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Baseball hosts San Diego

April 05, 2010

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Leading off:

Following a weekend in Eugene where the Sun Devils took two of three from the Oregon Ducks, ASU returns home for a two-game midweek series with San Diego. After the pair with the Toreros at Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark, the Devils will head to Pullman, Washington for a three-game Pac-10 series against the Washington State Cougars that begins Friday night.


Devils vs. San Diego:

The Sun Devils and Toreros have met 18 times, with Arizona State holding a 16-2 edge in the all-time series. San Diego was swept in a two-game series in Tempe last season. Both games were one-run Sun Devil victories, including an 11 inning win in the opener.


Devils vs. Washington State:

The Sun Devils and Cougars have met 49 times, with Arizona State holding a 40-9 edge in the all-time series. Arizona State took two of three from the Cougars last season in Tempe. ASU also took two of three from WSU in Pullman in 2008.


Historical start to a season:

The 24 straight wins to open the 2010 campaign is the best start in school history. The previous record was set by the 1961 team, who began the year 21-0. The 24-game winning streak also set the mark for the second longest winning streak in school history. The school record for longest winning streak is 32, set in 1972.


Historical start to a coaching career:

With Arizona State's 24-game winning streak to start the 2010 season, Head Coach Tim Esmay set a new standard for wins to start a career as Arizona State's head baseball coach. Jim Brock held the previous record for best start by a first year coach, going 12-0 to begin his ASU coaching career in 1972. Pat Murphy won the first five games of his first season in 1995. Bobby Winkles began his career 0-1-1 in 1959, the first year of varsity baseball at Arizona State.


Oregon recap:

Drew Maggi provided all the offense the Sun Devils would need on Thursday in Eugene, hitting a solo homer, the first of his career, in a 1-0 ASU victory. Seth Blair, Mitchell Lambson and Jordan Swagerty combined on the five hit shutout, with Blair earning the win and Swagerty picking up the save...Friday was a marathon, back and forth affair that lasted 12 innings and almost five and a half hours. Some defensive miscues would cost the Devils in the end, as Oregon plated five unearned runs, including the game-winner in the 12th, in a 6-5 decision that snapped ASU's season-opening 25 game win streak...The series finale was another great come-from-behind effort for ASU, as Jake Borup spotted the Ducks a three-run lead in the first before he and Jake Barrett shut them out the rest of the way, allowing the offense to score seven unanswered runs in a series-clinching 7-3 victory. Kole Calhoun delivered the big blow, a two-run single that gave ASU the lead in the seventh inning.


Maggic man:

Drew Maggi continued his hot start in Pac-10 play, going 6-13 in the series at Oregon. He got things started on Thursday night, hitting his first career home run, a solo blast that was the only run of the ballgame. It was the second game in a row that Maggi provided the game-winning hit, following his walk-off single against Cal the previous Sunday.


Player of the week:

Thanks to his efforts during ASU's trip to Eugene, Drew Maggi was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week. It is the first weekly conference of Maggi's career. The Sun Devil lead-off man hit .462 (6-13) against the Ducks, scoring four times and driving in three. He also stole two bases and did not make an error in 13 fielding chances at both shortstop and left field. Maggi is the third Sun Devil to be honored by the Pac-10 so far in 2010, joining Zack MacPhee and Jake Borup.


Rare occurrence:

Thursday night's 1-0 win over Oregon was a rare occurrence indeed. The last time the Sun Devils were involved in a 1-0 ballgame was back in 2000, when they beat the Oregon State Beavers 1-0 on April 7.


Home cookin':

The home crowds at Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark were outstanding all weekend against Cal, as all three games of the series were sell outs. The last time an entire home series was sold out was last year for Arizona, also the opening Pac-10 series.


Pac-10 play:

Arizona State is in its 32nd season of Pac-10 play. The Sun Devils have won nine Pacific-10 Conference championships, including the last three. ASU holds an all-time mark of 517-352 in Pac-10 play. They joined the conference in 1979.


Team captains:

The 2010 Sun Devils will be led by three team captains. Senior Raoul Torrez is in his second season as a captain after serving with Mike Leake as co-captain last season. Joining Torrez will be seniors Josh Spence and Kole Calhoun. Torrez is in his fourth year with the program, while Spence and Calhoun are in their second.


Jordan Swagerty, Mr. Everything:

On March 21 against Houston, Jordan Swagerty proved his worth to the Sun Devils yet again. The ASU closer had spent the first 8.2 innings behind the plate as the starting catcher, but when the Devils needed the door slammed on the Cougars, Swagerty was ready. He shed his catcher's gear, grabbed his glove and closed the door on the Cougars, picking up his seventh save of the season. It marked the first time since 2006 that an ASU player caught and pitched in the same inning. The last Sun Devil to do it was CJ Retherford, who did it against Prairie View A&M in the 2006 NCAA Tournament in Houston.


