April 24, 2002
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -- The 17th-ranked Arizona State baseball team rallied for five late-inning runs and played perfect baseball down the stretch to defeat the University of Oklahoma Sooners 7-5 Wednesday night in non-conference college baseball action at SBC Bricktown Ballpark.
Trailing 5-2 in the sixth inning, sophomore Rod Allen brought the Devils right back into the game with one swing of the bat. The preseason All-American plated three runs with a bases loaded double down the right field line to tie the game 5-5. ASU added two runs in the eighth behind a Jeff Larish single and a Doug Schutt sacrifice fly to score the winning runs.
Improving to 26-15 overall and evening the season series with the Sooners 2-2 with the victory, the ASU bullpen combination of Mark Sopko and Ryan Schroyer allowed only one hit in three and two-thirds scoreless innings. Sopko improved to 2-1 with 2.2 scoreless innings and Schroyer picked up his team-leading fourth save with a perfect ninth inning to seal the win. The Sun Devils are now 3-1 all-time playing the Sooners at Bricktown Ballpark, the Triple-A home of the Oklahoma Redhawks and the 2002 home of the Triple-A All-Star game.
Oklahoma, who has spent time in all three national polls this year, fell to 24-17 on the year with the loss. Six pitchers who normally figure into OU's weekend pitching rotation were effective in allowing only six ASU hits, but couldn't hold the lead down the stretch. Junior left-hander Curtis White, who played at Liberal Community College with ASU pitcher Robbie McClellan, was saddled with the loss to fall to 0-2 on the year.
ASU junior starting pitcher Jered Liebeck pitched well to pick up the no-decision, giving up five hits and five runs in his third start of the year. Liebeck (Glendale, Ariz.) set a career high with six strikeouts in what turned out to equal his longest outing (5.1 innings) as a Sun Devil.
After each teams exchanged runs in a sloppily played first inning, the Sooners grabbed the early 4-1 lead after a three-run home run from freshman center fielder Brandon Jones in the second inning. ASU put its run on the board in the first inning behind two errors from shortstop Denver Kitch.
ASU inched a run closer with an Andre Ethier run-scoring single in the top of the third, but OU came right back with a solo home run from Kitch in the fourth to extend its lead to 5-2.
Arizona State pulled even at 5-5 with three runs in the top of the sixth with Allen's key two-out double accounting for the runs. Building on the big three-run inning in the sixth, ASU took the lead with two runs in the top of the eighth to secure the victory. Freshman shortstop Dustin Pedroia led off the frame with a bloop double down the right field line and came around to score with the eventual game-winning run on a single up the middle by freshman third baseman Jeff Larish.
The Sun Devils will continue on its three-game road trip with two games against Notre Dame this weekend in South Bend, Ind. ASU and the Fighting Irish will meet Friday at 6:05 p.m. CST and at 3:05 p.m. CST Saturday. Friday's game can be listened to in the Phoenix area on a tape-delay basis at 6 p.m. Arizona time. Saturday's game can be viewed live on KAZ-TV (formerly KUSK).
Game Notes: ASU has now scored in the first inning in 23 of its 41 games this year... the Sun Devils extended their NCAA record consecutive games scoring streak to 416 games... junior starting pitcher Jered Liebeck set a career high with six strikeouts and tied a career high with 5.1 innings pitched... redshirt freshman reliever Mark Sopko has now let only three of his 23 inherited runners score this year... ASU is now 3-1 all-time at Bricktown Ballpark... Ryan Schroyer is now 3-0 with four saves and a 0.79 ERA in 22.2 innings this year as a relief pitcher... in his last four appearances Schroyer, whose family on his father's side is from Oklahoma, has three wins and one save... senior infielder Sergio Garcia was inserted as a defensive replacement in the ninth inning, playing against his former teammates in the Sooners... the ASU pitching staff has now given up nine home runs in the last seven games, while the ASU hitters have now gone six games without a longball... ASU scored two more two-out runs to add to its more than 50% run production with two outs.
Arizona State 7, Oklahoma 5 (Apr 24, 2002 at Oklahoma City, Okla.) ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Arizona State....... 101 003 020 - 7 6 1 (26-15) Oklahoma............ 130 100 000 - 5 6 2 (24-17) ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Pitchers: Arizona State - Liebeck, Sopko(6), Schroyer(9). Oklahoma - Mix, A., Bradbury, M.(5), McAuliff, J.(6), White, C.(7), Greusel, E.(8), Blair, B.(9). Win-Sopko(2-1) Save-Schroyer(4) Loss-White, C.(0-2) T-3:05 A-2598 HR OU - Kitch, D. (3), Jones, B. (3).