Devils Sweep Regionals, Continue Post-Season Run

The Arizona State Sun Devils capped off the Tempe Regional in great fashion Sunday night, as they beat the No. 1 seeded Coastal Carolina Chanticleers 9-5 and finished the regional 3-0. The win was the season-high seventh straight for the Devils, who now advance to the Super Regionals.

The Devils received a very strong performance from their bullpen today, as sophomore right-hander Pat Bresnehan and junior left-hander Brett Bordes combined to throw six innings while allowing just one run. Sophomore Colin Curtis provided the offense, going 2-for-4 including a huge three-run homer that put the Devils up for good.

Coastal led took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first after scoring a unearned run due to a throwing error by Sun Devil shortstop Andrew Romine. However, that lead would be short-lived, as the Devils responded like they have done the entire regional, by scoring two runs of their own in the bottom of the first. Senior first baseman Jeff Larish led off the inning by drawing a walk. Larish then advanced to second on junior Travis Buck's single up the middle. Sophomore Colin Curtis would also draw a walk to load the bases for freshman designated hitter Willy Fox.

Fox battled to stay alive after falling behind 0-2, before driving a 2-2 pitch to the left field warning track to drive in a run. The next batter, senior catcher Tuffy Gosewisch was intentionally walked to reload the bases for sophomore second baseman Seth Dhaenens. Dhaenens, hit a groundball to the shortstop that looked like it would be a double play ball, but Dhaenens beat out the throw to first to drive in the run from third.

The Chanticleers added another run on junior starter Tony Barnette in the top of the third to tie the game a two. Barnette ran into some more trouble in the fourth, as he allowed the first two batters in the inning hit back-to-back solo homeruns to put the Chanticleers up 4-2.

Chanticleer second baseman Michael DeJesus was the first batter to drive the ball deep over the right field fence, followed by a shot to straight away centerfield by right fielder Tommy Baldridge. After the two homeruns, Sun Devil head coach Pat Murphy had seen enough and called to the bullpen for right-hander Pat Bresnehan. Barnette finished the day allowing four runs (two earned), on four hits, while striking out two, in three innings of work. Bresnehan (4-4) would be brilliant over the next 2.2 innings, as he didn't allow a single hit while striking out two to pick up his fourth win of the season.

While Bresnehan took over on the mound, the Devils would take over on the scoreboard, scoring three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to regain the lead at 5-4. The three runs came thanks to a three-run homer by Curtis that bounced off the foul pole. Curtis ripped a 1-0 fastball that was hooking right but just managed to stay fair to give the Devils the led and momentum. Chanticleer starter Kevin Marrie, said he had intended for the pitch to be an outside fastball but it ended up on the inside half of the plate where Curtis could pull it.

When asked about the dramatic homerun Curtis said, "I got a pitch and luckily I hit it out. I've been due for awhile." When asked what was going through his mind as he watched the ball, Curtis went on to say, "It was kind of like the Carlton Fisk, stay fair, stay fair! Then it the foul pole and I got a little excited and gave a little fist pump." The inning started with back-to-back singles by Larish and Buck to set up the homerun for Curtis. From there the Devils never really looked back.

The Devils added one more in the sixth to take a 6-4 lead, after a routine grounder hit by Buck that would have ended the inning rolled between the legs of a dejected Chanticleer second baseman. The Chanticleers were threatening in the seventh down just two runs, as the leadoff man drew a walk from Sun Devil reliever Brett Bordes.

After a sacrifice bunt moved the runner to second, Chanticleer third baseman Chris Todd, ripped a ball back up the middle that bounced off the foot of Bordes and bounced straight to Sun Devil shortstop Andrew Romine, who in turn flipped the ball over to third to get the lead runner out. If not for the quick reaction of Bordes, who intentionally stuck out his foot to deflect the ball, the Chanticleers would have been in business with just one man out.

The Devils added an insurance run in the seventh and two more in the eighth on a wild pitch that scored Larish followed by an RBI double by Gosewisch. With two outs in the top of the ninth and trailing by five runs the Chanticleers made things a little interesting and somewhat nerve-racking for the Sun Devil faithful. After a single, error, and a double, the Chanticleers had runners on second and third with one run already in.

All-American first baseman/pitcher Mike Costanzo then stepped to the plate with the tying run on-deck. Bordes ended the threat by striking out Costanzo looking to end the game. Bordes pitched the final 3.1 innings of the ballgame, allowing just one run on three hits while striking out three to pick up his third save of the season.

Costanzo who was a Golden Spikes Award Finalist and top prospect in next week's upcoming draft had a tough weekend against the Devils. Costanzo went a combined 1-for-9 with a run and two RBI while striking out five times in the two games against the Devils. Costanzo, had this to say following his team's loss, "Their pitchers just kept me off balance, I just wasn't seeing it real well. I just didn't have a good weekend. You have to tip your hat to those guys (Sun Devils), they beat us twice."

Chanticleer head coach Gary Gilmore admitted that his team was tired after having to play two straight games in the Arizona heat. He commented that being in the sun for seven to eight straight hours would eventually take its toll. He went on to say that his team "lost to a very, very good team." The Chanticleer players also admitted that fatigue and the heat took its toll on them.

Offensively the Devils recorded 16 hits and had six players record more than one hit. Senior Jeff Larish (2-for-4, 3 R, BB), junior Travis Buck (3-for-5, 3 R, SB), sophomore Colin Curtis (2-for-4, HR, R, 3 RBI, BB), senior Tuffy Gosewisch (2-for-4, RBI, BB) sophomore Seth Dhaenens (2-for-5, R, RBI, SB) and freshman J.J. Sferra (2-for-4, R) were the six Devils to record a multi-hit game.

The Devils will now wait to see what happens in the Fullerton Regional to see whom they will face in the Super Regional and where it will be held. The two possible opponents are the Cal State Fullerton Titans and Arizona Wildcats. Fullerton is a familiar foe that knocked ASU out of last year's regional.

The Wildcats won the season series against Pat Murphy's Sun Devils for the first time in ten years and took four out of five from the Devils this year. The Devils will found out where they'll be playing on Tuesday and could find out whom they'll be facing by tonight or Monday night at the latest.

On a side note, five Sun Devil players were named to the All-Regional Team, they were senior catcher Tuffy Gosewisch (.500 BA, 4 R, 10 RBI, 2 BB), sophomore outfielder Colin Curtis (.545 BA, HR, 6 R, 3 RBI, 3 BB), freshman outfielder J.J. Sferra (.538 BA, 4 R, 2 SB), senior first baseman Jeff Larish (.545 BA, 2 HR, 8 R, 5 RBI, 2 BB) and starting pitcher Erik Averill (1-0, 3.00 ERA, 8 SO). Averill and Gosewisch were named Co-Most Outstanding Players for the regional.

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