Devils Close in on Title Following UW Sweep

After all of the adversity that the Arizona State Sun Devils have faced, both on and off the field, they have put themselves in a prime position to capture the Pac-10 title. On Sunday, Brett Wallace hit a grand slam and Seth Blair picked up his fourth win of the season to close out their regular season home schedule with a 13-7 victory over the Washington Huskies.

With just a trio of games left in the regular season, ASU holds a three-game lead over second place Stanford, who plays Arizona tonight and on Monday. If the Cardinal loses one of those contests, ASU will clinch a share of the title. Regardless of Stanford's results in the next couple of days, the maroon and gold control their own destiny next weekend when they travel down to Tucson for a three-game set against their archrival.

The Huskies jumped on the board in the first inning when Jarrett Jackson took Seth Blair deep for his first home run of the season.

The Devils would take back the lead and once again it was with help from the Husky outfield. With one out, Ike Davis hit one to shallow right that Bradley Boyer lost in the sun and it fell in for a double. Petey Paramore singled sending Davis to third and Kiel Roling tied the game at 1-1 with a double. Marcel Champagnie walked to load the bases and Raoul Torrez dropped down a perfect bunt for single to give the Devils a 2-1 lead. Greg Bordes followed with a sacrifice bunt that scored another run and Ryan Sontag singling scoring two more and ASU led 5-1.

Washington cut the lead to 5-3 with two runs off of Blair in the fifth. Brett Wilcox singled and Blair hit Kyle Conley with two outs and Troy Scott doubled to deep left-center that scored Wilcox and Conley and the Huskies made it a game.

Raoul Torrez helped the Devils build back their lead with a two-run triple in the sixth and he came around to score on a wild pitch to make it 8-3.

Kyle Conely hit his 17th home run of the season off of Tommy Rafferty in the seventh to cut the ASU lead to 8-4, but the Devils got that run back in the bottom half. Ike Davis led off with a double and eventually scored on a RBI groundout by Petey Paramore.

The Devils lost a fly ball by Bradley Boyer in the sun and it dropped in for a triple. Joey Dunn then hit a sacrifice fly to make it 9-5.

Brett Wallace would put the game away with a grand slam to right, his 19th of the season. It was Wallace's second career grand slam, with the first coming earlier this year against Vanderbilt. The Huskies tried to comeback in the ninth on a home run by David Bentrott and an RBI single by Conely. Washington had the bases loaded with only one out, but Dustin Brader relieved Rafferty and got a strikeout and a groundout to end the game.

Seth Blair picked up the victory by going 5 2/3 innings allowing three runs on six hits and struck out three. Stephen Sauer pitched just 1/3 of an inning in relief before Tommy Rafferty took over. Rafferty worked 2 1/3 innings and allowed four runs on five hits. Dustin Brader got the final two outs to complete the sweep.

ASU will begin the road series at Arizona on Thursday, and Mike Leake will likely square off against defending Pac-10 pitcher of the year Preston Guilmet in a battle of two of the top pitchers in country.

Following the conclusion of the regular season, the Devils are likely to be selected to host a regional the following weekend, but now it's time to win a Pac-10 title.

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