Spence, Devils Dominate Milwaukee in Opener

It was the first look at the 2009 Arizona State Sun Devils and their vast amount of newcomers. None was bigger than Australian left hander Josh Spence, who held the UW-Milwaukee Panthers scoreless over six strong innings to lead ASU to a 15-3 season opening victory in front of 2,532 at Packard Stadium.

In all, thirteen new players appeared for the Sun Devils on Friday, but it was Spence that stole the show. Handed the ball on opening night over ace Mike Leake, Spence kept the Panthers off balance all night long with a mix of off speed pitches.

It helped that the junior college transfer faced a Milwaukee team that hadn't thrown a baseball outside before arriving in Tempe.

In all, Spence worked six scoreless innings and allowed just two hits, while walking one and striking out six.

It was a pair of returners that got ASU on the board right away in the first inning. Jason Kipnis lined a one out single to right and Matt Newman launched a two-run homer over the centerfield fence to give the Devils an early 2-0 lead.

Jared McDonald led off the second with a triple and would score on an RBI groundout by Drew Maggi to make it 3-0 Devils. Raoul Torrez drew a two out walk and then the Panthers handed the Devils a run. Zack MacPhee reached on an infield single and Torrez tried to go first to third on the play. Panther first baseman Ben Long's throw got away from third baseman Wes Munson and Torrez scored to make it 4-0.

ASU would make the error hurt for Panther pitcher Brad Lusti. Kipnis singled to right to score MacPhee and after a stolen base by Kipnis, Newman singled to score Kipnis and it was 6-0 ASU.

Bad defense would hurt UW-Milwaukee again in the fourth. Raoul Torrez reached on a throwing error by Munson. Torrez then stole second and scored on an RBI single by Kipnis.

Once Lusti left the game, ASU blew the game open against the Panthers bullpen. Kyle Schmitt didn't record an out in the sixth. Torrez led off the inning with a double and moved to third on a single by MacPhee.

Kipnis walked and Newman continued his big day with a two RBI single to make it 8-0. Carlos Ramirez collected his first hit as a Sun Devil and Kipnis scored to make it 9-0. Kole Calhoun then doubled down the right field line to score two more and to make it 11-0. Abe Ruiz capped the inning with a sacrifice fly after a wild pitch scored a run and it was 14-0 ASU. Johnny Ruettiger added an RBI single in the 7th to make it 15-0.

Spence left the game after the sixth and was replaced by Kyle Brule. Brule worked the 7th and 8th without a blemish but the Panthers struck in the ninth. Andy Gerhartz led off by getting hit by a pitch, but Brule got Nick Lingvay and Shawn Wozniak to fly out to right fielder Mike Leake. Josh Groves hit a fly ball into the gap that was dropped by Leake and Gerhartz scored to make it 15-1. Pinch hitter Tim Patzman than launched a homer out to Rural Road to make it 15-3. Brule got Dan Buchholz to ground out to second to end the game. All three runs against Brule were unearned.

Playing in front of his parents for the first time as a Sun Devil, Jason Kipnis went 4-4 with two RBIs and four runs scored. Matt Newman went 3-5 with a homer and five RBI batting in the clean-up spot. Zack MacPhee was the only other Devil with multiple hits.

The Devils and the Panthers will continue their four game series tomorrow with a double header. The first game will start at 1PM. Mike Leake will start game one for ASU, with Seth Blair going in game two.

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