Devils Rest Starters, Drop Finale to Arizona

The Sun Devils played it safe in essentially a meaningless game Saturday at Sancet Field, after they wrapped up the Pac-10 Championship on Thursday night. Pat Murphy kept starters Petey Paramore, Kiel Roling, Raoul Torrez and Matt Newman out of the game and Mike Leake, Ryan Sontag and Marcel Champagnie all left early and Arizona used that to their advantage and defeated ASU 7-4.

ASU starter Seth Blair held Arizona scoreless into the fourth inning until the freshman ran into trouble. Blair hit Colt Sedbrook to start the inning and Brad Glenn doubled to left to give the Wildcats runners at second and third. Jon Gaston made it 2-0 Arizona with a double that scored Sedbrook and Glenn.

A hits batsman started another Arizona rally in the fifth as Blair hit Bryce Ortega with a pitch with one away. Rafael Valenzuela followed with a double to left center that brought Ortega all the way around to make it 3-0. Stephen Sauer replaced Blair and walked the first batter he faced. Sauer struck out Glenn for out number two but after a double steal, Jon Gaston lined a single that plated two more runs and Arizona led 5-0.

Dustin Brader allowed two more runs in the bottom of the sixth. Dillion Baird singled with one out for the Wildcats, but Brader got the second out when Dwight Childs popped up a bunt. Bryce Ortega would make sure the Devils wouldn't escape the inning unharmed by homering to left, making it 7-0.

ASU finally got on the board in the top of the ninth and avoided the shutout. Greg Bordes led off with a single and Mike Jones followed with a bunt single. Brett Wallace would get hit by a pitch to load the bases for the struggling Ike Davis. Davis hooked a homer just inside the foul pole in left field for a grand slam and cut the lead to 7-4, but that was all ASU would manage on the day.

Seth Blair allowed just three hits in his 4 1/3 innings of work, but allowed four runs en route to his second loss of the season. Blair struck out three and walked just one, but hit two guys that eventually scored. Stephen Sauer allowed one run in his 2/3 innings of work and Dustin Brader let up two in his 2/3 of an inning. Jason Franzblau pitched the final 2 1/3 and didn't allow a run.

Arizona starter Eric Berger responded from a rough outing his last time out against Stanford and threw 5 2/3 scoreless innings to pick up the win. Arizona finished the season 25-5 at Sancet Stadium.

Mike Jones collected three hits in a rare start for the junior. Jason Kipnis and Brett Wallace both had two hits and Ike Davis drove in the only four Sun Devil runs on his grand slam in the ninth. The Devils now await word from the NCAA as to their postseason future. The 16 regional hosts will be announced at 4 p.m. on Sunday and ASU is pretty much locked in to host a regional at Packard Stadium next weekend.

The top eight national seeds and the rest of the 64 team tournament field will be announced on ESPN at 9:30 a.m. Monday morning. Arizona State is also expected to be one of those top eight national seeds, meaning if they survive the regional, they would also host the Super Regional at Packard Stadium.

Sun Devil Source Top Stories