Feb. 8, 2002
MESA, Ariz. -- Patience was virtue for the No. 17 Arizona State Baseball team, as they drew 11 walks from the University of Tennessee (1-3) pitching staff and then struck for four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning en route to 7-4 defeat of the No. 25 Volunteers Friday night in non-conference college baseball action at Hohokam Stadium.
Improving to 5-0 on the young season, the Sun Devils were led again by a sterling pitching performance from sophomore starter Ryan Schroyer and junior reliever Robbie McClellan. Schroyer struck out eight in 5.2 innings, running his 2002 season total to 19 in just two games, and McClellan scattered two hits and struck out seven in 3.1 innings to improve to 2-0 on the year.
Arizona State now leads the all-time series with the Volunteers 8-1 and have now won two in a row dating back to last year. Tennessee, who played in the College World Series last year and is ranked No. 25 by Baseball Weekly, fell to 1-3 with all of their losses coming against ranked opponents.
"You have to give a lot of credit to Ryan Schroyer and getting our ball club into the sixth inning. He started off slow and then really turned it on. He is a workhorse," said ASU head coach Pat Murphy. "Robbie then came in and battled and was just outstanding. Our approach at the plate wasn't the greatest, but we were patient and had some good at-bats down the stretch."
After dodging a bullet in the top of the first with Schroyer stranding the bases loaded, the Devils rallied for a run in the bottom half of the inning. Sophomore designated hitter Steve Garrabrants (Glendale) continued his torrid hitting from the top of the lineup with a leadoff single up the middle.
Right fielder Ryan Moffett connected on a leadoff home run in the second frame to tie the score at 1-1 and then took the lead on a run scoring single by center fielder Jordan Czarniecki.
Down 4-2 after the Volunteers broke a 2-2 tie with single runs in the fifth and sixth innings, the Sun Devils scored four in the bottom of the sixth to gain the lead for good. Five Tennessee walks, including two with the bases loaded, set the table for a two-out, two-run single to left field by sophomore shortstop Ian Kinsler (Tucson) that gave ASU a 6-4 lead. Preseason All-American Rod Allen (Phoenix) tripled in the eighth and later scored on a Jeremy West groundout to add an insurance run and bring the game to the final score of 7-4.
Although out-hit by Tennessee 10-6, the Devils got the clutch hits when they counted and benefited from the 11 walks. UT starter Ben Riley recorded eight walks, falling just one short of the Tennessee single-game record of nine. Garrabrants was the only ASU hitter with more than one hit, going 2-for-5 to improve his season batting average to .500 (10x20).
The Devils and Vols will return to action tomorrow with a 1 p.m. game at Hohokam Stadium. Arizona State ace and preseason All-American Mike Esposito will take to the hill against Tennessee junior co-captain Patrick Hicklen.
Game Notes: Two Tennessee coaches (Rod Delmonico and Larry Simcox) and two players (Brandon Hopkins and Dennis Gomez) were ejected from the game... Saturday's game at 1 p.m. MST will feature ASU preseason All-American Mike Esposito (1-0, 7.20) vs. Tennessee co-captain Patrick Hicklen (0-1, 4.91)... with the first-inning run, ASU extended its scoring streak to 380 consecutive games, extending its NCAA record... the single up middle by Sun Devil catcher Tuffy Gosewisch in the second inning broke and 0-for-11 slump... Tennessee starting pitcher Ben Riley walked eight in the game, one off the UT single-game record of nine...