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ASU'S MYERS BY THE NUMBERS.

Byline: CHRIS COCOLES College Baseball

Casey Myers is a numbers guy. Literally.

The Arizona State senior catcher has compiled impressive statistics: 37 career homers, 254 RBI, .383 average.

But those figures are dwarfed by one: 800, which is the maximum on the SAT's mathematics section.

``It started out early in grade school,'' he says of his math wizardry. ``It just kind of clicked.''

He's Pythagoras behind the plate. A Sun Devil capable of crushing a home run one day and proving a theorem most of us could only dream of solving the next.

On the field, he enjoyed a magnificent junior season in 2000 - .412, 18 homers, 97 RBI - that earned Pac-10 Conference player of the year and All-America honors from most publications.

He did about everything right last spring, although one exception occasionally miffs him. The double major in mathematics and economics got a B in a class.

``I lost (a 4.0 grade-point average),'' said Myers, batting .408 with five homers and 48 RBI. ``I'd never gotten anything below an A. It was in intermediate principles of microeconomics. And it was a visiting professor from Stanford.''

Leave it to someone from ASU's conference rival to get the best of Myers. But few Pac-10 opponents are that successful getting him out or stealing second off him.

The GPA is no longer perfect. But there are few collegians who better define the sometimes hypocritical term ``student-athlete'' better than Myers, 2000's Cosida/GTE District VIII Academic All-American of the Year.

By the time he graduated from Casa Grande (Ariz.) High in 1997, he had completed all the required college calculus courses.

``I had to take six upper-division (mathematics classes); mathematics and quantum mechanics, complex analysis. I took some classes that you couldn't even pronounce,'' he said. ``They were all pretty fun.''

His mastery of numbers contributes to an ability to call his own pitches. It's a rarity in college baseball, but a philosophy in which Sun Devils coach Pat Murphy believes and has practiced since 1996.

But Myers is unique. His memory is impeccable enough to recall the pitch sequence of hitters in the first inning when they come up in the ninth.

That's why Murphy calls him ``one of those rare guys that not only plays the game well, but does it in a manner where he makes the team better in every way.''

The 30th-round pick in the 2000 draft passed up the Milwaukee Brewers' offer in order to finish school - he'll graduate in May - and play another season with the Sun Devils.

Job offers from investment firms are pouring in. But the numbers guy isn't ready to subtract baseball from the balance sheet yet.

``I'd love to play as long as I possibly could and always stay around the game,'' he said. ``I've always been around (baseball). It just happens that I'm good in other things, too.''

--Bubble talk: Pepperdine's three-game sweep at Santa Clara could give the Waves a boost to their NCAA Tournament hopes.

Pepperdine and Santa Clara lead their respective divisions in the West Coast Conference. If those positions hold at season's end, the Waves would host the championship series that determines the WCC's automatic bid.

The Waves prefer not to risk reaching the postseason via the at-large route. Thirty-six wins and a conference runner-up finish wasn't enough for one of 64 regional spots in 2000.

The Waves (23-12 entering Tuesday's game with UC Riverside) have quality victories over ranked teams USC, Tulane (twice) and Cal State Fullerton. But in the last two months, the Waves dropped four potentially devastating weekday matchups to playoff hopefuls UCLA and Long Beach State.

``It could haunt us very easily,'' coach Frank Sanchez said.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Apr 11, 2001
Words:615
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