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No. 4 ASU Baseball Off To Best Start Since '72 At 18-1 With 17-5 Win
Courtesy: Sun Devil Athletics
Release: 02/17/2003
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Courtesy: Sun Devil Athletics
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Feb. 17, 2003

Box Score

TEMPE, Ariz. (www.TheSunDevils.com) -- Second baseman Steve Garrabrants was 2-for-5 with a career-high six RBI, including his second grand slam of the season, as the No. 4 Arizona State Baseball team defeated the Gonzaga Bulldogs 17-5 Monday night in front of 1,490 at Packard Stadium.

ASU, who moved up to No. 4 in the Sports Weekly/ESPN Coaches Poll after going 3-0 at the Coca-Cola Classic over the weekend, have won nine straight for the second time this season to improve to 18-1 on the year. The 18-1 start is the best by an ASU squad in 31 years since going 23-1 to start the season in 1972. ASU was also 17-1 in 1988 and 1978, but lost both times in the 19th game of the year.

The Devils scored their runs behind two big innings, scoring seven in the third and six more in fifth. In addition to Garrabrants' fourth homer of the year, junior left fielder Rod Allen also had a two-run home run. Freshman Travis Buck was 2-for-2 in his first start at designated hitter and sophomore catcher Tuffy Gosewisch was 2-for-4 and had a career-high three RBI. Gonzaga actually out-hit ASU 13-11, but 10 walks and six Bulldog errors proved to be costly in the loss.

ASU starting pitcher Erik Averill was ineffective for the second straight outing, giving up three runs and four hits in two innings. Senior Ben Thurmond picked up his second win of the year to improve to 2-0 by throwing three scoreless innings. Freshman lefty Chris Beatty had his best outing as a Sun Devil, allowing only one hit in two shutout innings.

Gonzaga starter Sean Lichter, a Glendale native who was making his first start back from Tommy John surgery, took the loss giving up six runs and three walks in two-plus innings.

The Sun Devils scored two quick runs in the first with sacrifice flies from Jeff Larish and Andre Ethier. Pedroia and Buck led off the inning with consecutive singles and scored both runs. Gonzaga came right back with three runs in the top of the second to take a 3-2 lead. Center fielder Chris Sinner had a two-out run-scoring single and Brad Welker had a two-run double that just missed the glove of ASU third baseman Frank Mesa to score two more runs.

ASU took the lead for good with a big seven-run inning in the third. Freshman Travis Buck got things started with a run-scoring single to score Pedroia. Garrabrants provided the big blow with his second grand slam home run of the season. The junior sophomore slugged his second home run in as many days and now has four on the year. After a single by Mesa, Allen also tabbed his second homer in as many games with a shot over the left field fence. All seven runs in the inning came without an out being recorded.

The Sun Devils return to action this weekend with three more games at Packard Stadium. ASU will host Dayton (0-0) Friday night at 7 p.m., and then take on No. 11 Notre Dame on Saturday (3 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.).

Game Notes: The Devils scored in the first inning for the 10th time this year with two runs in their opening at-bat... the two runs also extended ASU's NCAA record consecutive games scoring streak to 452 games dating back to April 7, 1995... Pedroia's first inning single gives him at least one hit in 18 of ASU's 19 games... the seven-run third inning was ASU's sixth scoring inning of seven or more runs this year... in the 19 games played this year, ASU has mixed and matched for 18 different batting lineups this year... in 58 games last year, ASU used 41 different lineups... freshman Travis Buck was back in the lineup at designated hitter after not playing Sunday with a bruised heal... Buck responded by going 2-for-2.

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