21 Hits And 16 Run Not Enough For Baseball In 19-16 Loss To New Mexico State

April 17, 2001

LAS CRUCES, N.M. -- The No. 15 Arizona State Sun Devils battled back from two, 10-run deficits and scored nine runs in the seventh inning to pull to within 15-14, but the New Mexico State Aggies belted five home runs and tallied 14 hits off Sun Devil pitching en route to a wild 19-16 victory Tuesday night at Presley Askew Field.

Coming off two straight wins and a Pac-10 series victory over the Washington State Cougars, ASU fell back into its recent slump, dropping its 10th contest in the last 15 games. The No. 15 Sun Devils are now 24-14-1 on the season and now just one loss off its entire season total from 2000 (44-15). New Mexico State saw its seven-game home losing streak come to an end with the victory in front of a season-high crowd of 678. The Aggies improved their season record to 26-17 on the year and in doing so gained its first win over the Sun Devils in 21 career meetings.

In a game where the two teams combined for 35 hits, 35 runs and eight home runs, the Sun Devils were led by six players who had multi-hit games. Freshman left fielder Rod Allen had a career day at the plate, going 4-for-5 with five RBI and four runs scored, including a grand slam home run in the nine-run seventh inning. Allen is now hitting .437 on the year and is hitting .500 (9x18) over his last five games. Freshman infielder Steve Garrabrants continued his hot hitting with a 3-for-6 game and now has six hits in his last two games.

After ASU jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the first inning without the benefit of the hit, the Aggies stormed back to scored six runs off ASU ace Jon Switzer without recording an out. Anthony Purkiss led off the game with a solo home run over the left field fence to cut ASU's lead to 3-1. Two singles to left field, a walk and a hit-by-pitch loaded the bases for first baseman Gabe Veloz who cleared them all with a grand slam home run to stake New Mexico State to a 6-3 lead. Switzer suffered his roughest outing as a Sun Devil, allowing six runs, four hits, two home runs and a walk without recording an out in the first inning. His season ERA jumped from 3.60 to 4.32.

New Mexico State tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the second off reliever Andy Torres and a three-run home run in the fourth by catcher Chad Dias put the Aggies up 11-3. Designated hitter Travis Perry added his 12th home run of the year in the fourth off ASU relief pitcher Franco Pezely to increase NMSU's lead to 10 runs.

The Sun Devils scored two runs in the top of the fifth with the big blast coming off the bat of senior All-American catcher Casey Myers. Playing in his 200th career game as a Sun Devil, Myers blasted his sixth home run of the year and the 38th of his career to move into a tie for sixth place in the ASU record books for career home runs with Mitch Jones (1999-2000).

NMSU scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth to extend its lead to 15-5, and that is when things started to get interesting. ASU erupted for nine runs in the top of the seventh by tallying six hits and sending 13 runners to the plate. The big hits came on back-to-back home runs from Allen and senior Jeff Phelps. Allen connected on his first career grand slam home run and his third round-tripper of the year. Phelps clubbed his first home run of the year with a line drive that just barely cleared the left field fence. Dennis Wyrick and Garrabrants also provided run-scoring single sin the inning to pull ASU to within one run. Wyrick broke out of a 0-for-19 slump with the hit and added two more in the game after coming in as a defensive replacement.

The Aggies answered in the bottom half of the inning with three big insurance runs. Dias clubbed his second home run of the game and eighth of the year with a three-run blast to extend NMSU's lead to 18-14. The Devils scored two in the eighth and threatened to tie the game in the ninth by bringing the tying run to the plate. Garrabrants hit a towering fly ball that was caught at the base of the center field wall to end any chance of an ASU comeback win.

New Mexico State starter Mike Hale picked up the win, improving to 4-2 on the year with five solid innings. After the Aggie bullpen stumbled in the late innings combining to allow 11 runs in two and two-thirds innings, NMSU ace Dan Bivian came on in the eighth and preserved the win with one and a third shutout innings to pick up his first save of the year. Switzer took the loss for the Sun Devils, falling to 4-3 on the year.

The Sun Devils will continue their three-day, three-game, three-city road trip Wednesday with a 7 p.m. (CST) game against the University of Oklahoma Sooners at Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City. ASU will play Oral Roberts in Tulsa, Okla., Thursday before returning home to Tempe on Friday.

New Mexico State 19, Arizona State 16 (Apr 17, 2001 at Las Cruces, NM)----------------------------------------------------------------------Arizona State....... 300 020 920  - 16 21  5      (24-14-1)New Mexico State.... 620 502 31X  - 19 14  3      (26-17)----------------------------------------------------------------------Pitchers: Arizona State - Switzer, Torres(1), Pezely(4), Liebeck(5), Jackson(7), Johnson(8).New Mexico State - Hale, Buchanan(6), Clements(7), Hammer(7), Bivian(8).Win-Hale(4-2)  Save-Bivian(1)  Loss-Switzer(4-3)  T-4:13  A-678HR ASU - Myers (6), Allen (3), Phelps (1).HR NMSU - Purkiss (4), Dias 2 (8), Veloz (12), Perry (12).

--Sun Devil Baseball--

Copy By Jeff R. Evans
ASU Media Relations

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