Baseball returns home to face Oklahoma and Oral Roberts
After taking two out of three against the Auburn Tigers at Plainsman Park, the Sun Devils return to Tempe, Arizona for five games against teams from the state of Oklahoma. ASU hosts the Oklahoma Sooners for two games then Oral Roberts for three over the weekend.
Devils vs. Sooners:
Arizona State leads the all-time series with Oklahoma 51-20. They last met in the 2008 Tempe Regional, when the Devils beat them twice to advance to the Super Regionals.
Lights, Camera, Action:
Wednesday night’s game against the Sooners will be televised by Fox Sports Arizona. Daron Sutton, Joe Borowski and Brad Steinke will call the action.
Devils vs. Golden Eagles:
Arizona State leads the all-time series with Oral Roberts 7-2. The last meeting came in the 2009 Tempe Regional when ASU won both meetings to advance to the Super Regionals.
One (Run) Is The Loneliest Number:
After playing four consecutive one-run games in Surprise, Arizona State followed that up with a one-run game on Friday night at Auburn, winning 5-4. The last time the Sun Devils played five straight one-run contests was back in 1987 when the final five games of the regular season were all decided by a single run. The middle infield for that team? Head coach Tim Esmay and assistant coach Mike Benjamin.
Arizona State baseball is experiencing its own March Madness during the 2011 season. The Devils are in the midst of a stretch where they play 13 games in 17 days, including three travel days. That includes a bus trip to Fullerton, California. In the month of March, ASU will travel 4,710 miles, going from Tempe to Surprise (76 miles roundtrip), Tempe to Atlanta to Auburn (3,900 miles roundtrip) and Tempe to Fullerton (734 miles roundtrip).
All three games between the Devils and the Tigers were like a heavyweight fight, as the two teams traded leads and withstood rallies. On Friday night, Auburn jumped out to a 4-0 lead after three, but ASU slowly chipped away until grabbing a one-run lead in the sixth. After the Tigers took the lead back in the bottom of the sixth, ASU would tie it again in the seventh. The Tigers would take the lead back in the ninth, but an Andrew Aplin pinch-hit RBI single and a Zack MacPhee RBI single gave the Devils an 8-7 win...Saturday once again saw ASU fall behind early, but ASU would pound out 17 hits to once again claw back an win 9-5. Matt Newman homered twice and Joey DeMichele went 5-5 in the win...Sunday again had the Tigers grab an early lead, ASU come back to hold a late lead, but this time Auburn was able to stage their own rally, salvaging the finale 10-8. Zach Wilson homered and drove in four in the loss.
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.
Newman Has Tiger Blood:
Senior Matt Newman loves playing against the Auburn Tigers. Over the weekend, Newman went 5-11 (.455) and slugged an amazing 1.182. He had five RBI in the series and scored four more times, and had two perfect sacrifice bunts. On Saturday, Newman recorded his third multi-homer game, leaving the yard twice in the win over the Tigers. He also homered twice at Cal in 2009 and against Fresno State in Game Three of the 2008 Super Regional (both losses). In his six career games against Auburn, Newman is 10-23 (.435) with three homers, nine RBI, nine runs scored, four doubles and a triple. His homers on Saturday were his first since March 14, 2010 when he homered in Tempe against the Auburn Tigers. For his efforts at Auburn, Matt was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week, his first ever weekly award from the Pac-10.
Junior Johnny Ruettiger has added a new wrinkle to his already impressive repertoire, becoming a stolen base machine through the first three weeks of the season. Ruettiger, who entered 2011 with 22 career stolen bases, has already swiped 11 this season. His career high is 12, which he did as a freshman. He also has been a terror at the plate of opposing pitchers, batting .403 on the season as the leadoff man with a .443 OBP. Against UC Riverside he set a new career with four hits.
Brothers With Arms:
With two appearances at Auburn Mitchell Lambson has now made 77 career appearances, fifth most in ASU history. Last season he tied a school record with his 39 appearances. His brother, Mark, is a right handed reliever out of the ASU bullpen. Mark retired the first 11 hitters he faced in his Sun Devil career against Delaware. He also picked up his first career win against Auburn on Saturday. Mitchell and Mark are the sixth set of brothers to play in the same season for Arizona State.
Newman’s Golden Glove:
Matt Newman’s error against Kansas was the first of his Sun Devil career. It happened in his 176th game for ASU. Newman’s errorless streak reached 211 chances before it ended in right field at Surprise Stadium on a ground ball that Newman kicked away, allowing the runner to reach third on a double.
Several Sun Devils have established single game career highs already this season. Xorge Carrillo set a new high in RBI with three at Auburn on March 12; Joey DeMichele recorded five hits, including three doubles, at Auburn on March 12; Johnny Ruettiger collected four hits against UC Riverside at Surprise on March 6; Riccio Torrez homered twice against New Mexico on February 18. He also drove in five runs, setting a new high; Zach Wilson collected five hits, including three doubles, against Delaware on February 26. He tied his career high with five RBI against Northern Illinois on March 4 at Surprise; Andy Workman has twice tied his career high with three hits, against Delaware on February 26 and at Auburn on March 11.
The Sun Devils are ranked #9 by Baseball America, #10 in the Collegiate Baseball poll, #8 in the NCBWA poll and #8 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll.
20 Game Winner:
While in Auburn, junior lefty Mitchell Lambson picked up his 20th career victory. Lambson is 20-9 in his career, making 77 appearances with only one start. His one start, at Washington in 2009, was a complete game. Lambson’s 20 wins puts him third all-time in school history for wins by pitchers who were primarily relievers in their career. Lambson trails only Sam Cook, who recorded 25 wins in 60 appearances (11 starts) from 1961 to 1963 and Kevin Dukes, who won 21 games in 82 appearances (18 starts) from 1978 to 1981. Lambson’s brother Mark earned his first career win at Auburn (naturally, out of the bullpen).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Junior OF Brandon Magee is no stranger to ASU athletics, playing linebacker for the Sun Devil football team. 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.
Hall “O” Famer:
The 2011 College Baseball Hall of Fame Class was announced by the College Baseball Foundation and Sun Devil Legend Oddibe 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.
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.
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.
Player of the Week:
Junior Riccio Torrez was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week following opening weekend, the fourth straight season a Sun Devil has earned Player of the Week honors following the season’s first action. Matt Newman was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week following the Auburn series.
The Sun Devils will play 27 games this season against teams ranked in the Preseason Top 30. 10 of the 27 games will come against Preseason Top 10 teams.
Did You Know:
Including the Auburn series ASU just completed, the Devils will play 17 out of 20 games against ranked opponents. Only Oral Roberts is unranked.
The Sun Devils will head to Fullerton, California for a two-game midweek series with the Cal State Fullerton Titans before returning home and opening Pac-10 play with the Arizona Wildcats.