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Baseball returns home to open Pac-10 play against Arizona

March 25, 2011

Weekly Release- at Cal State Fullerton/Arizona

Leading Off:
Following a 4-1 week that included two victories over then-#2 Oklahoma, the Sun Devils will hit the road for their final non-conference road series, playing a two-game midweek set with Cal State Fullerton at Goodwin Field. Following the pair with the Titans, ASU will return home to open Pac-10 play against in-State rival Arizona in a three-game series.

Devils vs. Wildcats:
Since baseball became a varsity sport at ASU in 1959, Arizona State leads the all-time series with Arizona 181-116.* Last season the Sun Devils won three of the five meetings, splitting a pair of games in Tempe. ASU vacated three victories against Arizona in 2007. On field record against UA is 184-116.

Pac-10 Play:
Arizona State will open its 33rd and final season of play in the Pac-10 Conference before it becomes the Pac-12 in 2012. The Sun Devils have won nine Pacific-10 Conference championships, including the last three. ASU holds an all-time mark of 515-358 in Pac-10 play. They joined the conference in 1979. ASU vacated 17 conference victories and the 2007 Pac-10 title. On field Pac-10 record is 532-358 with 10 Pac-10 titles.

March Madness:
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).

Oklahoma/Oral Roberts Recap:
Brady Rodgers returned to the mound for the first time since opening night on Tuesday against Oklahoma, throwing three shutout innings in a 6-2 win. Alex Blackford and Trevor Williams were each stellar out of the bullpen in the win...Jake Barrett struck out 11 Sooners on Wednesday, Riccio Torrez’s RBI single in the bottom of the sixth was the difference in the 6-4 win...Kramer Champlin dominated Oral Roberts on Friday night, throwing a complete game in a 5-1 win. Johnny Ruettiger had two RBI in the win...a bases loaded walk to Joey DeMichele would be the difference in a 4-3 win on Saturday, as Joseph Lopez earned his first career win and Mitchell Lambson notched his second save of the bad inning, the fifth, was ASU’s undoing in the finale against ORU, as the Golden Eagles scored five runs off Brady Rodgers, all they would need in a 5-2 ORU victory.

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. The entire team visited Hahn on Monday on their trip to Fullerton.

The Champ Is Here!:
Junior righty Kramer Champlin turned in a career effort against Oral Roberts on Friday night, throwing his first career complete game in a 5-1 victory. Champlin, who threw six complete games at Western Nevada over the past two years, limited the Golden Eagles to six hits over the nine innings, striking out eight.

Johnny Lightning:
Junior Johnny Ruettiger has added a new wrinkle to his already impressive repertoire, becoming a stolen base machine in 2011. Ruettiger, who entered 2011 with 22 career stolen bases, has already swiped 14 this season. That is a new career high, breaking the previous high of 12 which was set during his freshman season.

Give Me A K:
The Arizona State pitching staff was a well-oiled strike out machine over the five games last week. Sun Devil pitchers punched out 55 hitters, led by Jake Barrett’s 11 Ks in his six innings on Wednesday. Trevor Williams had seven strike outs in his 3.2 innings, while Kramer Champlin and Kyle Ottoson each had eight in their starts. For the year, ASU pitchers have struck out 171 batters, led by Barrett’s 31 in 24.2 innings.

Packing Them In:
Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark was the place to be during spring break, as the Sun Devils averaged over 3,500 fans during their five-game home stand. Tuesday and Wednesday night against Oklahoma were both sell outs, with a capacity crowd of 4,371 on hand to see the Devils twice beat the Sooners.

20 Game Winner:
While in Auburn, junior lefty Mitchell Lambson picked up his 20th career victory. Lambson is 20-9 in his career, making 80 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).

More on Mitch:
Lambson picked up his 10th career save on Saturday night against Oral Roberts, putting him in an exclusive club. Only three pitchers in Arizona State history have ever recorded at least 20 victories with at least 10 saves. Only Kevin Dukes, who pitched from 1978 to 1981, won 21 games and saved 20 games and Mitch Dean, who won 25 games and saved 11 from 1976 to 1980, had ever accomplished the feat prior to Lambson.

Brothers With Arms:
With three appearances last week Mitchell Lambson has now made 80 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. Mitchell and Mark are the sixth set of brothers to play in the same season for Arizona State.

Most Career Pitching Appearances
1. Brett Bordes (2003-06)........ 109
2. Kendall Carter (1981-84)...... 102
3. Ryan Bradley (1995-97)....... 99
4. Kevin Dukes (1986-89)........ 82
5. Mitchell Lambson (2009-P) 80

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.

Take Your Base:
Zack MacPhee showed off a keen eye last week, drawing seven walks over the five games. He also collected five hits, including his first homer of the season. MacPhee has drawn a team-leading 19 walks this season after drawing a career-high 41 last season. His 19 walks lead the Pac-10.

Career Highs:
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; Andrew Aplin tied a career high with three hits against Oral Roberts on March 18.

The Sun Devils are ranked #6 by Baseball America, #5 in the Collegiate Baseball poll, #4 in the NCBWA poll and #8 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll.

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 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.

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.

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.

Tough Schedule:
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:
Beginning Tuesday with #13 Cal State Fullerton, the Sun Devils will play 12 consecutive games against ranked opponents. Of those 12 games, six are against teams ranked in the Top 15.

Up Next:
The Sun Devils host the Oregon Ducks in a three-game Pac-10 series at Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark.