ASU Baseball - Season in Review

The 2002 version of the ASU baseball team was young and hungry. This season Pat Murphy's team showed this season that they could accept the many challenges they faced, and still compete with some of the top teams in the nation

Freshman Emerging

Dustin Pedroia was the only player for the Devils that started all 58 games. He hit .347, which was 4th on the team. Besides many of the clutch hits he had during the season, one of the biggest contributions to the team was his stellar defense. He committed only 4 errors on the season, while playing 2B, 3B, and SS. He was named to the All Pac 10 team.

Jeff Larish almost was not part of this year's Devils team because of the possibility of being redshirted. But the fortune that was given to the Devils lead to a solid season for the product out of McClintock High School in Tempe. He had a solid season at 3B, hitting 3 home runs with a .328 average. Nick Cadena had a decent season, starting 19 games and hitting 6 home runs, which tied for 2nd on the team.

Rest of the Infield

Jeremy West hit a team high 13 home runs and had 71 RBI's. The 1B hit .356 which was 3rd on the team while being named to the All Pac 10 First team for the first time.

Sergio Garcia was a transfer from Oklahoma who played in 49 games on the year. After being named to the All Big 12 Honorable Mention team, he did the same, but in the Pac 10. Steve Garrabrants played multiple positions through out the year. He hit .357 with 15 doubles.

Outfield

After an impressive freshman campaign, expectations were high for Rod Allen after being named an All-American candidate. He did not perform to the standards that many thought he would, but he did provide some key moments this season. His average fell from .389 to .278 but did hit the same amount of home runs (6).

Andre Ethier came back to the Devils after a season at Chandler-Gilbert CC. He provided a much needed spark for the Devils in RF, when it wasn't known at the beginning of the year who would be solidifying the position. He was the 3rd Devil along with West and Pedroia to be named to the All Pac 10 First Team. He was 2nd on the team in batting average (2nd to Jon Sheaffer who was indefinitely suspended with about a month remaining on the year) with .363.

Ryan McKenna and Nick Walsh combined to play a lot of the outfield time that was not taken by Allen, Ethier, Garrabrants, Jon Sheaffer, and Doug Schutt.

Catcher

At the beginning of the season it was thought that Dennis Wyrick would play a lot of catcher but in the end, before his suspension moved mainly to 3B. Before Cesar Castillo played a lot of the position at the end of the season, Joel Bocchi and Tuffy Gosewisch were at the position but had rough seasons.

Pitchers

After being named along with Rod Allen as an All American candidate, Mike Esposito had a season worthy of Conference Honorable Mention, but not near the All American standards that many thought that he could obtain. He had a record of 9-6 with a 3.47 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 104 innings pitched. His high point of the season was his 17 K performance against Washington, which was the 6th highest in ASU history.

Ryan Schroyer had a solid presence out of the bullpen. It was not known who would be the designated pitching closer, but Schroyer became the man for the job and lead the team with 8 saves. He did have 4 appearances as a starter. With a 4-1 record and 2.37 ERA, he showed that he could be a solid closer.

Bryce Kartler showed bright spots at times, but did get roughed up in many occasion and did have some control problems. Robbie McClellan and Jered Liebeck also started their share of games. McClellan went 7-6 while Liebeck went 2-1. Carlos Arguello and Mark Sopko did a decent job out of the bullpen for the Devils. They will both be relied on next year to improve the bullpen.

Grueling Schedule

With one of the toughest schedules in the country, Murphy should be applauded For not wanting to modify the schedule, despite his very young and inexperienced team. Nevertheless, the doubters saying that a Murphy lead team still can not get the job done by getting to the College World Series or beating the "big name" teams, would once again be proven right. The Sun Devils were swept at Florida State, and lost 2 out of 3 to perennial powerhouses such as Cal-State Fullerton and Oklahoma. On the positive side, ASU did take 2 out of 3 from Pac 10 Conference Champion USC.

Outlook for 2003

Next year should be a testing point for Coach Murphy as he loses only four seniors. ASU will be returning many of their starters for next season, and once again Coach Murphy will be expected to earn a trip to Omaha, and a berth in the College World Series. With its accomplishments this year, its returning players, along with adding major talent with its #1 ranked recruiting class, the Devils will be looked on to return to the place where they haven't been for a few years.

The 2001 season, which featured a team loaded with talented seniors, was disappointing due to the fact that the Sun Devils weren't able to return to Omaha. While 2002 netted the same result, it would be unfair to label the season a failure, considering the fact that many of the players were lacking Pac-10 experience. The fact that this inexperienced team did advance to the NCAA tournament (and hosted a regional to boot), should ignite the imagination of the Sun Devil faithful for 2003.

Sun Devil Source Top Stories