May 17, 2009
TEMPE, Ariz. - The No. 2 Arizona State University baseball team captured its third consecutive Pacific-10 Conference championship with an 8-0 win over Oregon on Sunday in front of a crowd of 2,578 at Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark. The Sun Devils improve to 41-11 overall, 19-5 in the Pac-10, on the season by completing the three-game sweep of the Ducks.
The win gives ASU its 20th conference championship in program history, including nine since joining the Pac-10 in 1979. It also marks the fourth Pac-10 title in 15 years under head coach Pat Murphy. Arizona State can claim the championship outright with any combination of Sun Devil Pac-10 victory or one Washington State Pac-10 loss. ASU took two of three from the Cougars earlier this season, giving ASU the tiebreaker for the automatic berth into the NCAA tournament.
Seth Blair was the star on the mound, going 7.2 shutout innings and allowing just two hits with six strikeouts and no walks to earn the win and improve to 6-1. Blair allowed only four Oregon players to reach base, including just one infield single over the first six innings.
Carlos Ramirez led the Sun Devils at the plate, driving in four runs on the game and hitting his team-leading 17th home run of the season. Raoul Torrez added two RBI, while the tope two hitters in the order, Drew Maggi and Jason Kipnis, combined to reach base seven times in 10 plate appearances.
ASU jumped out to an early lead with five runs in the second inning. Raoul Torrez brought in the first run with a sacrifice bunt, and the Sun Devils then scored four more with two outs on an RBI single by Kipnis and Ramirez's three-run homer to left center.
They would add another run in the third, and then they capped off the scoring with two runs in the sixth. Ramirez put down a sacrifice bunt to drive in Maggi, who came around from second to score, and Kipnis then scored on a throwing error on the same play.
That was more than enough offense, as Blair and Jason Franzblau combined on a four-hit shutout of the Ducks. ASU outscored Oregon 27-2 over the three games, and the three starting pitchers - Mike Leake, Jordan Swagerty and Blair - combined to strike out 26 batters while not issuing a single walk in 23.1 innings.
The Sun Devils will wrap up the regular season with four games next week, beginning with a non-conference game against Arizona in Tucson at 7 p.m. on Wednesday before hosting UCLA for a three-game Pac-10 series from Friday to Sunday.