Devils Use Long Ball to Take Series from UCLA

With Ike Davis out of the lineup once again, Brett Wallace and the rest of the Arizona State Sun Devils (37-8, 12-6 Pac 10) broke out the heavy lumber in Davis' place for Sunday's finale at Jackie Robinson Stadium, scoring 10 of their 11 runs off of six home runs and took the series from UCLA (24-20, 7-8 Pac 10) with an 11-8 victory.

The six homers were a season high for the Devils and had two different back-to-back home runs, after hitting their first set since 2006 on Friday. Brett Wallace connected for two long balls, giving him 15 on the year.

The Bruins jumped on the board first for the third game in a row, this time against ASU freshman starter Seth Blair. Jermaine Curtis continued his red hot series with a leadoff single and came around to score on a double to left center by Alden Carrithers.

The Devils finally got to UCLA starter Gavin Brooks in the third inning, using three home runs to take a 4-1 lead. Mike Leake, starting for the injured Ike Davis, got ASU on the board with a solo homer to left for his first home run as a Sun Devil. Raoul Torrez followed with another shot to left giving ASU the lead at 2-1. After two strikeouts, Jason Kipnis reached on an infield single extending the inning for Wallace. Wallace sent his first of two homers over the right field wall to make it 4-1.

Blair settled down nicely, but ran into trouble in the fourth. Blair walked Brandon Crawford to start the inning and after he got Mickey Weisser to fly out to left, Brady Dolan hit on the ground that was booted by Marcel Champagnie. It was Champagnie's 16th error of the season in his first game back at shortstop after being removed from the lineup because of his defense. Tim Murphy singled to left to score Crawford and cut ASU's lead to 4-2. Ryan Babineau followed with a groundout to Wallace that scored Dolan to make it 4-3.

Back-to-back home runs would once again help the Devils expand their lead in the fifth. Andy Workman started the inning by reaching on an error by UCLA 1B Casey Haerther and was sacrificed to second by Ryan Sontag. Jason Kipnis continued his power resurgence by sending his third home run of the series out to right center to increase the Devils' lead to 6-3. Wallace made it 7-3 with a shot of his own to center, almost landing in the same spot as Kipnis'.

Blair would give the runs right back in the bottom half of the fifth. Blair Dunlap reached on a bunt single and Alden Carrithers followed with a single to center to start the threat. After getting Haerther to pop out to second, Blair hit Crawford with a pitch to load the bases. Mickey Weisser singled down the left field line to score Dunlap and Carrithers and cut the ASU lead to 7-5. That ended Blair's day as ASU Head Coach Pat Murphy gave the ball to the workhorse Tommy Rafferty. Rafferty got Dolan to hit into a fielder's choice and Murphy to strike out to get out of the threat.

The Bruins would tie the game off of Rafferty in the seventh. Crawford walked with one out and was sacrificed to second by Weisser. Dolan's RBI single with two outs cut the lead to 7-6 and Tim Murphy tied the game with a double to center.

Both teams had chances to take the lead in the eighth. ASU had the bases loaded with one out but Torrez stuck out and Petey Paramore was caught stealing home on a delayed steal to end the inning. UCLA loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, but Rafferty got Niko Gallego to ground out to Leake.

ASU took the lead for good in the top half of the ninth against UCLA reliever Brandon Crawford. Pinch hitter Matt Newman walked to lead off the inning but was forced out at second on a failed bunt attempt by Sontag. Jason Kipnis drew a free pass, sending Sontag to scoring position for Brett Wallace. Wallace singled to center for his fourth RBI of the day, giving ASU an 8-7 lead. Petey Paramore gave Rafferty and the Devils needed insurance with crushing his career high sixth homer right giving the Devils an 11-7 lead.

That homer would prove large as Rafferty allowed an RBI single to Curtis in the ninth. Rafferty picked up his Pac-10 leading 10th win of the season by going 4 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits. Seth Blair was solid in his start, allowing just three earned runs in 4 1/3 innings.

The Devils will take Monday off before heading out for a two-day road trip to Kansas St. and Wichita St. ASU will take on the Wildcats of Kansas St. (21-25) in Manhattan, Kansas at 3:30PM on Tuesday before quickly turning around and facing the #11 Shockers of Wichita St. (35-11) on Wednesday.

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