Non-Conference Slate Ends with Sweep of LMU

The Arizona State Sun Devils (41-9) closed out their non-conference portion of their schedule on Monday night with a 12-10 victory and a three game sweep over Loyola Marymount (22-29). The game, which turned interesting in the top of the ninth, saw several milestones.

The 2,100 in attendance at Packard Stadium pushed ASU over the 100,000 mark in attendance for the second straight year and the crowd was also treated to Brett Wallace's career-high 17th home run, which moved him into sixth place on the all-time list.

Wallace helped the Devils get on the board first in the first with a sacrifice fly. Ryan Sontag led off with a single and reached second on a wild pitch before advancing to third on a single by Jason Kipnis.

The Lions would tie it in the fourth against ASU starter Seth Blair. Ryan Wheeler started things with a single to right and one batter later, Andy Preston singled and Kyle Spraker was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Jonathon Johnson tied the game at 1-1 with an RBI groundout to short.

Wallace would give the Devils back the lead for good in the bottom half of the fourth, leading off the frame with his 40th career home run, tying him with Andrew Beinbrink for sixth all-time at ASU. Matt Newman started a two-out rally by tripling to left center and after a walk to Jake Elmore, Kiel Roling also tripled, plating both Newman and Elmore and making it 4-1 Devils. Raoul Torrez capped the inning with a single that scored Roling and the Devils had a 5-1 lead.

Stephen Sauer made his return to the mound and gave up two runs in two innings. Angelo Songco doubled with one out and scored on a single by T.J. Bernardy in the fifth to cut the lead to 5-2. ASU got that run back in the bottom of the fifth to make it 6-2. Petey Paramore singled to center that scored Wallace who reached on a double.

Jonathon Johnson started the sixth with a bunt single and A.J. LaMonda followed with a single that set up Michael Glomb to single up the middle to score Johnson and close the gap to 6-3.

ASU would score three times in the seventh and eighth innings and it seemed that they were on their way to an easy victory, but in the end they needed those insurance runs. Jason Kipnis stole home on a double steal to make it 7-3 and Greg Bordes had an RBI single to give the Devils a five run lead. Bordes would later come around to score on a wild pitch to make it 9-3.

Kiel Roling continued his red-hot stretch with a lead-off double to right center in the eighth and would later score on an RBI single by Sontag. Jason Kipnis would triple down the right field line to score Sontag and Kipnis would score on groundout by Wallace giving ASU a 12-3 lead heading to the ninth.

LMU didn't let ASU coast to a victory thanks to a pair of three-run homers that left the Lions just short in their comeback attempt. Tommy Rafferty allowed a lead-off single to Brett Mendoza and struck out Joe Vierra before being removed for Kyle Brule. Brule struck out Justin Bunkins for the second out and it seemed LMU would go quietly in the ninth. That was not the case as Brule extended the inning by walking Andy Preston and Ollie Enos made it 12-4 with an RBI single to right. Sean Doval would then connect for the Lions' first homer of the inning and suddenly it was a 12-7 ballgame.

LaMonda and Glomb both extended the inning with two-out singles before Angelo Songco made things real interesting by homering to left center and just like that the lead was only 12-10. Dustin Brader replaced Brule and got Mendoza to ground out to end the game.

Blair pitched four innings and allowed just one earned run and seems to be coming on at the right time for Pat Murphy. Stephen Sauer worked two innings in his return from injury and allowed two runs on five hits. Tommy Rafferty picked up his 11th win of the season by tossing 2 1/3 innings and allowing just one run, while striking out four. It was the worst outing of the season for freshman Kyle Brule, who gave up six earned runs in just 1/3 of an inning. Dustin Brader got the last out of the game to earn his second save of the year.

Sontag, Roling and Kipnis all had three hits on the evening and they all at least drove in one run. Brett Wallace drove in three to go along with his two hits.

The Devils will open up their final home regular season series on Friday when they host the surprising Washington Huskies (31-17, 10-8 Pac 10). Washington comes to Tempe just two games behind the Devils in the race for the Pac 10 Championship. First pitch Friday is at 7PM with Mike Leake likely getting the ball for ASU.

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