Bats Explode to Back Spence

You knew Josh Spence wasn't going to keep an ERA at 1.0 all season long, it just isn't natural. The NCAA ERA leader didn't have his best stuff on Friday night at Packard Stadium, but his offense bailed him out, just like he has done to them all season long. The Devils backed the southpaw with 14 runs on 16 hits en route to a 14-6 victory over the Stanford Cardinal.

ASU (26-8, 11-2 Pac 10) got on the board right away, thanks to a new batting order put together by Pat Murphy. Drew Maggi, the new leadoff hitter, led off with a walk and went to third on a single by Jason Kipnis. Carlos Ramirez made it 1-0 with a single that snuck up the middle and sent Kipnis to third. A sac fly to left by Matt Newman made it 2-0 after one.

Stanford (15-14, 7-6 Pac 10) took the lead from Spence in the second, starting with Spence hitting Zach Jones with one away. Ben Clowe then singled off of the third base bag and Jones moved up to third. Adam Gaylord made it 2-1 with an RBI single and Jake Schlander tied the game on a sacrifice fly. The Cardinal took their only lead of the day when Raoul Torrez' throw on a groundball by Colin Walsh got away from his brother Riccio, allowing Gaylord to score.

The Devils grabbed the lead back with a big bottom half of the second that ended Stanford ace Jeffery Inman's day. Kole Calhoun led off with single and moved to second on an errant pickoff throw. Zack MacPhee followed with a hit and Raoul Torrez moved the runners up to second and third with a bunt.

Inman then loaded the bases with a walk to Maggi and Kipnis quickly unloaded them with a bases clearing double to make it 5-3 ASU. Maggi was flying around the bases and caught the speedy MacPhee and they both slid in to the plate less than a second apart. Carlos Ramirez followed with a hit that sent Kipnis to third and chased Inman. Matt Newman greeted new pitcher Danny Sandbrink with a two run double that made it 7-3.

A two out hit in the 3rd got Stanford back into the game. Toby Gerhart led off with a double and Kellen Kilsgaard followed suit, but Gerhart only advanced to third. Spence fought back to strike out the next two batters, but Clowe fought a 0-2 pitch into right to plate both and cut the lead to 7-5.

ASU pulled away in the bottom of the third, plating three more. MacPhee drew a one out walk and scored on Raoul Torrez' first home run of the season. Maggi singled and after a strikeout to Kipnis, Carlos Ramirez walked to extend the inning for Newman. The red hot sophomore hit his second double of the day and ASU led 10-5.

The Devils continued to pile it on in the 4th and Kole Calhoun got it started by getting hit by a pitch and stealing second with one out. Zack MacPhee drove him in with his second hit of the day and then Raoul Torrez walked. The Devils tried a double steal, but MacPhee was thrown out at third.

Drew Maggi then hit a ball down the third base line that was booted by Gaylord allowing Torrez to score. Maggi would come around to score on Kipnis' triple that was played into a three bagger by right fielder Kellen Kilsgaard.

Clowe got the sixth run of the day for Stanford with his third hit of the day, scoring Kilsgaard who reached after being hit. Spence hit four batters on Friday, the most for a Devil since Mike Leake against UC Irvine in Omaha two years ago.

ASU's final run of the day came in the 5th on an RBI double by Kole Calhoun that scored Riccio Torrez who walked with two outs.

All Devils except Riccio Torrez collected hits and were led by Kipnis and MacPhee who each had three hits. Drew Maggi scored four runs and reached five times, two walks, two hits and on an error. Carlos Ramirez and Matt Newman each had a pair of hits and Newman drove in four. Kipnis also extended his Pac 10 RBI lead with four RBI.

Spence collected his eighth win of the season and gutted out seven innings, allowing six runs, five earned. His NCAA-leading ERA jumped from 1.01 to 1.56. Mitchell Lambson worked the final two innings and didn't allow a run.

The Devils got to Cardinal ace Jeff Inman for seven runs in 1 1/3 innings on seven hits. Inman fell to 1-5 on the season and isn't having the success that he had pitching Stanford to a third place finish in Omaha last season.

ASU extended their lead in the conference to 2.5 games with their win and Oregon St.'s loss in Los Angeles against USC.

The series will continue with Mike Leake (8-1, 1.53 ERA) taking the mound against Stanford's Brett Mooneyham (3-1, 3.94 ERA). The first pitch on Saturday night from Packard Stadium is at 6:30PM.

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