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Baseball hosts Towson in four-game series

February 23, 2010

Week Two- Towson Get Acrobat Reader

Leading off:

Coming off a three-game sweep in the season opening series with Northern Illinois, Arizona State continues its home stand by hosting the Towson Tigers for a four-game series. ASU and Towson will play Friday night, a doubleheader on Saturday, then wrap up the series Sunday afternoon at Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark.


Blame it on the rain:

Sunday’s scheduled series finale with Northern Illinois was canceled due to poor field conditions caused by rain overnight Saturday and Sunday morning. It was Arizona State’s first rain out at home since March 19, 2006 against Oklahoma.


Devils vs. Towson:

The Sun Devils and Tigers have never played each other on the baseball diamond.


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 Saturday night 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.


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.


A thousand times yes:

With its 8-0 win over Northern Illinois on Friday night, 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 1,002-269-1 at Packard Stadium.


Northern Illinois recap:

Seth Blair took the hill for the Sun Devils in the season opener and pitched well, limiting NIU to only three hits while striking out five in an 8-0 shutout of the Huskies. Game one of Saturday’s doubleheader saw Zach Wilson collect three hits and drive in three in a 10-5 ASU victory. Merrill Kelly earned the win, while Brady Rodgers picked up the save. Game two was not as close, as Arizona State jumped out to a 20-1 lead after three innings on their way to a 26-1 win in seven. Jake Borup made his first career start and picked up his first career win, going five and striking out five. 12 different Sun Devils collected hits, including Zack MacPhee, who went 4-4.


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. The second baseman had an amazing opening weekend, going 8-11 (.727), scoring seven times, driving in eight runs and collecting 20 total bases. MacPhee tripled four times after collecting only one triple all of last year. 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.


Feels like the first time:

As always, Opening Weekend was full of firsts for many Sun Devils. 10 student-athletes made their ASU debuts against Northern Illinois: Daniel Milner, Andrew Aplin, Joey DeMichele, Jimmy Patterson, Xorge Carrillo, Deven Marrero, Josh Moody, Jake Barrett, Brady Rodgers and Merrill Kelly. Milner, Aplin and Patterson all collected their first career hits, while Zach Wilson hit his first career home run. Merrill Kelly and Jake Borup each made their first career starts and earned their first career wins, while Brady Rodgers earned his first ever save in his first ever appearance. Head Coach Tim Esmay picked up his first win as ASU’s coach as well.


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.


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.


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.


Pre-season honors 2010:

Josh Spence was named a Preseason First Team All-American by the NCBWA, and Collegiate Baseball. Spence was also named to the Golden Spikes Award Watch List. Mitchell Lambson earned Third Team honors from the NCBWA and was named to the Stopper of the Year Watch List.


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 were stayed at #14 in Baseball America’s poll. They are #2 in the Collegiate Baseball poll, #6 in the NCBWA poll and #7 on ASU was #8 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Preseason Poll.


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 (436), conference wins (157), 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.



The 2009 Sun Devils were dominant on the field at Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark, and the thanks in large part goes to the record-number of fans who attended the games. Last season, the Devils went 36-4 at home and led the West Coast in attendance for the fifth straight season. 125,082 fans came out to see the Sun Devils in 2009, and average of 3,207 per game. That’s the highest average attendance since 1984.


Inter-conference battles:

In addition Inter-Conference Battles:

to facing the schools in the Pac-10, the Devils will also take on teams from eight different conferences in 2010. ASU will face three teams from the Big West (Cal Poly, Cal State Fullerton, UC Riverside), two from the West Coast Conference (San Diego, San Francisco) and one each from the Colonial Athletic Association (Towson), Sun Belt (Florida International), Mid-American (Northern Illinois), SEC (Auburn), Conference USA (Houston) and Mountain West (BYU). Arizona State will also host Grand Canyon, who is a member of the Pacific West Conference of Division II.


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.


Spring training classic in Surprise:

Arizona State will once again host the Coca-Cola Spring Training Classic at Surprise Stadium, the eighth straight year the Sun Devils will head to the West Valley. ASU will face Oregon State, Cal Poly, UC Riverside and Florida International during the tournament, with Utah Valley also participating but not facing ASU.


Did you know:

Last season, Arizona’s Bobby Coyle led the Pac-10 Conference with seven triples. Zack MacPhee has four after three games.


Up next:

Arizona State will head to the West Valley for its annual trip to Surprise Stadium and the Coca-Cola Classic. The Sun Devils will face Cal Poly, Oregon State, UC Riverside and Florida International.