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Sun Devil baseball opens season

February 15, 2010

Week One- Northern Illinois Get Acrobat Reader

Leading off:

The three-time defending Pac-10 Champion Arizona State Sun Devils open the 52nd season of Sun Devil baseball by hosting the Northern Illinois Huskies in a four-game series at Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark. The Devils and Huskies will open the 2010 season on Friday night, followed by a doubleheader on Saturday before wrapping up the opening weekend with the series finale on Sunday.


Devils vs. Northern Illinois:

The Sun Devils and Huskies have played each other four times, with ASU coming out on top in each contest. They met last season at Packard Stadium in the DeMarini Invitational, with ASU picking up the 6-1 victory.


In the dugout:

Arizona State will feature 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.


Team captains:

The 2010 Sun Devils will be led by three team captains. Senior Raoul Torrez will begin 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.


Party like its 999:

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. In those 35 seasons, ASU has compiled a home record of 999-269-1, including a 110-12 mark over the past three seasons.


Opening night:

The Sun Devils will open their 52nd season of varsity baseball against Northern Illinois. Arizona State is 39-11-1 all-time in season openers. The Devils won last year on Opening Night, beating Wisconsin-Milwaukee 15-3 at Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark.


Recap 2009:

The 2009 season saw Arizona State win an unprecedented third straight Pac-10 title and advance to the 21st College World Series in program history. The Sun Devils finished the 2009 campaign with a 51-14 record, including a 21-6 mark in Pac-10 play. ASU went 36-4 at home, sweeping both the Tempe Regional and Tempe Super Regional to advance to Omaha, where the Sun Devils finished third. Mike Leake became the first ever back-to-back Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year award winner, while Jason Kipnis took home Pac-10 Player of the Year honors. Leake was also named ABCA National Player of the Year and he and Kipnis were both Unanimous First Team All-Americans. Six Sun Devils earned First Team All-Pac-10 honors, including Josh Spence, who was named the National Newcomer of the Year by


Who’s back:

The Sun Devils welcome back 17 returners, led by All-American lefty Josh Spence. Returners who started last year include Kole Calhoun, Raoul Torrez, Riccio Torrez, Zack MacPhee, Zach Wilson, Matt Newman, Drew Maggi and Johnny Ruettiger. Among those returning to the pitching staff are Jordan Swagerty, Seth Blair and 2009 Freshman All-American Mitchell Lambson.


Who’s new:

Arizona State welcomes the nation’s second-ranked recruiting class to Tempe in 2010, as 15 newcomers begin their Sun Devil careers. Those 15 include nine true freshmen, five JC transfers and one Division I transfer. Headlining the junior college transfers are catcher Xorge Carrillo and southpaw Jimmy Patterson who both come to ASU from Central Arizona. Joining them are LHP Josh Moody from Western Nevada, RHP Merrill Kelly from Yavapai CC and C/OF Daniel Milner from Phoenix College. The freshmen class is led by RHP Jake Barrett, a third round pick of the Toronto Blue Jays from Mesa. Deven Marrero is the freshman who traveled the farthest to become a Sun Devil, as the shortstop come to ASU from American Heritage School in Davie, Florida. They are joined by Brady Rodgers (Richmond, Texas), Alex Blackford (Centennial, Colo.), Kyle Arnsberg (Arlington, Texas), Beau Maggi (Phoenix, Ariz.), Tyler Bernard (Valley Center, Calif.), Joey DeMichele (Phoenix, Ariz.) and Andrew Aplin (Suisun, Calif.). Danny Duffy comes to ASU from Oral Roberts, but will sit out the 2010 season due to the NCAA transfer rule.


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.


Pre-season honors 2010:

Josh Spence was named a Preseason First Team All-American by the NCBWA, and Collegiate Baseball. 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 ranked #14 by Baseball America in their preseason poll, the 24th straight season ASU has been in the preseason Top 25, the longest streak in the nation. They are #5 in the Collegiate Baseball poll, #8 in the NCBWA poll, #8 in the  USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll and #9 on


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 (433), 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.


Pac-10 Awards for 2009:

Arizona State was rewarded for its season by taking home a lot of hardware from the Pac-10.  Mike Leake became the first player in Pac-10 history to earn the Pitcher of the Year award in back-to-back seasons. Jason Kipnis was named the Pac-10 Player of the Year, the third straight season a Sun Devil has taken home the trophy. In addition to the awards, Arizona State had six members of the All Pac-10 team and eight additional Honorable Mentions. Mike Leake earned All-Conference honors for the third straight year, while Jason Kipnis was named for the second straight season. They were joined by Josh Spence, Carlos Ramirez, Mitchell Lambson and Matt Newman. Seth Blair, Riccio Torrez, Raoul Torrez, Drew Maggi, Zack MacPhee, Jared McDonald, Kole Calhoun and Jordan Swagerty all earned Honorable Mentions. Leake, Blair and Andy Workman were each named First Team Academic All-Pac-10, while Matt Newman was named to the Second Team and Jason Kipnis was an Honorable Mention.


2009 All-Americans:

Four Sun Devils earned All-American accolades, led by unanimous First Team All-Americans Mike Leake and Jason Kipnis. Josh Spence was a Third Team All-American by both Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball, while Carlos Ramirez was named First Team by the ABCA and Third Team by Collegiate Baseball and the NCBWA. Mitchell Lambson was a consensus First Team Freshman All-American, earning First Team honors from, Collegiate Baseball and the NCBWA and Second Team honors from Baseball America.


Inter-conference battles:

In addition 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:

ASU has never faced Towson in baseball, the only opponent on the 2010 schedule Arizona State has never previously played.


Up next:

Arizona State will host Towson in a four-game series that begins Friday at Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Friday in Tempe.