Improbable 9th Inning Gives ASU Series Win

The Sun Devils were down to their final strike on Sunday afternoon, ever so close to dropping their second straight Pac-10 series. But then the bats woke up, and three home runs platted eight players and helped ASU to rally past Washington State 16-13. It was a wild affair that saw both teams blow five-run leads en route to the Devils snatching away a road victory from the Cougars in Pullman.

The roller coaster game, which capped a three-game series that saw most fans in Bailey-Brayton field since 1990, started off looking dismal for ASU (30-4, 6-3 Pac 10) and their starter Stephen Sauer.

Sauer started things by walking Travis Coulter to start the first and Scott Suttmeier followed with a single. Paul Gran then made it 2-0 Cougars with a double to right field that scored Suttmeier and Coulter. After Sauer got Jim Murphy to line out to center, Cougar pitcher Jared Prince singled up the middle to score Gran and ended Sauer's day just 1/3 of an inning into the game with Washington St. (19-15, 3-6 Pac 10) leading 3-0. Tommy Rafferty took over and worked himself out of the jam.

The Devils would give Rafferty the lead in the 3rd with a six run outburst highlighted by an Ike Davis grand slam. Ryan Sontag started things with a single up the middle and Brett Wallace walked. Jason Kipnis reached on a bunt single loading the bases for Davis who unloaded on a 1-0 pitch and sent it over the right field fence to give the Devils a 4-3 lead. Jared Prince's day ended after walking Petey Paramore following the grand slam.

Andrew Davis didn't fare any better as Marcel Champagnie greeted him with a single to center. Matt Newman followed with an infield single that scored Paramore and Davis committed an error on a bunt attempt by Raoul Torrez that allowed Champagnie to make it 6-3 ASU.

The Devils would tack on a run in the fourth on a RBI groundout by Paramore and another one in the fifth on a sac fly by Sontag to make it 8-3 ASU.

The Cougars eventually got to Rafferty when he began to run out of steam in the fifth inning. Rafferty hit Greg Lagreid with a pitch to start the frame and Alex Burg followed with a double down the left field line to make it 8-4. Later in the inning, Suttmeier added a RBI double of his own to cut the lead to 8-5 and chased Rafferty. Reyes Dorado took over and walked Gran before allowing a two run triple to Murphy to cut ASU's lead to 8-7.

Burg tied the game with a solo home run in the sixth off of Dorado and Coulter doubled with two outs to force Murphy to hand the ball to Ike Davis. Davis worked out of the sixth and Murphy went back to Dorado for the start of the seventh inning.

Dorado gave up a lead-off single to Gran and hit Murphy with a pitch before being replaced by Seth Blair. After getting one out, Blair hit Simi Reynolds with a pitch to load the bases and Lagreid capitalized with a sacrifice fly to give Washington State a 9-8 lead. Ike Davis then took back over on the mound and Shea Vucinich greeted him with a double to left that cleared the bases and put Washington State ahead 12-8.

After ASU went 1-2-3 in the top of the eighth, Paul Gran homered down the left field line to increase the Cougar lead to 13-8 and it seemed like the Devils would need a miracle rally in the ninth and they got just that off of Friday night's starter Ross Humes .

Paramore got things started by walking with one out and Kiel Roling then doubled down the left field line. Marcel Champagnie started the home run barrage with a three run shot to left field to cut the Cougar lead to 13-11. Pinch hitter Greg Bordes grounded out for the second out, leaving the Devils trailing by two and down to their last out.

Raoul Torrez kept their chances alive with a single off of Humes to set up Ryan Sontag for some heroics. The senior sent his second home run over the right field wall to tie the game at 13-13. Brett Wallace continued the two-out rally with a single and Humes then walked Kipnis to bring the red hot Ike Davis to the plate. Davis added to his big day by sending a bomb to right field for a three run shot that gave the Devils the lead for good at 16-13.

Davis finished with two home runs and seven RBI, his fifth multi-homer game of the year. It was Davis that finished things out on the mound, pitching a scoreless ninth to pick up his fourth win of the season on the mound. It wasn't a typical outing, as Davis pitched 2 2/3 innings that were spread out over the final three innings.

The Devils rally gives them their 30th win on the season, the 46th straight season that Arizona State has won at least 30 games.

Arizona State will try and bottle their momentum and use it when they return home next weekend after their longest road trip of the year. The two-time defending National Champion Oregon St. Beavers come into Packard Stadium for a three game set that begins on Friday at 7PM. The Beavers (16-12, 4-5 Pac 10) lost two out of three games against Stanford after picking up an extra inning win against the Cardinal in game one. Arizona State defeated Oregon St. 11-0 earlier in a non-conference game during the DeMarini Invitational at Packard.

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