Devils Sweep Bears, Head to Houston Regional

Three wins weren't enough for the Devils to land a regional in next week's NCAA tournament, but sweeping the Cal Bears to end the season should give the Devils confidence as they head to Houston as a #2 seed in next week's regional. ASU needed to finish off the season strong to help there post-season seeding, and they got thing started off right by defeating the Bears 13-5 in Friday's opener.

Offensively the Devils pounded out 15 hits on that night. Outfielder, Coin Curtis, led the way with three hits in five at bats. He also led the team with four RBI's and two runs scored on the night. The game was still reasonably close until the bottom of the fifth, where the Devils erupted for eight runs. Third baseman, Eric Sogard, drove in three runs for the Devils on the night, and freshman, Ike Davis, belted his team-leading ninth homerun of the year.

The Devils also got a strong performance on the mound from lefty, Josh Satow. Satow (4-1) picked up his fourth win on the year, after allowing just one run on four hits while striking out four in five innings of work. Brady Martinez came in to pitch the final four innings to earn his second save of the season.

The Devils didn't let up on Saturday and went on to win 9-3 after falling behind early by a score of 3-0. The Devils had just one hit in the game going into the sixth inning, but a big two-run homerun off the bat of Eric Sogard helped to wake up the Devils bats. The homerun by Sogard tied the game at three and was his team leading ninth (tied with Ike Davis) of the season. The Devils took the lead just an inning later, as outfielder Mike Jones drove in the go-ahead run with two outs with a line-drive to center field. Jones, who also plays WR for Dirk Koetter's Sun Devil football team, showed that he can get it done on both the gridiron and on the diamond too. Jones had started in Friday's game as well, but didn't get his first official at-bat of the season until Saturday. He ended the game 2-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI. His RBI not only gave the Devils the lead, but also sparked a four run two-out rally, which gave the Devils a 7-3 lead.

Starting pitcher, Tony Barnette, picked up his sixth win of the year to improve to 6-1 overall. Barnette allowed three runs on seven hits in seven innings of work, while striking out 10.

Sunday's game took 11 innings to decide the winner, but the Devils proved victorious again, as they pulled off the 7-6 extra-inning victory to give them the sweep. Not only did the win give the Devils the sweep, it also locked up second place in the Pac 10 with a record of 14-10. Overall the Devils finished the year 36-19. The Devils trailed 6-4 going into their last at-bat, but a two-run single off the bat of Sogard sent the game to extra innings where the Devils would win it in the 11th off a walk-off walk.

Sophomore outfielder, Ryan Sontag, scored the winning run for the Devils after leading off the inning with a triple. Sontag finished the game 3-for-4 with two runs and a RBI. Freshman lefty, Ike Davis, got the start in the game, but lasted only 2.2 innings after giving up six runs on four hits and six walks. The Devils bullpen came up big to keep the game close. Junior right-hander, Pat Bresnehan came through with five innings of shutout relief. Bresnehan didn't allow a single hit and walked one while striking out five in five innings of work.

Senior left-hander, Brett Bordes, picked up the win in his effort, giving him a team leading seven for the year. Bordes (7-1, 3.31 ERA), who decided to come back for his senior season, has been the Devils most reliable pitcher all season long. Without him returning to lead this team, the season could have ended very differently for the Devils.

The sweep still wasn't good enough to land a regional series for a second straight year. Instead, the Devils were rewarded a #2 seed and a trip to Houston where they'll be seeded with the #1 team in the country according to Baseball America, the Rice Owls. The Owls finished the year 50-10 and were crowned the C-USA champs. The Owls didn't lose a single weekend series the entire year, and come into the regional winners of 32 of their last 34 games. The Owls blasted 67 homeruns on the year, led by infielder Aaron Luna, who had 13. They also had a team batting average of .320. Infielder, Brian Friday, had a team high .379 batting average.

Preseason All-American candidate Josh Rodriguez might be the most dangerous bat in the lineup. Rodriguez hit .342 on the year with eight homeruns and 53 RBI's. Dual threat Joe Savery can get it done on the mound, or at the plate. Savery was also an preseason All-American candidate. He didn't disappoint, posting a 4-1 record with a 2.53 ERA on the mound, and a .332 batting average to go along with seven homeruns and a team-high 57 runs batted in. Even more impressive was the pitching staff, which held their opponents to a .228 batting average. Senior right-hander and preseason All-American pick, Eddie Degerman led the way with an 11-1 record. He was almost untouchable most of the season, compiling 136 strikeouts in 105 innings. Degerman also had an ERA of 1.80, which was only good for second best on the team.

Relief man and closer, Cole St. Clair, led the team with a 1.59 ERA. The lefty also compiled a 5-2 record and a team high 10 saves. The Devils did beat the Owls in ten innings, in their only match-up earlier in the year by a score of 6-5. The Devils will have their work cut out for them well before they even think about a possible match-up with the #1 team in the country. Friday, they open up regional play against the Baylor Bears.

Like the Devils, the Bears also played in last year's College World Series. They came into this year much like the Devils, young and full of talent, but missing some of the big names from last year's CWS squad. The Bears still managed to put together a solid season finishing 35-24. Offensively, the Bears are led by catcher, Zach Dillon, and outfielder, Seth Fortenberry. Dillon led the team with a .371 batting average, and Fortenberry led the team with nine homeruns and 44 runs batted in. The Bears are the three seed in the regional.

Prairie View A&M holds the fourth and final seed in the regional. They finished the year 33-20 with a 17-7 conference record, good enough to earn them the SWAC championship.

Nothings easy at this point of the season, and if the Devils want to create some fireworks again this year, they definitely won't have the easiest route. The Devils and head coach Pat Murphy have been here before and they know what it takes to get it done. Solid pitching and sound defense will be the key if this Sun Devil team wants to move on. And of course it wouldn't hurt to have a little of that magic that carried this team to just a win away from last year's title game.

Sun Devil Source Top Stories