May 25, 2001
FULLERTON, Calif. -- Senior All-American catcher Casey Myers was 4-for-5 with three RBI and a three-run home run and the No. 17 Arizona State Sun Devils used a nine-run seventh inning to record a decisive 12-3 victory over the Texas Tech Red Raiders Friday afternoon at Cal State Fullerton's Goodwin Field in opening round action of the 2001 NCAA Baseball Tournament.
The Sun Devils continued their hot play that saw them end the regular season with 13 wins in their last 20 games. The Devils, who finished with six wins in their last seven Pac-10 games to finish in third place in the conference, drew perhaps the toughest opening round game with Texas Tech. Tech entered the game ranked 22nd in the nation and with 40 wins under its belt finished second in the Big 12 Conference. The 12-3 win improved ASU's overall 2001 record to 37-18-. Texas Tech fell to 40-19-1 on the year.
The Devils will face No. 1 National Seed Cal State Fullerton, who beat No. 4 seed Temple 17-3 last night. Junior LHP Jon Switzer (5-5, 3.75) will most likely face off against fellow Team USA member and 2001 first-team All-American Kirk Saarloos (13-2, 2.26).
ASU starting pitcher Mike Esposito was strong in his first postseason start, scattering five hits and two runs in five innings of work. Turning the ball over to relief ace Andy Torres in the sixth inning with the game tied at 2-2, Esposito left with a no-decision despite putting ASU in position to gain the victory. Torres finished strong and had strong defense behind him, allowing six hits and one run in four innings to improve to 13-4 on the year.
Red Raider starter Brandon Roberson entered the game with a personal 10-game winning streak, but picked up the no-decision as he too left with the game tied after four innings of work. A host of Tech relievers were roughed up for 10 runs and 10 hits in the remaining four innings. Chad Ertel picked up the loss, falling to 3-3 on the year by allowing six hits and five runs in two innings.
The Red Raiders jumped out to lead with a single tally in the opening frame. Designated hitter Austin Cranford led off the game with a double to the left field gap and after moving to third on a fly out to right field, scored on a wild pitch from ASU starter Mike Esposito.
Arizona State pulled even in its half of the first inning behind three hits from the first four batters in the lineup. Leadoff hitter Nick Walsh singled to lead off the game for the Sun Devils and moved to third on a single up the middle Myers. Freshman Rod Allen, who this week became the first freshman Sun Devil to earn first-team All-Pac-10 honors, tied the game with single to center field to score Walsh.
The Devils took the lead in the bottom of the second with a single unearned run. Senior third baseman Mike Lopez led the inning off by reaching on a throwing error by Tech third baseman Nick Blankenship. ASU right fielder Jonah Martin plated the go-ahead run with a double down the left field line. The Devils threatened again in the third by putting two runners on base after a leadoff double by Myers, but Lopez lined into a double play to end the inning and potential scoring threat.
Texas Tech scored the equalizer with one swing of the bat in the top of the fourth inning. Shortstop Gera Alvarez belted his seventh home run of the year over the left field fence to tie the game at 2-2. The see-saw battle continued with the Red Raiders using the long ball again to tie the game.
The Sun Devils broke open the 3-3 tie with a nine-run outburst in the bottom of the seventh inning. Opening the frame with five consecutive hits, ASU sent 12 runners to the plate and tallied eight hits en route to the big inning. Junior center fielder Chris Duffy continued his hot hitting by leading off the seventh with a solo home run for his fourth homer of the year and his third in the last eight games. Myers followed with a single to center and Allen doubled down the left field line. A single to center by Conrad plated two runs and a bloop single by senior first baseman Jeff Phelps added to ASU's lead. Myers finished off the nine-run inning with a home run to deep center field that nearly cleared the batting eye some 410-feet from home plate.
Torres shut down the Red Raiders, throwing two shutout innings down the stretch to seal the victory for the Sun Devils.
Arizona State 12, Texas Tech 3 (May 25, 2001 at Fullerton, Calif.) ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Texas Tech.......... 100 100 100 - 3 11 2 (40-19-1) Arizona State....... 110 001 90X - 12 17 1 (37-18-1) ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Pitchers: Texas Tech - Roberson, B., Ertel, C.(5), Rowe, S.(7), Larsen, M.(7), Fossum, C.(8). Arizona State - Esposito, Torres(6). Win-Torres(13-4) Loss-Ertel, C.(3-3) T-2:54 A-1037 HR TTU - Alvarez, G. (7), Smith, B. (7), HR ASU - Duffy (4), Myers (7).
Copy By Jeff R. Evans
ASU Media Relations