Total Team Effort Lifts Sun Devil Baseball To 6-5 Victory Over Top-Ranked Stanford
April 1, 2001
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Senior catcher Casey Myers was 3-for-4 with three RBI and junior relief pitcher Andy Torres threw three solid innings out of the bullpen to pick up his eighth win of the year, as the No. 4/6 Arizona State Sun Devil baseball team used a total team effort to defeat top-ranked Stanford 6-5 on a sunny Sunday afternoon in Pac-10 baseball action at Packard Stadium.
The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Sun Devils, their longest in two years, and improved their season record to 21-9-1, 4-5 in Pac-10 play. Busting out of a hitting slump that saw ASU's team batting average dwindle from .371 to .341 in the last nine games, the Sun Devil bats broke out with 10 hits and six runs, marking the first time in the last four games ASU has scored more than two runs. The top-ranked Cardinal lost only its sixth game of the year (24-6), with all six games being decided by one run. The loss was also the first of the year for Stanford in Pac-10 action, falling to 5-1. The win also gives ASU a slight edge in the all-time series, 75-74.
'We had our backs against the wall and our players began questioning themselves and we came out here and played a very solid game. It was no doubt a big win for our program and our players. We have the talent and the ability to be a great team, it is just a matter of putting all the pieces of the puzzle together. That is what we did today,' said ASU head coach Pat Murphy. 'We responded from a couple of hard losses and got some great leadership from our older players today. Guys like Casey (Myers), Dennis (Wyrick) and Mike (Lopez) are the heart and soul of this club. We battled today and I am real proud of them for that.'
For the Sun Devils, Sunday was a win that combined pitching and hitting, preserving a streak in which ASU has not been swept in a three-game series at home since 1997. Relief pitcher Andy Torres took over for starter Ryan Schroyer and contributed three solid innings to pick up his eighth win of the year. Torres allowed only a solo home run in the eighth to scar his outing. Senior relief pitcher Drew Friedberg continued his dominance out of the bullpen, locking down the win with his first save of the year and third of his career by pitching 1.2 perfect innings. The senior from Middleton, Wisc., is now 3-0 on the year with one save and a near perfect 0.95 ERA. Schroyer, making his first start since Feb. 17, scattered two hits and one run in 3.1 innings, leaving the game with a 2-0 lead at his back.
The Sun Devils set the tone of the game early when Myers ended ASU's 280 at-bat streak without a home run, belting his fifth round-tripper of the year deep over the left field wall. The Cardinal scored a single-tally in the fourth on a run-scoring single by third baseman Andy Topham. ASU answered in the bottom half of the inning with two more runs to extend its lead to 4-1. Consecutive doubles by sophomore shortstop Dennis Wyrick and freshman designated hitter Rod Allen pushed the first run across the plate, and Myers drove home his third run of the game with a sacrifice fly.
'It is a role that I know I can succeed in and thrive in during big situations and big games,' said Torres about his recent move to the bullpen. 'It is all about making this team better and win ball games. If it means moving to the bullpen makes this team stronger, than I couldn't be happier to be down there.'
Stanford tied the game in the top of the fourth, roughing up reliever Bryce Kartler for all the runs. Three consecutive hits by Arik VanZandt, Jason VanMeetren and Carlos Quentin fueled the three-run rally. VanMeetren's double to left field scored two runs and a fielder's choice by Topham pulled the game even. The Devils answered with a run in the bottom half of the inning to take the lead, with Mel Stocker's single up the middle proving to be the game winner. A very important insurance run crossed the plate in the seventh on a single to right field by Wyrick to score senior first baseman Jeff Phelps. Wyrick sealed the 6-5 win for the Sun Devils, fielding the last three outs in the ninth inning.
Stanford relief pitcher John Hudgins was credited with the loss and is responsible for four of Stanford's six losses this year, falling to 1-4 in 2001. Hudgins allowed two runs and three hits in three innings of work. Sophomore left-hander Tim Cunningham kept Stanford's regular starting pitching corps undefeated at 17-0 on the year, earning a no-decision by allowing four runs and five hits in 3.1 innings.
Myers led ASU at the plate going 3-for-4 with three RBI to net his 20th multi-hit game of the year and improve his season batting average to .408. With his fifth home run of the year, Myers now has 37 for his career, moving into seventh in the ASU record books. His three RBI give him 253 for his career, moving him into second in the ASU record books and within 30 of tying both the school and Pac-10 record of 283 set by former Sun Devil Andrew Beinbrink (1996-99). Allen, a freshman from Desert Vista High School in Phoenix, broke out of a 0-for-10 slump with a 3-for-4 game, scoring one run and knocking in another. Allen is now hitting .400 on the year. Wyrick was 2-for-2 with two runs scored and an RBI single. The sophomore shortstop is ASU's hottest hitter, connecting at a .500 clip (12x24) in his last seven games.
ASU wasted little time extending its consecutive games steak with scoring at least one run to 348 games with two runs in the first frame. Just a game after waiting tell the ninth to extend the streak, ASU is now within one game of tying the all-time NCAA record of 349 consecutive games without being shut out, set by Coastal Carolina. ASU will be facing one of the nation's toughest pitchers in USC's Mark Prior next Friday at Dedeaux Field when it takes the field to try to tie the mark. The last time ASU was held without a run was April 7, 1995 at USC, ironically, ASU can set the new record on April 7, 2001 on the same date (six years later) and at the same field where the streak started.
'Wyrick is the definition of a team player and has been a real clutch hitter for us lately,' said Murphy on his sophomore shortstop. 'He was struggling earlier in the season and didn't start a few games for us, but he is a bulldog for us and gives us 100% day in and day out.'
The Sun Devils will be returning to Pac-10 play with a three-game series the Trojans at Dedeaux Field in Los Angeles. Games times are 6 p.m. (Friday) and 1 p.m. (Saturday and Sunday). ASU will also play a make-up game with Cal State Fullerton at Goodwin Field at 3 p.m. next Monday.
Arizona State 6, Stanford 5 (Apr 01, 2001 at Tempe, Ariz.)----------------------------------------------------------------------Stanford............ 000 130 010 - 5 7 1 (24-6, 5-1 PAC-10)Arizona State....... 200 210 10X - 6 10 2 (21-9-1, 4-5 PAC-10)----------------------------------------------------------------------Pitchers: Stanford - Cunningham, Hudgins(4), Wilcox(7).Arizona State - Schroyer, Kartler(4),Torres(5), Friedberg(8).Win-Torres(8-3) Save-Friedberg(1) Loss-Hudgins(1-4) T-3:22 A-3284HR STAN - Quentin (4), HR ASU - Myers (5).
Copy By Jeff R. Evans
ASU Media Relations