Ninth Inning Comeback Gives ASU Series Win

The Arizona State Sun Devils won in thrilling fashion Saturday night as they scored three times in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the No. 14 Stanford Cardinal 6-5. The win was the second in a row for the Devils and helped them move ahead of the Cardinals in the Pac-10 standings with a 5-3 record. Overall the Devils are now 24-15 on the year while the Cardinals dropped to 20-13 and 4-4 in Pac-10 play.

The Devils trailed by two runs heading in to the bottom of the ninth as redshirt freshman Rocky Laguna led off the inning with a single up the middle that just grazed the glove of a diving Stanford second baseman Jed Lowrie. Preseason All-American Travis Buck then stepped to the plate and absolutely crushed a two-run homer over the right-center field wall that cleared both fences. This tied the game at five and gave the Devils new light. After two consecutive outs sophomore outfielder Colin Curtis drew a walk that was followed up by a single off the bat of sophomore second baseman Seth Dhaenens.

With two men on and two out, the Stanford bullpen couldn't seem to find the strike zone as they walked the next two batters (senior third baseman Joey Hooft and sophomore shortstop Joe Persichina) which resulted in the winning run crossing the plate. The win was a huge confidence booster for a Devils team that was on the other end of a last inning series clinching victory last weekend at Cal.

The Devils had built an early two-run lead in the second inning after Persichina ripped a two-out triple to right-center field that scored two runs. Stanford came right back the very next inning to score a run of their own off Sun Devil starter Jason Urquidez. Urquidez and Stanford starter Jeff Gilmore were both able to find their groove over the next few innings as the score remained 2-1 until the sixth when Stanford scored one more run to tie the game up at two.

The wheels fell off for Urquidez in the top of the seventh as he allowed two more runs and was pulled from the game. Urquidez looked very good in the no-decision pitching six innings allowing four runs on eight hits while striking out eight. Senior right-hander Ty Marotz (1-1, 3.94 ERA) picked up his first win of the year in relief as he struck out two in one scoreless inning of work.

Offensively, the Devils were led by Buck's 2-for-5 performance, which included one run and three RBI's and his third homer of the season. Persichina also added RBI's while going 1-for-4. Laguna was 2-for-4 including two runs.

The Sun Devils will look to sweep the Cardinals tomorrow afternoon as they finish the three game series with a 1 p.m. match-up at Packard Stadium.

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