Feb. 29, 2004
TEMPE, Ariz. (www.TheSunDevils.com) -- Arizona State sophomore right fielder Travis Buck went 5-for-5 with eight RBI to lead the No. 7 Sun Devils to a series-sweeping 18-11 victory over the University of Connecticut Sunday afternoon at Packard Stadium.
The Sun Devils won their sixth straight overall and 16th straight at Packard dating back to last season. The Devils out-scored UConn 52-18 in the series and combined to hit .442 (53-for-120) against the Huskies. UConn falls to 0-3 to start the 2004 campaign.
Buck (Richland, Wash.) continued his hot hitting that started last weekend with a game-winning two-run home run against defending national champion Rice. After going 4-for-5 with a school-record tying four doubles Saturday, he added five more hits and a career-high eight RBI Sunday. He fell just a triple short of his second career cycle, tabbing three singles, a double, his second homer of the season and a walk in the contest. He finished the series 10-for-12 (.833) with six runs, five doubles and 13 RBI.
Adding to ASU's powerful offense, junior first baseman Chris Cook (Mesa) was 2-for-4 with two runs scored in his second career start and second baseman Josh Asanovich (Gold Canyon) went 2-for-2 with four runs scored and four RBI. Junior left fielder Jeff Larish (Tempe) hit his first home run of the season with a two-run shot in the six-run second inning. Dustin Pedroia (1-for-3, 2 RBI) extended his hitting streak to eight games and freshman center fielder Colin Curtis (Issaquah, Wash.) was 1-for-3 to extend his streak to a team-high nine games.
Junior starting pitcher Jason Urquidez (Simi Valley, Calif.) picked up the victory to improve to 4-0 in a predetermined three-inning start. The reigning National Pitcher of the Week gave up three hits and one run while throwing 37 pitches (27 strikes). Urquidez was coming off a stellar complete-game, three-hit victory over No. 1 Rice. Sophomore Erik Averill (Orange, Calif.) added two scoreless innings to lower his bullpen ERA to 0.68 (13.1 IP).
UConn starter Nick Tucci took the loss giving up seven hits and 11 runs in two and a third innings.
The Huskies got off to a quick start when leadoff hitter Russ D'Argento drilled the first offering from Urquidez over the center field wall. UConn threatened to add another in the frame on a two-out double from catcher Mike Leonard, but a perfect relay throw from Buck and Asanovich cut down Jeff Hourigan trying to score on the play from first base.
ASU tied the game with a bases loaded hit-by-pitch to Asanovich in the second and then opened the flood gates with a two-run single by Buck to put the Devils ahead for good. ASU added six more in the third and three in each the fourth and fifth innings before emptying the bench. Buck plated a pair of runs each in the second, third, fourth and fifth frames.
UConn rallied for 10 runs over the final three innings. Shortstop Mike Mocerinio hit a three-run homer in the eighth and the Huskies scored four in the ninth with six hits off freshman reliever Josh Blake (Overland Park, Kan.)
The Sun Devils return to action next weekend with a three-game series against East Carolina starting Friday (7 p.m.) and continuing Saturday (1 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.) at Packard Stadium. The Pirates head to Tempe with a perfect 12-0 record and are coming off a 4-0 weekend that included a pair of wins over No. 11 Clemson.
Game Notes: ASU extended its season-high winning streak to six games... the Devils are hitting .362 with 10 home runs during the six-game winning streak... ASU gave up a run in the first inning for only the third time this year... the Devils have won 16 straight games at Packard Stadium, not losing since dropping a 8-7, 13-inning game to UCLA on Apr. 18, 2003... Nick Walsh extended his hitting streak to five games with a pinch-hit single... despite giving up a season-high 11 runs Sunday to UConn, ASU still managed an impressive 3.25 ERA in the four games last week and own a 3.24 overall season ERA... Buck raised his batting average 139 points in the three games to its current mark of .417... Dustin Pedroia has recorded a hit in all but one of ASU's games (13 of 14).
Arizona State 18, Connecticut 11 (Feb 29, 2004 at Tempe, Ariz.) ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Connecticut......... 100 000 334 - 11 16 0 (0-3) Arizona State....... 066 330 00X - 18 15 1 (12-2) ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Pitchers: Connecticut - Tucci; McGinn(3); MacDonald(4); Smeraglino(5). Arizona State - Urquidez; Averill(4); Zinicola(6); Marotz(8); Blake(9). Win-Urquidez(4-0) Loss-Tucci(0-1) T-2:54 A-2400 HR UCONN - D'Argento (1); Mocerino (1). HR ASU - Buck (2); Larish (1).