Two Errors In Four-Run Third Inning Proves Costly In Baseball's 6-3 Setback To Oklahoma
March 15, 2002
MESA, Ariz. -- Oklahoma's Chris Jakubauskas hit a three-run home run as part of a four-run third inning as the Oklahoma Sooners picked up a 6-3 victory over the 11th-ranked Arizona State Sun Devils Friday night in non-conference college baseball action at Hohokam Stadium.
Jakubauskas' three-run blast was part of a four-run third inning that provided to be the difference in the Sooner victory. The big inning was fueled by two key errors from ASU shortstop Ian Kinsler. Out-hit by the Sooners 9-8 in the game, the Devils left eight runners on base (five in scoring position) and did not manage to come up with the big hit in the middle innings.
Creeping up the national polls with a No. 31 ranking by Baseball Weekly/ESPN, the win improves the Sooners winning streak to six games and are now 14-4 on the year. ASU endured its second straight loss after winning seven straight and are now 15-7 on the year. Five of the Sun Devils seven losses have been three or less runs. ASU still leads the all-time series against the Sooners 39-16.
ASU starting pitcher Mike Esposito may have had his most powerful outing of the year despite picking up his third loss of the year. The hard-throwing right-hander struck out a career-high 10 batters and gave up only two earned runs in six innings of work. The Las Vegas native has now given up only two earned runs in his last 19.0 innings on the mound and now has a 2.79 season ERA. Sophomore relief pitcher J.J. Jackson (Chandler) had yet another impressive outing, yielding one run in three innings while striking out three.
Oklahoma starter Rocky Cherry was masterful in his six innings of work, scattering five hits and allowing only one earned run to improve to 3-2 on the year. Cherry struck out six and walked only one in his outing. Freshman left-hander David Purcey notched his third save of the year with five strikeouts and allowed only one unearned run in three innings.
The Devils took the first lead of the game behind a two-out single to center field by catcher Dennis Wyrick to score freshman third baseman Dustin Pedroia. The lead would be short-lived however, as the Sooners capitalized on two errors by Kinsler to score four runs in the top of the third inning. Senior right fielder Chris Jakubauskas provided the big blow in the inning with a three-run home run over the right field fence.
ASU sophomore Jeremy West cut into the Oklahoma lead with a towering solo home run to lead off the fourth inning. It was West's sixth home run of the year and his fifth in the last 10 games. Oklahoma retook a three run lead in the top of the fifth on a run-scoring triple to the left field gap by freshman third baseman Matt Bose. Oklahoma added an insurance run with a sacrifice fly from California transfer Spencer Wyman in the top of the eighth.
OU was led by the top of the order with second baseman Eddie Cornejo and Bose both recording multi-hit games. West and Pedroia led ASU at the plate with a pair of two-hit games. The top three in the ASU batting order (Sheaffer-Walsh-Allen) combined to go 0-for-13 with four runners left on base.
ASU and Oklahoma will continue its three-game weekend series Saturday night at 6 p.m. at Hohokam Stadium. Reining Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week Robbie McClellan (4-2, 2.51) will start for the Sun Devils against Oklahoma's Mark Roberts (3-1, 4.50). The series finale will be played Sunday at 7 p.m.
Game Notes: West hit his team-leading sixth home run of the year, matching his entire total from his freshman season of last year... the 420-foot blast continued his recent power surge, now with five home runs in his last 10 games... ASU's normal leadoff batter and second baseman Steve Garrabrants was out of the third consecutive game with an injured back/shoulder after getting hit in the St. John's game last Saturday... the Sun Devils have now scored a run in 397 consecutive games, extending its NCAA record... sophomore Rod Allen had his season-high eight-game hitting streak come to an end with an 0-for-4 game... Sergio Garcia, who played and hit .311 for the Sooners last year, was 1-for-3 at the plate.
Oklahoma 6, Arizona State 3 (Mar 15, 2002 at Mesa, Ariz.)----------------------------------------------------------------------Oklahoma............ 004 010 010 - 6 9 1 (14-4)Arizona State....... 010 100 010 - 3 8 2 (15-7)----------------------------------------------------------------------Pitchers: Oklahoma - Cherry, R., Purcey, D.(7). Arizona State - Esposito, Jackson(7).Win-Cherry, R.(3-2) Save-Purcey, D.(3) Loss-Esposito(4-3) T-3:05 A-2242HR OU - JakubauskasC (5).HR ASU - West (6).