ASU Baseball Season in Review

The 2004 season came and went again without a trip to the College World Series, as the Omaha drought now stands at six years. There several peaks and valleys through out the year, and DevilsDigest takes a closer look at all that has transpired under Coach Pat Murphy.

The 2004 campaign saw "The Streak" of 506 games without being shutout end in a 6-0 loss to Oklahoma at home on February 15th. Nevertheless, with the addition of the freshmen and transfer players, it seemed that a successful season could be in the works for Murphy and his team. After a slow start to the Pac-10 season, in which the Devils' dropped their first four series, ASU fought back and ended the regular season with a 17-5 record. ASU was once against sent to Fullerton, California, and meet their demise as they were eliminated by Cal-State Fullerton for the second year in a row. Despite a 41-18 record, 2004 will be viewed by most as another underachieving year.

On offense, second team All American shortstop Dustin Pedroia led the Devils once again. The All Pac-10 selection started in all 59 games, leading the team with a .393 batting average, 78 runs scored, 96 hits, 24 doubles, and tying for second in home runs with nine. The Golden Spikes Award finalist also led the team with 30 multi-hit games on the year. Fellow All-Conference player, right fielder Travis Buck had the longest hitting streak on the year at 16 games. Buck led the team with 13 stolen bases and 58 RBI's. He was also second on the team with a .373 batting average, 64 runs scored, and 84 hits.

Catcher Tuffy Gosewisch started in 58 games in the 2004 season, and was a pleasant surprise at his position. The junior hit 14 doubles, batted .342, collected two home runs and 49 RBI's. Joe Persichina played mainly at first base, starting in 37 games, while hitting .320 with one home run and 24 RBI's. Nick Walsh started 37 games at second, driving in 23 runs and hitting .329, which was fifth on the team. Utility man Josh Asanovich played in 49 games, hitting .367 with five home runs and 41 RBI's. Other Devils who saw time in the infield included Seth Dhaenens, Chris Cook, Joel Bocchi, and Nick Cadena. Dhaenens played in a total of 45 games, while Cook was fifth on the team with five home runs. Bocchi and Cadena started 13 and 11 games respectively at the designated hitter position.

Aside from Buck, Jeff Larish in left field and Colin Curtis in center field occupied the outfield. Larish started in 57 games, hitting .308 with seven home runs and 49 RBI's. After an All-American campaign in 2003, Larish had a disappointing year, one which an included a wrist injury that caused him to miss two games. Curtis hit .300 with five home runs and 36 RBI's in 57 games played. Freshman Zechry Zinicola, when not on the mound pitching, started 23 games at designated hitter, batting .280 with three home runs and 12 RBI's.

For the second straight season, the ASU pitching staff was sparked by the arrivals of transfers from other schools. Jason Urquidez, who came via Central Arizona College, led the Pac-10 in wins with a 12-3 record. The All Pac-10 selection led the team with 97.2 innings pitched, 94 strikeouts, and was second with a 3.41 ERA. Urquidez also tied for first with 17 games started. Local product, and BYU transfer Jeff Mousser started the season off slowly, but ended with a 6-4 record and a 3.94 ERA. He pitched a total of 89 innings, with 42 strikeouts.

Multiple pitchers split the rest of the starts. Brett Bordes was 3-1 with an 8.55 ERA in eight starts and 13 total appearances. Erik Averill started four games, and appeared 20 times out of the bullpen. He was 4-4 with a 5.19 ERA, with two saves in 76.1 innings pitched. Pat Cassa was 3-1 with a 5.48 ERA in 21 appearances on the mound, five of those as a starter.

Zechry Zinicola was a sparkplug out of the bullpen. He led the team with eight saves and a 3.36 ERA. His 57 strikeouts were second on the team in 56.1 innings pitched. In 25 appearances, he accumulated a 4-2 record. Quentin Andes was a solid 5-1 with a 4.55 ERA and two saves, while Ty Marotz appeared in 17 games, starting three games. Freshmen Travis Webb and Josh Blake also saw time out of the bullpen.

The 2004 team had only two seniors - Mousser and Walsh. However, the Devils will lose a number of their juniors to the majors, as six players were selected in the draft. Dustin Pedroia was drafted in the second round by the Red Sox. Josh Asanovich and Jason Urquidez both went in the 11th round, to the Devils Rays and Reds respectively. Jeff Larish was a 13th round pick of the Dodgers, and Mousser went to the Twins in the 35th round, while Ladd Hall went in 27th round to the Expos, despite not playing at all this year. Walsh ended up signing a free agent deal with the New York Yankees.

Currently, it's remains a mystery who will be back in a Sun Devil uniform. But one fact us clear - the pressure will be on Pat Murphy to end the Omaha drought in the 2005 campaign.

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