Baseball Fends Off Ninth Inning Rally In 7-6 Victory Over Gonzaga

April 23, 2001

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The No. 20 Arizona State Sun Devil baseball team scored seven runs in the first two innings and held off a ninth inning rally to pick up a 7-6 non-conference baseball victory over the Gonzaga University Bulldogs Monday night at Packard Stadium.

With ASU scoring all seven of its runs in the first two innings, the Bulldogs held tough with a phenomenal bullpen outing, shutting down the dangerous Sun Devil lineup over the remaining seven innings. Singles by John Gebbers and Eric Rodland and a walk to Jeremy Davis loaded the bases to start the ninth inning rally. Redshirt freshman Aaron Klusman nearly got out of the jam by striking out two, but turned the game over the sophomore left-hander Bryce Kartler. All-America candidate Barry Matthews brought Gonzaga to within one run with a two-run single to left field, but Kartler sealed the victory by striking out designated hitter Kevin Richardson to end the game and pick up his third save of the year.

Arizona State continued its current hot streak, winning its fifth contest in the last six games. At 27-14-1 on the year, the Sun Devils picked up their 20th win of the year at Packard Stadium. Gonzaga came into the series having won four in a row and seven of its last eight, but dropped to 21-19 on the year. Despite the loss Monday, Gonzaga received some good news by taking possession of first place in the Coast Division of the West Coast Conference with a 12-9 record.

Sun Devil starting pitcher Jon Switzer rebounded from his last start at New Mexico State when he failed to record an out while giving up six runs. The junior left-hander scattered six hits and two earned runs while striking out five in four innings on the mound. Senior relief pitcher Drew Friedberg (4-1) picked up his fourth win of the year while contributing three innings of one-run ball.

Bulldog freshman left-handed starting pitcher Ed Clelland took the loss for the Zags, falling to 1-2 on the year. Clelland surrendered all seven of ASU's run in one-plus innings of work. Relief pitchers Errol Simonitsch, Greg Brooks and John Gonzalez combined to shut out the Sun Devils and allow only five hits over the final seven innings of the game.

The Devils came out of the gates hot, scoring four runs in the opening frame by batting around in their half of the first inning, bringing home four runs on four hits. Hot-hitting freshman left fielder Rod Allen started the rally with a bases loaded double down the left field line to score two runs and stake ASU to the early lead. Senior first baseman Jeff Phelps drove home two more runs on a double to center field to cap the Sun Devil scoring.

ASU capitalized with the bat again in the second, scoring three more runs on four hits. Consecutive singles by leadoff hitter Jonah Martin and Chris Duffy fueled the rally. Myers brought home the first run of the inning on a single to left field and Allen tabbed his third RBI of the game on a groundout to second base. Phelps scored ASU's third run of the inning on a single to center field.

Gonzaga battled back into the game with a run in the second, two in the third and pulled to within 7-4 with a single tally in the top of the sixth. Davis knocked a run-scoring double down the left field line in the sixth for the first hit of his collegiate career.

Allen finished the game 1-for-4 with three RBI and is now 13-for-23 with 13 RBI in his last four games. Phelps was 3-for-4 with his 15th double of the year and also had three RBI. ASU and Gonzaga were tied in the hit column with 12 hits apiece.

The Sun Devils and Bulldogs will resume their non-conference two-game series tomorrow with a 7 p.m. game Tuesday night at Packard Stadium. ASU will return to Pac-10 play this weekend with a crucial three-game series against rival Arizona. Both teams are locked in sixth place in the conference with identical 7-8 records.

Arizona State 7, Gonzaga 6 (Apr 23, 2001 at Tempe, Ariz.)----------------------------------------------------------------------Gonzaga............. 012 001 002  -  6 12  2      (21-19)Arizona State....... 430 000 00X  -  7 12  2      (27-14-1)----------------------------------------------------------------------Pitchers: Gonzaga - Clelland, Simonitsch(2), Brooks(6), Gonzalez(8).Arizona State - Switzer, Friedberg(5), Klusman(8), Kartler(9).Win-Friedberg(4-1)  Save-Kartler(3)  Loss-Clelland(1-2)  T-3:02  A-2162

--Sun Devil Baseball--

Copy By Jeff R. Evans
ASU Media Relations

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