March 4, 2011
SURPRISE, Ariz. - A two-run eighth inning rally, keyed by a defensive miscue, propelled the Sun Devils to a 10-9 come-from-behind win over Northern Illinois on Friday night at Surprise Stadium. With the win, Arizona State improves to 7-2 on the season.
Trailing by one against the winless Huskies in the eighth inning, ASU put runners on second and third with one out and Zach Wilson at the plate. Wilson chopped a ball towards the NIU first baseman Joe Etcheverry with Zack MacPhee breaking for home on contact. MacPhee easily scored to tie the game, but Etcheverry's throw got away from the catcher, allowing Riccio Torrez to score the eventual winning run. The Devils would seal the win in the ninth, sending NIU to their eighth loss of the year.
Northern Illinois jumped on ASU starter Kyle Ottoson early, plating two runs in the opening frame, but the Devils answered right back, tying the score on a two-run single up the middle by Zach Wilson. The Devils would make it 4-2 thanks to an RBI single by MacPhee and an RBI groundout by Torrez in the second. NIU would get one back in the top of the third, but Arizona State extended the lead to 6-3 in the third on an RBI double by Xorge Carrillo to the gap in right center and a Johnny Ruettiger RBI single.
The lead was short-lived, as the Huskies again got to Ottoson, tagging him for three more runs in the fourth to even things at six and chase the lefty from the game. Ottoson allowed six runs, five earned, on seven hits and walked two in his four innings of work.
The Huskies pitching kept ASU at bay, allowing their hitters to grab a lead in the sixth, scoring three times off Mark Lambson to make it 9-6 NIU. Zach Wilson drew the Devils closer in the bottom of the inning, blasting a two-run homer to left field to slice the lead to 9-8. It was the first homer of the season for Wilson.
After Lambson kept the Huskies off the board in the seventh, Trevor Williams came on from the bullpen in the eighth. He held NIU scoreless, allowing Arizona State to stage their game-winning rally in the bottom of the eighth. He struck out the first two hitters in the ninth, allowed a single, then fanned DH Jeff Zimmerman to seal the victory for ASU, earning his first career win in the process. Williams went two innings, striking out five of the eight hitters he faced.
Wilson tied a career high with his five RBI, part of his 2-5 night. Johnny Ruettiger, Zack MacPhee, Deven Marrero and Xorge Carrillo also had two hits apiece. The Sun Devils continue play in the Coca-Cola College Classic in Surprise on Saturday, when they will take on the Kansas Jayhawks. The game will begin 45 minutes following the MLB Spring Training game, which begins at 1:05 p.m. from Surprise Stadium.