ASU Feasts on Wildcat Pitching, Sweeps UA

Sunday's in the Pac 10 normally exposes the depth in team's bullpens. It didn't help Andy Lopez's chances when his starting pitcher couldn't record an out before having to be removed from the game. The Sun Devils took full advantage of Arizona's bullpen to rout the Wildcats 23-9 to sweep them back to Tucson.

"Now that is a Sunday in the Pac," laughed ASU Head Coach Pat Murphy, "It is tough to sweep anybody, to have three consecutive sellouts in these economic times was phenomenal."

ASU (17-3, 3-0 Pac 10) got five innings of relief from freshman Mitchell Lambson, as he picked up his x win of the season. Lambson was in the game early, due to the struggle of ASU starter Seth Blair.

The Wildcats (11-10, 0-3 Pac 10) got on the board right away in the first on Blair. Bryce Ortega walked to start the game and after a pop out, Brad Glenn picked up his first hit of the series. Dillon Baird made it 1-0 with an RBI single to plate Ortega. Rafael Valenzuela singled to load the bases with two outs, but Blair got Matt Presley to strike out to end the jam.

Wildcat starter Bryce Bandilla didn't get to record an out in the bottom of the first before Andy Lopez had seen enough. The freshman walked Jason Kipnis to start the inning and then hit Zack MacPhee and walked Zach Wilson to load the bases with nobody out. Bandilla got the hook right after Carlos Ramirez singled through the right side to tie the score at 1-1.

Kyle Simon replaced Bandilla and threw a wild pitch that scored MacPhee to give ASU a 2-1 advantage. Riccio Torrez grounded out to first to score Wilson and it was 3-1.

Arizona got the lead back from Blair in the second inning. Kyle Stiner walked with one out and Bryce Ortega followed with a single. Bobby Coyle tied it at 3-3 with a double that plated both Stiner and Ortega. Coyle was then picked off of second by Blair, but the sophomore then walked Brad Glenn, who came around to score on a double by Baird and Arizona led 4-3.

ASU evened things up in the second, after Raoul Torrez led off with a triple down the left field line and came in to score on an RBI single by Jason Kipnis.

Pat Murphy had seen enough from Blair and then turned to Lambson and from that point on it was all Sun Devils.

ASU took control of the game by plating seven runs in the bottom of the third and getting Lambson to shut down the Wildcat bats.

Once again the free pass helped ASU, with Carlos Ramirez starting the big inning with a walk and Kole Calhoun followed with a single. Andy Workman was hit by a pitch to load the bases and then Simon hit Raoul Torrez to force in a run. Brad Glenn couldn't handle a Drew Maggi groundball and another run scored to make it 6-4 Devils and ended Simon's day.

Donn Roach came in from the bullpen and forced in another run with a hit by pitch, this time it was Kipnis getting plunked. Zack MacPhee added an RBI single, before Zach Wilson drove in two with a sharp hit double to left. Carlos Ramirez capped the inning with a sacrifice fly and ASU led 11-4 after three.

After Roach left the game, ASU went to work again on Wildcat reliever Cory Burns who was pitching in his third straight game. Burns quickly got two outs to start the 6th, but Mike Leake started a rally with a two out single up the middle. Johnny Ruettiger followed with an opposite field single and Raoul Torrez brought home Leake with a single to left.

Drew Maggi walked to load the bases before Kipnis unloaded them with his sixth home run of the season, a grand slam to dead centerfield to make it 17-4 ASU.

Lambson continued to cruise through Arizona's lineup and allowed just one base runner in his five innings of work. The lefty worked four straight 1-2-3 innings before Bryce Ortega hit a one out single in Lambson's final inning of work.

"Lambson was the story, that kind of effort is great," said Murphy.

The Wildcats picked up three runs in the eighth off of ASU reliever Kole Calhoun. Baird doubled to lead off the eighth and after a walk to Steve Selsky; Valenzuela tripled to score two and would score himself on a sacrifice fly.

ASU got those runs back and more in the home half of the eighth against Arizona star closer Jason Stoffel. Again the walk started the big inning, this time Kipnis drew the free pass to start the inning. Zach MacPhee picked up his second hit of the day and then Matt Newman drove in Kipnis with a single to right.

Abe Ruiz added a sacrifice fly before Johnny Ruettiger singled for the third time on the afternoon to score another. Raoul Torrez made it 22-7 with two run double to left and Jared McDonald singled Torrez home.

Six was the number for Jason Kipnis as he reached base six times on Sunday, going 2-3 with three walks and a hit by pitch. The junior centerfielder also drove in six runs and connected for his sixth home run.

"This feels good," smiled Kipnis, "I've been struggling lately, not hitting the ball like I want to. It is good to start 3-0 in the Pac-10."

The Devils will next hit the road for their first true road series of the season. ASU opens up a three game series against the USC Trojans next Friday at Dedeaux Field in Los Angeles. Mike Leake will take the hill for game one, at 7:30 PM.

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