Feb. 8, 2003
TEMPE, Ariz. (www.TheSunDevils.com) -- Four relief pitchers combined for six and two-thirds scoreless innings and Joel Bocchi and Jeff Larish each hit home runs as the No. 8 Arizona State Sun Devils completed a three-game sweep of the BYU Cougars with a 6-4 come-from-behind win Saturday afternoon at Packard Stadium.
Arizona State improved to 14-1 with the victory, marking the best start in the Pat Murphy era (1995-P). Winning their fifth straight game, the Devils have now swept three of the four series this year and are 6-0 at Packard Stadium. BYU, coached by former major leaguer Vance Law, fell to 1-5 on the season and have now lost 16 in a row to the Sun Devils.
For the second straight day the Devils fell behind 4-0, but scratched their way back into the game with a string of clutch hits. Bocchi (Phoenix) jump-started the ASU offense for the second straight day with a three-run home run in the bottom of the fifth. Bocchi also had a three-run double when the Devils were down 4-0 in Friday's 17-6 victory. ASU pulled even in the sixth with a leadoff solo home run from Larish.
After BYU reliever Paul Jacinto threw a scoreless seventh, the Devils rallied for the eventual game-winning runs in the bottom of the eighth. Sparkplug Nick Walsh (Alamo, Calif.) led off the inning with a walk and moved to second on a hit-and-run single by junior Andre Ethier (Phoenix). Designated hitter Jeremy West (Las Vegas) then drilled a two-strike single to load the bases for sophomore third baseman Frank Mesa. After walking in the winning run in Thursday's 6-5 win and going 4-for-6 Friday, Mesa again came up with the big hit tabbing a run-scoring single for the game-winning run. Freshman center fielder Ryan Bosch followed suite with a sacrifice fly to bring home another run.
While the clutch hitting came through again for the Devils, it was the stellar work of the ASU bullpen that got the most recognition from Murphy. After a lackluster start by freshman starter Erik Averill (Orange, Calif.), the bullpen came in to hold the Cougars to only four hits in 6.2 scoreless innings. Averill had his roughest outing of the year giving up four runs and six hits in two and a third innings. The left-hander entered the game with a 3-0 record and had not given up an earned run in 18.2 innings on the mound. Beau Vaughan (1.2 IP, 1 H, 2 K), Javy Lopez (1.2 IP, 2 H) and freshman lefty Brett Bordes (1.1 IP, 0 H, 3 K) set up junior All-American closer Ryan Schroyer to get the win. Schroyer, who also picked up the win Thursday, struck out three and gave up one hit in two innings to improve to 3-0.
BYU starter Ken Gravley kept the potent Sun Devil bats in check for the first four innings behind clutch pitching and two double plays. The freshman lefty recorded the no-decision after giving up six hits and four runs in his first collegiate start. Jacinto took the loss to fall to 0-2 on the year.
For only the fourth time this year the Sun Devils were out-hit (10-9), but the two home runs proved to be the difference. Ethier was the only Devil to record a multi-hit game and finished with a 2-for-4 game to extend his career-long hitting streak to eight games. Larish blasted his team-leading seventh home runs of the year and now has 27 RBI on the year. BYU's Doug Jackson (3x4, 2 R), Ranger Wiens (2x4) and Brock Jacobsen (2x5) combined at the top of the lineup to go 7-for-13.
The Sun Devils return to action next weekend with a three-game tournament in the inaugural Coca-Cola Surprise Spring Training Classic in Surprise, Ariz. ASU will play Gonzaga (Friday; 7 p.m.), Oklahoma State (Saturday; 4 p.m.) and Oregon State (Sunday; 3 p.m.) at the new spring training facility of the Texas Rangers and the Kansas City Royals. A complete tournament schedule will be posted on www.TheSunDevils.com.
Game Notes: ASU now has 22 home runs in the first 15 games of the year... the Devils hit only 38 in all of 2002 and did not hit No. 22 until Apr. 7 last year (34th game)... Schroyer has yet to allow a run score (earned or unearned) in 8.1 IP and had given up only five hits (13 K's)... Nick Walsh has walked in four straight plate appearances... Schroyer and Beau Vaughan have both pitched in a team-high seven games... after 15 games, ASU's team ERA is 3.46 and the offense is hitting .355... Ethier extended his career-long hitting streak to eight games with a single to lead off the second inning... several former Sun Devil players made an appearance at the game, including Jeff Duncan (1999-2000), Mel Stocker (2000-01), Dustin Delucchi (1997-99), Jay Sitzman (1997-99), Jay Gehrke (1997-98), Chip Gosewisch (1996-99), Brooks Conrad (1999-2001), Chris Duffy (2001) and Drew Friedberg (1998-2001)... Sitzman, who is in Triple-A in the Philadelphia Phillies organization, threw out the ceremonial first pitch... the run given up in the first inning by ASU marked the first time in 2003 that ASU's pitchers have given up a first-inning run.
Arizona State 6, BYU 4 (Feb 08, 2003 at Tempe, Ariz.) ---------------------------------------------------------------------- BYU................. 103 000 000 - 4 10 0 (1-5) Arizona State....... 000 031 02X - 6 9 0 (14-1) ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Pitchers: BYU - GRAVLEY; JACINTO(6). Arizona State - Averill; Vaughan(3); Lopez, J.(5); Bordes(6); Schroyer(8). Win-Schroyer(3-0) Loss-JACINTO(0-2) T-2:57 A-2691 HR ASU - Larish (7); Bocchi (2). )RE>
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