Leake Leads Devils to Rout of Oregon

There is no doubt that Mike Leake is the best pitcher in the Pac-10 and he showed the league's newest team exactly why on Friday night. But he achieved something he has never done before in his storied career, throw a shutout. The junior ace completed his third straight Pac-10 complete game leading ASU to a 9-0 home rout of Oregon in the team's meeting since 1974.

It was the second complete game shutout for an ASU pitcher, as Jason Franzblau blanked Winthrop on Sunday. On Friday, Leake allowed just three hits and only allowed one runner in scoring position the whole night.

The Devils (39-11, 17-5 Pac 10) jumped on Duck ace Erik Stavert right away in the first inning. Stavert, who entered with a 2.46 ERA on a last place team, walked Drew Maggi to open the bottom of the first. Maggi stole second on a strikeout by Jason Kipnis and came around to score on a RBI single to right by Carlos Ramirez.

ASU increased that early lead in the second. Riccio Torrez, back in the lineup after missing most of last week with a hamstring injury, started the inning with a single back up the middle. After Matt Newman flew out, Torrez stole second and Zack MacPhee also drew a walk. Abe Ruiz singled to load the bases and Stavert hit Raoul Torrez to force in a run. Maggi then sent a ball down the left field line for a double that plated MacPhee and Ruiz, but Raoul Torrez was thrown out at the plate; however ASU led 4-0.

Stavert got out of the second, but wouldn't make it past the third. Ramirez led off the third with a double to right and Kole Calhoun followed by drawing a walk. Riccio Torrez attempted to bunt the runners up, but Ramirez was thrown out at third by Stavert.

The next batter was Matt Newman and he made it 5-0 with a single to right that scored Calhoun and sent Torrez to third. Zack MacPhee gave ASU a 6-0 lead with an RBI groundout. Abe Ruiz then reached on an infield single and stole second. Stavert was pulled after walking Raoul Torrez to load the bases. Chris Garrison came on and got Maggi to groundout to second to end the inning.

Garrison settled in before walks and a mistake by his catcher hurt him in the 5th. The freshman walked Newman and MacPhee to start the inning and then catcher Mitch Karraker was called for catcher's interference allowing Ruiz to reach and load the bases. Raoul Torrez brought home Newman with a groundout, but Maggi reloaded the bases by drawing a one out walk. Garrison got out of the inning with just one run allowed by getting Kipnis and Ramirez to pop out.

The Devils added two more in the 8th, starting with Maggi drawing a walk. Jason Kipnis drove him home with a triple to center and Kipnis scored on a single to right by Calhoun to make it 9-0.

That was plenty of run support for Leake, who picked up his 13th win of the season and his 37th of his three year career. Leake didn't allow an extra base hit and struck out 12 overmatched Ducks (14-35, 4-18 Pac 10) and didn't walk a batter. The junior's ERA is now a stunning 1.35.

The Devils win reduced their magic number in the Pac 10 title race to three games. Washington State knocked off Oregon State 7-6 on Friday to remain two games back with five to play. If ASU sweeps the Ducks, all it needs is the Cougars to fall once against the Beavers to clinch their third straight Pac 10 crown.

Seth Blair will start tomorrow for ASU and will likely be opposed by Oregon freshman left hander Tyler Anderson (2-7, 5.47 ERA). First pitch for game two is at 6:30PM on Saturday from Packard Stadium.

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