Gators Power Past Sun Devils, End CWS Run

The 2005 baseball season came to an end for the Arizona State Sun Devils Thursday evening, as the Devils lost to the Florida Gators 6-3 in the 59th College World Series in Omaha Nebraska. The Devils (42-25) had an amazing post-season run to end the year, but their run for the title ended with three big swings of the bat.

The Devils jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning after back-to-back doubles by senior first baseman Jeff Larish and right fielder Travis Buck. Larish led off the game with a deep double to centerfield and scored one batter later after Buck doubled him home with a lined shot to left center. Buck later came around to score on a wild pitch by Gator starter Alan Horne. The Devils added to their lead the very next inning, as senior Joey Hooft scored on a two-out single by Larish. Hooft had led off the inning with a single to left field.

The Devils held their lead until the bottom of the fourth inning, where the Gators scored two runs after a two-run blast to right by Gator right fielder Brian Leclerc. Leclerc ripped the 3-1 offering by senior right-hander Jason Urquidez and sent it to the right field bleachers for his 14th homerun of the year. One inning later the Devils would lose their lead for good, as the Gators pounded out two more homeruns to take the 6-3 lead. Urquidez was pulled after walking the first batter to start the fifth in favor of left-handed reliever Brett Bordes.

Bordes allowed a quick single up the middle to the first batter he faced to put runners on the corners. Second baseman Adam Davis then sent Bordes' first pitch fastball into the left field bleachers to give the Gators their first lead of the game at 5-3. The very next batter, first baseman Matt LaPorta followed with a towering homerun down the left field line that left the stadium. The homerun was his NCAA leading 26th of the season. Bordes received the loss to drop to 5-7 on the year and wasn't able to record a single out before being replaced on the mound. He allowed three runs on three hits and a walk. Urquidez, who was pitching for the second straight time on only two days of rest, lasted four innings, allowing three runs on four hits and two walks.

The Devils just couldn't get the bats going in order to mount the comeback. They had a few hard hit balls, but every time they made good contact on the pitch it seemed to be right at a Gator fielder. The other reason the Devils struggled at the plate was due to the strong relief performance by right-hander Tommy Boss. Boss (9-4) relieved Horne in the fourth inning after Horne apparently hurt his leg while throwing a pitch. Boss came in and showed the Devils who the boss was on this day, pitching 5.2 scoreless innings while allowing just four hits.

The Devils showed tremendous heart and fight throughout the season and especially in the post-season. This team and the coaching staff deserve a big hand for the great season they gave us. After struggling earlier in the season and in some key conference match ups late in the year, the Devils were able to bounce back and overcome all the adversity they'd been through and defied the odds by making it a lot further than most had predicted. They not only made the entire Pac 10 proud with their remarkable run at the title, they made the state of Arizona very proud as well.

They gained the respect of fans all over the globe with their hustle, heart, class, and never say die attitude. This team was one of the final three teams to be playing for a shot at the CWS title and was just a win away from having that opportunity. Yes it is disappointing that things didn't work out like the Devils would have liked, but hopefully this is a sign of things to come for the Arizona State Sun Devils. Thanks Devils for an amazing season and for all the great memories you have given us throughout the 2005 season.

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