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Baseball heads to Surprise for Coca-Cola Classic

March 02, 2011

Coca-Cola Classic Notes Get Acrobat Reader

Leading Off:

After taking three out of four from the Delaware Blue Hens, the Sun Devils will head across the valley to Surprise, Arizona for the ninth straight season of the Coca-Cola College Baseball Classic. The Devils open the weekend on Thursday against Cal State Bakersfield, then play Northern Illinois Friday and Kansas Saturday before closing out the weekend Sunday against UC Riverside. All of the ASU games will be played at Surprise Stadium after the MLB Spring Training games.


No Surprises:

2011 marks the ninth consecutive year that Arizona State will play at Surprise Stadium.

The Devils are 17-9 all-time at Surprise, including a 4-0 mark last season.


Devils vs. Cal State Bakersfield:

ASU and Cal State Bakersfield have never met on the diamond.


Devils vs. Northern Illinois:

The Devils and Huskies have played seven times, with ASU holding a 7-0 edge in the series. ASU and NIU opened the 2010 season last year in Tempe, with Arizona State sweeping the three-game series.


Devils vs. Kansas:

Arizona State holds a 2-1 series lead all-time with Kansas. The two teams met for the first time in 2009 with a three-game series in Surprise.


Devils vs. UC Riverside:

The Sun Devils hold a 32-5* record all-time against the Highlanders. The two teams met last season at Surprise Stadium with ASU winning 16-2. *- ASU vacated a victory against UC Riverside in 2007. On field record against UCR is 33-5.



Arizona State carried over its felonious ways from opening weekend to this past week, stealing 12 bases against Delaware to give them 27 through seven games. Last season through seven games they had swiped 25 bases, on their way to 136 for the season. The Devils have also stolen home twice already this season.

Delaware Recap:
Delaware came out swinging in its first ever appearance in Tempe, scoring six times in the second inning of the series opener and never looking back on its way to a 7-3 upset win over ASU. Mark Lambson, pitching in relief of starter Jake Barrett, threw the last five innings without allowing a run...Saturday's doubleheader saw the Devils break out the heavy metal, as they rapped out 33 combined hits in the two games. Zach Wilson put on a clinic in the first game, going 5-5 with three doubles to lead ASU to a 9-2 victory. Kyle Ottoson earned the win on the hill. In game two it was more of the same, as Johnny Ruettiger and Andy Workman each collected three hits in the 10-2 win...the series finale had the Devils scoring early and often in a 13-4 win. Joey DeMichele hammered his first career homer and Alex Blackford collected his first career win, going five innings and striking out five in only his second career start.


Honoring Cory Hahn:

As a tribute to injured Sun Devil Cory Hahn, the team will wear special wristbands with Cory's name and #34 and also has had his number embroidered on the team's stirrups. Players will also wear his initials and number on their hats.


No Surprises:

This will be the ninth straight year that Arizona State has played at Surprise Stadium. The Sun Devils are 17-9 all-time at the Stadium, the only team to play there in each of the past nine seasons. Cal State Bakersfield, Thursday's opponent, will be making its first appearance at Surprise. Northern Illinois, Kansas and UC Riverside will be making their second appearances. NIU is 0-2, Kansas is 1-2 and UCR is 1-2 at Surprise Stadium.


Johnny Lightning:

Junior Johnny Ruettiger has added a new wrinkle to his already impressive repertoire, becoming a stolen base machine through the first two weeks of the season. Ruettiger, who entered 2011 with 22 career stolen bases, has already swiped nine this season. His career high is 12, which he did as a freshman.


Brothers With Arms:

The Lambson Brothers both made their 2011 debuts against Delaware, with both turning in stellar performances. Mark made his Arizona State debut in style on Friday night, retiring the first 11 Blue Hens he faced. The true freshman righty retired 15 of the 16 batters he faced in his five inning relief outing, not allowing a hit and fanning three. Mitch, who tied a school record with his 39 appearances last season, saw his first action of the year on Saturday, throwing 1.1 perfect innings. Mitchell has made 72 career appearances, two shy of tying for fifth place all-time in school history. Mitchell and Mark are the sixth set of brothers to play in the same season for Arizona State.


Deep Staff:

Through the first seven games this season, Arizona State has already used 11 pitchers after using 10 all of last year.


Golden Spikes Watch List:

Arizona State landed three student-athletes on the 2011 Golden Spikes Award Preseason Watch List. Johnny Ruettiger, Zack MacPhee and Deven Marrero were all on the list. MacPhee was a semifinalist a season ago.