Man vs. Food visits Packard:

Hit Travel Channel show Man vs. Food made a stop in Phoenix last week, and one of the spots they visited was Packard Stadium. Host Adam Richman threw out the first pitch Friday night vs. Houston, then filmed a segment for the show on the field on Saturday. Assistant Coach Ken Knutson made a special guest appearance in the episode, which is scheduled to air sometime in June.


Career highs:

Several Sun Devils have already eclipsed their previous career highs in many categories. Zack MacPhee has established new career bests in stolen bases (11) and triples (9). Zach Wilson has set a new best in hits (38), doubles (11), home runs (2) and RBI (23). Jordan Swagerty has saved a career high eight games, while Drew Maggi has already tied his career high for doubles (5).


Watch list recognitions:

Several Sun Devils have been named to the Watch Lists for national awards. Mitchell Lambson, Josh Spence and Jake Borup have all been named to the Watch List for the Pitcher of the Year Award. Mike Leake was a finalist for the award last season. Drew Maggi has been named to the Watch List for the Brooks Wallace Award, given annually to the top shortstop in the nation.


Worth the wait:

Senior Raoul Torrez had a memorable final trip to Surprise. The only Sun Devil who has played in four Coca-Cola Classics at Surprise Stadium, Torrez cracked his first career Grand Slam against Cal Poly, breaking an 8-8 tie. It would prove to be the game winner, as ASU won 12-9. Torrez has hit four home runs in his career. Prior to the grand slam, brother Riccio homered to lead off the inning. It was the first time the Torrez brothers homered in the same game.


Quality time with a Hall of Famer:

Several Sun Devils got a thrill in Surprise, as they got a chance to meet Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan. Ryan, who is President of the Texas Rangers, was signing autographs for fans as the Devils took the field. He was in front of ASU's dugout, and several Sun Devils were able to shake his hand, pose for a photo or get an autograph before going out for pre-game stretching.


Coca-Cola Classic Tournament history:

With their 4-0 showing in the 8th Annual Coca-Cola Classic, Arizona State improved their all-time record in the tournament to 17-9. It was the first time since the inaugural year of the tournament that ASU went undefeated in three or more games (ASU was 2-0 in 2008). The 16 runs scored against UC Riverside, as well the 14-run margin of victory and the 22 hits in the 16-2 win, were all Coca-Cola Classic tournament records.


Player of the Week:

Sophomore Zack MacPhee was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week, The NCBWA's National Hitter of the Week and a Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week by Collegiate Baseball following opening weekend against Northern Illinois. It is the first weekly honor of MacPhee's career and it is the third straight season a Sun Devil has been named the Pac-10 Player of the Week following opening weekend. Sophomore Jake Borup was named the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week and a Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week by Collegiate Baseball following the Cal series. It was the first weekly honor of Borup's career.


Another ASU Hall of Famer:

Alan Bannister will become the sixth Sun Devil in the College Baseball Hall of Fame during Fourth of July weekend in Lubbock, Texas. Bannister was a member of the 8-man 2010 Hall of Fame class that was announced by the College Baseball Foundation. Bannister played three seasons at ASU from 1970 to 1972, earning First Team All-American honors in 1971 and 1972. The shortstop was a career .355 hitter and was the #1 pick in the 1973 January MLB Draft. He played 12 seasons in the Majors.


Triple the fun:

On March 9, 1963, the Sun Devils hit six triples in a 12-0 win over Utah State, setting a school record. That record stood for 47 years, until ASU tied it on February 20 during the second game of the doubleheader with Northern Illinois. In ASU's 26-1 win in seven innings, the Devils collected six three-baggers, tying the school record. The NCAA record is seven, set in 1976 and tied in 1992. ASU had not had more than four triples in a game since 1975. The six triples also tied the Pac-10 record, set in 1945. So far in 2010, ASU has tripled 22 times. The school record is 58, set in 1970. Zack MacPhee has already collected nine triples so far this season after getting only one all of last year. The school record for triples in a season is 13 by Alan Bannister in 1971.


Exhibition with Meiji University (Japan):

On March 2, the Sun Devils faced Meiji University of Japan in an exhibition game which the Devils won 9-1. It was ASU's first international exhibition since March 11, 1999 when they faced Aomori of Japan.
ASU Baseball International Exhibition Games In Tempe
3/2/10- vs. Meiji University (Japan)
3/11/99- vs. Aomori (Japan)
3/10/92- Keio (Japan)

3/29/82 to 3/31/82- Taiwan National Team
2/21/80- Taiyo (Japan)
2/27/80- Hanshin (Japan)
3/17/78- Waseda (Japan)


Family ties:

Arizona State baseball has become a true family affair in recent years. Junior 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. Last season, Matt and Randy joined a select list as a father-son combo who both played in the College World Series...Sophomore OF Johnny Ruettiger is the nephew of Rudy Ruettiger, the former Notre Dame football player who had a movie about his life made...Senior Danny Duffy is the brother of former Sun Devil and Major Leaguer Chris Duffy, who played for ASU in 2001...Freshman catcher Kyle Arnsberg is the son of former Major Leaguer and current Toronto Blue Jays pitching coach Brad Arnsberg...Freshman shortstop Deven Marrero is the cousin of Chris Marrero, a rising star in the Washington Nationals' system.


