Fresno St. Forces Decisive Game Three on ASU

It almost seemed too perfect, Greg Bordes just a home run away from the cycle with the tying runs on second and third with two outs in the ninth. A home run would have sent the Devils to Omaha and made the scrappy senior a hero, but just like previous innings the Devils couldn't capitalize with runners in scoring position and fell 8-6 to Fresno State, forcing a winner takes all game Monday.

"Fresno was great tonight. They were better than we were," said ASU Head Coach Pat Murphy, "We smelt it, but we have a lot of guys doing it for the first time. They squeezed a little too tight. We didn't get a timely hit when we had to. Hats off to Fresno State. There's something special about that club. I'm impressed by them."

The Bulldogs jumped ahead in the second off of ASU starter Josh Satow. Satow walked Alan Ahmady to start the inning and the leadoff walk would prove costly when Steve Detwiler homered to right putting Fresno St. up 2-0 early.

"We played smart today: at bat, decisions on defense and most importantly we pitched smart. That was really the difference. That's what kept us in it and finished it," said Fresno St. Head Coach Mike Batesole.

ASU came right back in the top of the third to take their first lead of the game. Matt Newman led off with a single to center and Raoul Torrez followed suit. The aforementioned Bordes then sent his first career triple to right center bringing around Newman and Torrez to tie the game at 2-2. After a walk to Ryan Sontag, Jason Kipnis singled to right to score Bordes and give ASU a 3-2 lead.

A wild pitch sent the runners to second and third for Brett Wallace, but the Pac-10 Player of the Year struck out for out number two. Kiel Roling struck out to end the inning and begin the long night of ASU stranding runners in scoring position.

ASU added to its lead by plating two more runs in the 4th. Raoul Torrez doubled with one out and after Bordes was hit by a pitch, Sontag singled to center scoring Torrez. Jason Kipnis singled to load the bases and Brett Wallace made it 5-2 Devils with a sac fly to center.

The game turned for the worse for the Devils in the bottom half of the fourth as the Bulldogs took the lead that they would not relinquish. Satow hit Detwiler with a pitch with one out, but then struck out Tommy Mendonca for out number two. Jake Johnson extended the inning with a single to center and Danny Grubb singled to right to score Detwiler and cut ASU's lead to 5-3. Danny Muno singled to load the bases and send Satow to the showers.

Pat Murphy decided to give the ball to Stephen Sauer, a move that would immediately backfire. Gavin Hedstrom sent a 1-2 slider from Sauer over the left field wall for his second career grand slam and Fresno took a 7-5 lead.

"It was a great booster. When you do the right things, anything can happen," said Hedstrom. ASU cut the Bulldogs lead to 7-6 in the 6th. Greg Bordes doubled to lead off the inning and Ryan Sontag reached on a bunt single. Jason Kipnis lined out to center, but it was deep enough to score Bordes to cut the Fresno lead to one. Brett Wallace reached on an error by the shortstop, but Ike Davis followed with a double play ball that ended ASU's threat.

The Devils had a very good chance to at least tie the game in the 8th, but failed to capitalize once again. Raoul Torrez singled to lead off the 8th and Greg Bordes singled to center for his third hit of the day. Ryan Sontag tried to sacrifice, but Bordes was cut down at third. After the out at third Tommy Mendonca threw the ball away trying to double up Sontag, allowing Bordes to get to third and Sontag to second. Jason Kipnis failed to put the ball in play and tie the game by striking out and after an intentional walk to Brett Wallace, Ike Davis ended the inning grounded under a fielders' choice.

Fresno St. added an insurance run off of Tommy Rafferty in the bottom half of the eighth. Ryan Overland led off with a double and advanced to third on a single by Danny Muno. Gavin Hedstrom added to his big day with an RBI single to make it 8-6.

ASU had yet another chance to tie the game in the 9th, but once again couldn't get the job done. Kiel Roling and Petey Paramore walked to lead off the inning and Matt Newman dropped a beautiful sacrifice bunt to advance the runners. Raoul Torrez sent a ground ball that appeared to be foul but a weird spin brought the ball back fair and Bulldog 1B Alan Ahmady knocked the ball down with his bare hand and got the out with the runners staying put. That gave ASU's final shot to the red hot Bordes, but the senior couldn't be the hero as he flew out to center to end the game.

Josh Satow lasted just 3 2/3 innings and allowed six earned runs on five hits. Stephen Sauer allowed one run in his one full inning of work, but allowed the big grand slam. Reyes Dorado worked a scoreless third of an inning and Tommy Rafferty pitched the final three innings and allowed just one run.

"It a little bit of location. I've got through hard times before," said Satow, "As soon as I went out, I wanted to forget it and be a good teammate and try not to dwell on it too much."

"Sometimes things go your way, sometimes they don't. I'm going to learn from that. This doesn't add any more pressure. We just need to go out and play our game."

Freshman Seth Blair will likely hold the fate of the Sun Devils tomorrow as he will more than likely be the starter on Monday at 4PM. The home team in the final game of the Super Regional will be determined by a coin flip.

"The worm has kind of flipped. Now the pressure is on us. It's very disappointing," said Murphy, "I told our guys we still have the opportunity to do all we want to do. All our goals are intact. A loss like this takes the guts out of you."

"Everyone has us penciled in for Omaha. That's not the case. You've got to play every pitch. We've got to come out scratching and fighting. It's a new day. We'll wake up and play our butts off. These guys always seem to respond."

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