Devils Tame Gators, Avoid Elimination

The Arizona State baseball team survived yet another day in the 59th College World Series, as they defeated the previously unbeaten Florida Gators 6-1 at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha. The Sun Devils (42-24) received another masterful performance on the mound from junior left-hander Erik Averill, as he pitched his fifth complete game of the year in the victory.

The Devils jumped out in front in the bottom of the first inning with a Travis Buck solo homerun. Buck crushed the 1-0 offering from Gator starter Bryan Ball (7-5) and sent the ball deep into the right field bleachers. The homerun was Buck's sixth of the year and it set the tone of the game early for the Devils. Buck also scored the second run for the Devils in the bottom of the fourth inning. The Devils added to their lead with an RBI groundout by sophomore Seth Dheanens that scored Buck, who had reached base earlier in the inning with a leadoff walk.

The Gators (47-21) cut the Devils lead in half in the fifth after a two out single by designated hitter Jared Kubin scored left fielder Gavin Dickey from second base. It would be the first and only run the Gators would score the entire game, as starter Erik Averill dominated the Gator hitters on the mound. Averill allowed just one run on five hits while striking out seven Gators in the complete game performance. He didn't allow even one walk on the day mainly because of his ability to hit his spots and get the first pitch over for a strike. Averill kept the Gator batters off balance all game long with a great mix of off speed pitches and by hitting his spots around the plate. Averill improved his record to 11-4 on the year with the victory and is 3-0 with a 2.01 ERA in the postseason.

The Devils added a run in the sixth after senior slugger Jeff Larish led of the inning with a double and was later driven in by sophomore Colin Curtis. Larish, who had three homeruns in yesterdays win over Nebraska, almost hit yet another homerun, as the double hit off the wall in left center field. Curtis ripped a single two batters later to increase the Devils lead to 3-1.

The Devils really opened up the game an inning later, as true freshman J.J. Sferra came through for his team once again, with a two-run single up the middle that scored Dhaenens and senior second baseman Joey Hooft. Dhaenens led off the inning with a walk and moved up to second after a single by Hooft. Designated hitter Rocky Laguna moved both runners into scoring position with a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt. With the Gator infield drawn in hoping to avoid any more damage, Sferra drove a line drive single to centerfield to score both runners. The Devils have played great fundamental baseball throughout the entire postseason and one of the keys to their success has been their ability to lay down the key bunt to move the runners into scoring position.

The Devils added on more insurance run in the eighth, after Curtis led off the inning with a double and later scored on a single by senior catcher Tuffy Gosewisch. Curtis hit what looked to be a lazy fly ball to Gator right fielder Brian Leclerc. However Leclerc lost the ball in the sun, which allowed Curtis to safely go to second base. Gosewisch then singled over the first baseman's head to make the score 6-1, which would be plenty of room with Averill taking the hill for the complete game in the ninth.

The Devils are now 5-0 in elimination games in the postseason and will look to make it 6-0 tomorrow as they face off against the Gators once again in what will be the most important game for both teams so far this season. The winner of tomorrow's contest will move on to face the Texas Longhorns in a three game series for the National Championship, while the loser will pack their bags and head home. The game is scheduled for a 4 p.m. PT start.

Sun Devil Source Top Stories