March 2, 2002
MESA, Ariz. -- Junior right-handed pitcher Robbie McClellan made his first career start as a Sun Devil a memorable one, tossing a complete-game three hitter as the 15th-ranked Arizona State baseball team defeated Loyola Marymount 7-2 on a cold and blustery Saturday night in non-conference college baseball action at Hohokam Stadium.
The Devils led the game 4-2 heading into the seventh inning before ASU sophomore Rod Allen unloaded with a three-run home run deep over the left field fence to bring the game to the final score of 7-2. The victory improved the Sun Devils to 10-5 on the year and clinched the series after winning Friday's opening game 15-2. The Lions dropped to 5-10 on the year and have now lost six of their last seven games.
McClellan was phenomenal in his debut as a starting pitcher, improving to 3-2 on the year and lowering his ERA to a staff-leading mark of 2.74. McClellan, who transferred from Seward County CC in Liberal, Kan., scattered three hits, allowed only two runs (one earned) and struck out six while walking a season-high eight batters. The complete game was the second of the year for the Sun Devil pitching staff, with Mike Esposito throwing a complete game one-run effort against Tennessee (2/8).
LMU starting pitcher Joshua Muecke was saddled with the loss, giving up four runs in just one and a third innings of work. Relief pitcher Kyle Huddy was tough out of the bullpen, giving up three hits and three runs in five and two-thirds innings. Justin Abreu struck out two in a perfect inning of work.
The Devils jumped out to the early lead with three runs in the bottom of the first inning. Sophomore second baseman Steve Garrabrants led off the inning with a single, but was later thrown out trying to steal third base. Two walks and a hit-by-pitch set the table for freshman Dustin Pedroia to drive in ASU's first run with a single to right field. The Devils scored two more runs on the same play when LMU first baseman Tommy Perez tried to pickoff Andre Ethier rounding second base, but instead threw the ball into left field.
The Devils added a run in the second when center fielder Jon Sheaffer led off the inning with a single to right field. After stealing second base and advancing to third on a throwing error, Garrabrants plated the Sheaffer with single up the middle. The Lions scored runs in the second and third inning, both on wild pitches from McClellan, to cut ASU's lead to 4-2.
With Huddy in cruise control allowing only one hit in his first five innings out of the bullpen, the ASU bats heated up the cold and windy evening with three runs in the bottom of the seventh to take a 7-2 advantage. Sophomore preseason All-American Allen ended a 2-for-16 slump with a three-run home run that landed at the base of the scoreboard over the left field fence. The home run was Allen's third of 2002 and of ASU's eight home runs as a team, the first non-solo home run of the year.
Offensively the Sun Devil bats sputtered after equaling a season high with 15 runs in Friday's win over LMU, totaling just seven hits and leaving eight runners on base. Garrabrants was the lone Devil to record a multi-hit game, going 2-for-3 with one run scored and an RBI. Sheaffer was 1-for-4 with one runs scored to extend his hitting streak to a career-high nine games. During the streak Sheaffer is hitting .414 (12x29).
The Devils and Lions will conclude the three-game series Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. at Hohokam Stadium. ASU now leads the all-time series with Loyola Marymount 25-6, including winning 10 straight dating back to the 1988 season.
Game Notes: With his single in the first inning, Steve Garrabrants is now 9-for-14 to lead off the game for the Devils with four singles, four doubles, and a home run... former Sun Devil Mike Lopez (1999-2001) threw out the ceremonial first pitch... Lopez is currently playing in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization after hitting .313 with eight home runs for the Missoula Osprey (Single-A) last year... the Chicago Cubs defeated the San Francisco Giants 7-3 in a game also played at Hohokam Stadium earlier in the afternoon.
Arizona State 7, Loyola Marymount 2 (Mar 02, 2002 at Mesa, Ariz.) ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Loyola Marymount.... 011 000 000 - 2 3 3 (5-10) Arizona State....... 310 000 30X - 7 7 0 (10-5) ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Pitchers: Loyola Marymount - Muecke, Huddy(2), Abreu(8). Arizona State - McClellan. Win-McClellan(3-2) Loss-Muecke(1-3) T-2:46 A-2129 HR ASU - Allen (3).