Homers Propel Sun Devils Past Washington

The Washington Huskies have a problem with the long ball. The Huskies pitching staff allows by far, the most in the Pac-10 conference. The home run hurt the Huskies again on Friday night, as ASU connected for three big flies to take the opener from UW, 10-2.

ASU (32-4, 10-3 Pac-10) was without second baseman Zack MacPhee for the third time in four games with the flu, but freshman Deven Marrero filled in nicely yet again, as his homer in the fifth inning put ASU in front for good.

MacPhee pinch hit in the eighth and walked. Catcher Xorge Carrillo also returned from an arm injury he suffered in early March and flew out in his only at bat.

The Huskies (19-17, 4-6) jumped out to a 2-0 lead against Blair in the second inning, thanks to a brief bout of lack of control from the righty.

After getting the first out of the inning, Blair walked Chase Anselment and hit Aaron Russell with a pitch. Those base runners would be the two that crossed the plate.

Miles Kizer singled to left to score Anselment and after another hit by David Bentrott, Bradley Boyer made it 2-0 with a sacrifice fly to center.

"We talk about minimizing innings and I think that was a big inning, only giving up two," ASU coach Tim Esmay said. "You could sense that the game could go either way and he really locked in and made some good pitches."

ASU played small ball to get one of those runs back in the third inning off UW starter Ben Guidos. Austin Barnes singled with one away and Drew Maggi followed with a perfectly placed bunt single.

Marrero then dropped down a bunt base hit of his own that Huskies' third baseman Aaron Russell threw away allowing Barnes to come around and score.

Guidos limited the inning by getting Kole Calhoun to hit into an inning ending double play, stranding the tying run at third. That became irrelevant, thanks to a pair of home runs from the Sun Devils.

Riccio Torrez tied the game at 2-2 with a solo blast to lead off the fourth and Marrero gave ASU the lead for good with a two-out, two-run homer in the fifth.

"We were sitting fastballs and he gave me a pitch I could hit and I put a good swing on it," Marrero said. ASU added a few insurance runs in the sixth off UW reliever Forrest Snow. Zach Wilson led off the inning with a double off the wall and eventually scored on a base hit by Matt Newman.

The game got blown open in the bottom of the eighth, as ASU scored four times to make it 10-2. Riccio Torrez added an RBI single and Zach Wilson connected for two-run homer.

Those runs were plenty for Seth Blair, who settled in and shut down the Huskies the rest of the way. The junior improved to 7-0 by tossing eight innings and allowed only two runs on eight hits while striking out four. Mitchell Lambson struck out the side in a scoreless ninth.

"I thought at the beginning of the game I was struggling a bit, but they were getting some cheap hits," Blair said. "From there I kind of cruised. It was definitely a good night." The key to Blair's success for his career high eight innings was his ability to throw all three of his pitches for strikes.

"He started controlling three pitches for strikes and when Seth is controlling three pitches for strikes, it could be a tough night for anybody," Esmay said.

The top of the order was deadly for ASU on Friday night. Maggi and Marrero were a perfect 7-7 at the plate and reached safely in all ten of their at bats, while driving in three runs combined.

Other Sun Devils also had good days at the plate. Wilson finished 3-5 with a pair of RBI's and Newman finished the day 2-4.

"It was one of our better offensive games that we have had in awhile," Esmay said. "We had a lot of guys having good AB's tonight."

The Sun Devils and Huskies will continue the series tomorrow evening at 6:30PM at Packard Stadium. Junior Merrill Kelly will get the start for ASU.

"We struggled a bit in that UA game, but tonight we came out and showed everybody that we were back and ready to play baseball," Marrero said.

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