Sun Devils Pound San Francisco

Riccio Torrez is going to hate to see the University of San Francisco Dons leave town. Just one night after collecting a career high four hits, Torrez matched that with four more hits on Wednesday to lead No. 2 ASU's offensive outburst at Packard Stadium. Every ASU starter had multiple hits as the Sun Devils pounded out 23 hits in a 21-3 victory over USF to complete the midweek sweep.

"I think everyone just fed off base hits," Riccio Torrez said. "You see them and you start believing that you are going to get the next it."

Freshman Alex Blackford made his first career start for ASU and the Dons got to him in the second inning to take an early lead.

Ryan Lipkin led off the second with a double into the left field corner and Nik Balog followed suit to make it 1-0. Another run scored on an infield single by Robert Abel and then Blackford balked in a run to give the Dons a 3-0 lead.

While ASU didn't score any runs in the first two innings, they got runners on base and hit the ball hard.

"Early in the game we made some loud outs, which was a good sign," ASU coach Tim Esmay said. "The ability to stay on it and still trust, we did a good job of that. Hitting is contagious."

ASU (35-5) eventually got on the scoreboard in the third inning, with a little help from the USF (22-20) defense.

The Sun Devils loaded the bases with nobody out, but Johnny Ruettiger hit what should have been a fielders' choice with the Dons recording the out at the plate, but third baseman Stephen Yarrow threw the ball away, allowing two runs to score.

Deven Marrero followed up the error with a two-run double into the left field corner that put ASU up 4-3. An error by USF first baseman Nik Balog allowed another ASU run to score.

The game was blown open in the fifth inning when ASU put up another five spot. Drew Maggi's RBI single scored Xorge Carrillo and Maggi scored on a base hit from Zack MacPhee.

Riccio Torrez and Zach Wilson both added RBI singles later in the inning and Ruettiger capped the frame with an RBI double.

MacPhee added an RBI single in the sixth and Riccio Torrez capped his second straight big night with a double that plated two more.

The game got away from USF in the eighth inning. ASU scored eight runs on six hits, including back-to-back home runs by Wilson and Ruettiger.

Junior Josh Moody picked up his second win of the season by tossing three scoreless innings of relief of Blackford.

"That gives us a better opportunity to maybe not have to go to Lambson so early now," Esmay said of Moody's outing. "I was really excited with him tonight. He threw it with intent and where he wanted it to go."

Freshman Brady Rodgers worked three scoreless innings for his second save of the season.

All nine of ASU's starters finished with multiple hits, led by Riccio Torrez who went 4-4 and drove in three runs. Marrero went 3-6 with two RBI's and Wilson drove in four runs.

Torrez finished the USF series eight for nine at the plate, with a home run and four RBI's.

"I am just swinging at the good pitches and leaving the bad pitches alone," Torrez said. "That is the big thing, just swinging at the right pitches."

While Torrez wouldn't admit to his growth from last season, his head coach certainly sees it.

"Riccio is like a quiet assassin. He just shows up, he is always early, he is always a guy that plays the game extremely hard," Esmay said. "The difference I see in Riccio is maturity. He does not panic during AB's."

The Sun Devils will now head to Los Angeles for a top ten showdown with No. 5 UCLA starting on Friday night.

In the Bruins, ASU will face one of the top pitching staffs in the nation, starting with sophomore Gerrit Cole on Friday night.

"We are going to have to be very disciplined and mature in handling at bats. We are going to have to hang in there," Esmay said.

Esmay thinks that if ASU does struggle at the plate against UCLA, it will be important for the Sun Devils to not take its plate appearances out to the field.

"We are going to have to separate, no matter what happens at the plate and go out on defense." .


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