Spence Shuts Down Wildcats

The Arizona State Sun Devils are winning game with pitching. Read that again. Josh Spence continued ASU's pitching dominance of Arizona by striking out 10 Wildcats in 7 1/3 to lead the Devils to a 7-3 victory in front of a second straight sellout crowd of 4,371 fans at Packard Stadium.

"We're a long way from being a great club," said ASU head coach Pat Murphy, "The guys aren't playing very good, but to say that we were still good enough to get a conference win. This conference is a dogfight every night."

It was another strong starting pitching performance by the Devils. Coming off a 15 strikeout performance by Mike Leake, Spence earned his fourth victory of the season and struck out 10.

"Josh Holliday has done a great job with the pitchers," said Murphy, "We got good pitching again, Spence wasn't as sharp as he has been, but he is two weeks removed from getting hit in the face."

ASU (16-3, 2-0 Pac 10) got on the board in the 2nd off of Wildcat starter Matt Veltmann. Veltmann hit Carlos Ramirez with a pitch to lead off the inning and Zach Wilson singled to send Ramirez to the second. Jared McDonald moved Ramirez to third on a fly ball to center and then Ramirez scored on a wild pitch by Veltmann.

ASU missed many chances to get to Veltmann early, but didn't take advantage until the 4th. Carlos Ramirez and Zach Wilson walked with one out and Jared McDonald reached on a fielders' choice with Wilson retired at second. It should have been a double play to end the inning, but Wildcat second baseman Matt Weldon bobbled the ball.

That would prove costly as Raoul Torrez line a double down the left field line to plate a pair and make it 3-0 Devils. Kole Calhoun and Zack MacPhee both followed with RBI singles and ASU took advantage of the UA (11-9, 0-2 Pac 10) mistake and it was 5-0 Devils.

The Cats got on the board off of Spence in the 6th on a solo home run to right center by freshman Steve Selsky.

ASU manufactured that run back in the 7th. Jason Kipnis led off with a single, stole second and scampered to third when the throw down to second by Arizona catcher Daniel Butler went into centerfield.

After Riccio Torrez struck out, Matt Newman brought Kipnis home with a sacrifice fly to centerfield and ASU led 6-1.

Spence ran out of gas a bit in the 8th and Arizona took advantage. Daniel Butler led off with a single and pinch hitter Shaun Cooper doubled to left to give UA runners at second and third. Bryce Ortega made it 6-2 with an RBI infield single and then Cooper scored when Spence threw a pickoff throw away.

Jason Franzblau then relieved Spence and got Selsky to fly out and then Mitchell Lambson finished the final inning and a third.

"The last outs in a Pac 10 game are hard to get," said Murphy, "Those four outs that Lambson got were crucial."

Kole Calhoun's sacrifice fly to score Jordan Swagerty scored ASU's final run of the day in the 8th inning. Calhoun drove in two on the day, as did Raoul Torrez who went 2-4.

ASU and Arizona will conclude their three game set tomorrow afternoon at Packard Stadium. Seth Blair (2-0, 0.53 ERA) will take the hill as the Devils try to sweep the Wildcats at 1PM. Freshman lefty Bryce Bandilla (2-1, 4.98 ERA) will likely start for Arizona.

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