Franzblau Shuts Out Former Team

Jason Franzblau started 22 games in his first two collegiate seasons for the Winthrop Eagles and spent his sophomore season as the team's ace throwing 112 innings. After that season he transferred to Arizona State and on Sunday he got to face his former team. The result was the senior's best outing to date as a Sun Devil, shutting out Winthrop and leading ASU to a 5-0 win and a series sweep.

The Devils (38-11) carried over their home run power from the night before and struck in the first inning for the third straight game against Winthrop. Carlos Ramirez and Kole Calhoun went back to back for the second straight game to give Franzblau all the runs he would need, two. Ramirez's 15th of the year was to left and Calhoun's 8th shot went to right field.

Winthrop's freshman starter Ken Monteith pitched well after the two solo shots, but ASU got him for one more in the 4th. Kole Calhoun walked with one out, but Matt Newman flew out to center for the second out of the inning. Abe Ruiz kept the inning alive with a single to right and Zach Wilson singled back up the middle to score Calhoun and make it 3-0.

Monteith then settled down for the next two innings, but ran into trouble again in the 7th. Drew Maggi drew a one out walk before Winthrop coach Joe Hudak pulled Monteith for Dane Yoder.

Jason Kipnis singled to right, chasing Yoder and brought in Tyler Mizenko. Maggi would score on an error by first basemen Eddie Tisdale, sending Maggi to third. Carlos Ramirez capped his big series with an RBI double to right center and all but sealing the deal at 5-0.

The rest of the game belong to Franzblau, who a base runner in each of the final two innings, but out of each inning with no damage to complete the shutout. While at Winthrop, Franzblau started a regional game in 2006 as a freshman and led the Eagles with an 8-4 record en route to earning 1st Team All-Big South honors in 2007.

On Sunday, Franzblau made clearly his best start since transferring to ASU before last season. In his 11th start as a Devil, the senior scattered seven hits while striking out five and only walking one, against a very potent Winthrop (30-21) offense.

Carlos Ramirez continued his huge series with a 2-3 day, driving in two. For the series Ramirez hit .583 (7-12) with a pair of home runs, 9 RBIs and 4 runs scored. Zack MacPhee added a pair of hits on Sunday and Kole Calhoun went 1-1 with a home run and three walks.

Washington State's victory over Oregon moved the Cougars to within 2.5 games of ASU. Oregon and Wazzu will conclude their three game set tomorrow, so ASU will either lead the conference by 2 or 3 games heading into next weekend. UCLA, who was tied for second place, fell to Cal on Sunday and is in third place at 3.5 games back. Oregon State fell on Sunday to Washington, putting the Huskies and Beavers tied at 4 games behind the Sun Devils with six to play.

The magic number for ASU going into this weekend's series against Oregon is four. Any combination of four ASU wins or losses by Washington State will clinch the Devils third straight conference title.

For the first time since 1974, ASU will meet Oregon (14-33, 4-16 Pac 10) starting with game one of the three game series on Friday. First pitch will be at 6:30 on Friday with Mike Leake likely getting the ball for ASU and Erik Stavert (5-3, 2.43 ERA) going for the last place Ducks, who boast just a .234 team batting average.

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