Baseball's Season Ends With Heartbreaking Loss To Texas Tech On Wild Pitch In Ninth
May 27, 2001
FULLERTON, Calif. -- Texas Tech University right fielder and Phoenix native Kerry Hodges scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning to cap a five-run come-from-behind as the Red Raiders defeated Arizona State 9-8 in an elimination game of the 2001 NCAA Baseball Tournament at Goodwin Field Saturday night.
The Red Raiders advance to the final day of regional action, having to beat national No. 1 seed Cal State Fullerton to advance to the Super Regionals at a site to be announced. The heartbreaking loss for the Sun Devils ends their run at a 19th appearance in the College World Series, finishing the year 37-20-1. ASU went 0-2 Saturday with a previous 13-3 loss to Cal State Fullerton in the afternoon game.
The Sun Devils were out-hit 16-8 by Texas Tech and committed three costly errors that resulted in three unearned runs. TTU relief pitcher Blake McGinley was stellar out of the bullpen, allowing jus tone hit in four and two-thirds innings to improve to 4-3 on the season.
Just a half hour after finishing a 13-3 loss to Cal State Fullerton, the Devils changed uniforms, changed dugouts and faced elimination from the NCAA Tournament head on by taking on Texas Tech in a Loser's bracket game. ASU came out hot, scoring two runs in the opening frame to grab the early lead. Freshman left fielder Rod Allen plated the Devils first run with a double to right field. Junior second baseman Brooks Conrad extended the lead to 2-0 with a run-scoring groundout.
The Red Raiders, who advanced to Saturday's loser's bracket by beating Temple 14-3, pulled even and eventually ahead of ASU with a three-run third inning. Left fielder Jason Rainey started the scoring with a RBI single and with two outs catcher Anthony Arnerich drove home the tying and go-ahead runs with a double to the right field gap.
The Tech lead was short lived, however, as the Devils fought back in the top of the fourth to explode for six runs and retake a 8-3 lead. Junior center fielder Chris Duffy came up with a two-out, two-run double down the right field line to stake ASU to a 4-3 lead. Allen then came up with the big hit of the inning and perhaps the biggest of his stellar freshman year, belting his second grand slam home run of the year and his sixth home run of 2001.
After trailing by as many as five runs, the Red Raiders chipped away at the ASU lead with single runs in the fourth and seventh inning, and then capitalized on two costly errors from Sun Devil infielders Brooks Conrad and Dennis Wyrick to score three runs in the eighth inning to tie the game at 8-8.
The Devils went down in order in the ninth and ace reliever Drew Friedberg entered the game in the bottom of the ninth with the game and season on the line. After an infield single to lead off the inning, a sacrifice bunt and two walks, Friedberg, a senior playing in his final game as a Sun Devil, uncorked a two-out wild pitch to send the winning run across the plate.
Despite the loss, ASU had a successful season, winning 37 games and finished third in the Pac-10 at 14-10. For seven seniors, Saturday marked the final day in their ASU's careers. Most notably, Casey Myers ended a career that will long stand as one of the best ever to don the Maroon and Gold, going 1-for-2 with two runs scored in his finale. Allen finished his freshman campaign with three hits and five RBI.
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