May 25, 2003
TEMPE, Ariz. - Led by two home runs from junior right fielder Andre Ethier, the No. 4 Arizona State Sun Devils recorded 10 extra base hits and two grand slams to complete a three-game series sweep of rival No. 15 Arizona 15-2 Sunday afternoon in front of 3,225 fans at Packard Stadium.
On a day where ASU found out they will host one of the 16 NCAA regionals, the Devils erupted with another solid combination of hitting and pitching to put away the Wildcats. In addition to Ethier's big day at the plate, sophomore first baseman Jeff Larish tied ASU's single-game record with four doubles and starting pitcher Beau Vaughan picked up his ninth win of the year giving up one run in four innings. Jeremy West and Steve Garrabrants also each hit their third grand slams of the year, while ASU broke the NCAA single-season record with 14 this season.
The Sun Devils finished the 2003 regular season 50-12 overall and gained sole possession of second place in the Pac-10 with a 16-8 record. The 50 wins in marks just the eighth time in ASU's stories baseball history that a team has reached that milestone in the regular season. The sweep of the Wildcats helped extend the streak that hasn't seen the Devils lose a season series to their rivals during the Pat Murphy era (1995-P). ASU is 12-3 vs. the Wildcats dating back to the 2002 season. Arizona finished its regular season 35-21 overall and placed fourth in the Pac-10 at 13-11. The Wildcats current four-game losing streak is the longest of the year after being swept for the first time this season.
Ethier finished the game 2-for-3 with a pair of home runs to finish the series 6-for-12 (.500) with a double, two triples and three home runs. With his second career multi-home run game, Ethier now has nine on the year, with all but one coming in Pac-10 play. West blasted his team-leading 17th home run of the year. Ethier and Steve Garrabrants hit back-to-back home runs as part of the five-run seventh inning.
Vaughan, a senior transfer from New Orleans, picked up the win by allowing only one run and four hits in four predetermined innings. He improved to 9-5 on the year.
The Sun Devils jumped out to an early 2-0 lead with a two-run second inning. ASU led off with consecutive walks to Larish and Mike Guerrero, and senior third baseman Dennis Wyrick plated both runners with a triple down the right field line. Arizona answered with a single-tally in the top of the third on a run-scoring groundout by leadoff hitter Brad Boyer to score Lee Franklin.
ASU cushioned its lead in the third with a two-run frame. Steve Garrabrants, making his first start back after suffering a minor shoulder separation last weekend vs. Washington, led off with a walk and scored on a triple by West. Larish drove home the second run of the inning with a double off the left field wall.
After Arizona scored another run in the top of the fifth to cut ASU's lead to 4-2, the Devils answered with two more runs in the bottom half of the inning. Ethier continued his torrid streak belting a one-out solo home run. After a walk to West, Larish hit his second double off the left field fence putting a pair of runners in scoring position. West scored the second run of the inning on a ground out to third base to push home West. ASU added four more runs in the sixth and five runs in the eighth to bring the game to the final score of 15-2.
For the series the Devils out-scored Arizona 36-4 while hitting at a .380 clip. The pitchers also dominated with a 1.33 ERA in the 27.0 innings pitched. Larish finished the series hitting .727 (8-for-11) with four doubles and a home run, while Wyrick was 6-for-13 (.462).
ASU will find out who they will face in the NCAA Tournament Monday morning at 9:30 a.m. with the selection show on ESPN2. The Devils will play Friday night at 7 p.m. at Tempe Diablo Stadium against a to-be-determined opponent.
Game Notes: ASU's three four-year seniors (Jered Liebeck, Dennis Wyrick and Bryce Kartler) were presented with framed jerseys in a pre-game ceremony... the Sun Devils received word Sunday that they will host one of the 16 NCAA Baseball Regionals next weekend... ASU will host the three-day tournament (May 30-June 1) at Tempe Diablo Stadium... Sunday's attendance of 3,225 pushed the three-game series total to 10,915, setting a season high and marking the second time ASU has surpassed 10,000 in a three-game series this year (Stanford; 10,899)... West finished the series 5-for-10 (.500) with seven RBI... Larish now has 86 RBI on the year... ASU tied a single-game high in 2003 with four home runs and two triples... the NCAA record consecutive games scoring streak continues at 495 games... eight of Ethier's nine home runs this year have come in the 24 Pac-10 games... West (18 games) and Ethier (17 games) each extended their career high hitting streaks... the Devils scored in double digits for the 32nd time this season and ended the regular season averaging 10.13 runs per game... sophomore shortstop Dustin Pedroia went 1-for-4 and ended the season winning the regular season Pac-10 batting title at .418 (112 hits).