Feb. 22, 2004
HOUSTON, Texas (www.TheSunDevils.com) - Arizona State starting pitcher Jason Urquidez threw a complete-game three-hitter as the No. 7 Sun Devils beat the No. 1 and defending national champion Rice Owls 3-1 Sunday afternoon at a rainy Reckling Park.
Sophomore right fielder Travis Buck drove in all three runs for the Devils, including a two-run homer in the sixth inning that broke open a scoreless game.
The Sun Devils improve to 8-2 on the year and is a perfect 4-0 against ranked opponents. Rice drops to 5-2 on the year.
"It was a great win for our program to go out there and bounce back from a tough loss on Friday," said ASU head coach Pat Murphy. "We really battled with a young team and beat the nation's best pitcher. Jason gave a gutsy performance and really stayed strong. He had more left in the tank when the game was over."
Urquidez (Simi Valley, Calif.) limited the Owls to only three hits and the only run came with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning. He struck out seven and walked only two to improve to 3-0 on the year.
"I hit my spots and really just stayed in the zone with Tuffy (Gosewisch) behind the plate," said the junior college transfer from Central Arizona. "The defense was great behind me and the rest took care of itself. I pride myself on being a big game pitcher and these are the games I want to be in."
The Devils gave Rice starter Jeff Niemann his first loss in over a year, ending a streak of 18 consecutive winning decisions. The 2004 Preseason Player of the Year gave up four hits and walked three in seven innings.
ASU got hits from five different players, including a single from junior shortstop Dustin Pedroia to extend his hitting streak to four games and now has hits in nine of ASU's 10 games this year. Jeff Larish (double), Colin Curtis and Nick Walsh also added hits for ASU.
The Sun Devils return to action on Tuesday with a non-conference game against rival Arizona. The Devils will then continue its home string of 25 straight at Packard Stadium with a three-game series against Connecticut (Feb. 27-29).