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Baseball hosts Missouri and DeMarini Invitational

February 24, 2009

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Leading Off
After opening the season by sweeping Wisconsin-Milwaukee in a four-game set, Arizona State continues their homestand by hosting Missouri on Tuesday and then the DeMarini Invitational from Thursday to Sunday. Missouri, Northern Illinois and Oregon State will all come to Tempe for the tournament at Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark.

DeMarini Invitational
For the second straight year, Arizona State will host the DeMarini Invitational at Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark. The tournament runs from Thursday to Sunday, with two games a day. It opens with Oregon State vs. Northern Illinois on Thursday afternoon and ends with ASU and Missouri on Sunday afternoon.

Devils vs. Missouri
The Sun Devils and Tigers have played on four previous occasions, with each team winning twice. They last met in 2007, when ASU beat Missouri in Tempe, but fell to them in Surprise.

Devils vs. Northern Illinois
The Sun Devils are 3-0 against the Huskies, with all three wins coming in Tempe in 2006.

Devils vs. Oregon State
The Sun Devils hold a 36-19 edge over the Beavers. The teams split the four games they played last season, all of which were in Tempe.

900 and Counting
By sweeping Milwaukee-Wisconsin on opening weekend, head coach Pat Murphy has reached the 900 Division I victory mark in his career. He has 582 wins at the helm of ASU, second most in school history.

The Sun Devils are ranked #8 by Baseball America, #6 by the NCBWA, #4 in the Collegiate Baseball poll, #18 by and were ranked #7 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches preseason poll.

Wisconsin-Milwaukee Recap
The Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers were no match for the Sun Devils, as ASU outscored UWM 53-9 in the four-game series...Josh Spence made his Sun Devil debut on Friday night, throwing six innings of shut out ball while fanning six and Matt Newman drove in five to lead ASU to a 15-3 win...Mike Leake got the start in the first game on Saturday, picking up the win in a six inning, seven strikeout effort. Jason Kipnis and Carlos Ramirez each homered twice in the 13-5 win...Seth Blair struck out eight over six innings in the second game of the doubleheader, helping the Devils to a 14-1 victory...Carlos Ramirez drove in three runs and five Sun Devil pitchers combined to shut out the Panthers in an 11-0 Arizona State victory in the series finale.

Back For More
Outfielder Jason Kipnis opted to return to ASU after being drafted by San Diego in the fourth round last year, and thus far it has proved to be a wise move. Kipnis was red hot on opening weekend, reaching base his first 10 trips to the plate on his way to a 12-17 weekend. He is slugging a whopping 1.588%, aided by three homers, four doubles and a triple. He drove in eight runs and drew four walks and swiped two bases against the Panthers, and is the owner of a .706 batting average and a .762 On Base Percentage. Two of his homers came in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader, his third career multi-homer game. He also made a spectacular Willie Mays style catch in center, part of his perfect defensive weekend.

Player of the Week
Thanks to his spectacular opening weekend, Jason Kipnis was named the National Player of the Week by Collegiate Baseball and was also named the Pac-10 Player of the Week for the second time in his career.

Ram Jam
Catcher Carlos Ramirez had a memorable first weekend as a Sun Devil, as he slammed four homers in the four game series with the Panthers. He caught all four games, hit .571 and drove in a team high nine RBI. The transfer from Chandler-Gilbert had six extra base hits and also drew three walks.

Dynamic Debuts
17 Sun Devils made their debuts in Maroon and Gold against the Panthers, including two (Jordan Swagerty and Kole Calhoun) who debuted both in the field and as a pitcher. 11 recorded their first career hits, while Josh Spence and Mitchell Lambson each picked up victories in their debuts on the mound. Spence started Friday night, throwing six innings, while Lambson threw three innings of relief on Sunday.

Pitching In
The ASU pitching staff was dominant against the Panthers, allowing only one earned run in 36 innings of work. As a staff, the Devils allowed just 16 hits while striking out 39 and walking only eight. The bullpen was marvelous, as nine pitchers combined for 15 innings, allowing no earned runs (seven unearned), eight hits, struck out 15 and walked only two.

The Few, The Proud
The Sun Devils have a 29-man roster, one of the smallest in the country. The NCAA limit is 35, but ASU carries only 29, including one, Andrew Pollak, who is out for the season. It is the smallest roster in the Pac-10 Conference. Of the 29, only two have played for two seasons at Arizona State.

Facing Tough Competition
The Sun Devils will face 10 teams in 2009 who were ranked in the preseason. Five of those teams, Stanford, Missouri, UCLA, San Diego and Cal State Fullerton, were ranked in the Top 15

Family Ties
Sophomore OF/LHP Matt Newman has Maroon and Gold in his blood. His father, Randy, was a pitcher for the Sun Devils in 1981 and 1982, winning 15 career games and the 1981 National Championship. Redshirt-freshman catcher Andrew Pollak is the brother of former Sun Devil football great Mike Pollak, who played center for the Devils from 2004 to 2007. Mike was a two-time All-Pac-10 performer and currently plays for the Indianapolis Colts. Andrew wears number 76, the same number Mike wore on the gridiron for ASU. UTL Mike Murphy is no relation to head coach Pat Murphy, although he is the first player named Murphy Pat Murphy has ever coached. Assistant coach Josh Holliday is the son of former Oklahoma State head baseball coach Tom Holliday and the brother of current Oakland A's outfielder Matt Holliday. Freshman OF Johnny Ruettiger is the nephew of Rudy Ruettiger, the former Notre Dame football player who had a movie about his life made.

