ASU To Host Central Conn. St. in Post-Season

The NCAA selection committee always finds ways to rain on ASU Baseball's parade. Unfortunately, today was no different. The Devils weren't picked as a national #1 seed; despite an NCAA leading 50 win season and a top five ranking in most of the polls. Pat Murphy's squad starts the journey to Omaha on Friday May 30 at 7PM when they face Central Connecticut State at Tempe Diablo Stadium.

New Mexico St. and UNLV complete ASU's regional bracket. The Devils have a 5-0 record against this pair of teams. Nonetheless, Murphy called both of them "great clubs…we have a work cut out for us." He also added that he had no knowledge of Central Connecticut State, but naturally planned to gather as much information as possible on them later today.

Sophomore shortstop Dustin Pedrioa acknowledged the frustration about not being a national number one seed, but was also ready to put all that aside. "It's a big disappointment." He said, "We worked so hard to get where we are. We won 50 games playing in the Pac-10…but we have to come out of our regional and we'll go wherever we have to play…it's a great accomplishment hosting a regional. We have good ball clubs coming in, and they can beat us any day. We have to play hard and play our game to come out of our regional." Pedroia agreed that the committee's snub will serve as motivation, but will not shift the focus from preparing for Friday's game.

Skipper Pat Murphy dismissed the notion that weak out of conference opponents are the main catalyst for not being selected to host a super regional. "I'm not concerned about that." The ASU coach said, "I'll put my non-conference schedule against anybody's. I thought the national number ones were the best eights. The way I figured it out they were a few teams more deserving than the ones who got it. But it doesn't matter what I figured… the guys were looking at the RPI and that doesn't work for our team. You can't tell me that Okalahoma, Wichita St., Cal-State Northridge are weak opponents. I don't think we have any bad losses."

However, Murphy echoed Pedroia's feelings and didn't want to be overly concerned about his team's seeding. "I don't want it to be ‘us against the world.' This is a celebration for the players and their great season. I want it to be fun. We have a game against some hard-nosed kids on Friday. That's our first game and that's what we'll worry about. We have other things to worry about than being a national #1 or where we need to travel. To be the best you gotta beat the best. I don't think our kids just wanna to show up in Omaha. We want to get there so we can win."

Arizona State is coming off a sweep of its in-state rival to the tune of 36-4 runs. Murphy believes the last three games will serve the team well as it prepares for the post-season. "It was great for our players. We had the biggest crowd (for a three-game series) of the year. Right now we're riding the momentum of those wins."

Thus far, it has been one of the finest ASU baseball seasons in recent memory, and 2003 has the potential to be one for the ages. It is time to put aside any talk about committee snubs or skeptical fans, and concentrate on the task on hand. If these young men can stay the course and keep their focus, then they'll be the second Sun Devil team in the last nine moths to visit the state of Nebraska. This time the results will hopefully be quite different.

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