Legacy Devils:

The 2011 Sun Devil team features a unique connection for four student-athletes. Senior OF Matt Newman has Maroon and Gold in his blood, as his father, Randy, was a pitcher for the Sun Devils in 1981 and 1982, winning 15 career games and the 1981 National Championship. Matt and Randy joined a select list as a father-son combo who both played in the College World Series. But Matt Newman is not the only Sun Devil who has a father with an ASU National Championship ring. Freshman Trever Allen is the son of Jamie Allen, who played three seasons at ASU, including the 1977 National Championship year. Jamie was a lifetime .333 hitter at ASU and he also went 6-2 on the mound. He was a two-time All-WAC team member and was a member of the 1977 All-College World Series team. Joining Newman and Allen as Legacy Devils are freshmen Tucker Esmay and Michael Benjamin. Esmay is the son of Head Coach Tim Esmay and Benjamin is the son of assistant coach Mike Benjamin. The elder Esmay and Benjamin were teammates on the 1986 and 1987 Sun Devils.


Notable Connections:

Junior 3B Riccio Torrez's brother Raoul was a four-time letterman and two-time team captain, including teaming with Riccio the last two years...Redshirt freshman catcher Beau Maggi is the brother of Drew Maggi, who starred at ASU the last two years...Junior Mitchell Lambson will be joined by his brother Mark on the 2011 Sun Devils...Junior OF Johnny Ruettiger is the nephew of Rudy Ruettiger, the former Notre Dame football player who had a movie about his life made....Sophomore shortstop Deven Marrero is the cousin of Chris Marrero, a rising star in the Washington Nationals' system. 


Brotherly Love:

In each of the last two seasons, the Sun Devils boasted a set of brothers who started next to each other in the infield, marking the first time in school history that brothers started next to each other on the diamond. Raoul and Riccio Torrez became the fifth set of brothers to play for the same Sun Devil team. The other Sun Devil brothers to play on the same teams are Kevin and Pat Dukes (1980-81), Dale and Larry Eiler (1976-78), John and Tom Sain (1973) and Brett and Greg Bordes (2005). Drew and Beau Maggi were both on the team last season, but Beau sat out the year utilizing his redshirt season. This year, Mitchell Lambson is joined on the pitching staff by his brother Mark.


Double Duty:

Junior OF Brandon Magee is no stranger to ASU athletics, playing linebacker for the Sun Devil football team. Magee joins Mike Jones as recent Sun Devils who played both football and baseball. Jones played football from 2005 to 2008, while splitting time with baseball from 2006 to 2008. Magee was second on the team in tackles this past season, totaling 73 including five for loss and 1.5 sacks.


2011 Pre-Season Honors:

Zack MacPhee was named a Preseason First Team All-American by the NCBWA, ESPN and by Collegiate Baseball and was a Second Team choice by Baseball America. Deven Marrero and Johnny Ruettiger were also Second Team picks by Baseball America, while Mitchell Lambson and Riccio Torrez joined Marrero as Third Team choices by Collegiate Baseball. Zach Wilson was a Third Team choice by Baseball America. Lambson was also named to the Stopper of the Year Watch List. Lambson and Marrero were also named Preseason All-Americans by Perfect Game.


Inter-Conference Battles:

In addition to facing the schools in the Pac-10, the Devils will also take on teams from seven different conferences in 2011. ASU will face three teams from the Big West (Long Beach State, Cal State Fullerton, UC Riverside), two from the Mountain West Conference (New Mexico and BYU), two from the Big 12 (Kansas and Oklahoma) and one each from the Colonial Athletic Association (Delaware), Mid-American (Northern Illinois), Summit League (Oral Roberts), and SEC (Auburn). Arizona State will also host Cal State Bakersfield, who is an independent.


Feeling The Draft:

There are 19 members of the 2011 Sun Devils who have had their name called during the annual Major League Baseball draft, including Xorge Carrillo, who was drafted last season but opted to return to school. Carrillo has been drafted three times, as has Kyle Ottoson.


Pac-10 Picks:

Arizona State was picked to finish third in the 2011 Preseason Pac-10 Coaches' Poll. UCLA was picked to finish first, receiving eight first place votes, with Stanford second with two first place votes.


Did You Know:

Arizona State will be the seventh team from the Pac-10 to face Cal State Bakersfield since it began baseball in 2009. The Roadrunners have not played Oregon, Oregon State or Stanford.


Tough Schedule:

The Sun Devils will play 27 games this season against teams ranked in the Preseason Top 30, including a stretch of 10 straight games against ranked opponents. 10 of the 27 games will come against Preseason Top 10 teams.


Hall "O" Famer:

The 2011 College Baseball Hall of Fame Class was announced by the College Baseball Foundation and Sun Devil Legend Oddible McDowell was one of eight men to earn induction. McDowell will become the seventh member of the Hall of Fame to come from Arizona State. McDowell was a standout in the outfield from 1983 to 1984. He was a career .380 hitter with 30 home runs and 31 doubles. In 1984, he hit .405 with 23 home runs, a performance that earned him the Golden Spikes Award. That same year he was named Player of the Year by both Collegiate Baseball and Baseball America. He also was a two-time All-American and was the first Sun Devil to have his number retired.


Up Next:

The Sun Devils will leave the state of Arizona for the first time, heading to SEC Country for a three-game series with the Auburn Tigers in Auburn, Alabama.