March 2, 2003
TEMPE, Ariz. (www.TheSunDevils.com) -- Sophomore first baseman Jeff Larish hit his 10th home run of the year and Ryan Schroyer nailed down his fifth save to preserve a 11-7 Arizona State victory over Penn State Sunday afternoon in front of 2,404 fans at Packard Stadium. The win improved No. 2/4 Arizona State to 24-1 overall, setting a school record for the best start to a season.
Winning their 15th straight win, ASU surpassed the 23-1 start of the 1972 Sun Devils to set the school record. The Devils scored in double-digits for the seventh straight game and have now won 17 straight games at Packard Stadium dating back to the end of the 2001 season. Penn State had its best performance of the weekend totaling seven runs and 11 hits, but fell to 0-3 to open the 2003 season. The Nittany Lions had been rained out in five previous tries to start the season.
Larish (Tempe) continued his assault at the ASU and NCAA record books by going 2-for-3 with three RBI and two runs scored. He added two more walks to give him 40 on the year and with his 11th multi-hit game of the year is now hitting .430 (34x79) with 39 runs scored and 51 RBI. In addition to Larish, sophomore shortstop Dustin Pedroia also continued his All-American caliber season with two more hits (2-for-5) and added his 12th double of the year. Pedroia (Woodland, Calif.) now has 16 multi-hit games this year and is hitting .419 (44x105) with 29 runs scored and 21 RBI. Defensively the 2002 Team USA member made four diving stops Sunday vs. Penn State and has not made an error in the last 15 games.
Senior starting pitcher Ben Thurmond (Hopkins, S.C.) was once again sharp scattering three hits in five innings to improve to 3-0 on the year. The transfer from Winthrop allowed two runs (one earned) and struck out three. Schroyer (Casa Grande, Ariz.) thwarted any hopes of a Penn State comeback by striking out three in one and a third scoreless innings. Earning his fifth save of the year, the hard-throwing junior has yet to allow an earned run in 14.2 IP and has struck out 21 batters. Senior reliever Beau Vaughan (Glendale) struggled out of the bullpen giving up five runs and five hits in two innings. Vaughan made a return to the bullpen after winning consecutive starts.
Penn State starter Josh Palm suffered the loss to fall to 0-1 on the year while giving up six hits and five runs in four innings. At the plate the Nittany Lions were led by two hits and two RBI from catcher Matt Harter. Right fielder Brett Showalter and shortstop Willie Melendez also recorded two hits in the PSU loss.
ASU scored first with two runs in the second, but Penn State battled right back to tie the game in the top of the third. The Devils answered with a run in the third and added to the lead with two runs in the fourth. PSU made it a one-run game with three runs in the sixth, with two runs coming on a home run by Harter, but the Devils answered with four runs in the bottom half of the inning. Larish drilled his 10th homer of the year for a three-run shot to put the game out of reach.
ASU returns to action next weekend with the second annual Bob Schaefer Memorial Classic at Packard Stadium. The Sun Devils open tournament play Thursday night with a 6 p.m. game against Cal State Northridge. Utah and Southern Utah will also be playing in the round-robin tournament.
Game Notes: Former Sun Devil Eddie Bane threw out the ceremonial first pitch to honor the 30th anniversary of the perfect game he threw on March 2, 1973 against Cal State Northridge... Bane is ASU's all-time leader with 505 strikeouts and ws 40-4 in his ASU career... ASU extended its NCAA record consecutive games scoring streak to 458 games... Schroyer notched his 13th career save to move into a tie for third place in the ASU career record books with former Devil Dave Graybill... Pedroia now has 16 multi-hit games and at least one hit in 24 of ASU's 25 games this year and 35 of his last 36 games dating back to the end of the 2002 season... he has made 83 consecutive starts (every game of his ASU career)... ASU has now scored in double-digits in the last seven games and 14 times overall in 2003... the Devils have outscored their opponent 278-96... ASU now has 35 home runs, only three off its entire total of 38 last year... ASU tied a season-high with three errors.
Arizona State 11, Penn State 7 (Mar 02, 2003 at Tempe, Ariz.) ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Penn State.......... 002 003 200 - 7 11 1 (0-3) Arizona State....... 021 214 01X - 11 12 3 (24-1) ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Pitchers: Penn State - Palm; Farrell(5); Stidfole, S.(7). Arizona State - Thurmond; Vaughan(6); Bordes(8); Schroyer(8). Win-Thurmond(3-0) Save-Schroyer(5) Loss-Palm(0-1) T-2:53 A-2404 HR PSU - Harter (2). HR ASU - Larish (10).