Devils' Bats Explode in Regional Opening Win

So much for this winning it with pitching stuff that the Devils have been hearing about lately. On Friday Arizona State proved it can still do it with the bat, outslugging the Kent State Golden Flashes 17-6 in front of 3,543 at Packard Stadium in the second game of the opening day of the Tempe Regional.

ASU's bats got right to work in the bottom of the first against Kent State starter Brad Stillings. Drew Maggi walked to lead off and Jason Kipnis followed with a single to left. Carlos Ramirez then drew a walk to load the bases, before Kole Calhoun started his big day with a two run single to left that scored Maggi and Kipnis.

Riccio Torrez reloaded the bases with a single back up the middle and Matt Newman then made it 3-0 with a sacrifice fly to center, with all runners advancing. Raoul Torrez drove in a run with an RBI groundout to second. Zack MacPhee capped the big first inning with a two-out RBI single to score Riccio Torrez to make it 5-0 Devils after one.

The Devils (45-12) tacked on two more off Stillings in the second inning, again starting the rally with a walk. Carlos Ramirez drew a one out free pass and went to third on Calhoun's double to center. Riccio Torrez made it 6-0 with a sacrifice fly and then Matt Newman doubled home Calhoun to make it 7-0 ASU.

The Flashes (42-16) got three of those runs back against ASU starter Josh Spence in the third, thanks to errors by ASU's defense. An error by Maggi with one out allowed Jimmy Rider to reach first safely and Anthony Gallas followed with a single. Greg Rohan then singled to left and an error by left fielder Kole Calhoun allowed Rider to score, Gallas to move up to third and Rohan to get to second. Jason Patton made it 7-3 with a single to left field that plated the runners that were moved into scoring position by the error.

Two of those runs were earned back by ASU in the bottom of the third. Johnny Ruettiger led off with a single and moved to second on a groundout by MacPhee. Drew Maggi then plated Ruettiger with a single to right that ended Stillings day. Senior Alan Morrison took over on the hill for the Flashes and allowed a two out RBI double to Ramirez and ASU led 9-3.

ASU started a two out rally in the fourth and got help from some bad Kent State defense. A walk to Ruettiger started the rally and MacPhee followed with a hit to right. Drew Maggi drew a walk to load the bases and an error by second baseman Jimmy Rider allowed Ruettiger and MacPhee to score. Kipnis and Maggi then executed a double steal and the throw from catcher David Lyon got away allowing Maggi to score and make it 12-3.

Jordan Swagerty took over in the fourth for Spence and allowed an RBI double in the fifth to Jason Patton to cut the lead to 12-4.

RBI singles by MacPhee and Jason Kipnis in the sixth extended that lead back to ten runs and Kole Calhoun drew a walk with the bases loaded to make it 15-4.

Rohan and Patton led off the Kent State seventh with back to back home runs off of Swagerty to begin to chip away at the lead, but ASU's offense quickly put the foot back on the gas.

Johnny Ruettiger singled in a run in the seventh inning and ASU got another on a solo blast from Pac 10 Player of the Year Jason Kipnis in the eighth.

Josh Spence worked three innings and three runs, with just one of them being earned. The lefty allowed five hits and struck out two, while not walking a batter. Jordan Swagerty (4-1) worked four innings to pick up the victory and allowed three runs, but struck out seven. Jason Franzblau worked the final two innings and didn't allow a run.

Calhoun finished the day 4-4 with a pair of walks and three RBIs. Kipnis finished 3-6 with a homer and three RBI, while Zack MacPhee also had three hits and drove in two. Matt Newman drove in two and finished 2-5. Only one Sun Devil starter did not collect a base hit.

The Devils will now face Oral Roberts tomorrow in the winners' bracket of the Tempe Regional. The Golden Eagles won their regional opener 13-3 over Cal Poly at Packard Stadium on Friday. Pac 10 Pitcher of the Year Mike Leake (14-1, 1.24 ERA) will get the ball on Saturday and will likely be opposed by Summit League Player and Pitcher of the Year Mark Serrano (9-0, 2.42 ERA). Kent State and Cal Poly will play in an elimination game at 2PM on Saturday, with ASU and Oral Roberts squaring off at 7PM.

Sun Devil Source Top Stories