Gutsy Leake Tosses Complete Game Win Over Cal

It had all the makings of a great pitcher's duel with two of the nation's best pitchers squaring off in Mike Leake and Tyson Ross. At the beginning of Friday night's Pac 10 showdown both teams lit the scoreboard early, but Mike Leake recovered to save a well used ASU bullpen by tossing a gutsy complete game in an 11-7 victory over California in front of 2,784 at Packard Stadium.

The complete game was Leake's fourth complete game in his Sun Devil career that has seen him pick up 20 wins in just over one and a half seasons. Leake is just the ninth player in school history to pick up 20 wins in two seasons.

Cal jumped on Leake in the first to take an early 1-0 lead. Charlie Cutler singled with one out and stole second. Leake worked around the dangerous Josh Satin before Brett Jackson made him pay with a single to left that scored Cutler making it 1-0.

ASU responded by grabbing the lead with a three run first against Cal ace Tyson Ross. Ross, who didn't seem to have his best stuff, walked Ryan Sontag to start the inning and after a Jason Kipnis' sacrifice bunt, Brett Wallace was hit by a pitch. Ike Davis grounded out to second, advancing the runners to second and third. Ross would bounce one to the backstop that allowed Sontag to score to tie the game at 1-1. Petey Paramore and Kiel Roling walked to load the bases for Matt Newman who quickly took advantage with a single up the middle that scored two to give ASU a 3-1 lead.

Cal regained the lead against Leake in the second, partially due to errors by Leake himself. Leake hit Blake Smith with a pitch and then threw away a pickoff throw to allow Smith to advance to second. Michael Brady hit one back to Leake who got Smith caught in between second and third and Greg Bordes made a strong throw to Brett Wallace to retire Smith with Brady reaching first. Jeff Kobernus and Rich Gorman followed with singles to load the bases and Leake hit Cutler with a pitch to make it 3-2.

David Cooper hit a soft ground ball back to Leake who couldn't handle the ball and eventually threw late to the plate and Kobernus scored to tie the game at 3-3. Josh Satin hit a groundball to Raoul Torrez who got the out at second, but Bordes' throw was late allowing a run to score. Brett Jackson then singled to right to score another Bear's run and giving Cal a 5-3 lead.

ASU got a run back in the bottom of the second to cut the Cal lead to 5-4. Raoul Torrez started things by reaching on an error by Satin and Greg Bordes followed with a sharp single to center. Ryan Sontag sacrificed the runners to second and third and Torrez scored on a sacrifice fly by Kipnis.

The Bears would add to their lead in the fifth and once again it started with a walk. Leake walked Jackson to start the inning and then hit Dylan Tonneson with a pitch. Blake Smith followed by roping a triple into the corner that scored Jackson but Tonneson was gunned at the plate by a perfect relay from Matt Newman to Raoul Torrez and on to Petey Paramore who blocked the plate for the out. Rich Gorman would add a two out RBI single to score Smith and made it 7-4 Bears.

Brett Wallace homered to lead off the fifth to cut the lead to 7-5 before ASU exploded for four runs in the sixth to take the lead. Torrez was the igniter again, walking to start the inning and after a Bordes' strikeout Ryan Sontag singled on a perfectly executed hit and run. Ross would be called for a balk on a third to first pickoff move that scored Torrez and made it 7-6. Jason Kipnis would single, advancing Sontag to third and during Wallace's at bat, Kipnis stole second.

Wallace followed with an RBI single that tied the game at 7-7. Ike Davis struck out with runners at the corners, but Ross walked Paramore to load the bases. With the runners on the move with a full count and two outs, Kiel Roling beat out an infield single and Brett Wallace scored all the way from second on that infield single and the Devils had a 9-7 lead.

Tyson Ross, one of the top pitchers in the nation, struggled on Friday, allowing eight earned runs in just 5 1/3 innings.

ASU would add insurance runs in seventh and eighth to build their lead to 11-7. Ryan Sontag's sac fly scored Torrez in the seventh and pinch hitter Andy Workman grounded out to score pinch hitter Marcel Champagnie in the eighth.

Leake settled down after the fifth, blanking the Bears the rest of the way. Leake allowed seven runs; five earned to pick up his seventh victory of the year, but was sensational after settling down after a rough first few innings.

Sontag, Roling and Wallace each had multiple hits for ASU and Wallace, Roling and Matt Newman each collected multiple RBIs for the Devils who stayed one game behind Stanford, who defeated USC to stay atop the Pac 10.

ASU and Cal will resume their three game series tomorrow evening at 6 PM at Packard Stadium. Kevin Miller is expected to take his Pac 10 leading ERA to the mound for Cal on Saturday, with Stephen Sauer likely going for the Devils.

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