Devils Drop Series Finale to USC

If you get good pitching on Sunday's in the Pac 10, you are normally going to win. That is exactly what Robert Stock gave the USC Trojans this Sunday in his first career start and it is exactly what Seth Blair didn't give the Devils for the second straight week. That is why ASU fell 8-2, failing to sweep the Trojans at Dedeaux Field.

For the third straight game, the team that scored first ended up losing the ballgame. On Sunday that was the Sun Devils, who got on the board in the top of the first on a solo home run by Jason Kipnis to left center.

The Trojans got that run back off of Blair in the bottom of the 1st. Joe De Pinto singled to lead off the inning and after a failed bunt attempt by Mike O'Neill, Grant Green sent De Pinto to third with a single to center. Anthony Vazquez made it 1-1 with an RBI groundout to 1st base that scored De Pinto.

Freshman Ricky Oropesa's fourth home run of the season with one out in the second inning gave USC (11-12, 2-4 Pac 10) a 2-1 lead.

That lead wouldn't last long, as the Devils evened things up in the next half inning. Kipnis started things with a one out double to right and advanced to third on a double by Zach Wilson. Stock was then called for a balk, allowing Kipnis to score and Wilson to move up to third. ASU couldn't get Wilson home from third as Jordan Swagerty struck out and Carlos Ramirez lined out to end the inning.

It would be a sign of things to come for ASU (19-4, 5-1 Pac 10), as they stranded nine runners on base on Sunday, eight of which were in scoring position.

USC would take the lead for good and chase Blair (2-1) from the game in the bottom of the third. O'Neill led off the inning with a double to center and Grant Green immediately followed with a double of his own to score O'Neill and make it 3-2.

Mitchell Lambson then took over on the mound for Blair and Anthony Vazquez greeted him with a single back up the middle to score green and make it 4-2 Trojans.

The game stayed 4-2 until the bottom of the sixth when USC added insurance runs off of Lambson. Ricky Oropesa singled up the middle leading off the inning and Kevin Roundtree reached on a bunt single. Oropesa moved all the way up to third after a throwing error by second baseman Mike Leake on the play.

Alex Sherrod followed with a single to right that scored Oropesa and Roundtree came in to score on a passed ball by Carlos Ramirez. After a sacrifice bunt, Lambson walked O'Neill and was then removed for Jason Franzblau. Franzblau caught O'Neill off of first base, but he got in a rundown long enough to score Sherrod from third.

Anthony Vazquez hit his first home run of the season leading off the bottom of the seventh off of Kole Calhoun to increase USC's lead to 8-2.

Robert Stock (1-0) picked up his first victory of the season in his first career start at USC. The junior worked five innings and allowed two earned runs, while striking out 10. Daniel Cooper worked the final four innings and didn't allow a run to pick up the save.

Seth Blair was the loser, allowing four earned runs on six hits in just two innings of work. Lambson allowed three runs, two earned in 3 1/3 innings of relief. Jason Franzblau, Kole Calhoun and Jordan Swagerty also worked for ASU.

Jason Kipnis continued to stay red hot and collected four of ASU's seven hits on the day. Kipnis went 4-5, scored two runs and drove in one. Zach Wilson, Johnny Ruettiger and Raoul Torrez had the other hits for ASU.

The Devils will return to Tempe for a showdown in the midweek starting Tuesday with the #1 team in some polls, the Cal St. Fullerton Titans. The first pitch of the DeMarini West Coast Challenge will be at 6 P.M. on Tuesday at Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark.


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