ASU's outright title clinching on hold

If ASU is going to control its own destiny in taking the Pac-10 Championship for itself, there is only one game left to do so. Stanford sophomore Jordan Pries shut down No. 2 ASU over eight innings and denied ASU from taking the crown outright, for the time being at least, with a 5-2 victory over the Sun Devils at Sunken Diamond.

ASU (46-8, 19-7 Pac-10) clinched a share of the conference title on Thursday, but still needs one more win or a UCLA loss to clinch outright. UCLA took its opener from Washington St. today and plays the Cougars again on Saturday and Sunday.

The Cardinal (31-22, 14-12) jumped on the board in the second inning against ASU starter Merrill Kelly, plating two unearned runs.

Eric Smith led off with a base hit and after a strikeout; Jake Schlander reached on an error by Drew Maggi. One out later, Tyler Gaffney made the mistake hurt by doubling to left and scoring two.

Jake Stewart added a two-out RBI single in the fourth inning to extend Stanford's lead out to 3-0 and that would be plenty for Pries.

Ben Clowe added an RBI groundout in the fifth and an RBI single in the seventh for insurance runs.

ASU couldn't muster up much offense against Pries and didn't really put together many scoring threats for most of the night.

The Sun Devils finally got to him in the ninth inning, but it was too little and too late. ASU loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth and Raoul Torrez made it 5-2 with a base hit into left, but Matt Newman popped out to end the game.

Kelly allowed three earned runs on 11 hits in seven innings, but was hung with just his second loss of the season. Jimmy Patterson worked a scoreless inning in relief of Kelly.

ASU did finish with seven hits, but none went for extra bases. Riccio and Raoul Torrez were the only Sun Devils with multiple hits.

The final regular season game for ASU is tomorrow afternoon in Palo Alto against Stanford. Jake Borup will get the start for the Sun Devils, with the first pitch coming at 1PM.

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