Sun Devils Win Battle of Top Ten Teams

It was the first true test for the 2010 Arizona State Sun Devils and after a shaky start, they passed. In a battle of rivals and top ten teams, #2 ASU overcame a three run deficit to defeat #10 Oregon St. 6-4 on Friday evening in front of 2,346 at the Coca-Cola Classic at Surprise Stadium.

The Beavers (6-3) jumped out to an early lead, thanks in part to some shaky defense by the Sun Devils. OSU's Carter Bell reached on an error by Raoul Torrez to start the second inning and Brandon Hayes followed with a base hit.

After a groundout by Tyler Smith, Bell scored on a wild pitch and freshman catcher Andrew Susac followed with a base hit back up the middle to make it 2-0 Beavers.

ASU (9-0) starter Merrill Kelly continued to not get any help from his defense as OSU added to their lead in the third inning. Freshman Matt Boyd laced a double down the right field line and moved up to third on a single to center by Bell.

Kelly came back to strike out Hayes and appeared to work out of the inning when Smith sent a ground ball to short, but freshman Deven Marrero threw the ball away allowing Boyd to score and make it 3-0.

ASU finally got to OSU Friday night starter Tyler Waldron in the fourth inning. Riccio Torrez led off the frame with a double to right center and advanced to third on a long fly out by Matt Newman.

Johnny Ruettiger then beat out an infield single that Waldron took his time fielding and with Xorge Carrillo at the plate, Waldron threw a wild pitch that allowed Torrez to score.

Carrillo then lined a double to right that plated Ruettiger and cut the deficit to 3-2. Drew Maggi eventually tied the game at 3-3 with a two-out single back up the middle that scored Carrillo.

The Sun Devils took the lead for good in the fifth inning and chased Waldron in the process. Kole Calhoun drew a leadoff walk and moved up to second on a groundout to third.

OSU manager Pat Casey then pulled Waldron in favor of lefty Dylan Jones, who got the second out of the inning before Ruettiger singled to right to score Calhoun and put ASU in front 4-3.

ASU added another run in the sixth inning when Zack MacPhee scored on a wild pitch from OSU reliever Kraig Sitton.

Another insurance run was added in the seventh inning on a sacrifice fly by Maggi that plated Carrillo who reached on a leadoff walk.

The Beavers got a run back off of freshman reliever Brady Rodgers in the eighth inning, but left the tying runs in scoring position.

Rodgers plunked Hayes with one out and Smith followed with a base hit. Rodgers was then pulled after walking pinch hitter Danny Hayes to load the bases.

ASU head coach Tim Esmay turned to freshman Jake Barrett to try and work out of the jam. Barrett responded by getting pinch hitter Parker Berberet to hit what looked like a routine double play ball to MacPhee to get out of the inning, but MacPhee bobbled it enough that he could only get the out at first.

A run scored in the process to cut the lead to 6-4 and moved the tying runs into scoring position. That brought All-Pac 10 centerfielder Aldaberto Santos to the plate with a chance to tie the game, but Barrett struck him out swinging.

The Beavers put runners on against closer Jordan Swagerty in the ninth, but the sophomore worked out of the jam. Rob Folsom led off with a single and appeared to have second base stolen, but the batter, Stefen Romero, was called for interference by home plate umpire Chris Thomas.

Instead of a runner at second and one away, it was a strike them out, throw them out double play. That would prove huge after Swagerty walked Boyd and Bell to put the tying runs on base, but he got Hayes to pop out to short to end the game.

Kelly allowed just one earned run in five innings to pick up his team leading third win of the season. Rodgers worked 2.1 innings and allowed one run, with two walks and two strikeouts.

At the plate, ASU was led by Maggi, who finished 2-4 with a pair of RBIs. MacPhee, Ruettiger and Carrillo all finished with two hits for the Sun Devils.

The Sun Devils will resume the Coca-Cola Classic tomorrow in Surprise when they face UC Riverside. The game will start roughly 45 minutes after the MLB game at Surprise Stadium that gets underway at 1PM.

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