March 29, 2009
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The second ranked Sun Devil baseball team was unable to complete the sweep of USC on Sunday, as the Trojans salvaged the finale of the three-game series with an 8-2 win over ASU. The loss drops Arizona State to 19-4, 5-1 in Pac-10 play.
Sun Devil starter Seth Blair was hit hard by USC batters, as he allowed four runs on six hits in two plus innings of work, taking the loss to drop to 2-1. On the other side of the diamond, USC's Robert Stock, the usual Trojan closer, made his first career start and kept the ASU hitters off-balance all day. Stock went five innings, allowing only four hits and two runs while fanning 10 to move to 1-0 on the year. Daniel Cooper threw the final four innings to pick up his first save of the year.
The Sun Devils had their chances, but stranded nine runners, including eight in scoring position.
Jason Kipnis got the Sun Devils on the board early, hitting his eighth homer of the year in the top of the first, a solo shot to left centerfield, but USC would tie things up in the bottom of the inning with an RBI ground out.
The Trojans grabbed the lead in the second on a solo homer by Ricky Oropesa off Blair. ASU evened things up quickly in the top of the third, thanks to some mental errors by the Trojans. After a Jason Kipnis double down the right field line with one away, Zach Wilson hit a pop up in between the shortstop and the left fielder. The ball dropped between the two, giving Wilson a double and putting Kipnis on third. He was then balked in by Stock to even things up at two.
The tie did not last long, as Blair gave up back-to-back doubles to start the bottom of the third, putting USC up 3-2. That would be all for Blair, who was relieved by Mitchell Lambson. The Trojans would add another run in the inning to take a 4-2 lead.
USC would open things up in the sixth off Mitchell Lambson, scoring three times to take a 7-2 lead. Lambson would last 3.1 innings, allowing three runs, two earned, on four hits. He walked three and hit two and also fanned four. He was relieved by Jason Franzblau, who inherited a two on, one out situation. The Trojans attempted a double steal with runners at the corners, and the run came home as the runner was thrown out after getting into a rundown. Franzblau then fanned Grant Green, the only batter he faced.
The Trojans would add to their lead in the seventh off Kole Calhoun after an Anthony Vasquez solo homer put them up 8-2.
Jason Kipnis was the offensive star for the Devils on the day, as he had four of the seven Sun Devil hits. Kipnis had a monster weekend, going 7-10, with two homers, three doubles and six RBI. He slugged 1.600 in the series and also stole two bases..
Arizona State returns home on Tuesday night for the first game of the DeMarini West Coast Challenge against Cal State Fullerton. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. from Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark.