"That is the type of performance that makes Mike Leake, Mike Leake," said ASU Head Coach Pat Murphy, "What he did was pretty special."
Kole Calhoun, Riccio Torrez and Matt Newman all took extra batting practice from assistant coach Andy Stankiewicz yesterday and they all contributed right away to get ASU on the board.
Newman got the first inning started with a one out single and after Jason Kipnis flew out, Carlos Ramirez chopped a single back up the middle, sending Newman to third. Calhoun made it 3-0 with a line drive home run over the left field fence and on the very next pitch Riccio Torrez launched one onto Rio Salado and just like that the Devils led 4-0.
"All three of those guys took advantage of the extra batting practice," said Murphy, "Calhoun was working on one specific thing and took it into the game today."
The Cougars (14-14, 4-3 Pac 10) would die easy and they got to Leake like they did last season in Pullman in the 2nd. Leake hit Jared Prince with a pitch to start the inning and Michael Weber followed with an opposite field hit to left.
Michael Argyropoulos made it 4-1 with a single that scored Prince and sent Weber to third with nobody out. Garry Kuykendall hit a ground ball to Riccio Torrez who stepped on first and had Weber out at the plate with a good throw, but the throw bounced and it was 4-2.
"That is a throw we need to make," said Murphy.
Cody Bartlett followed with a single back up the middle to score Argyropoulos and it was 4-3. Leake worked out of the inning without any further damage.
After the second, Leake settled down and didn't allow another run. Despite not having his best stuff off the bat, he settled in and struck out 12 while getting strong as the game progressed.
"I had to make a change (after that inning)," said Leake, "I realized I couldn't just throw my fastball up there and I actually had to pitch."
Cougar starter Matt Way settled in as well, but was let down by his defense and his own defense in the 5th. Raoul Torrez reached after Way bobbled a ball hit back to him and then stole second base. Kipnis made it 5-3 with a single to right and eventually stole second himself and advanced to third when catcher Greg Lagreid's throw sailed into center. Ramirez drove in Kipnis with an RBI single and ASU (24-7, 9-1 Pac 10) led 6-3.
Calhoun added to the lead in the 7th when he drove in Ramirez with a ringing double off the right centerfield fence. Riccio Torrez made it 8-3 with a single that scored Calhoun.
Cougar reliever Anthony Drobnick couldn't find the strike zone in the 8th and walked Drew Maggi, Raoul Torrez and Newman to load the bases with nobody out. Kipnis grounded into a fielder's choice that scored Maggi, before Carlos Ramirez launched his 12th home run of the season to left to make it 12-3. One out later, pinch hitter Jared McDonald hit one out to right center to increase ASU's lead to ten.
Leake went the distance in a 123 pitch effort for his 8th win of the season. Leake walked just one and allowed three earned runs, all coming in the second.
"That is a good offensive team," said Murphy, "They are going to win some games, that is why they have won their first two Pac 10 series."
Carlos Ramirez went 4-5 and drove in four runs for the Devils. Kole Calhoun also had four runs driven in and went 2-5. Riccio Torrez and Matt Newman each went 2-4 on the evening.
Pac 10 ERA leader Josh Spence will take the mound tomorrow evening against Washington St. sophomore righty Chad Arnold (3-1, 4.11). First pitch from Packard Stadium is at 6:30 PM.