Brotherly love:

Last season, 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. In Omaha, when Raoul Torrez manned the hot corner for the Devils and his brother Riccio handled first base, they became the first brother duo since 2004 to start a game in the College World Series. The Torrez brothers are the fifth set of brothers to suit up for the same Sun Devil team. They are joined this season by Drew and Beau Maggi, who become the sixth brother tandem to play for ASU. Drew enters his sophomore season, while his brother Beau begins his freshman year. 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).


The Mayor of Omaha:

Kole Calhoun had a memorable trip to Omaha for the 2009 College World Series, earning All-CWS honors thanks to his .563 average over the four games. Calhoun drove in 11 runs, slugged 1.250 and hit three home runs, including a grand slam. He became only the fourth Sun Devil to ever hit a grand slam at the College World Series, joining Sal Bando (1965), Bob Horner (1978) and Michael Collins (1998). Calhoun quickly became a fan favorite at Rosenblatt Stadium, collecting his own cheering section in left field.


School ties:

Many players on the ASU roster are quite familiar with one another. The Sun Devils have five student-athletes who all attended Brophy Prep in Phoenix. Raoul and Riccio Torrez, Drew and Beau Maggi and Matt Newman all played on the Brophy baseball team. Josh Spence, Jimmy Patterson and Xorge Carrillo all played for Central Arizona in 2008, while Patterson and Carrillo also played together at McClintock High School in Tempe, along with Daniel Milner. Josh Moody and Zack MacPhee both played at Sandra Day O'Connor in Phoenix. 


Double duty:

Sophomore 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 recorded 34 tackles in 2009, including seven for loss with two QB sacks. He also intercepted a pass while playing in all 12 games. Magee collected his first career hit against UC Riverside in Surprise.


In the dugout:

Arizona State features a new coaching staff for the 2010 season. Former Sun Devil infielder Tim Esmay takes over head coaching duties after spending the previous five seasons as an assistant coach, including the last three as assistant head coach. Ken Knutson will handle the pitching coach duties in his first season at ASU following 17 years as the head coach at Washington. Travis Jewett begins his first season with the Sun Devils after coaching the past five seasons at Washington State. Former Sun Devil All-American and Major Leaguer Mike Benjamin begins his first season as an assistant coach at his alma mater.


1,000 times yes:

With its 8-0 win over Northern Illinois on February 19, Arizona State recorded its 1,000th victory at Packard Stadium. Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark has been the home field of the Sun Devils since 1974, with the exception of the 2002 season when ASU played at Hohokam Park in Mesa during Packard renovations. ASU has compiled a home record of 1,016-269-1 at Packard Stadium.


Back in uniform:

With Mike Benjamin joining the coaching staff, ASU now boasts two former Sun Devils on the 2010 coaching staff. Tim Esmay and Benjamin were teammates at ASU in 1986 and 1987, helping the Devils to a combined 74-55 record and a berth in 1987 College World Series. Benjamin was an All-American and All-Pac-10 performer in 1987, becoming a third round pick of the San Francisco Giants. He played 13 seasons in the Major Leagues.


Pac-10 picks:

The Sun Devils were picked to win the Pac-10 Championship by the Pac-10 coaches for the second straight year. ASU received seven of the nine first place votes. This is the third time in school history Arizona State has been picked to win the conference, joining 2007 and 2009.



The Sun Devils are the top-ranked team in the country in the Collegiate Baseball poll, the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll, the NCBWA poll, on and in Baseball America.


Leader of the Pac:

Since the 2000 season, 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 (458), conference wins (162), NCAA Tournament appearances (10), Top 25 finishes (10), All-Americans (29), draft picks (78) and First Team All-Pac-10 players (47). The Devils have won four Pac-10 titles since 2000, including the last three.


Feeling the draft:

There are 22 members of the 2010 Sun Devils who have had their name called during the annual Major League Baseball draft, including Josh Spence and Raoul Torrez, who both were drafted last season but opted to return to school. Spence, Merrill Kelly and Xorge Carrillo have each been drafted twice.


Single game career highs:

Many Sun Devils have established new single game career highs this season. Austin Barnes had four hits and four RBI against NIU on February 20; Seth Blair tied his career high with nine strike outs against Towson on February 26; Zack MacPhee had four hits, four runs scored and five RBI against NIU on February 20 and four walks against Auburn on March 14; Drew Maggi had four hits twice (vs. UC Riverside 3/6 and at Cal State Fullerton 3/17); Johnny Ruettiger tied his career high with three hits against Auburn (3/13) and Houston (3/20). He set a new career high in runs scored with four against Auburn on March 13; Riccio Torrez had four hits and scored four runs against NIU on February 20; Zach Wilson has collected three hits three times this season. He drove in five against Houston on March 20. Matt Newman tied a career high with five RBI against Cal on March 26.

Up next:
The Sun Devils host the USC Trojans for a three-game Pac-10 series at Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark.