FROM PRESS RELEASE
Keeping with Sun Devil baseball tradition, the 2008 Arizona State baseball schedule will once again be among the toughest in the nation. Announced today by 14th-year head coach Pat Murphy, the 2008 schedule features 26 games against teams that were ranked, 13 games against teams advancing to a Super Regional and seven games against teams advancing to the College World Series in 2007.
“The schedule is always meant to be a great challenge and to prepare us for our ultimate goal,” Pat Murphy said. “You get no bonus for rankings or win/loss records – it’s all about being ready in the Pac-10.”
The non-conference slate includes match-ups with UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton, both of whom went to Omaha last season, as well as Super Regional participant and Big Ten Champion Michigan and Super Regional participant and Missouri Valley regular season champion Wichita State. SEC Champion Vanderbilt, who spent most of 2007 as the nation’s #1 team, and Arkansas will also face the Devils in 2008.
ASU’s 56-game regular season schedule will begin on February 22nd, as the NCAA mandated uniform start date takes effect this season. The new rules state that the 2008 season can begin the final weekend in February. In prior years, the season could begin in late January. The new schedule will create more mid-week games, all of which will begin at 6:30 p.m. in an effort to make them more family friendly. The new uniform opening day should also create more exposure and excitement leading into the start of the season.
“The new format creates some difficulty in scheduling, since the closest non-conference Division I-A opponent is 250 miles away,” said Murphy. “But we are committed to scheduling the best games available.”
The leader in West Coast attendance in 2007, Arizona State will once again have one of the nation’s best home field advantages. Thanks to tremendous fan support that creates a special atmosphere at home, the 2007 Pac-10 champions went 35-3 at Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark, and in 2008 they will play 38 home games, beginning Friday night, February 22nd against Miami, Ohio.
The home portion of the non-conference schedule includes meetings with SEC powerhouses Vanderbilt (Feb. 23) and Arkansas (March 11-12). The series against the Razorbacks in Tempe is the beginning of a home and home series with Arkansas, with ASU set to travel to Fayetteville in 2009. Michigan will also play in Tempe on February 28th. Arizona State will also welcome 2007 NCAA Tournament participants Troy (March 14-16) and Wofford (April 1-2) to Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark in 2008.
The Sun Devils will also face some non-conference powers on the road this season. ASU and Cal State Fullerton will hook up at Goodwin Field in Fullerton on April 22nd and 23rd. The meeting is the beginning of a home and home series that will see the Titans come to Tempe in 2009. Arizona State will also face Wichita State at Eck Stadium in Wichita on May 7th.
Arizona State will also host three tournaments this season, featuring some of the top teams in the country. The DeMarini Invitational will be held at Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark from February 22nd to the 24th, and will feature the Sun Devils along with Miami, Ohio, Vanderbilt and the two-time defending National Champion Oregon State Beavers. For the sixth straight year, ASU will co-host the Coca-Cola Classic at the Surprise Recreation Campus. The Devils will be joined by Michigan, Hawai’i and Portland from February 28th through March 2nd. The tournament, which is held at the Spring Training facility of the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals, is regarded as one of the best run tournaments in the nation thanks to the tireless efforts and support of the City of Surprise and the staff of the Surprise Recreation Campus. Arizona State will also host the Bob Schaefer Memorial Tournament in Tempe from March 20th to March 23rd. The tournament features ASU, Northern Colorado, Florida International and UC Irvine.
In addition to the difficult non-conference schedule, the 2007 Pac-10 Champion Sun Devils will have to navigate through one of the toughest conferences in all of college baseball. Conference foes who travel to Tempe include USC (March 28-39), Oregon State (April 18-20), Cal (April 25-27) and Washington (May 16-18). ASU will travel to Stanford (April 4-5), Washington State (April 11-13) and 2007 NCAA Super Regional team UCLA (May 2-4) before wrapping up the regular season against in-state rival and 2007 NCAA Tournament participant Arizona (May 22-24).
Arizona State and Arizona will continue to play a non-conference game, with the Wildcats coming to Tempe on March 18th.
ASU will be seeking their ninth straight trip to the NCAA Tournament, which will get underway on May 30th. Super Regionals will follow from June 6th to 9th with the College World Series at Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Nebraska beginning June 14th.
Season ticket renewals are currently being processed, with the deadline to renew being December 28th. New season ticket sales begin January 7th, with single game ticket sales beginning February 19th.
Arizona State Sun Devil baseball continues to be the best entertainment value in town, as ASU begins its quest for its 21st trip to the College World Series in Omaha and its sixth national championship. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 480-727-0000 or log on to TheSunDevils.com.
Photo courtesy of Arizona State