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No. 1 baseball hosts No. 2 Arizona tonight

March 18, 2008

Leading Off:

The Sun Devils continued the second best start in school history, winning all five games last week to move to 17-0. They beat #19 Arkansason Tuesday and Wednesday before sweeping a weekend series with Troy. Arizona State now welcomes in-state rival Arizona to Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark for a non-conference meeting. The Wildcats are ranked #2 in the nation.

Devils vs. Wildcats:
The Devils hold a 171-112 edge over Arizona since ASU began varsity baseball in 1959. Last season Arizona State went 3-2 against the Wildcats, including two wins in their Pac-10 series that clinched the conference title for the Sun Devils.

Coach Murphy vs. Arizona:
Head coach Pat Murphy, now in his 14th season at ASU, is 40-25 against Arizona. He has won the season series nine times and tied twice.

Coach Murphy vs. Coach Lopez:
Head coach Pat Murphy is 15-11 head-to-head vs. Arizona head coach Andy Lopez, who came to UA in 2002.

Hot Start:
Arizona State's 17-0 start is the second best start in school history. The record for best start is held by the 1961 squad, who started the year 21-0.

Ranking The Competition:
Of Arizona State's 56 games on the regular season schedule, 29 will be against teams that have been ranked at some point in 2008. 15 of those will be against teams that were in the Top 10 at some point and nine against teams in the Top 5 at some point.

Lights, Camera, Action:
FSN Arizona will televise the contest with Arizona. Trey Bender and Mike Rooney will handle the call. It is the first of two ASU games on FSN. The May 3 meeting with UCLA in Los Angeles will also be televised.

Non-Conference Match-up:
Tuesday's game with Arizona will be a non-conference meeting. The two schools have split their eight non-conference games dating back to 2004, with ASU going 3-0 in Tempe and 1-2 in Tucson. Arizona won both neutral site meetings at Chase Field.

Arizona State is ranked #1 in all five major polls, the first time this season that all five polls have had a consensus #1 team.

Arkansas/Troy Recap:
ASU welcomed 19th ranked Arkansas to Tempe for a marquee mid-week match-up, but the Devils left the Hogs licking their wounds. Ike Davis homered twice and pitched 1.2 innings of scoreless ball on Tuesday, while Raoul Torrez made up for an error with an RBI single that turned out to be the difference in the 6-5 win...Wednesday saw Josh Satow strike out seven in 7.2 innings in a 7-4 win. Brett Wallace hit a three-run homer to pace the offense, and Tommy Rafferty pitched a scoreless ninth to pick up the save...Troy came to town for a three-game set beginning on Friday, jumping out to a 6-0 lead before the ASU offense stormed back. Jason Kipnis homered off the Green Monster to even things at six, then Kiel Roling put ASU up to stay with an RBI single on the way to a 15-9 win. That was enough for Stephen Sauer, who threw five innings of relief to pick up the win...Saturday was more of the Ike Davis show, as he homered twice for the third time in seven days, leading ASU to a 9-1 win...Sunday was Mike Leake's day to shine, as the sophomore righty fanned seven in an 8-1 win. Brett Wallace homered in the victory.

Pac-10 Player of the Week (Again):
Ike Davis has been named the Pac-10 Player of the Week, the second straight week he has earned the award. Davis becomes the first Devil to win the award in consecutive weeks since Travis Buck did it in 2004. It is the third time in his career he has won, and it's the third award for ASU this season. Brett Wallace won following the opening weekend.

Ike Ike Davis Davis:
Things have been coming in twos for junior Ike Davis. After recording his first career two-homer game against UMass last week, Davis did it again, twice, against Arkansas and Troy. Ike hit two solo blasts in Tuesday's win over the Razorbacks, including one that tied the game at 5. On Saturday he doubled up on two-run homers, giving him six in his last seven games. But the long ball isn't the only thing Ike does well. Davis has also totaled 10 doubles this season, tops on the team. He was named to the College Baseball Foundation's National All-Star Lineup last week and was named a Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Week this week.

Walk This Way:
Petey Paramore led the Pac-10 in bases on balls last season, totaling 53 in 64 games. His good eye has continued so far in 2008, as he has already drawn 21 walks in 17 games. Paramore now has 108 walks in his career and is only the 22nd Sun Devil to ever draw over 100. The 108 walks ties him with Rick Valley (1968-70) and Dustin Pedroia (2002-04) for 14th. Alvin Davis (1979-82) is the all-time leader with 207.

Keeping A Weather Eye:
Arizona State is drawing a ton of walks as a team, drawing 125 so far this season. Last season they drew 319 free passes as a team. The school record for bases on balls in a season is 482, set in 1982. The Devils have also been hit by 18 pitches this year.

