Devils Even Up Super Regional

With last night's tough loss fresh in their minds and the possibility of their season coming to an end, the Arizona State Sun Devil baseball team was able to bounce back and show some heart with a 6-2 victory over the Cal State Fullerton Titans. Once again the Devils received a strong pitching performance on the mound courtesy of left-handed starter Erik Averill, who shut down the Titan bats in the win.

Averill (10-4) was dominant on the mound just as he was a week ago in the Tempe Regional, in picking up his 10th win of the season. Averill allowed just one run on five hits in 7.2 innings of work while striking out four Titan batters. Averill is now 2-0 with a 2.16 ERA in his two post-season starts this year.

Offensively senior Jeff Larish provided the pop for the Devils, as he crushed his 20th homerun of the season. Larish finished the game 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI.

The Devils jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first inning after senior catcher Tuffy Gosewisch stroked a single up the middle to drive home junior Travis Buck. Buck had reached base earlier in the inning by drawing a walk and later advanced to second with his 26th stolen base of the season to setup the RBI single. Larish would put the Devils on top 2-0 in the bottom of the sixth with a solo homerun down the right field line off Titan starter Ryan Schreppel.

The Titans battled back in the top of the eighth by scoring a run to cut the Devils lead in half. Averill ran into some trouble after issuing a one-out walk followed by a single. After a pop out to the shortstop, Titan second baseman Justin Turner stepped to the plate and drove a two-out single past a diving Joey Hooft at third, to knock in the Titans first run. Averill was then pulled in favor of left-handed reliever Brett Bordes who walked the first batter he faced to load the bases. Sun Devil head coach Pat Murphy then decided to make another call to the pen for right-hander Pat Bresnehan.

Bresnehan didn't even need to get the next batter out thanks to Sun Devil catcher Tuffy Gosewisch, who made a great throw down to third base to pickoff Titan first baseman Brett Pill. Pill took to big of a jump on the 2-1 pitch and was caught leaning, he made an attempt to dive back in to third base but a perfect strike by Gosewisch ended the Titan threat.

Sometimes it takes a big defensive play to get the offense going and maybe Gosewisch's play did just that, as the Devils added four huge insurance runs in the bottom half of the inning. Freshman shortstop Andrew Romine got things started with a leadoff triple to right that just missed a diving Sergio Pedroza's glove. Larish then stepped to the plate and delivered his second RBI of the game with a double down the left field line. Buck was then intentionally walked followed by a perfect bunt by junior Colin Curtis that moved the runners up 90 feet.

Gosewisch was the next batter up and reached base after being hit by a pitch. This setup a bases loaded double to left-center filed by Sun Devil pinch hitter Eric Sogard that scored Larish and Buck. Sogard, who is just a freshman, came up big for the Devils although he had just 20 at-bats on the year. The Devils scored one more run after a balk (hmm sound familiar) scored Gosewisch to make the score 6-1.

The Titans made things a little interesting in the ninth by scoring a run and having the possible tying run on deck, but Bresnehan got Pedroza to ground into a double play to end the threat. Bresnehan picked up his second save of the year in the process.

The Devils are just a game away from advancing to Omaha and will try to do so tomorrow as they face the Titans in the deciding game three at 3 p.m. at Goodwin Field.

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