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Relentless Devils Use Key Hits To Put Away Arizona With 10-6 Win
Courtesy: Sun Devil Athletics
Release: 03/23/2002
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Courtesy: Sun Devil Athletics
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March 23, 2002

Box Score

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Arizona State sophomore right fielder Andre Ethier was 4-for-5 with three runs scored and two RBI to help led the 15th-ranked Sun Devils to a 10-6 victory over rival Arizona in Pac-10 baseball action Saturday afternoon at Sancet Field.

Ethier, who came up with the game-winning hit in Friday's 9-7 come-from-behind win over the Wildcats, recorded a career-high with his four hits and hit his second home run of the season as part of a crucial three-run seventh inning. The sophomore is now 5-for-8 with five RBI and five runs scored so far in the series.

The convincing victory improved ASU to 18-8 and are off to an impressive 2-0 start in Pac-10 play. The Devils have now won nine of the last 11 games vs. the Wildcats, including a string for 14 of the last 20 on the Cat's home turf in Tucson. Arizona falls to 19-10, 0-2 on the year with the loss. ASU now leads the all-time series (dating back to 1959) 158-101 and during the Pat Murphy era (1995-P) is a commanding 27-14. With two wins in the three-game weekend series, Murphy and the Devils extend a streak of having not lost a season series to the Wildcats since Murphy took over the program in 1995.

After jumping out to a 4-0 lead, the Sun Devils and Wildcats battled back and forth until ASU broke open the game with three runs in each the seventh and ninth innings. With ASU up 7-6 and closer Ryan Schroyer on the hill, the Devils scored three insurance runs in their last at-bat to put the game away.

Sophomore starter Mike Esposito was solid in his eight start of the year to record the win, improving to 5-3 on the year. The hard-throwing right-hander scattered seven hits in six innings and allowed only one earned run (four overall). He struck out five and walked two. Schroyer picked up his third save of the year and second in as many days, as the sophomore who prepped at nearby Canyon del Oro High School pitched two scoreless innings to seal the win.

Arizona starter Joe Little was saddled with the loss, being tagged for 11 hits and seven runs in six and two-thirds innings. Little struck out three and walked two to fall to 5-2 on the year.

In addition to Ethier's solid game at the plate, freshman infielder Dustin Pedroia added two hits and is now 6-for-10 (.600) in the series. Making his first start in almost two weeks, junior Dennis Wyrick ignited the lineup with three hits and recorded a pair of doubles.

The Devils started the scoring by jumping out to a 4-0 lead after five innings. ASU scored a single tally in the second, two runs in the third and one more in the top of the fifth to account for the scoring. Back-to-back doubles from Ethier and Wyrick plated the first run of the game. A leadoff double by freshman catcher Joel Bocchi and a bunt single from senior second baseman Sergio Garcia set the table for a two-run double down the left field line by Pedroia to cap the two-run third.

The Devils added a run in the top of the sixth to increase its lead to 4-0, but the lead would be short-lived as the Wildcats answered with four runs to tie the game in the bottom half of the sixth. Senior catcher Chris Cunningham led off the inning with his team-leading seventh home run of the year to end Esposito's string of five straight scoreless innings.

ASU nearly escaped with only the one run, but Garcia rushed his throw on a ball in the second base hole and a following throwing error on Esposito brought home the third run of the inning. A wild pitch by Esposito then plated the tying run.

Arizona State bounced right back by scoring three in the top of the seventh to take a 7-4 lead. Sophomore first baseman Jeremy West knocked in a run with a clutch two-out single to break the tie and Ethier followed by drilling his second home run of the year over the left-center field fence.

Continued the trend of a see-saw battle in the late innings, the Wildcats climbed right back into the game with two runs off ASU reliever J.J. Jackson in the bottom of the seventh. Freshman Jeff Van Houten drove home a run on double to the right field gap and designated hitter Richard Mercado bounced a ball thorough the left side with two outs to pull the Cats to within one run a 7-6.

With Schroyer in control, the Sun Devils added three insurance runs in their final at-bat. Senior center fielder Jon Sheaffer came up with the big hit, plating two runs on a single up the middle.

The Wildcats and Sun Devils will conclude the three-game Pac-10 series Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. at Sancet Field. ASU's junior left-hander Bryce Kartler (2-1, 3.57) will start against Arizona's sophomore right-hander Marc Kaiser (4-1, 2.50).

Arizona State 10, Arizona 6 (Mar 23, 2002 at Tucson, Ariz.)
Arizona State....... 012 001 303  - 10 15  2      (18-8, 2-0 PAC-10)
Arizona............. 000 004 200  -  6 11  2      (19-10, 0-2 PAC-10)
Pitchers: Arizona State - Esposito, Jackson(7), Schroyer(8).
Arizona - Little, Goodman(7).
Win-Esposito(5-3)  Save-Schroyer(3)  Loss-Little(5-2)  T-3:04  A-2284
HR ASU - Ethier (2).
HR ARIZ - Cunningham (7).
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