Feb. 2, 2003
LONG BEACH, Calif. (www.TheSunDevils.com) - Freshman left-handed pitcher Erik Averill did not give up an earned run in 6.2 innings and closer Ryan Schroyer nailed down his third save of the year to lift the No. 8 Arizona State Sun Devils to a series-clinching 4-2 victory over No. 13 Long Beach State on Sunday afternoon at Blair Field.
With the win the Devils improved to 11-1 in 2003 and now own a commanding 28-4 record in the all-time series vs. the Dirtbags. LBSU opened the series Friday night with a 11-5 win, but could only muster two runs in the final 18 innings against the Sun Devil pitching staff.
Averill (Orange, Calif.) gave up two unearned runs while scattering six hits in six and two-thirds innings to improve to 3-0. Through his first three starts as a Sun Devil, Averill has not allowed an earned run in 18.0 IP. Senior Beau Vaughan had 1.1 innings of perfect ball before handing the ball to Schroyer who picked up his 11th career save with a scoreless ninth frame.
LBSU starter Matt Paz was saddled with the loss by giving up three this and four runs in one and third innings on the mound. Freshman left-hander Cesar Ramos kept the ASU bats in check by allowing only three hits in five and two-thirds innings of scoreless relief. At one point Ramos, a sixth round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays last summer, had retired 14 straight Sun Devils.
The Devils jumped out to the early lead with a four-run second inning. Consecutive singles by Andre Ethier and Jeremy West, and a walk to freshman Ryan Bosch loaded the bases. Senior third baseman Dennis Wyrick followed with a two-run single and second baseman Steve Garrabrants drilled one-run single to right field. Sophomore shortstop Dustin Pedroia staked ASU to the 4-0 lead with a run-scoring fielder's choice.
LBSU threatened to score in the fifth, but clutch pitching from Averill and an outfield assist from freshman Travis Buck held the Dirtbags scoreless. With a runner in scoring position center fielder Steve Velazco singled to left field, but Buck threw a strike to catcher Tuffy Gosewisch to catch Paul Macalus trying to score from second. Averill recorded his first strikeout of the game for the third out of the inning to end the threat. The Beach threatened again in the sixth, but Averill got third baseman Todd Jennings to ground into an inning-ending double play with two runners on base.
The Dirtbags climbed back into the game with two unearned runs in the bottom of the seventh. A two-out error by Wyrick opened the gates for a two-run double by leadoff hitter Travis Udvarhelyi. Vaughan put an end to scoring in the frame by retiring Tim Hutting on a groundout to second base.
Garrabrants led the Devils at the plate by going 2-for-3 with his fourth double of the year. Out-hit by the Dirtbags 7-6, ASU got timely hits from Wyrick and Larish to earn the victory. Hutting (2x4) and designated hitter Tito Cruz (2x2) led LBSU at the plate.
ASU returns to action next weekend with a three-game series at Packard Stadium against BYU (1-2). The series starts Thursday at 7 p.m., with games following Friday (7 p.m.) and Saturday (1 p.m.).
Game Notes: Mark Sopko and Ben Thurmond brought the lineup card out to home plate before the game... ASU's four-run second inning extended its NCAA consecutive games scoring streak to 445 games... the three-game attendance at Blair field of 3,545 was the 13th largest in LBSU history... Pedroia had his 22-game hitting streak come to an end by going 0-for-5 with two strikeouts.