Rod Allen's Three-Run Home Run Sparks Four-Run Fifth To Defeat UCLA 7-3

May 18, 2001

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Freshman left fielder Rod Allen was 2-for-4 with a big three-run home run to help lead the No. 18 Arizona State Sun Devils to their fifth consecutive Pac-10 victory in a convincing 7-3 win over the UCLA Bruins Friday night in front of a crowd of 2,429 at Packard Stadium.

Allen's three run blast, his fifth of the year and first since April 19 at Oral Roberts, sparked a four-run fifth inning that saw the Sun Devils overcome a 3-1 deficit. Playing arguably their best baseball of the year, ASU recorded a hit in every inning but the opening frame, played errorless defense, received clutch hitting and the pitching staff did not walk a batter.

'I am really proud of our team from top to bottom. We played tremendous defense, didn't walk a batter on the mound and got some big hits. (Rod) Allen just continues to step up and has had a great freshman year,' said ASU head coach Pat Murphy. 'We played the little ball well and really stayed focused, even though we had some tough breaks early in the game. This team has battled a lot of adversity, played a tough schedule all season long and just continues to perform. I couldn't be prouder of them.'

With the win ASU almost assures an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament when the regionals are announced on Monday on ESPN (12 p.m. PST). Winning their fifth straight Pac-10 contest to improve to 13-9 in league play, ASU has now won four of its last five and 13 of its last 17 baseball games to improve to 35-17-1 on the year. UCLA saw any hopes of postseason play diminish, falling to 29-26 on the year and a dismal 8-14 in Pac-10 play.

Allen finished 2-for-4 to improve his season average to .390 and the candidate for Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year now has 46 RBI on the year. In addition to Allen's 19th multi-hit of his freshman campaign, junior center fielder Chris Duffy was 3-for-5 and sophomore shortstop Dennis Wyrick was 3-for-4 with two RBI. ASU's 14 hits were fueled by excellent execution of 'small ball', tabbing three bunt base hits and stealing three bases. Senior first baseman Jeff Phelps added two hits to the winning cause and senior third baseman Mike Lopez tallied his league-leading 19th double of the season.

Redshirt freshman starting pitcher Mike Esposito picked up the win for the Sun Devils, going five strong innings and striking out six to improve to 5-2 on the year. The hard-throwing right-hander allowed only three runs in his outing. The Sun Devil bullpen was once again phenomenal, with senior lefty Drew Friedberg and junior right-hander Andy Torres combining for four shutout innings. The duo allowed only three hits between them and struck out three. Friedberg continues to make a case for All-America consideration, lowering his team-leading ERA to 1.78 in 50.2 innings of work in 2001.

UCLA starting pitcher Bobby Roe was saddled with the loss, falling to 4-2 on the year. The senior left-hander allowed eight hits and five runs in four and two-thirds innings before being ejected from the game in the bottom of the fifth.

The Bruins jumped out to the early lead by scoring a single tally in the opening frame and two more in the top of the fourth. UCLA's first run was scored when center fielder Matt Pearl singled up the middle with two outs to drive home second baseman Josh Canales. Back-to-back doubles from designated hitter Brian Baron and Pearl added to UCLA's lead and a single up the middle by left fielder John Campanella scored Pearl to stake the Bruins to the early 3-0 lead.

ASU battled back in the bottom of the fourth with a single run to cut UCLA's lead to 3-1. Junior second baseman Brooks Conrad led the inning off by reaching base on fielding error and eventually scored following singles by Phelps and Wyrick. Senior right fielder Jonah Martin tabbed a bunt single to load the bases and keep the rally going, but designated hitter Nick Walsh hit a hard line drive right at first baseman Eric Reece that resulted in an inning-ending double play.

Hanging touch with another solid outing from Esposito, the ASU bats came alive in the fifth to put away the Bruins. Duffy led the inning off with a single through the left side of the infield and walk to Casey Myers set the table for Allen's three-run blast over the left field wall. Conrad then followed with a single to right field and moved to third on a fielding error and a stolen base. With Phelps at-bat, Conrad was gunned down trying to score on a groundball to third base. The play at home plate instigated an argument with Roe, UCLA catcher Josh Arhart and Conrad, ultimately resulting in the ejection of Roe. UCLA head coach Gary Adams protested the game at that point.

Wyrick increased ASU's lead to 5-3 with a single up the middle to cap the four-run inning. The Devils added two more insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth inning and rode the hot relief pitching of Friedberg and Torres to seal the win.

The Devils and Bruins will square off in the second game of the three-game Pac-10 series tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at Packard Stadium. The game can be listened to locally on the radio (XTRA 910 Am) and over the internet at www.thesundevils.com. The game will also be televised locally on Cox Cable 9 with George Allen and Doug Gerlach calling all the action. Sunday's series finale will start at 1 p.m.

Arizona State 7, UCLA 3 (May 18, 2001 at Tempe, Ariz.)----------------------------------------------------------------------UCLA................ 100 200 000  -  3  8  4      (29-26, 8-14 PAC-10)Arizona State....... 000 140 02X  -  7 14  0      (35-17-1, 13-9 PAC-10)----------------------------------------------------------------------Pitchers: UCLA - Roe, Jerkens (5), Clark(8).Arizona State - Esposito, Friedberg (6), Torres(9).Win-Esposito(5-2)  Loss-Roe(4-3)  T-2:50  A-2429HR ASU - Allen (5).

--Sun Devil Baseball--

Copy By Jeff R. Evans
ASU Media Relations

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