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Baseball heads to Long Beach for three-game series

March 08, 2012

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The 10th-ranked Arizona State baseball team travels to Long Beach for their first true road trip of the season.

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Friday - March 9 - 7:30 p.m. (MT)
Saturday - March 10 - 3 p.m. (MT)
Sunday - March 11 - 2 p.m. (MT)

Blair Field in Long Beach, Calif.

ASU - RHP Brady Rodgers (0.00 ERA, 3-0, 22 IP, 13 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 24 K)
Long Beach - RHP Shawn Stuart (4.91 ERA, 1-0, 14.2 IP, 11 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 12 BB, 13 K)
ASU - RHP Alex Blackford (2.30 ERA, 0-0, 15.2 IP, 12 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 19 K)
Long Beach - RHP Matt Anderson (2.00 ERA, 0-0, 18.0 IP, 14 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 18 K)
ASU - RHP Trevor Williams (1.06 ERA, 3-0, 17.0 IP, 12 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 7 K)
Long Beach- LHP Ryan Strufing (1.83 ERA, 2-0, 19.2 IP, 18 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 13 K)

NCBWA: #10
Baseball America: #11
Collegiate Baseball: #13
Perfect Game: #9

After starting the season with seven straight home games, Long Beach State's first road tests did not go well last week, as the Dirtbags lost all four games. After a 9-1 loss at No. 15 UCLA, Long Beach State traveled to No. 12 Oregon, and played tough in all three games, holding leads in all three. Oregon answered back, however, and won all three games in walk off fashion; Friday and Sunday in the bottom of the ninth, and Saturday in the bottom of the 13th inning, which was the longest game for Long Beach State since the 2007 season.

ASU is 33-8^ all-time against Long Beach State, with the Sun Devils sweeping the thre-game series at Packard Stadium. ASU won the first game 6-3 and the second game 9-2. They closed out the series 17-9 in the final game. The Devils took one from the Dirtbags in 2007, losing the other two 7-8 and 9-16, respectively.

^ - Some win in 2007 later vacated due to NCAA sanctions. Records do no reflect vacations.

The 10th-ranked Arizona State baseball team, playing their fifth game in six nights, fell to Texas Tech 8-4 on Tuesday night at Packard Stadium. Trever Allen pinch-hit in the seventh inning and went 2-for-2 with a pair of RBI as the Devils (8-3) collected four triples on the night. ASU right-hander Zak Miller (0-1) took the loss after giving up two earned runs on four hits in 1/3 innings pitched. Left-hander Matt Dunbar made his first career start for the Devils and went three innings, giving up one hit and no runs in a no-decision. He collected four strikeouts and walked a pair. Red Raiders (10-3) right-hander John Neely (2-1) earned the win after giving up one run on three hits while striking out two in three innings. Texas Tech had a three-run lead at the end of six innings and added four more in the top of the seventh frame to stretch its advantage to seven, 8-1.

Arizona State will return to Tempe to host Utah Valley for a mid-week two-game series at Packard Stadium. First pitch on both Tuesday and Wednesday is set for 6:30 p.m. (MT). The Devils then head back to Los Angeles for three games against UCLA on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The Sun Devils are second in the NCAA in batting average at .363 and trail Cornell, who has played just four games this season, by only .008. ASU is fifth in runs scored per game at 9.6 (96 in 10 games), 16th in runs and 15th in hits. Junior second baseman Joey DeMichele ranks second in the NCAA with a .553 batting average, the only Pac-12 player to rank in the top 40, and 8th in RBI per game at 1.90. DeMichele is also fourth in the nation in on base percentage at .617, sixth in slugging percentage at .974 and 10th in total bases with 37.

On the mound, ASU is fifth in ERA at 1.57, the only Pac-12 team in the top 15, and are ninth in hits allowed per 9 innings at 6.3. Right-hander Brady Rodgers is tops in the NCAA with a 0.00 ERA and is tied for fifth in wins with three.

Junior second baseman Joey DeMichele was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week for Feb. 27-March 4. DeMichele led the way offensively for the Sun Devils at the Coca-Cola Classic in Surprise with 12 hits, six runs and 10 RBI. He hit .842 from the plate (12-of-19) with five extra base hits, including four doubles and a triple. He collected a career-best five RBI in two separate games, and started all four games at second base and did not commit an error. He was not only productive at the plate, but he also delivered under pressure. DeMichele faced two outs with two strikes three separate times during the Devils' 9-1 win over St. Louis and all three times he drove in an RBI single, including a pair of two-run hits, to reach five RBI. He scored the game-winning run from first base in the Devils' 4-3 walk-off win against Northern Illinois after reaching on a base hit.

Through 11 games, DeMichele has .524 batting, a .952 slugging percentage a .588 on base percentage, 22 hits, including 11 extra-base hits, 19 RBI and 19 runs scored.

As of March 4, the Sun Devils led the Pac-12 in four offensive categories, including batting average (.380), slugging percentage (.562), on base percentage (.461) and hits (123). They also rank second in RBI (89), runs scored (93), doubles (25), home runs (10) and total bases (182). On the mound, they are tops in the Pac-12 in ERA (1.33) , opposing bat. avg (.191) and runs allowed (10) for the second week in a row.

Arizona State has used 15 pitchers through the first 11 games of the season. The Devils only used 11 all season last year. Right-hander and Mark Lambson, who appeared in 10 games and threw 23.2 innings in 2011, has not made an appearance yet this season. Six pitchers have also made at least one start this season.

Right-hander Brady Rodgers has allowed no earned runs and struck out 24 in 22 innings pitched. He is 3-0 in three starts and has given up 13 hits, including just three extra base hits, and walked two. His 22 consecutive scoreless innings trail Lerrin LaGrow (1969) by seven for the fifth spot on the school's consecutive scoreless innings list.

Left-hander Matt Dunbar earned his first win at ASU after giving up one hit and no runs with four strikeouts in two innings in a 4-3 win over Northern Illinois at the Coca-Cola Classic in Surprise, Ariz.. He took the mound in the eighth and bookended a groundout and a double with a pair of strikeouts to escape the frame unscathed. He recorded consecutive strikeouts to begin the ninth inning before forcing a groundout. he has given up just two hits and no earned runs while striking out five in four innings pitched. Against St. Mary's, he pitched 1.2 scoreless innings and did not give up a hit while striking out two in the eighth and ninth inning. He made his first career start against Texas Tech and went three innings, giving up one hit and no runs in a no-decision. He collected four strikeouts and walked a pair.