May 25, 2002
MESA, Ariz. (www.TheSunDevils.com) -- The 17th-ranked Arizona State Sun Devils scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning off Oregon State ace reliever Jared Sanders to earn a come-from-behind 9-8 Pac-10 victory over the Beavers Saturday night at Hohokam Stadium.
The winning run scored with two outs on a hard-hit ball off the bat of freshman Jeff Larish that OSU third baseman Brian Barden bobbled for his second error of the game on. Rod Allen led off the inning with a sharp single that caromed off first baseman Andy Jarvis and moved to second on a walk to designated hitter Nick Cadena. Senior catcher Cesar Castillo moved over both runners with a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt. Allen inched ASU to within one run when he scored on wild pitch and pinch-runner Ian Kinsler scored the tying run on a single to left field from senior second baseman Sergio Garcia. After Sanders, who leads the Pac-10 with nine saves, got Dustin Pedroia to ground out, Larish hit a ball right at Barden that forced the winning run to cross the plate.
ASU's second ninth-inning heroics of the year (9-7 win at Arizona on 3/22) extended its current win streak to three games and has now won seven of their last nine games. The Devils improved to 34-19 overall and 14-9 in Pac-10 play. They will go for their first Pac-10 series sweep of the year tomorrow in the regular season finale for both teams at 1 p.m. at Hohokam Park. The Beavers continue to struggle at the end of the season, dropping their seventh game in the last eight contests to fall to 31-22 overall and 10-13 in Pac-10 play. ASU remains one game back of second place (Stanford and Washington) and two games back of USC, who were all winners Saturday.
ASU reliever Bryce Kartler got the win for the second consecutive night out of the bullpen, improving to 4-4 on the year with one and a third innings of scoreless relief. Sanders took the loss for the Beavers with the blown save, falling to 1-5 on the year.
Larish led the Devils at the plate with a 3-for-6 performance with one run scored and an RBI. Sophomore Andre Ethier improved his team-leading batting average to .377 (63x167) with three hits in only his second game back after breaking his right thumb vs. Notre Dame (4/26). Sophomore first baseman Jeremy West extended his season and career-long hitting streak to eight games with a 2-for-4 game.
The Beavers struck first with a run in the top of the second inning. Right fielder Chris Biles bounced a ball through the right side of the infield to score designated hitter Wick Udy with the first run of the game. Oregon State threatened to add more in the inning, but had a runner thrown out at the plate and picked off at second base to end the inning.
Arizona State came back in the second with a familiar two-out rally to take a 5-1 lead. Senior catcher Cesar Castillo battled a 0-2 count to full and eventually won the eight-pitch at-bat with a two-run single through the left side of the infield. After two OSU errors, the Sun Devils poured on three more runs to take the four-run lead. Larish plated the fifth run of the inning with a double down the left field line.
OSU second baseman Tom Creighton cut into ASU's four-run lead with a solo home run with two outs in the top of the third. After the Devils stranded two runners in scoring position in the bottom of the third, the long ball hurt McClellan again in the fourth when first baseman Andy Jarvis led off the inning with a solo home run over the right field fence. The Beavers pulled to within one run with a single to right field by Biles to score Pietsch from second base.
ASU answered once again in the bottom of the fourth with an RBI single from Ethier, but, after leaving the bases loaded, gave two runs right back up in the top of the fifth to tie the game at 6-6. Barden brought home both runs with a bases loaded single through the right side of the infield off reliever J.J. Jackson. Redshirt Mark Sopko came in with the bases loaded and preserved the tie game by striking out two with the bases full of Beavers to end the threat.
Pietsch gave the Beavers the lead with a two-out single in the top of the seventh to score Barden from third base. OSU then tagged what was then an important insurance run in the top eighth inning. Reserve catcher Ian McMullen led off the inning with a triple to the left field gap and came in to score on a wild pitch.