Devils Win a Thriller in Corvallis

As the Sun Devils ventured back into the Pac-10 schedule, they learned once more that pitching and defense wins ballgames, no matter how potent the offense may be. Mike Leake took his customary Friday mound time and handled the start with the poise of a veteran, leading ASU to a 4-3 victory over defending NCAA champion Oregon State and one step closer to the Pac-10 championship.

Leake, looking to improve his record to 11-1 on the year, took control of the game early and never gave in to the potent Beaver attack, pitching 8 2/3 innings before giving way to Jason Jarvis who got the last out of the game to earn his seventh save. Leake only allowed five hits that enabled the Beavers to score two of their three runs on the night, the final one coming as an unearned run in the ninth off of Jarvis.

Coming off a series that saw him scorch the ball all over the field, Matt Spencer took the leadership role in the ASU lineup. The Devils took an early one run lead before a Mitch Canham solo home run vaulted Oregon State back into a deadlock, from there, Spencer made sure things would not stay locked up for long. In the third inning, following the second of three hits for Eric Sogard, Spencer laced a double to left center that allowed Sogard to score and for ASU to take back the lead.

Going in to the ninth inning, with Leake tiring, Murphy decided to stick with the man who got him there. Leake took the mound and quickly retired the first two batters he faced before Matt Hall misplayed a ball, breaking the rhythm for Leake who went on to walk the next batter before being relieved by the freshman Jarvis. Jarvis finished out the ninth inning in dramatic fashion as shortstop Andrew Romine speared a ball and tossed across the diamond to seal up the 39th ASU victory on the season, while moving them just a few short games from standing all alone atop the division standings in the Pac-10.

Sogard (three) and Ike Davis (two) were the only two Devils on the night whom recorded multiple hits off of Beaver starter Mike Stutes.

The second game of the pivotal three-game series takes place in Corvallis on Saturday afternoon as the Devils look to earn their 40th win and move still closer to clinching the league's crown.

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