Three-Peat!

When the Pac-10 coaches picked the young Arizona State squad to take home the conference crown, head coach Pat Murphy called it a bad joke. But who could blame him? With new faces everywhere the Devils were a giant question mark. Nonetheless, with an 8-0 home victory over Oregon the Sun Devils became the first team in league history to win back-to-back-to-back conference crowns.

With the win on Sunday, ASU (41-11, 19-5 Pac 10) clinched no less than a tie for first place with Washington State, but the Devils hold the tiebreaker over the Cougars after taking the season series two games to one.

For the third straight game in the series the Ducks were overmatched. ASU jumped all over Oregon (14-37, 4-20 Pac 10) starter Madison Boer in the second inning. Matt Newman started the big inning with a single back up the middle and after a lineout, Newman moved up to second on a wild pickoff throw by Boer.

Johnny Ruettiger then reached on an infield single that sent Newman to third and then Raoul Torrez dropped down a bunt that allowed Newman to score and make it 1-0. Ruettiger then stole third base and after a walk to Drew Maggi, Jason Kipnis singled to right making it 2-0.

The Devils essentially put the game away when Carlos Ramirez blasted his 17th home run of the season to left center to put the Devils up 5-0 after two innings. That run support was plenty for Seth Blair, who rolled for ASU's fourth straight dominant starting pitching performance.

Bad defense by Oregon let ASU increase its lead to 6-0 in the third. Zack MacPhee led off with an infield single and another errant pickoff throw sent him to second. MacPhee moved up to third on a fielders' choice and scored when Raoul Torrez' groundball was booted by shortstop KC Serna.

Errors continued to haunt the Ducks in the 6th when ASU added its final two runs of the game. Drew Maggi led off with a single and Jason Kipnis drew a walk before Carlos Ramirez tried to bunt the runners over, but first baseman Darrell Hunter threw the ball away allowing Maggi and Kipnis to score.

Once again ASU's pitching staff dominated the worst offense in the Pac 10. Seth Blair improved to 6-1 on the season with 7.2 innings of two hit ball. The sophomore struck out six and didn't walk a batter. Jason Franzblau extended his scoreless inning streak to 11.1 innings with 1.1 innings to close out the game.

The difference between first place and last place was evident on the weekend, with the Devils outscoring the Ducks 27-2 and not one of the games ever being in doubt. ASU's starting pitching worked 23.1 innings on the weekend and had an ERA of 0.77. The combo of Leake, Swagerty and Blair went 3-0, mainly because they didn't walk a single batter between them and struck out 26.

Carlos Ramirez continued his big weekend with four RBIs on Sunday. Ramirez went 6-13 with six RBIs against the Ducks, just one weekend after hitting .583 against Winthrop. Jason Kipnis was the only Sun Devil with multiple hits on Sunday, going 2-4. Raoul Torrez drove in two for ASU.

The Devils will now head to Tucson for a non-conference game with Arizona on Wednesday before hosting UCLA next weekend to wrap up the regular season. The Devils have outscored Arizona 43-12 in their last two contests. First pitch from Sancet Stadium is at 7PM on Wednesday night.


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