May 31, 2002
MESA, Ariz. -- Sophomore Rod Allen was 2-for-4 with a home run and triple as the 15th-ranked Arizona State Sun Devils pounded out 14 hits, opening the 2002 NCAA Tournament with a 6-3 win over San Diego Friday night at Hohokam Stadium.
In addition to Allen's big game at the plate, freshman first-team All-Pac-10 selection Dustin Pedroia equaled a career-high with four hits and leadoff hitter Steve Garrabrants tabbed his 24th multi-hit game with a 3-for-4 performance.
Arizona State, appearing in its 26th NCAA Tournament, improved to 36-19 overall and now owns a 123-49 all-time record in postseason play. The San Diego Toreros, who last week won the West Coast Conference Tournament championship to advance to the postseason for the first time in school history, dropped to 38-22 overall with the loss.
Arizona State will now play No. 1 seed and seventh-ranked Houston Saturday at 2 p.m. Houston will be the home team by way of a coin flip following Friday's complete game. New Mexico State and San Diego will meet in the loser's bracket game at 10 a.m. San Diego will be the home team for the elimination game.
With starter Jered Liebeck pitching ineffective through the first three innings by allowing three hits, walking three and allowing three runs, the Sun Devil bullpen stepped up to contribute six scoreless innings. Sophomore Mark Sopko, junior left Carlos Arguello and sophomore closer Ryan Schroyer each contributed two innings of one-hit baseball. Arguello picked up the win to improve to 4-1 on the year, while Schroyer continues to dominate out of the bullpen with his eighth save.
"I thought we battled early and then got the big hits late in the game," said ASU eighth-year head coach Pat Murphy, who is now 14-8 in postseason play at ASU. "Barrett is a great competitor and I have great respect for that San Diego ball club we just faced. Our guys played relentless baseball and that is what we need to do to win ball games."
San Diego Starter Ricky Barrett suffered only his second loss of the year to fall to 10-2 on the year. Barrett, who was today named a second-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball, gave up a season-high 14 hits while throwing 149 pitches.
Both teams threatened in the first inning with no results. The Toreros put runners on first and third behind two walks, but two flyout ended the threat. ASU had nearly the same scenario, with Garrabrants leading the game off with a double to the left field gap, only to be stranded on second.
San Diego took the first lead of the game with a pair of runs in the top of the third inning. A walk and a hit-by-pitch from Liebeck put runners on first and second with no outs, followed by a run-scoring single to center field by right fielder Joe Lima. The second run of the inning came home on a fielding error by ASU second baseman Sergio Garcia.
The Devils battled back by cutting USD's lead to 2-1 with a Jeremy West sacrifice fly in the home half of the third, but the Toreros came right back with a single tally in the fourth on a perfectly executed squeeze bunt from shortstop Ben Quinto to take a 3-1 lead.
ASU continued to cut into the USD lead with a run in the top of the fifth on another sacrifice fly, this time with freshman third baseman Jeff Larish driving in the run. With the ASU relievers Sopko and Arguello holding the Toreros in check in the fifth and sixth innings, the Devils forged ahead to take their first lead of the game with two runs in the bottom of the sixth. Sophomore Rod Allen led off the inning with his sixth home run of the year and his first since going deep against Arizona (Mar. 24 -- 93 at-bats).
Pedroia put the Devils ahead for good with a sharp single up the middle to bring home senior catcher Cesar Castillo. The one-run game was opened up in the eight when Castillo belted his first career home run to lead off the inning. West capped ASU's scoring with a run-scoring single to drive home Pedroia with the sixth run of the game.
Arizona State 6, San Diego 3 (May 31, 2002 at Mesa, Ariz.) ---------------------------------------------------------------------- San Diego........... 002 100 000 - 3 6 0 (38-22) Arizona State....... 001 012 02X - 6 14 1 (36-19) ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Pitchers: San Diego - Barrett; Dunn(8). Arizona State - Liebeck; Sopko(4); Arguello(6); Schroyer(8). Win-Arguello(4-1) Save-Schroyer(8) Loss-Barrett(10-2) T-2:59 A-2745 HR ASU - Allen (6); Castillo (1).