This Time Leake Wins It with His Bat

Just one night after tossing a complete game and leading his team to victory over the Golden Bears, Mike Leake once again was the deciding factor in an ASU win, only this time it was with his bat. His bases clearing triple in the bottom of the 7th gave the Devils an 11-7 victory to take the first two games of the series and clinch a series victory over Cal in front of 2,130 at Packard Stadium.

Leake, who last night used 148 pitches to grind out a tough complete game victory, started at first base in place of Ike Davis who missed his second straight Saturday game with an injury. This time it was a rib cage injury that kept the Sun Devil star out of the lineup.

"Leake was shocked today that he was playing," said ASU Head Coach Pat Murphy, "He was riding the bike and I said, ‘Hey Leake you're playing first base."

"Mike doesn't have a lot of at bats. His on base percentage is tremendous; he is a great defender and a great baseball mind. This was a weekend where without Ike, we needed somebody else to step up and be the superstar. Mike was certainly one of them."

"I'm glad they gave me the confidence to hit," said Leake, "It was nice, it turned out for the best, I guess."

"It's always nice to have that feeling of contributing to the team. When I'm not playing, I try to contribute on the bench as much as possible. Sometimes that is really hard to do. I'm just glad I finally got my chance."

As to the status of Davis, Murphy doesn't know how long his star will be out.

"It is one of those strains that can keep you out a long time," said Murphy, "I don't know the extent of it but it is going to take a little time to know the extent of it. We're going to be precautionary. Right now I'm just hoping and praying, he was not feeling good today. The great thing is that the team rose to the occasion."

The Devils jumped out to a 2-0 lead on Pac 10 ERA leader Kevin Miller in the bottom of the second. Petey Paramore led off with a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Mike Leake walked following a Kiel Roling strikeout and Raoul Torrez sacrificed the runners to second and third with two away. Greg Bordes picked up those runners by lifting a double to right center scoring both runners and giving ASU a 2-0 early led.

Bordes has seemed to have taken over the shortstop position for the time being from Marcel Champagnie. It is the first time in his four years as a Sun Devil that he has played consistently. "I'm just having fun out there. I've been here for four years and just been staying after it and grinding everyday and finally getting an opportunity. I'm just trying to make the most out of it and have fun with it," said Bordes.

"The greatest thing about Bordy is that he knows the game," said Murphy, "He is not on all cylinders right now; the kid hasn't played full time baseball in four years. He's been a role player for us; he comes from a great baseball family. This kid has been itching for a chance. I think it's time for Bordy to get a chance and he's making the most of it. I couldn't be happier."

"Much like (Dustin) Pedroia, he doesn't run, doesn't throw, can't move left to right, can't hit with power. He's just a player. He kind of reminds you of a mini-Pedroia, just a ballplayer."

On the double, Bordes got a fastball he liked and put a good swing on it and drove it to the gap.

"I'm looking for fastballs," said Bordes, "I got one out and away and took it to right field and put a good swing on it."

Just like last night, the score went back and forth and Cal took the lead against ASU starter Jason Franzblau in the third. Franzblau walked Charlie Cutler to start the inning and David Cooper followed the walk with a single to right. Franzblau's day would end after he hit Josh Satin with a pitch to load the bases.

Freshman Seth Blair would take over on the mound and was greeted by Brett Jackson who lined a single to left to score one and cut the lead to 2-1. Dylan Tonneson added an RBI single of his own to tie things at 2-2, with the bases still loaded and nobody out.

Blair did a nice job limiting the damage after Cal tied the game. Blair got Blake Smith to strike out swinging before Michael Brady lofted a sacrifice fly to center to give the Bears a 3-2 lead. Jeff Kobernus grounded out to short to end the inning, the Devils escaped only down by one.

ASU would regain the lead in the bottom half of the third, scoring twice with two outs. The two out rally started with a walk to Brett Wallace and Paramore followed with a single that sent Wallace to third and Paramore advanced to second on the throw. The hustle by the Devil captain would show when Kiel Roling ripped a single that plated Wallace and Paramore to give ASU a 4-3 lead.

Cal would tie the game in the top of the fifth in a two out rally of their own. Blair quickly got Tonneson and Smith to ground out to second before allowing a single to Brady. Kobernus and Gorman would make it three straight hits with two outs and the Bears tied the game at 4-4.

The Devils wouldn't waste much time regaining the lead, scoring three times in the bottom of the fifth. Jason Kipnis led off with a double to right and Wallace walked. After a Paramore sacrifice bunt, Kiel Roling was intentionally walked to load the bases for Leake. Leake laid down a perfect safety squeeze push bunt that scored Kipnis to give the Devils a 5-4 lead.

"(ASU Assistant Coach) Andy (Stankiewicz) actually called that," said Murphy, "It was a great call."

ASU would then get some help from Miller and his backstop Dylan Tonneson. Two wild pitches during the course of Raoul Torrez's at bat scored two more runs and ASU led 7-4 after five.

Walks and bad defense would cost Blair and ASU the lead in the sixth. After getting Cooper to ground out, Blair walked Josh Satin. Greg Bordes then booted what was a routine double play ball off the bat of Brett Jackson. Instead, the inning extended and Tonneson made up for his defensive miscues behind the plate by knocking his sixth home run to tie things at 7-7.

The lead would shift back to ASU in the seventh thanks to the bat of Leake. Kipnis was hit by a pitch to start the rally and Brett Wallace walked for the third time in the game to give ASU runners at first and second. Petey Paramore unsuccessfully tried to bunt and instead flew out to right. Cal then turned to Blake Smith out of the bullpen and he was wild from the start. Smith walked Roling on four pitches to set up Leake.

Leake got ahead in the count 3-1 and roped a shot down the first base line that rattled around in the Cal bullpen long enough to clear the bases and allow Leake to coast into third with a bases clearing triple. Leake would score on yet another ball getting past Tonneson and ASU's lead sat at 11-7.

"I was just trying to get a fly ball and get a run in," said Leake, "Whatever they were going to have me do to get that guy from third home."

The lead would be secure, thanks to Tommy Rafferty, who picked up his team-leading eighth win of the season. Rafferty worked three scoreless innings to pick up an ASU pitching staff who is without Ike Davis and Stephen Sauer for the weekend.

"I think he's earned it," said Murphy regarding Rafferty's 8-0 record, "He pitches a lot, and leads the conference in appearances. Most likely he is going to break Brett Bordes' single season appearance record that says a lot."

Sauer has soreness in his right arm and is unavailable tomorrow and for the time being.

"Sauer has a little soreness," said Murphy, "He doesn't feel like he can pitch right now."

The Devils will look to sweep the Bears tomorrow afternoon as they send Josh Satow to the mound in search for his first win since March 22nd. Satow has yet to win a Pac 10 game, just a year after being named to the conference's All Pac 10 1st Team. Alex Rollin is expected to get the nod for Cal, who will try and avoid the sweep tomorrow at 1PM.

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