Jan. 26, 2003
TEMPE, Ariz. (www.TheSunDevils.com) -- Arizona State's Jeff Larish was 3-for-4 and tied the school record with nine RBI as the No. 8 Sun Devil Baseball team crushed the San Diego State Aztecs 24-9 in college baseball action Sunday afternoon in front of 2,822 fans at Packard Stadium.
With the first two contests in the series being decided by a combined three runs, ASU clinched the series sweep by scoring the most runs since putting up 23 in a non-conference game against Creighton in 2001. Off to a 9-0 start for the second time in the Pat Murphy era (1995-P), the Devils have outscored their opponent 120-32 this year and scored in double-digits in seven of the nine games. The Aztecs opened the Tony Gwynn era with a 0-3 start.
While going 3-for-4 with three runs scored, Larish had a two-run single, a two-run home run and a grand slam in his first three at-bats and then tied the 13-year-old record set by Tommy Adams in 1990 on a bases loaded walk in the bottom of the eighth inning. The sophomore first baseman is second on the team in hitting at .517 (15x29) with five home runs and is averaging 2.44 RBI per game (22 total).
ASU starting pitcher Erik Averill (Orange, Calif.) picked up the win to improve to 2-0 on the year. The freshman lefty allowed only one hit and struck out four in four innings of work. In his first two appearances as a Sun Devil, Averill has combined for a 0.00 ERA and allowed only two hits in 11.1 innings. Senior transfer Ben Thurmond (2 K's), junior Javy Lopez and freshman Matt Leaf all pitched well out of the bullpen for ASU.
Besides Larish's big game, only sophomore shortstop Dustin Pedroia and junior second baseman Steve Garrabrants recorded a multi-hit game. The Team USA member had a pair of singles to extend his hitting streak to 20 games, but did commit a pair of errors for the first two miscues of his season. Garrabrants was 2-for-6 with three runs scored and drilled a grand slam home run as part of the six run third inning.
SDSU was plagued by seven fielding errors that resulted in the pitching staff giving up 17 unearned runs. Freshman starter Ron Lindsey was saddled with the loss after giving up four hits and nine runs (only three earned) in his collegiate debut.
The Devils got off to a quick start by loading the bases before an out was recorded in the bottom of the first. After a leadoff single by Pedroia and a walk and error to load the bases, Larish plated two runs with a single to the left field gap. Sophomore third baseman Frank Mesa followed with a sacrifice fly to give ASU the early 3-0 edge.
ASU exploded for its biggest scoring inning of the series with a six-run outburst in the third. Larish provided the first of the damage with a two-run home run deep over the right field fence. After a two-out error on preseason All-American third baseman Chad Corona and a pair of walks to load the bases, Garrabrants became the ninth Sun Devil to hit a home run in 2003. Larish continued his amazing game with ASU's second grand slam home run of the game in the fourth inning to increase ASU's lead to 13-0.
The Aztecs finally solved the Sun Devil pitching staff in the top of the sixth by sending 11 batters to the plate to score seven runs. Four of the runs and four hits came off reliever Bryce Kartler, while freshman left-hander Brett Bordes walked in a run and gave up a two-run single to cut ASU's lead to 13-7. SDSU's preseason All-American center fielder Anthony Gwynn drove in two runs with a single and Alabama Peter Stonard drove home a run with a double down the left field line. The Devils added a run on a sacrifice fly by center fielder Rodney Allen to make it a 14-7 game, but SDSU came right back in the top of the seventh with a solo home run by first baseman Jon Stephens.
The Sun Devils will take their 9-0 record to the road next weekend for a three-game series at No. 14/16 Long Beach State. The non-conference series will start Friday at Blair Field at 6:30 p.m. The Saturday and Sunday games will be at 1 p.m. Arizona State has faced the 49ers only one time in school history, beating the Dirtbags 14-4 in the 1998 College World Series.
Game Notes: The three runs scored in the bottom of the first inning extended ASU's NCAA record consecutive games scoring streak to 442 games... Pedroia's leadoff single extended his hitting streak to 20 games dating back to last year... with the three first-inning runs the Devils have now scored in their first at-bat in six of the nine games in 2003... through the first nine games of the year the Devils have hit 15 home runs with nine different players clearing the fences... ASU also had two grand slams in the game (Larish, Garrabrants) and have three on the season after hitting only one in 2002 (Jeremy West)... the home run by Stephens in the seventh inning was the first by an ASU opponent (254 at-bats)... the last time ASU was 9-0 was in 1999 when they started the season 11-0... ASU is averaging 14.22 runs per game to start the season... ASU's last opponent, Hawaii-Hilo, split the four games this weekend with Kansas... the seven pitchers used is a season-high for ASU, surpassing the six used on opening day vs. UHH... Thurmond now has six K's in three innings of work as a Sun Devil after transferring from Winthrop in the offseason.
Arizona State 24, San Diego State 9 (Jan 26, 2003 at Tempe, Ariz.) ---------------------------------------------------------------------- San Diego State..... 000 007 110 - 9 9 7 (0-3) Arizona State....... 306 401 37X - 24 13 2 (9-0) ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Pitchers: San Diego State - Lindsey; Human(3); Coon(4); Heil(7); Leuthard(8); Pace(8). Arizona State - Averill; Thurmond(5); Kartler(6); Bordes(6); Arguello(7); Lopez, J.(7); Leaf(9). Win-Averill(2-0) Loss-Lindsey(0-1) T-3:47 A-2822 HR SDSU - Stephens (1). HR ASU - Larish 2 (5); Garrabrants (1).