Feb. 23, 2003
TEMPE, Ariz. -- The No. 4 Arizona State Baseball team used a nine-run sixth inning to erase an 8-4 Notre Dame lead and give the Sun Devils a 14-8 come-from-behind victory over the No. 11 Irish Sunday afternoon in front of 3,403 at Packard Stadium.
Arizona State continued its amazing hot streak winning its 12th straight game to improve to 21-1 on the year and 4-1 against ranked opponents. The win also gave ASU's ninth-year head coach Pat Murphy his 700th career victory over the school he spent seven years coaching. The 21-1 start is now just two wins off ASU's best start in school history when the 1972 edition of Sun Devil baseball started the year 23-1 and ended at 64-6. Notre Dame fell to 2-2 on the year in its season-opening series.
Sophomore shortstop Dustin Pedroia (Woodland, Calif.) led the ASU offense with a career-high tying four hits and scored two runs to raise his season batting average to .419 (39x93). Pedroia now has 14 multi-hit games this year and has at least one hit in 21 of ASU's 22 games this year. Sophomore Jeff Larish also continued his torrid season at the plate with a 2-for-3 performance, including two doubles and four RBI. For the season Larish has a team-high 42 RBI and 32 walks. Junior designated hitter Jeremy West added a two-run home run for his seventh homer of the year and his third in the last two games.
Senior starting pitcher Ben Thurmond (Hopkins, S.C.) was brilliant in his second start of the year allowing only one run and four hits in a season-high five innings. After leaving with a 4-1 lead due to a pitch-count, relievers Mark Sopko, Chris Beatty and Javy Lopez gave up six runs and six hits in the seventh. Lopez (1-0) picked up the win benefiting from the nine-run outburst and junior closer Ryan Schroyer sealed the win to pick up his fourth save with three scoreless innings.
After the ASU bullpen surrendered a 4-1 lead as part of a seven-run Notre Dame sixth inning, ASU battled right back with the nine-run sixth to take the lead for good. All nine of ASU's runs came with two outs after Larish drew a two out, full-count walk. West followed with a two-run homer to center field and then catcher Tuffy Gosewisch tied the game with a two-run, bad-hop single. The floodgates opened when shortstop Matt Macri, who is ranked as the No. 40 college prospect by Baseball America for the 2003 draft, booted a hard-hit ball by Ryan Bosch. One run scored on the error, then Larish provided another big blow with a three-run double to the left field gap to cap the nine-run frame.
Arizona State built its early lead with a four-run first inning. Andre Ethier plated three runs with a bases loaded double down the left field line and later scored on a an error by Macri. ASU had more opportunities to score and increase the lead, but the Devils stranded the bases loaded in the second and fourth innings. Notre Dame cut ASU's lead to three runs with a solo home run in the second by freshman Cody Rizzo.
With Thurmond departed due to a pitch count, the Irish battled back with a big seven-run inning to take the lead off the ASU bullpen in the top of the sixth. After a single from Kris Billmaier scored Steve Sollmann (leadoff double), catcher Javi Sanchez tied the game with a two-run double to the left field gap. Rizzo single to center field on a hit-and-run play that scored Sanchez to give the Fighting Irish their first lead of the game at 5-4. Macri capped the seven-run rally with a two-run home run to left field.
Notre Dame senior closer J.P. Gagne suffered the loss giving up all nine (four earned) runs in the sixth to fall to 0-1 on the year. Despite making two errors Sunday and four in the two-game series, Macri did have two hits at the plate, including a two-run home run. Billmaier, Sanchez, and Rizzo also added two hits for the Irish.
Arizona State returns to action next weekend with a three-game series against Penn State (Feb. 28-Mar. 2) at Packard Stadium. Game times are 7 p.m. on Friday, 1 p.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday. The Friday and Sunday games will be broadcast live on the radio on NBC 1190 AM.
Game Notes: The nine-run sixth inning tied ASU's highest inning run output as they also scored nine in the fourth inning vs. Hawaii-Hilo (Jan. 19)... the seven-run sixth inning given up by ASU is tied for the most given up in a single frame this year with SDSU also tallying seven in the sixth inning on Jan. 26... before Ethier's three-run double in the first inning he was just 1-for-8 (.125) in 2003 with the bases loaded... ASU's four-run first inning marked the 12th time they have scored in the first inning this year... ASU has now score in 455 consecutive games to increase its NCAA record that they set with game No. 350 back on April 7, 2001... Pedroia has now recorded at least one hit in 21 of ASU's 22 games this year and dating back the end of last season has a hit in 32 of 33 games... he also notched his 14th multi-hit game of the year... West's sixth-inning homer was his seventh of the season and the third in the last two games... he now has 26 career home runs.
Arizona State 14, Notre Dame 8 (Feb 23, 2003 at Tempe, Ariz.) ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Notre Dame.......... 010 007 000 - 8 13 3 (2-2) Arizona State....... 400 009 01X - 14 13 1 (21-1) ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Pitchers: Notre Dame - Kalita; Viloria(4); Gagne(6); Thornton(6). Arizona State - Thurmond; Sopko(6); Beatty(6); Lopez, J.(6); Schroyer(7). Win-Lopez, J.(1-0) Save-Schroyer(4) Loss-Gagne(0-1) T-3:24 A-3403 HR UND - Macri (1); Rizzo (1). HR ASU - West (7).