Call To The Hall For Bane and Bannister:
Legendary Sun Devil pitchers Eddie Bane and Floyd Bannister have been named to the College Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2008. Bane pitched for ASU from 1971 to 1973, recording a 40-4 career record with a 1.64 ERA. He threw the only perfect game in Sun Devil history, striking out 19 in a 9-0 win over Cal State Northridge in 1973. Bane is the school's leader in career strikeouts, fanning 535 in his three seasons in Maroon and Gold. Floyd Bannister went 38-6 with a 1.88 ERA from 1974 to 1976, throwing 29 career complete games, second most in school history. He won 19 games in 1976, tied for the school single season record, and struck out an ASU record 217 in 1975. He was the #1 overall pick in the 1976 MLB draft. Bane and Bannister join Bobby Winkles, Jim Brock and Bob Horner as Sun Devils in the College Baseball Hall of Fame.

Family Matters:
Freshman 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. 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. Andrew wears number 76, the same number Mike wore on the gridiron. UTL Mike Murphy is no relation to head coach Pat Murphy, although he is the first player named Murphy Pat Murphy has ever coached. New assistant coach Josh Holliday is the son of former Oklahoma State head baseball coach Tom Holliday and the brother of current Colorado Rockies outfielder Matt Holliday.

2008 Pre-Season Honors:
ASU has several pre-season All-Americans on its roster. Brett Wallace and Josh Satow were both named First Teamers by the NCBWA as well as Collegiate Baseball. Petey Paramore joined them on the NCBWA list. Mike Leake was named a Second Team selection by both the NCBWA and Collegiate Baseball. Kiel Roling was named to the Second Team by the NCBWA. Ike Davis was a Third Team selection by both the NCBWA and Collegiate Baseball. Wallace, Davis and Paramore were all named Second Teamers by Baseball America.

Pac-10 Picks:
The Sun Devils were picked to finish second in the Pac-10 in the annual preseason coaches poll. ASU got three first place votes, while ArizonaArizona State won the Pac-10 last season. Arizona finished second. was picked to win with six first place votes.

Golden Spikes Watch List:
Ike Davis, Petey Paramore and Brett Wallace have all been named to the 2008 Golden Spikes Award Watch List. ASU has had three Golden Spikes winners, Bob Horner, Odibe McDowell and Mike Kelly.

Wallace Award Watch List:
Arizona State leads all schools with five players on the Wallace Award Watch List. Brett Wallace, Josh Satow, Mike Leake and Petey Paramore are all on the initial list. Wallace was Semi-Finalist for the award last season.

Captain and the Bench Award Watch List:
Head coach Pat Murphy has named junior catcher Petey Paramore as the captain of the 2008 Sun Devils. Paramore has also been named to the Watch List for the Johnny Bench Award, the third straight year he has made the list.

Home Sweet Home:
Arizona State is in the midst of a stretch that will see them play 22 consecutive home games. The Devils will play those 22 home contests in a span of 29 days. ASU will not hit the road until the series at Stanford that begins April 2, meaning that the Sun Devils will have played their first 29 games of the season in the state of Arizona.

Coach Murphy Honored:
Pat Murphy has been inducted into the Florida Atlantic University Baseball Hall of Fame. Murphy played for the Owls from 1981 to 1982, then coached three years at the school.

Schedule Strength:
Arizona State will once again face one of the toughest schedules in the country this season. ASU will play three teams (Oregon State, UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton) that went to Omaha last year, in addition to Super Regional teams Wichita State, Michigan and UCLA.

Inter-Conference Battles:
In addition to facing the schools in the Pac-10, the Devils will also take on teams from 11 different conferences in 2008. ASU will face two teams from the SEC (Arkansas, Vanderbilt), two from the Big West (Cal State Fullerton, UC Irvine), two from the Sun Belt (Troy, Florida International), two from the Western Athletic (New Mexico, Hawai'i), two from the West Coast Conference (Portland, Loyola Marymount) and one each from the Big 12 (Kansas State), Atlantic 10 (UMass), Mid-American (Miami,Ohio), Big 10 (Michigan), Missouri Valley (Wichita State) and Southern (Wofford). ASU will also face Northern Colorado, who is an independent.

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.

Not only were the 2007 Devils dominant on the field at Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark, but they were dominant at the turnstyles as well. The Devils went 35-3 at home and led the West Coast in attendance for the third straight season. 116,205 fans came out to see the Sun Devils in 2007, the highest attendance since 1984. ASU finished 17th nationally in average attendance, averaging 3,141 fans per game.

Up Next:
The Devils continue their home stand with five games this weekend. They host Northern Colorado on Thursday and Friday night, will play a doubleheader with Florida International on Saturday, then wrap up the weekend with UC Irvine on Sunday. The games are part of the Bob Schaefer Memorial Tournament at Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark.