Complete Game by Flores Nets Series Sweep

The ASU offense did what fans have come to expect, Brian Flores did what fans saw at the beginning of the season and the Oregon State defense threw in six errors as the Devils clinched at least a tie for the Pac-10 championship with an 8-1 victory over the Beavers, earning the series sweep in Corvallis.

The junior Flores climbed on the mound at the beginning of the game knowing what was on the line for Pat Murphy and the hometown nine - a possible Pac-10 championship - and did anything but disappoint in the convincing victory to take nearly all of the drama out of the upcoming midweek series against rival University of Arizona.

Flores, looking to rebound from a disappointing start against UCLA started the final game of the series strong, retiring the first five batters he faced – one on a pickoff after a leadoff walk – as he cruised through the Beaver lineup knowing he had the mighty Devil bats waiting in the wings. Flores gave up one hit and one run in the third inning to give the Beavers the early 1-0 lead, however, from there on out, Flores was absolutely untouchable. From the fourth inning on Flores did not allow a hit and only allowed one runner past second base, retiring the final 14 batters in order, including the final four on strikes.

With the pitching and defense side taken care of in the Flores masterpiece, it was up to the ASU offense to slug their way to victory and when that is the only thing standing in between a win and a loss, the Devils easily find ways to get it done. Tonight was no exception to the rule, even after falling behind early and not registering a run until the top of the third when the Oregon State defense failed starting pitcher Jorge Reyes for the first time of many.

Andrew Romine got things started in the third when, after Rocky Laguna grounded out, he knocked a single through the left side and stole his way into scoring position as Joe Persichina stood at home plate. Persichina struck out next but the final pitch was in the dirt, enabling him to reach first base and when Oregon State catcher Erik Ammon tried to gun him down at first, the ball got past the first baseman, allowing Romine to score the tying run and set the tone for much of the ballgame.

After the fourth inning, where a two RBI single by Petey Paramore gave the Devils their first lead of the game, the ledger turned to the fifth and once more, the Beaver defense blew up, allowing a bevy of Devil runs to cross the plate and all but finish off the series sweep.

Persichina, batting in the ninth spot, led off the fifth with a grounder that shortstop Darwin Barney misplayed and after the Tim Smith sacrifice bunt, Brett Wallace stepped the plate and blasted the Reyes offering over the right field fence, scoring two runs and increasing the Devil lead to four. Before Persichina grounded out to finish the inning, two more errors had been tacked on to the Beaver total allowing ASU to stretch the score to 8-1.

So with the victory, the Devils move their magic number to one, clinching at least a tie in the conference standings with Arizona. The Wildcats come in to Packard Stadium to finish out the regular season the 23rd through the 25th.

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