Leake Dominates Tigers

It was a dominating performance by both starting pitchers on Thursday night at Packard Stadium. Team USA teammates Mike Leake and Kyle Gibson put on a show for the ages, but Leake was just that much better. Leake didn't allow a hit until the 8th and led the Devils to a 2-1 victory over 15th ranked Missouri.

Andrew Thigpen's double to lead off the 8th ended Leake's no hitter bid, but it was a gem none the less. ASU's ace threw eight shutout innings and struck out ten in a game that had the intensity and feel of a super regional game.

"The tighter the games, the better I pitch," said Leake, "A lot of pitchers can let it get to them, it causes me to focus more."

+ Leake's head coach felt that the junior had extra motivation on Thursday.

"He heard all week about this other guy," said Murphy referring to Gibson, "That he was a better prospect than him; Leake had something to prove tonight."

The Devils (6-0) got to Gibson early and they were fortunate to do so, because he got stronger as his outing went on.

ASU got a run off of the talented righty before he even recorded an out. Matt Newman led off the first with a single and stole second. Newman then came around to score on an RBI single by Zack MacPhee and ASU led 1-0.

ASU added to their lead in the 2nd. Abe Ruiz, getting his first career start, was hit by a pitch with one out and also stole second base. Mike Murphy ripped a double into the left field corner to score Ruiz to make it 2-0.

Tempers flared in the 3rd inning beginning with ASU's MacPhee and Gibson getting into it verbally after MacPhee grounded out. Jason Kipnis, the next batter, was then drilled with a 3-0 pitch that got Kipnis and catcher Trevor Coleman into it. Both head coaches came out before things were calmed down.

"That was intentional," said Murphy of Gibson hitting Kipnis, "The count was 3-0 and he didn't walk a guy all game, it is clear that was intentional."

Missouri head coach Tim Jamison was ejected in the middle of the 4th arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Scott Higgins.

After the teams settled down, it was the two pitchers that stole the show. Trading scoreless inning for scoreless inning and strikeout for strikeout, both pitchers had their stuff working.

Gibson used a good mix of a heavy fastball and a nasty slider to strikeout eight Sun Devils, while Leake struck out 10 with his lethal combination of his sinker, cutter and changeup.

Leake exited the game after the eighth, the inning he lost his no hit bid. Thigpen doubled to lead off the inning, advanced to third on a balk, but was stranded as Leake struck out the side.

Mitchell Lambson came on to start the 9th and got the first out before Greg Folgia singled. Ryan Lollis then singled down the left field line and the ball was misplayed by Kole Calhoun allowing the runners to advance to second and third.

Murphy then went to freshman Jordan Swagerty to face Austin Senne with the tying run on second base. Senne flew out to Kipnis that allowed a run to score, but Kipnis' throw appeared to get Lollis trying to tag to third, but he was called safe. Trevor Coleman came up with the tying run 90 feet away, but Swagerty got him to pop out to pick up his second save of the season.

The Devils continue the DeMarinini Invitational tomorrow at 6:30 when they take on the Northern Illinois Huskies. NIU fell in the opening game of the tournament 23-7 to Oregon St.

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