Leake, Sontag Move ASU a Step Closer to CWS

Last weekend the Fresno State Bulldogs shocked the country by winning which some considered the toughest regional. Of all of this weekend's Super Regional matchups, this was truly David vs. Goliath and thanks to another outstanding outing from Mike Leake and an unlikely power source; Goliath prevailed in the form of a 12-4 Arizona State victory in front of 4,371 at Packard Stadium.

"We certainly didn't play great. It wasn't our greatest effort. It wasn't clean," said ASU Head Coach Pat Murphy, "Often times in the desert, at night, it's a windy place. Things aren't always clean. A lot of dirt, it is hard to get a clean game."

"It was a little sloppy on our end. We weren't great. Fresno hit some balls hard. But Mike Leake was pretty good. We didn't play good defense behind him. Petey was great. Petey probably shouldn't have played today."

The Bulldogs got to Leake for a run with two outs in the first inning. Erik Wetzel singled with and came in to score on a triple to left by WAC Player of the Year Steve Susdorf.

"I think the first inning is always the toughest inning for a pitcher. I'm just trying to get a feel for everything, going through every batter," said Leake.

Leake didn't let the one run on the board phase him, as he knew that his teammates were going to eventually explode, and he was right.

"I knew one run wasn't going to beat us. As long as I went out there and tried to keep it one run or two runs the whole game; I knew we had a chance because we average ten runs a game." ASU got that run right back in the bottom of the 1st off of Fresno St. Starter Justin Wilson. Ryan Sontag led off his big night with a walk and advanced to second on an error by first basemen Alan Ahmady. A Jason Kipnis' single sent Sontag to third and the senior would score on a double play ball by Brett Wallace.

Sontag would put the Devils on top in the third with the first of his two, two-run blasts. Greg Bordes reached on an error to start the inning before Sontag unloaded to right field to make it 3-1 ASU.

The Devils blew the game wide open in the fifth. Bordes singled up the middle to leadoff the frame and after a strikeout, Jason Kipnis singled to right. Brett Wallace reached on an infield single to load the bases before Ike Davis sent a single to right that scored Bordes and made it 4-1. Petey Paramore added a two-run single and Kiel Roling joined the hit parade with an RBI single to make it 7-1 ASU. Raoul Torrez would cap the inning with a two-out RBI single that put ASU up 8-1.

That was all the run support Leake would need as he settled in and didn't allow another run until the 7th. Once again the Bulldogs started their rally with two outs as Tommy Mendonca doubled and Ryan Overland singled before a wild pitch plated Mendonca to cut the Devils' lead to 8-2.

Leake quickly got the first two outs of the 8th, but was unable to seal the deal. Wetzel reached on an error by Brett Wallace that extended the inning and allowed Susdorf to double to left sending Wetzel to third. Alan Ahmady took advantage of the extra out and doubled to right center plating both runners and ending Leake's day. Ike Davis took over for Leake and struck out Mendonca to end the inning and keep the lead at 8-4.

Leake allowed just two earned runs in his 7 2/3 innings of work. The sophomore allowed eight hits and struck out two, while walking only one.

Sontag helped the Devils add insurance in the 8th by connecting for his second homer of the day. The final two ASU runs of the day scored on an error by Ahmady.

Sontag, not known for his power, couldn't remember the last time he hit two out in the same game.

"Probably back in high school. Hasn't been in college. I wasn't trying to hit a homerun. I was trying to make solid contact. I got a pitch I could hit and I guess I put a good swing on it."

"To be honest, I wasn't really thinking about [hitting a homerun]. The defense wind plays more of a factor. I just take the same approach out there at every at bat."

The Devils will try and wrap up a trip to Omaha for their 21st College World Series appearance tomorrow as Josh Satow takes the hill against Clayton Allison for Fresno St. Murphy knows that nothing is set in stone and ASU still has one more victory to earn.

"I think you just play the game. I don't think you worry about game three. Game three may come, may not come. You don't worry about that. You just have your team prepared for tomorrow. Whatever cards are dealt, you just react from there. I think Fresno will come back hard tomorrow."

"They've beaten teams like us so they're not intimidated by us. I think Fresno has a great line-up and the kid throwing tomorrow I respect a great deal. I know the relief pitching is very solid. It could be a hell of a ballgame."

Captain Petey Paramore, who Murphy said shouldn't have even been playing, knows that him and his fellow teammates only have a few games left in the Maroon and Gold.

"We only have a few games left to put our mark on ASU's history. We want to go out with something special. What it is, we don't know yet. We are going to give it our best effort for the rest of the games we have."

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