March 10, 2002
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona State Sophomore Rod Allen hit a three-run double as part of a seven-run eighth inning as the 15th-ranked Arizona State Baseball team erased a late 2-0 deficit en route to a big 7-2 victory over No. 12 (Collegiate Baseball) Oklahoma State in college baseball action Sunday afternoon at Packard Stadium.
The victory extends the Sun Devils winning streak to a season-high tying seven games and have now won eight of the last nine games to improve to 15-5 overall. With the win the Devils also improved to 10-8 vs. OSU in the all-time series. Oklahoma State, ranked in two of the three national polls, had its five-game win streak snapped and are now 10-3 on the year.
Trailing 2-0 heading into the eighth inning and with ASU's NCAA record 394-game record of consecutive games scoring at least one run in jeopardy, the Sun Devils rallied for their biggest inning of the year. Senior infielder Sergio Garcia, who was rivals last year when he played for the University of Oklahoma, led off the inning with a walk to start the rally. Sophomore pinch-hitter Ryan McKenna picked up only the second hit since the first inning for ASU with a line-drive to center field. After freshman third baseman Dustin Pedroia loaded the bases with a hit-by-pitch, Allen, a preseason All-American, cleared the bases with a double down the left field line.
"The felt good," admitted Allen who has been struggling with his consistency at the plate as of late. "I got a good count to work off of and put one in play. This was a big game for us."
After Allen's three-run double, the Devils continued to pour on the runs, sending a total 13 men to the plate. Seven walks and a hit-by-pitch by the Cowboy pitching staff were crucial as ASU added four more insurance runs to bring the game to the final score of 7-2.
"We had some good at-bats down the stretch with some players being real unselfish," said ASU head coach Pat Murphy, who picked up his 600th victory at the Division 1 level on Friday. "We pushed too hard early, but we hung tough, had some great pitching from J.J. Jackson and got a big lucky there in the ninth."
Jackson improved to 2-0 for the week and 3-0 on the season with a spectacular three-inning outing to earn the victory. Even more importantly, the sophomore allowed only one base runner in a two-run game to keep the Devils in the game, setting up the eighth-inning rally.
"I am gaining more confidence each time I am out there," said Jackson. "It is my role to come out there, keep the game close and give our team the opportunity to win the game."
ASU starter Bryce Kartler picked up the no-decision to remain at 2-0 on the year, pitching well by allowing only four hits and two runs in five innings. Sophomore Ryan Schroyer closed out the game in the ninth by striking out the side to seal the game. In his three outings since moving from a starting role to the closer role, Schroyer has recorded eight of his nine outs by way of a strikeout. Limiting an OSU squad that came into the game averaging 13.58 runs per game to only two runs, the Devils lowered its team ERA to a microscopic 2.88 on the year.
The Sun Devils threatened twice early in the game, with no results, leaving runners in scoring position in the first and third innings. The Cowboys jumped out to the lead with a single tally in the fourth inning on a run-scoring single to left field by right fielder Daylon Monette to score third baseman Paul Powell. The Cowboys added its only other run of the game in the fourth inning on another one-run single by Monette.
OSU starter and 2001 freshman All-American Scott Baker was tough in his second start of the year, scattering three hits and striking out three in five and two-thirds innings. Left-handed reliever Jimmy Rhodes took the loss to fall to 1-1 on the year, allowing five runs on two hits in one and a third innings of work.
The Sun Devils return to action with a midweek game Tuesday at New Mexico State at 5 p.m. in Las Cruces, N.M. Junior right-hander Jered Liebeck (0-0, 2.08) is the scheduled starter for the Devils. ASU returns to Hohokam Stadium next weekend with a three-game series against the University of Oklahoma Sooners starting Friday at 6 p.m.
Game Notes: Normal leadoff hitter Steve Garrabrants did not play due to soreness in his upper back and shoulder after getting hit by a pitch in Saturday's win over St. John's.
Arizona State 7, Oklahoma State 2 (Mar 10, 2002 at Tempe, Ariz.) ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Oklahoma State...... 000 110 000 - 2 5 2 (10-3) Arizona State....... 000 000 07X - 7 5 0 (15-5) ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Pitchers: Oklahoma State - Baker, Rhodes, J.(6), Weaver(8), Patitucci(8), Kramer(8). Arizona State - Kartler, Jackson(6), Schroyer(9). Win-Jackson(3-0) Loss-Rhodes, J.(1-1) T-3:00 A-2220