Jan. 25, 2003
TEMPE, Ariz. (www.TheSunDevils.com) -- San Diego State scored two runs in the top of the ninth inning to tie the game at 3-3, but the No. 8 Arizona State Sun Devil Baseball team rallied for a run in its last at-bat to pull out a 4-3 victory in non-conference college baseball Saturday afternoon at Packard Stadium. The deciding run crossed the plate on a game-winning infield single by Andre Ethier that bounced awkwardly past SDSU third baseman Chad Corona.
With the win the Sun Devils improved to 8-0 on the season, marking their best start since the 1998 and 1999 seasons. The Tony Gwynn coached Aztecs dropped to 0-2, losing both games by a combined three runs. ASU also leads the all-time series (dating back to 1959) 14-6.
The Devils carried a 3-1 lead heading into the top of the ninth inning with reliever Beau Vaughn having allowed only one hit in three prior innings. The Aztecs rallied behind an infield single and a walk to put the tying runs on base. Freshman left fielder Curt Mendoza cut the lead to 3-2 with a single up the middle and then freshman shortstop James Guerrero plated the tying run with a single off ASU's preseason All-American closer Ryan Schroyer.
A leadoff pinch-hit single from junior Nick Walsh sparked ASU's deciding run in the bottom of the ninth. After a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt by sophomore shortstop Dustin Pedroia and a walk to freshman left fielder Travis Buck, Ethier stepped to the plate and dribbled a ball down the third base line that caromed off the bare hand of Corona to score Walsh.
Schroyer picked up his first win of the year to go along with his two saves. Vaughan, a senior transfer from New Orleans, was nothing less than spectacular in his Packard Stadium debut. The hard-throwing right-hander struck out three and allowed only three hits in three and a third innings. Senior starter Jered Liebeck was strong in his second start of the year, scattering five hits and one run in five innings.
Aztec senior relief pitcher Chris Hartshorn was saddled with the loss by giving up four hits and two run in his three innings of work. SDSU senior starting pitcher Joe Carque (Henderson, Nev.) held the potent Sun Devil lineup hitless through the first four innings before senior third baseman Dennis Wyrick led off the fifth with a sharp single to center field.
After Wyrick erased Carque's bid for the no-hitter, Pedroia came up with a clutch two-out single to right field to give ASU the 1-0 lead. The Aztecs tied the game with a single tally in the top of the sixth on a single by Alabama transfer Peter Stonard. After a leadoff bunt single by Anthony Gwynn, the Devils appeared to get the speedy center fielder after trying to advance on a wild pitch, but was called safe at second base on a questionable call. Stonard then drilled a two-strike pitch to left field to score the equalizer.
The Devils retook the lead in the bottom of the sixth with a solo home run off the bat of junior designated hitter Jeremy West. ASU threatened to add more, but stranded two runners on base to end the inning. Sophomore first baseman Jeff Larish cushioned ASU's lead with a solo home run to deep center field for his team-high tying third home run of the year.
The ASU offense was led by the sixth multi-hit game of the year for Pedroia (2x4, 2B). The sophomore who spent last summer with the USA Baseball National Team, also tabbed his seventh double of the year and is hitting an even .500 (15x30) for the season. Larish (2-for-4) and Wyrick (2-for-2) also added two hits in the win.
Arizona State (8-0) will go for the series sweep tomorrow in the final game of the three-game non-conference series at 1 p.m. at Packard Stadium. Freshman lefty Erik Averill, who fired a one-hitter over 7.1 innings in his ASU debut last weekend vs. Hawaii-Hilo, will start on the mound for the Devils.
Game Notes: Pedroia's single in the fifth inning extended his career-long hitting streak to 19 games dating back to the 2002 season... ASU has now scored in an NCAA record 441 consecutive games dating back to April 7, 1995 (USC)... West leads the team with three home runs through ASU's first eight games, two of which have been to the opposite field and all three have been solo shots... Pedroia has more extra base hits (8) than he has singles (7)... ASU now has 12 home runs in its eight games, already nearly 1/3 of the way to its entire season total of 38 from last year... in two home games this year, the Packard Stadium home crowd is averaging 3,610 per game.
Arizona State 4, San Diego State 3 (Jan 25, 2003 at Tempe, Ariz.) ---------------------------------------------------------------------- San Diego State..... 000 001 002 - 3 9 1 (0-2) Arizona State....... 000 011 011 - 4 9 2 (8-0) ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Pitchers: San Diego State - Carque; Hartshorn(6); Harang(9). Arizona State - Liebeck; Vaughan(6); Schroyer(9). Win-Schroyer(1-0) Loss-Hartshorn(0-1) T-3:05 A-3249 HR ASU - West (3); Larish (3). Liebeck faced 2 batters in the 6th. Harang faced 2 batters in the 9th.