Kelly Dominates Cal, Sun Devils Make History

The 2010 ASU baseball team will forever have their spot in history. With a 6-1 victory over California on Saturday night, the Sun Devils stand alone in school history with 22 straight wins to start a season.

"It just shows that we are playing well right now," ASU coach Tim Esmay said. "You can't look past what they are doing right now. They are playing really good baseball, they are playing fundamentally sound and the kids are just playing real well."

Esmay has been trying to down play the record to let his players concentrate on just one game at a time, but for the first time, they talked about it before Saturday's game.

"You can't hide from it, it is a history maker," he said. "It is a very storied program and anytime you can have a record in this program, it is incredible."

One of the major reasons ASU extended the streak was Merrill Kelly. Kelly was so dominant that Esmay gave him a pretty big compliment.

"That is one of the best performances I have seen in Packard in a long time," Esmay said. "He was definitely dominant."

That is quite the compliment considering some of the great performances seen in Tempe in recent years.

"That is nothing against Mike Leake or Urquidez or those guys that have been through this, but I thought tonight he was in command from first pitch on," Esmay said. "He commanded the strike zone and they really didn't take good swings the whole night."

Kelly worked 6.1 innings and allowed just one run on two hits to improve to 6-0 on the season.

"I felt great," Kelly said. "Everything was working today; I think that was the biggest thing. Every pitch I could throw whenever I felt like it so I could keep hitters off balance."

Kelly and Cal freshman Justin Jones were both strong during the first four innings and the game was scoreless into the bottom of the fifth when ASU broke through.

Matt Newman led off the frame with a walk and moved up to third on a double down the third base line by Zach Wilson.

Johnny Ruettiger made it 1-0 on a groundout on an 0-2 pitch that let Newman score from third.

After Jones walked Austin Barnes, freshman shortstop Deven Marrero delivered the big blow to the Golden Bears.

He took a first pitch changeup from Jones and deposited it over the right field wall for a three-run home run that put ASU up 4-0.

"I saw changeups all day. I got my pitch and I hit it," Marrero said. "He was throwing first pitch changeups to righties all day and I just found my pitch and got lucky it went out."

It was Marrero's first career home run and it got a long ovation from the sellout crowd that treated this contest like a regional game.

"That felt amazing," Marrero said. "I have been in a lot of great atmospheres, but that was by far the best atmosphere I have been in."

It was a huge spot to break through for his first home run too, it let ASU break on the scoreboard against Jones who was strong early on. Marrero said that communication between the players in the dugout led the Sun Devils (22-0, 2-0 Pac-10) to finally figuring out the freshman.

"That kid had great stuff. He shut us down for a good five innings," he said. "Communication is a big part of our team and a lot of communication on our team pays off."

Cal (12-9, 0-2) finally got to Kelly in the 6th on a solo home run by Danny Oh. That was just one of the only two hits that Kelly allowed all night.

Wilson answered that run that the Golden Bears got back with an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth.

"I love pitching for this team, because every time I make a mistake or give up a run, they come back with four or five more," Kelly said.

ASU will look to sweep Cal and continue to add to their record tomorrow afternoon in the series finale at 12:30PM. Jake Borup will get the start for ASU.

"It is something special," Kelly said of the record. "This record has been around for 49 years, it is a special thing to be a part of and a special team to be a part of."

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