Devils Rally to Defeat Wolverines

Every team needs to have a come from behind win early in the season to show their fortitude. The Arizona State Sun Devils got just that on Saturday evening in Surprise. The Devils scored five runs in the bottom of the 7th to rally and defeat the #11 Michigan Wolverines 8-4 in front of 4,553 fans at Surprise Stadium.

"It is the first time we haven't had the lead," said ASU Head Coach Pat Murphy, "That is good for our ballclub."

The Devils found themselves trailing for the first time in 45 innings after Michigan plated two runs in the top of the first against ASU starter Josh Satow. After Satow retired leadoff hitter Jason Christian, Leif Mahler laid down a perfect bunt for a base hit. Nate Recknagel singled to left and Zach Putnam doubled to right plating Mahler and Recknagel.

ASU battled back in the bottom of the first to even the score. Brett Wallace led off against Michigan ace Zach Putnam with a single. Jason Kipnis followed with an opposite field double off the left field fence. After a Kiel Roling strikeout, Ike Davis walked to load the bases. Putnam then walked Petey Paramore to force in ASU's first run of the day.

Marcel Champagnie battled Putnam for ten pitches before striking out and it looked like Putnam would get out of the jam, but his first pitch to Matt Newman bounced past catcher Chris Berset scoring Kipnis. The Devils forced Putnam to throw 36 first inning pitches. Putnam would leave the game after just three innings.

Mike Jones would score on a sacrifice fly by Jason Kipnis in the fourth to put the Devils ahead 3-2.

Josh Satow settled down nicely after a rough first inning and gave ASU 5 2/3 strong innings. Satow ran into a jam in the 6th when Zach Putnam singled and then Adam Abraham would send a rocket into center field at Mike Jones. The second base umpire ruled that Jones caught the ball forcing Putnam to retreat to first base, before realizing the ball hadn't been caught.

The home plate umpire ruled the ball was not caught and by that time, Putnam could only get to second base. It was just a long single for Abraham. After a lengthy argument from Murphy, he decided to take the ball from Satow and give it to Tommy Rafferty. Rafferty would escape the jam by retiring Derek VanBuskirk.

"The one called him out who was closest to the play and the one farthest away called him safe," said Murphy, "I think they got it right."

"Josh (Satow) did better. He had some bad luck in the first inning and he battled back. That is typical Josh fashion, put up four zeros after that," said Murphy.

Rafferty would run into his own trouble in the seventh when Ryan LaMarre singled with one out. Jason Christian followed with a single, and Leif Mahler singled in LaMarre to tie the game at 3-3. After Rafferty got Recknagel to fly out to right, Murphy decided to give the ball to Ike Davis. Davis, who only made seven pitching appearances last season, was faced with the task of facing Putnam. Putnam took Davis' first pitch through the hole between short and third to give Michigan a 4-3 lead.

"I don't know how he hit it," said Davis, "The ball was pretty low. He put a good swing on it and put it in a good spot."

ASU rallied in the bottom of the seventh, thanks to five Michigan walks. Michigan pitcher Michael Powers walked Kipnis and Kiel Roling to start the seventh before giving way to Scottsdale native Mike Dufek. Ike Davis sacrificed the runners to second and third and Dufek intentionally walked Petey Paramore loading the bases for Champagnie.

Dufek walked Champagnie forcing in a run to tie the game at 4-4. Matt Newman gave the Sun Devils the lead with a base hit to right field plating two runs. After a Mike Leake walk, Raoul Torrez would bloop a single into right to plate another run and Brett Wallace would cap the inning with his third hit of the day making it 8-4 Devils. The rest of the game belonged to Ike Davis who made quick work of the Wolverines the rest of the way.

"That is the longest I've pitched in awhile, even in practice," said Davis, "I felt pretty good. Coach asked me if I could stay in there and I said yes. I feel tired now but I have a few days to rest."

"Outstanding," said Murphy of Davis, "Made big pitches, it wasn't just his stuff, and he made great pitches in big counts. He wants to pitch."

All of ASU's pitchers benefited from another great defensive showing by the Devils. Many plays were highlight reel worthy.

"That was the name of the game," said Murphy, "What can you say; we had four big time plays."

It was good for ASU to get two wins in Surprise, a normally unkind venue for them to play at.

"It is a tough place for us to play, that is why we do it," said Murphy, "It is a totally different ballpark than what we are used to. The ball plays tremendously different. You have to challenge your ball club."

Ike Davis, Marcel Champagnie and Jason Kipnis were named to the All-Tournament Team for the Coca-Cola Classic which concludes tomorrow. Kipnis, who still can't feel two of his fingers on his right hand after being hit by a pitch on Friday, was named tournament MVP.

ASU will return to Tempe to take on Portland Pilots tomorrow afternoon at Packard Stadium. First pitch is at 1 PM.

"This team (Portland) beat Michigan. Nobody is expecting much, but I think they are good," said Murphy.

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