Brotherly Love
In addition to the previously mentioned family connections on ASU, the Sun Devils boast a pair of brothers who will see time next to each other in the infield. Junior Raoul Torrez mans the hot corner for the Devils, while his brother Riccio, a freshman, handles the shortstop position. The Torrez brothers are the fifth set of brothers who will suit up for the same Sun Devil team, and became the first to start next to each other on the diamond. 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 (2005-06).

School Ties
Many players on the ASU roster are quite familiar with one another. The Sun Devils have five student-athletes who were all teammates at Brophy Prep in Phoenix. RJ Preach, Raoul and Riccio Torrez, Drew Maggi and Matt Newman all played together on the Brophy baseball team.

Double Duty
Freshman OF Brandon Magee is no stranger to ASU athletics, having played football in the spring. The linebacker, who missed four games due to injury, recorded 11 tackles playing mostly on special teams.

Golden Spikes Watch List
Both Mike Leake and Jason Kipnis have been named to the 2009 Golden Spikes Award Watch List. The award is given to the nation's top college baseball player.

2009 Pre-Season Honors
Arizona State was well represented on the pre-season All-American lists. Both Mike Leake and Jason Kipnis were named First Teamers by the NCBWA and Collegiate Baseball. Leake earned First Team honors from Baseball America as well, while Kipnis made the Second Team.

Field of Dreams
The Sun Devils will play at Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners, on April 3 when they face the Washington Huskies in the opening game of a three-game Pac-10 series. It will be the third Major League park ASU will have played in since 2007, joining Minute Maid Park (Houston Astros) and Chase Field (Arizona Diamondbacks).

Pac-10 Picks
The Sun Devils were picked to win the Pac-10 Championship for the third straight year. ASU and UCLA each got three first place votes, but ASU had more total points than the Bruins. This is the second time in school history Arizona State has been picked to win the conference, with the first time being 2007.

Ay Ay Captain
Head coach Pat Murphy has named junior infielder Raoul Torrez and junior RHP/UTL Mike Leake as the captains of the 2009 Sun Devils. Petey Paramore served as captain last season.

Leader of the Pac
Since the 2000 season, Pat Murphy and the Arizona State Sun Devils have been the most consistent program in the Pac-10 conference. Since 2000, ASU leads the Pac-10 in wins (394), conference wins (139), NCAA Tournament appearances (9), Top 25 finishes (9), All-Americans (25), draft picks (72) and is tied with Stanford for First Team All-Pac-10 players (35). The Devils have won three Pac-10 titles since 2000, including the last two.

Milestone Markers
Pat Murphy is approaching a significant milestone in his career, as he is 18 wins shy of 600 victories as the Arizona State head coach. His 582 wins at ASU is second most in school history, trailing only Jim Brock's 1,100...With his win against UWM, junior RHP Mike Leake now has 25 career pitching victories. That is tied for fifth most wins at ASU in the Aluminum Bat Era (1974-Present).

Not only were the 2008 Sun Devils dominant on the field at Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark, but they were dominant at the turnstiles as well. The Devils went 39-5 at home and led the West Coast in attendance for the fourth straight season. 131,244 fans came out to see the Sun Devils in 2008, the highest attendance since 1984.

Inter-Conference Battles
In addition to facing the schools in the Pac-10, the Devils will also take on teams from nine different conferences in 2009. ASU will face three teams from the Big 12 (Missouri, Kansas and Kansas State) and one each from the SEC (Arkansas), Horizon (Milwaukee-Wisconsin), Mid-American (Northern Illinois), Patriot (Holy Cross), Big West (Call State Fullerton), WAC (Hawai'i), West Coast (San Diego) and Big South (Winthrop).

Honoring Pat Tillman
Former ASU football player and American Hero Pat Tillman had strong ties to the ASU Baseball program. In addition to his brother Kevin playing for ASU, Pat became extremely close with head coach Pat Murphy. Murphy wears jersey #42 in honor of Tillman, and in January 2007, Murph donated $100,000 to the baseball program for the construction of the Tillman Training Room, a room that will honor both Pat and Kevin and their commitment to both Arizona State University and the United States of America. The team wears a memorial "PT*42" patch on their jerseys in honor of Pat.

Did You Know
There are four schools on the 2009 schedule (Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Kansas, Holy Cross, Winthrop) that Arizona State has never played. Also, ASU has not played Oregon since 1974.

Maroon and Golden Anniversary
Arizona State is celebrating 50 years of Sun Devil baseball in 2009. The first season of varsity baseball was in 1959, when head coach Bobby Winkles led the Sun Devils to a 28-18 record. ASU was an independent program until joining the Western Athletic Conference in 1963. Arizona State has won five national championships, 19 conference championships, played in 20 College World Series, had 90 Major League players and has had 106 All-Americans in 50 years.

Up Next
Arizona State will host Holy Cross in a three-game series beginning Thursday, March 5 at Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark.