CWS Preview: Arizona State

North Carolina begins its College World Series play against Arizona State, with a 2 p.m. ET matchup on Sunday at Rosenblatt Stadium. Check out the key details to know about UNC's first opponent in Omaha ...

Arizona State Sun Devils

The Sun Devils (49-12) headed to Omaha after sweeping Clemson in the Tempe Super Regional, defeating the No. 13-ranked Tigers behind their pair of aces. The Sun Devils are the three-time PAC-10 champions under head coach Pat Murphy (627-282-1 at Arizona State in 14 years).

Arizona State has appeared in the College World Series 21 times - tied with Southern Cal for the third most appearances. The Sun Devils have won the National Championship five times (1965, 1967, 1969, 1977, 1981).

Top Hitters

Arizona State is batting .305, good for second place in the PAC-10, and led the conference in slugging percentage (.496), runs scored (491), hits (614), RBI (447), home runs (71), OBP (.420), walks (358), stolen bases (111).

Junior center fielder Jason Kipnis was honored as the PAC-10 Player of the Year and for good reason, as he led the PAC-10 with 26 stolen bases while batting .385 for the season to lead the starters on the Sun Devils' roster. He also led the squad with 71 runs and 20 doubles, and is second with 16 home runs. Kipnis was selected in the second round (No. 63 overall pick) by Cleveland in this past week's MLB Draft.

Freshman shortstop Drew Maggi has an Arizona State freshman season record 20 stolen bases, eclipsing Barry Bonds' 16. Maggi has also tied Bonds freshman season record by scoring 60 runs. He batted .319 on the season and led the Sun Devils with five triples.

Junior catcher Carlos Ramirez has a team leading 18 round trippers and 72 runs batted in, while batting .349. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels in the 8th round.

Top Pitchers

Arizona State leads the PAC-10 in many pitching categories: ERA (2.78), OBA (.233), strikeouts (561), runs allowed (221), walks (145).

In addition to being the No. 8 overall draft pick this past week, right handed pitcher Mike Leake was also honored for the second time as the PAC-10 Pitcher of the Year. Leake earned his 16th win of the season in the Super Regional against Clemson. In 132.2 innings he has struck out 150 batters while only walking 21. Leake has a 1.36 ERA in his 16 starts with a 16-1 record, while holding opposing batters to a .175 average. His 40 career wins has him tied for the Sun Devil career record. Leake is an Academic All-American and one of the finalists for the Golden Spikes Award. He also batted .302 at the plate this season in 33 at bats.

Left handed junior Josh Spence joined Leake on the PAC-10 First-Team All-Conference and has struck out 109 batters (against 25 walks) in 13 starts with a 2.33 ERA while holding opposing batters to a .234 average. Spence was a 3rd round pick in the MLB Draft.

Two pitchers have four or more saves on the Sun Devil staff – freshmen Jordan Swagerty (RHP, 4.55 ERA, 4-1, 4 saves) and Mitchell Lambson (LHP, 2.77 ERA, 8-3, 5 saves).

Interesting Notes

The Sun Devils like to strike early and often, outscoring their opponents by 126 runs in the first three frames. On the season, they have outscored their opponents 491-221 overall, averaging just over eight runs a game while only allowing 3.6.

They've had all this success with only a 29-man roster, which is six below the NCAA cap of 35. Plus, they have one player out for the season with an injury and another is redshirting.

Up Next

The winner of UNC-ASU plays the winner of Texas-Southern Mississippi on Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET. The loser of UNC-ASU faces the loser of the other game on Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET.

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