May 19, 2002
MESA, Ariz. -- Led by a 5-for-5 game from senior shortstop Sergio Garcia and two home runs from Freshman Nick Cadena, the 20th-ranked Arizona State Sun Devils earned a crucial series-clinching win over the No. 19 USC Trojans 17-8 on a sunny Sunday afternoon at Hohokam Park.
On a day where the 20th-ranked Arizona State Sun Devils were playing without their top three hitters in Jeremy West (flu), Andre Ethier (broken thumb) and Jon Sheaffer (suspension), the Devils answered with their highest scoring Pac-10 game of the year with 17 runs and 19 hits.
"We played with a lot of emotion today and really gave a gutsy performance," said ASU head coach Pat Murphy who picked up career ASU wins No. 300 and No. 301 this weekend. "We were relentless. Every time they scored and made it a game, we answered. We have grown as a team and our tough schedule has allowed us to win games and series as important as this one."
ASU improved to 32-19 overall and 12-9 in league play with the victory and are now just two games out of first place and one game back of second place in the heated Pac-10 race. USC remains in first place despite dropping a series to the Sun Devils for the first time since 1998, falling to 31-22 overall and 14-7 in Pac-10 play. Washington (loser today to Oregon State) and Stanford (winner over UCLA) are tied for second with 13-8 Pac-10 marks. The Devils now lead the all-time series with the Trojans 86-79 and improve to 4-2 in 2002 in rubber matches in Pac-10 play this year.
Garcia became the first Sun Devil to record five hits in a game since Brooks Conrad had five hits vs. Washington during the 2000 Pac-10 Championship season. The senior transfer from Oklahoma raised his season batting average 39 points from .321 to .360 with the five hits. Cadena, a true freshman from Glendale's Apollo High School, recorded his second multi-home run game of the year and added a career-high five RBI to his 3-for-5 performance.
"We have had some tough things happen to us as a team this year and we have really pulled together and kept strong," said Cadena who is now tied for fifth in the ASU freshman record books with six home runs. "USC is a real good team and they kept battling back. We still have a lot to prove against Oregon State next weekend."
Junior relief pitcher Carlos Arguello picked up the win out of the bullpen to improve to 3-1 on the year. The crafty lefty from Cochise College allowed only four hits and one earned run in five innings. Starter Mike Esposito gave a gutsy four-inning performance to pick up the no-decision, but did walk a career-high six batters and allowed six runs.
The Trojans jumped out of the gates with a run in the first inning off a two-out single through the right side by third baseman Albert Concepcion. A leadoff double from center fielder Brian Barre proved to be costly as he came round to score on the Concepcion single.
ASU answered the Trojans first inning run with the biggest first inning of the year by sending 13 batters to the plate and scoring eight runs. Consecutive hits by Steve Garrabrants, Garcia, Dustin Pedroia and freshman first baseman Jeff Larish tied the game at 1-1. Rod Allen walked to force in the second run of the inning and senior catcher Cesar Castillo then followed with a two-run double down the right field line to. After a run-scoring single from Cadena, back-to-back sacrifice flies from Ryan McKenna and Garrabrants made the score 7-1. Garcia added his second hit of the inning to bring home Cadena for the eighth run of the inning.
USC freshman starter Brett Bannister endured his roughest outing of year in his homecoming to record the loss to fall to 5-3 on the year. Bannister, who is a native of Paradise Valley and a product of Chaparral High School, allowed six runs while not recording an out. Bannister, along with brother and teammate Brian, are the sons of former Arizona State All-American and Major League pitcher Floyd Bannister, had his season ERA inflate from 3.39 to 4.21.
Trojan shortstop Michael Moon, who had a big three-run home run in the Trojans 9-5 win Saturday night, belted his fifth home run of the year to lead off the top of the third. Moon provided another big hit in the top of the fourth with a bases clearing, three-run double to the left field gap. A wild pitch from Esposito with an 0-2 count forced home Moon from third base to bring the Trojans to within two runs.
The Sun Devils answered once again with two more runs in the bottom of the fourth to retake a four-run lead at 10-6. Larish bounced a ball through the right side of the infield to score both runs of the inning. ASU tacked on three more runs in its next at-bat in the home half of the fifth. Cadena drilled his fifth home run of the year and both Garcia and Pedroia scored runs with singles.
ASU capped its most productive offensive game in league play with four more runs in the bottom of the eight. Cadena blasted his second homer of the game, this one a three-run shot over the right field wall, and Garcia added a run-scoring double to polish off his perfect afternoon.
In addition to the big games from Cadena and Garcia, Garrabrants was 3-for-4 with four runs scored and Allen was 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored. Every Sun Devil except junior designated hitter Bryce Kartler (making only his fourth career start) recorded at least one hit. The Trojans were led by the two doubles, home run and five RBI from Moon.
Arizona State returns to action next weekend with a big three-game series against the Oregon State Beavers (31-20, 10-11 Pac-10). Friday and Saturday's games are at 6 p.m., with Sunday's regular season finale at 1 p.m. ASU defeated Oregon State 13-5 in the season opener as part of the inaugural Bill Kajikawa Baseball Classic. The Beavers took two of three in the series played last year in Corvallis.
Game Notes: Jeremy West was a last minute scratch from the lineup due to a serious 24-hour flu... with West out of the lineup the Devils were without their top three hitters (Ethier and Sheaffer)... Larish made his first career start at first base with West out of the lineup... ASU fielded its 40th different starting batting lineup in 51 total games... ASU has now scored at least one run in the first inning in 28 of its 51 games (55%)... the Devils are now 22-6 when scoring at least one run in the first inning... the eight-run first inning was the most by the Devils this year, having previously scored five runs two times this year... no ASU infielder Sunday were playing in its normal position.
Arizona State 17, USC 8 (May 19, 2002 at Mesa, Ariz.) ---------------------------------------------------------------------- USC................. 101 400 020 - 8 9 0 (31-22, 14-7 PAC-10) Arizona State....... 800 230 04X - 17 19 1 (32-19, 12-9 PAC-10) ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Pitchers: USC - Bt.Bannister; Campos(1); Butler(4); Rummonds(5); Clark(7). Arizona State - Esposito; Arguello(5). Win-Arguello(3-1) Loss-Bt.Bannister(5-3) T-3:30 A-2165 HR USC - Moon (5); HR ASU - Cadena 2 (6).