March 6, 2011
SURPRISE, Ariz. - Riccio Torrez and the Sun Devils walked off with a victory on Sunday night over UC Riverside to close out the Coca-Cola Classic at Surprise Stadium. Torrez's bases loaded single in the bottom of the 11th inning gave Arizona State a 5-4 and upped its record to 9-2.
Mitchell Lambson (1-2) threw the final inning and two thirds and did not allow a base runner to pick up his second win in as many nights. Torrez, who had a chance to end the game in the bottom of the ninth but grounded out, finished the game 2-6 with two RBI. Torrez finished the tournament with six runs batted in.
The Highlanders got to starter Alex Blackford in the second to take an early 1-0 lead. With two on and two out, shortstop Trevor Hairgrove singled to right, scoring Dan Pellegrino to put UCR ahead. They would add another run in both the fourth and the fifth to push the lead to 3-0.
Arizona State finally got to UC Riverside starter Trevor Frank in the fifth. After Frank had retired 11 consecutive hitters, Deven Marrero doubled to right field with one gone. He came around to score on Matt Newman's single to cut the lead to 3-1.
The Highlanders would get that run back in the sixth off of reliever Joseph Lopez. A two-out double by Phil Holinsworth plated Eddie Young and pushed the UCR lead back to three at 4-1.
Riccio Torrez would slice into the lead in the sixth with an RBI double that scored Johnny Ruettiger to make it 4-2. Zach Wilson followed with a sac fly to center that scored Zack MacPhee to make it 4-3.
In the seventh, Xorge Carrillo started a two out rally with an infield single to the second baseman. Andrew Aplin followed with a single, and then Ruettiger evened the score with a single through the left side that scored pinch runner Michael Benjamin from second. Lopez was phenomenal from that point, going 4.1 innings in total, allowing four hits and only the one run.
After having the potential winning run in scoring position in the seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th innings, Arizona State was finally able to push it across in the 11th. Austin Barnes led the inning off with a double down the left field line, and then Andrew Aplin was hit by a pitch. Johnny Ruettiger followed with a picture perfect bunt single, loading the bases with nobody out. After Zack MacPhee hit into a fielder's choice that cut Barnes down at the plate, Torrez came to the plate. He laced a pitch into centerfield for the game winner, scoring Aplin and bringing the Devils out of the dugout to celebrate.
Torrez was one of four Sun Devils with multi-hit games, including Ruettiger, who set a new career high with his four singles. It was the fourth consecutive one-run game for Arizona State, the first time that has happened since March of 2007. ASU also played its second extra inning game of the season after having only three in all of 2010.
The Sun Devils now leave the state of Arizona for the first time, heading to Auburn, Alabama for a three-game set with the Auburn Tigers at Plainsman Park. The series gets underway Friday night.