FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
Celebrating 50 years of Sun Devil Baseball, Arizona State University will once again face one of the toughest schedules in the nation during the 2009 season. Announced today by 15th-year head coach Pat Murphy, the 2009 schedule features 27 games against teams that were ranked in 2008, 23 games against teams that advanced to the 2008 NCAA Tournament and 10 games against teams that advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals.
“You have 56 games to put yourself in position for the postseason,” said head coach Pat Murphy. “27 of them are taken up by playing in the best conference in college baseball. The remaining games serve as a platform for achieving the goals that this program has established.
“In order to get our players, both the returners and our younger guys, experience, we try and play the best possible schedule. If you don’t play a good schedule, you can’t get better.”
The non-conference slate includes meetings with 2008 NCAA Tournament participants Missouri and San Diego in Tempe. Rival Cal State Fullerton, who advanced to the Super Regionals last season, will also come to Tempe for a two-game series at Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark. The Sun Devils will travel to face SEC power Arkansas, who was also in the 2008 NCAA Tournament.
The leader in West Coast attendance for the past four years, Arizona State will once again enjoy one of the nation’s best home field advantages. Over 131,000 fans came through the turnstiles to watch the Devils play in 2008, the largest home attendance mark for ASU since 1984. Thanks to tremendous fan support that creates an unmatched atmosphere at home, the Sun Devils went 39-5 at home, winning their second consecutive Pac-10 championship. The Devils will play 35 home games in 2008, beginning with a four-game series against Wisconsin-Milwaukee on February 20.
The home portion of the non-conference schedule features the DeMarini Classic, which brings Missouri, Northern Illinois and Oregon State to Tempe from February 26 through March 1. The Sun Devils and Missouri will also play on February 24. The Sun Devils and Cal State Fullerton Titans will meet on March 30 and April 1, completing the home and home series that began last season. San Diego will travel to Tempe to face the Sun Devils on May 5 and 6, the first time the two teams will have met since the 2002 NCAA Regional at Mesa’s Hohokam Stadium. ASU will also host Hawai’i (Apr. 21) and Winthrop (May 8-10). The Sun Devils will head to Fayetteville, Arkansas for a two-game series with the Razorbacks on April 7 and 8.
For the seventh straight year, Arizona State will travel to Surprise, Ariz., to play at the Surprise Recreation Campus, Spring Training home of the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals. The Devils will face the Kansas State Wildcats (March 10-11) and the Kansas Jayhawks (March 13-15) at Surprise Stadium.
In addition to the trying non-conference schedule, the two-time defending Pac-10 Champion Sun Devils will once again compete in one of the toughest conferences in all of college baseball. Conference adversaries visiting Tempe include in-state rival and 2008 Super Regional team Arizona (March 20-22), Washington State (April 10-12), 2008 College World Series team Stanford (April 17-19) and NCAA tournament team UCLA (May 22-24). The Oregon Ducks, who have not competed in baseball since 1981, make their first trip to Tempe since 1966 when ASU hosts them in a three-game Pac-10 series from May 15-17. Arizona State will travel to USC (March 27-29), Washington (April 3-5), 2008 NCAA tournament team California (April 24-26) and Oregon State (May 1-3).
Arizona State and Arizona will continue their tradition of playing non-conference games when the Sun Devils travel to Tucson on April 29 and May 20.
With 17 newcomers on the 2009 roster, Arizona State will be seeking its 10th straight trip to the NCAA Tournament, which will begin on May 29. Super Regionals will follow from June 5-7 with the college baseball season culminating in the College World Series, beginning June 12 at Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Nebraska.
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.