Henkel for the most honors). He led the team with 121 strikeouts and held opposing batters to a .228 average at the plate. He ranked seventh in the conference in ERA (3.89), third in opposing batting average (.228), sixth in strikeouts (121) and third in wins (11). Right-handed hitters managed only a .226 batting average vs. Switzer in 2000, while lefties checked in at .233. For his career, he is 18-7 with 199 strikeouts. Drafted in the 26th round out of high school by the Pittsburgh Pirates, Switzer is listed as one of the top lefties for the 2001 draft. He was 1-0 with a 2.41 ERA with Team USA this past summer before leaving the team early after having an emergency appendectomy surgery. Switzer is labeled by Baseball America as the 25th prospect in the nation for the 2001 draft and is the 14th college prospect in the nation for the June draft.
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.
Triple It Up: Led by Steve Garrabrants''s four triples, the Sun Devil are ahead of their NCAA leading average of .63 triples per game from 2000. With 14 triples in 22 games, ASU is averaging .64 triples per game in 2001. Besides Garrabrants having four three-baggers, Jeremy West and Brooks Conrad each have three. Jonah Martin led ASU with seven last year.
On The Road Again: With two consecutive road series to start the 2001 Pac-10 season, ASU will be hoping to improve upon its luck since the last time they started a league schedule with two consecutive road series. The Sun Devils opened the 1999 season with road series at Arizona and Stanford. During that stretch ASU went 2-4. The Sun Devils also went 2-4 in 1993 under Jim Brock when they opened with UCLA and Cal on the road.
Danger...Rod Allen On Deck: One of the hottest hitters in the Sun Devil lineup as of late has been freshman designated hitter Rod Allen. The product of Desert Vista High School in Phoenix, Allen has been on a tear with a 14-game hitting steak in which he is 22-for-51. Allen is hitting .423 on the season with seven doubles, one triple and two home runs. Ten (10) of his 22 hits in 2001 have gone for extra bases. His two-run blast vs. Creighton (2/17) cleared both fences in left field and landed on Rio Salado Drive. He added a two-run homer vs. South Florida. The son of former major leaguer Rod Allen, Sr., who is also a broadcaster for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Allen hit .419 his senior year at Desert Vista while leading them to a state championship. With seven multi-hit games, Allen has started 11 games with all but one at designated hitter. ASU is looking to play him more in left field so they can move Jeremy West to DH when Jeff Phelps returns to the lineup. He has been clutch hitting .522 (12x23) with runners in scoring position and is 1-for-3 with the bases loaded.
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 1,874-740-1 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.
El Torrito, Andy Torres: He doesn't look like much and he doesn't dazzle you with fancy stuff, he just gets you out. ASU's latest addition to the roster is junior college transfer RHP Andy Torres. Torres, who came to ASU from East Los Angeles CC, had a stellar career on the mound at the JC level, capping his career with a 12-3 record, 2.11 ERA, one save and 113 strikeouts in 119.1 innings pitched. The 6-0, 165 Torres recorded a win in his ASU debut and has since tacked on six more to enter this weekend with a 7-1 record. With a fast and fluid motion, the quick-worker has managed a 3.54 ERA in his eight outings, with seven coming as starts. He has struck out 28 and walked only 12 this year and is coming off a stellar 7.0 inning outing in which he picked up his seventh win of the year Sunday vs. South Florida. Torres went 2-0 last week with a combined 3.38 ERA in 13.1 innings. Torres is currently among the national leaders in wins, with New Mexico State's Dan Bivian having a perfect 7-0 record in 2001. He is scheduled to start Sunday vs. California.
Speed Kills: Speed on the base paths is a weapon that never goes in a slump. For ASU, the 2001 season provides plenty of speed on the bench and in the lineup. The Sun Devils have stolen 64 bases so far, led by Mel Stocker's 15, and are already more than half past their entire 2000 season total of 92. After coming off a knee sprain, speedster Chris Duffy has started to add to the Devils stolen base threat with five in 12 starts this year. Duffy led the nation at the junior college level last year with 59 stolen bases. Freshman Steve Garrabrants set an Arizona State record last spring with 51 stolen bases at Moon Valley High School and already has 11 this year. Junior Brooks Conrad also has 11 in 2001.
Last Year In Pac-10 Play: ASU won the Pac-10 Championship last year with a 17-7 record. Leading the way for ASU in conference play was a handful of players that helped lead the Sun Devils to its sixth league record since joining the Pac-10 in 1979. Senior third baseman Mike Lopez hit .373 (25x67) in Pac-10 play, while Casey Myers followed him with a .366 average and eight of his 18 home runs. As a team the Sun Devils hit .329 with 32 home runs and a stellar .973 fielding percentage. On the mound ASU hurlers combined for a 5.48 staff ERA in Pac-10 game only. Eric Doble showed why he was an All-Pac-10 performer with a 2-0 record with six saves and a 2.66 ERA. Franco Pezely was perfect at 5-0 with a 2.70 ERA in league play, while ace lefty Jon Switzer was 5-2 with a 4.47 ERA in his eight Pac-10 starts.
Mr. Clutch, Mike Lopez: Senior third baseman Mike Lopez is the heart of the 2001 Sun Devils, and you don't need to go far to realize how much he means to this team. Holding down the hot corner with steady defense and manning the plate as a clutch hitter, Lopez is currently hitting .387 with 12 doubles, a home run and 30 RBI. A defining moment of his clutch hitting was when ASU was down one in the bottom of the eighth to Southern Utah (2/4) and Lopez delivered ASU's first home run of the season to tie the game. With three hits in his last seven at-bats, Lopez is still riding his hot bat that caught fire back in the Creighton series. He combined to go 9-for-13 with 10 RBI in the three games vs. the Bluejays. Lopez leads the Sun Devils with 12 doubles, equaling his season total from 2000. The third baseman has been very clutch, hitting .471 (16x34) with runners in scoring position. His best game of he season came 2/18 vs. Creighton when he had a career day at the plate. Lopez went 4-for-5 with three doubles and seven RBI. He has hits in 14 of 21 games this season, and dating back to last year has recorded at least one base hit in 37 of his last 46 games. During that stretch dating back to March 14, 2000, Lopez is hitting an amazing .394 (65x165) with 58 RBI and 22 doubles in 47 combined games.