Devils Outslug Beavers to Avoid Sweep

It was the usual Sunday in the Pac-10, a plethora of offense and not a lot of pitching. Just a day after two consecutive games of being shut down by Oregon St. pitching, the Arizona State Sun Devils burst out for 15 runs on 12 hits and outlasted the Beavers 15-12 in the final contest of the three-game series at Packard Stadium.

Sunday's game was certainly a slugfest, as both teams combined for 26 hits and launched three home runs. The teams also used a combined 12 pitchers that gave up 27 runs.

"We're scuffling. We've been scuffling for three weeks. But we're scuffling against team like Stanford, Washington State and Oregon State, very experienced Pac-10 teams," said ASU Head Coach Pat Murphy.

"When we get out of this and start playing good, maybe we'll be able to make up that one game we're behind in the conference."

Murphy thinks that his team has responded well to the challenges they've been faced with all season.

"These guys have a lot of pressure on them, and they've come through all year. How many times do juniors not do it? They've just put that behind them. I'm just really proud of them."

Murphy doesn't understand the expectations of his team to be perfect.

"Why should we be so perfect when we only have four returning starters? This is the first time in the last three years, really, that our fans have seen us struggle. But they've been great; the support we've gotten has been awesome."

The Devils jumped out to an early lead off of Oregon State starter and 2007 College World Series MVP Jorge Reyes. Leadoff hitter Ryan Sontag started his big offensive day with a single and Kipnis followed with a walk. Brett Wallace then worked Reyes for a 10 pitch at bat before sending his 10th home run out to left center to give ASU a 3-0 lead. Wallace's homer was his first since hitting one against Florida International on March 22nd.

"I haven't been swinging the bat as well as I could and with Ike being hurt, we all need to step up and take some of the pressure off his shoulder," said Wallace.

Oregon St. would respond in a big way by making Reyes Dorado's first start as a Sun Devil a short one. Jason Ogata would start the Beaver rally in the second with a leadoff single and would score on an RBI single by John Wallace after Ogata stole second base. After Dorado got Ryan Ortiz to hit into a fielder's choice, he walked Jordan Lennerton and allowed a single to Lonnie Lechelt that loaded the bases. Braden Wells followed with the first of his three hits on the day; this one scored Ortiz to make it 3-2. Dorado then walked Daniel Robertson to force in a run and tied the game at 3-3. That was the end of the day for Dorado as Pat Murphy gave the ball to Stephen Sauer.

OSU SS Joey Wong greeted Sauer by lining a double to right that plated two more Beaver runs and made it 5-3 Beavers. Drew George followed with an RBI groundout that capped the Beaver's six run second inning.

ASU didn't take too much time to respond with a big inning of their own, as ASU answered with five runs in their own half of the second. Rocky Laguna got things started with a one out single and Reyes hit Greg Bordes with a pitch. After Sontag struck out, Reyes walked Kipnis with two outs, loading the bases for Wallace. Wallace sent a single back up the middle that scored Laguna and Bordes and cut the Beaver lead to 6-5.

That brought Ike Davis to the plate with a chance to make up for lost time, as the Devils' first basemen missed yesterday's game with a strained hamstring. Davis did just that, launching a three run home run over Rural Road and onto Karsten Golf Course to give the Devils an 8-6 lead they would never relinquish.

The Devils would add to their lead in the fifth off of Beaver reliever Josh Osich. Davis led off the inning with a walk and Petey Paramore reached on an error by OSU shortstop Joey Wong. Matt Newman walked to load the bases with nobody out. After Torrez struck out looking, Rocky Laguna sent a single to right that scored Davis and made it 9-6 ASU. Greg Bordes then hit what looked to be a routine double play ball at Wong, but the usually reliable Wong bobbled the ball allowing Bordes to beat out the return throw which scored Paramore. Ryan Sontag would add to the damage with an RBI single that made it 11-6.

The Beavers would get to ASU reliever Tommy Rafferty in the sixth inning and cut the Devils lead to 11-9. After getting two quick outs, Rafferty allowed a bunt single to Braden Wells. Wells stole second and scored on a bloop single by Robertson. Joey Wong then hit his second home run of the series to put the Beavers right back into the game.

The Devils widened the gap in the bottom half of the sixth by responding with four runs of their own. Wallace and Davis both walked to start the inning and Paramore moved them up with a sacrifice bunt. Beaver Head Coach Pat Casey chose to intentionally walk Matt Newman, a move that would backfire as Raoul Torrez lined a double down the third base line that cleared the bases and increased ASU's lead to 14-9. Ryan Sontag would add an RBI single later in the inning to make it 15-9 Devils.

Ike Davis brought some stability to what was a crazy day for pitchers. Davis pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings before the Beavers got to him in the ninth. Oregon St. connected for two doubles against a tiring Davis. When it was all said and done, Davis worked 3 1/3 innings to pick up his fourth save of the year. Stephen Sauer was the only ASU pitcher to not allow a run and picked up his fourth win of the season.

"I was hitting my spots in the first couple of innings then I guess I missed a little bit. I thought they were pretty close. Then I pitched them over the middle, and they hit it pretty hard," said Davis.

Davis said his hamstring felt better, but it still was sore and he couldn't run hard on Sunday.

"I had it wrapped up tight, and I didn't run hard. The only way it hurt was when I had to cover first. Other than that I struck out or walked every time and then I hit a home run so I didn't have to run the bases," said Davis.

The Devils will now head to California for a two-game midweek series with the 18th ranked Cal St. Fullerton Titans before they return home to face Cal next weekend. Game one is on Tuesday at 6PM.

"It'll be great, top ten team," said Murphy, "The fans and atmosphere, it'll be great."

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