May 29, 2009
TEMPE, Ariz. - The offense led the way for the No. 3 Arizona State University baseball team on Friday, as the Sun Devils won their opening game of the 2009 NCAA Tournament 17-6 over Kent State. A crowd of 3,543 at Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark saw ASU improve to 45-12 overall with the victory. The Sun Devils will face Oral Roberts next in a winner's bracket game of the Tempe Regional on Saturday.
Kole Calhoun went 4-for-4 and drove in three runs to lead ASU at the plate, while Johnny Ruettiger had two hits and three walks to reach base in all five of his plate appearances. Eight of the nine starters had at least one hit in the game, and all nine drove in at least one run. The 17 runs were the most by the Sun Devils in the postseason since a 19-7 win over Nebraska in the 2007 Tempe Regional.
Jordan Swagerty came on from the bullpen to get the win, going four innings and allowing seven hits and three runs with seven strikeouts to improve to 4-1 on the season. Josh Spence started and got a no decision, allowing five hits and three runs (one earned) in three innings, while Jason Franzblau finished the game with two hitless shutout innings of relief.
The Sun Devils scored early and often in their postseason opener. In the first inning, the first five ASU batters all reached base and came around to score, and the Devils would add two more in the second to take a 7-0 lead.
The Sun Devils added three more runs with a two-out rally in the fourth. After Kent State got the first two outs, Ruettiger walked, Zack MacPhee singled and Maggi walked to load the bases, and they all came around to score after two Kent State errors.
The Golden Flashes scored once in the fifth, but ASU came back with three more runs in the sixth to stretch the lead to 15-4. Kent State first baseman Greg Rohan and right fielder Jason Patton hit back-to-back home runs in the seventh, but the Sun Devils scored single runs in the seventh and eighth, with Jason Kipnis hitting his 15th home run in the eighth to cap off the scoring.
ASU will continue play in the Tempe Regional by facing Oral Roberts on Saturday at 7 p.m. Oral Roberts defeated Cal Poly 13-3 in earlier action on Friday. Cal Poly and Kent State will meet in an elimination game on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark.