Devils Pound Out 14 Hits In NCAA Tournament Victory Over San Diego, 6-3

May 31, 2002

MESA, Ariz. -- Sophomore Rod Allen was 2-for-4 with a home run and tripleas the 15th-ranked Arizona State Sun Devils pounded out 14 hits, openingthe 2002 NCAA Tournament with a 6-3 win over San Diego Friday night atHohokam Stadium.

In addition to Allen's big game at the plate, freshman first-teamAll-Pac-10 selection Dustin Pedroia equaled a career-high with four hitsand leadoff hitter Steve Garrabrants tabbed his 24th multi-hit game with a3-for-4 performance.

Arizona State, appearing in its 26th NCAA Tournament, improved to 36-19overall and now owns a 123-49 all-time record in postseason play. The SanDiego Toreros, who last week won the West Coast Conference Tournamentchampionship to advance to the postseason for the first time in schoolhistory, dropped to 38-22 overall with the loss.

Arizona State will now play No. 1 seed and seventh-ranked Houston Saturdayat 2 p.m. Houston will be the home team by way of a coin flip followingFriday's complete game. New Mexico State and San Diego will meet in theloser's bracket game at 10 a.m. San Diego will be the home team for theelimination game.

With starter Jered Liebeck pitching ineffective through the first threeinnings by allowing three hits, walking three and allowing three runs, theSun Devil bullpen stepped up to contribute six scoreless innings. SophomoreMark Sopko, junior left Carlos Arguello and sophomore closer Ryan Schroyereach contributed two innings of one-hit baseball. Arguello picked up thewin to improve to 4-1 on the year, while Schroyer continues to dominate outof the bullpen with his eighth save.

'I thought we battled early and then got the big hits late in the game,'said ASU eighth-year head coach Pat Murphy, who is now 14-8 in postseasonplay at ASU. 'Barrett is a great competitor and I have great respect forthat San Diego ball club we just faced. Our guys played relentless baseballand that is what we need to do to win ball games.'

San Diego Starter Ricky Barrett suffered only his second loss of the yearto fall to 10-2 on the year. Barrett, who was today named a second-teamAll-American by Collegiate Baseball, gave up a season-high 14 hits whilethrowing 149 pitches.

Both teams threatened in the first inning with no results. The Toreros putrunners on first and third behind two walks, but two flyout ended thethreat. ASU had nearly the same scenario, with Garrabrants leading the gameoff with a double to the left field gap, only to be stranded on second.

San Diego took the first lead of the game with a pair of runs in the top ofthe third inning. A walk and a hit-by-pitch from Liebeck put runners onfirst and second with no outs, followed by a run-scoring single to centerfield by right fielder Joe Lima. The second run of the inning came home ona fielding error by ASU second baseman Sergio Garcia.

The Devils battled back by cutting USD's lead to 2-1 with a Jeremy Westsacrifice fly in the home half of the third, but the Toreros came rightback with a single tally in the fourth on a perfectly executed squeeze buntfrom shortstop Ben Quinto to take a 3-1 lead.

ASU continued to cut into the USD lead with a run in the top of the fifthon another sacrifice fly, this time with freshman third baseman Jeff Larishdriving in the run. With the ASU relievers Sopko and Arguello holding theToreros in check in the fifth and sixth innings, the Devils forged ahead totake their first lead of the game with two runs in the bottom of the sixth.Sophomore Rod Allen led off the inning with his sixth home run of the yearand his first since going deep against Arizona (Mar. 24 -- 93 at-bats).

Pedroia put the Devils ahead for good with a sharp single up the middle tobring home senior catcher Cesar Castillo. The one-run game was opened up inthe eight when Castillo belted his first career home run to lead off theinning. West capped ASU's scoring with a run-scoring single to drive homePedroia with the sixth run of the game.

Arizona State 6, San Diego 3 (May 31, 2002 at Mesa, Ariz.)----------------------------------------------------------------------San Diego........... 002 100 000  -  3  6  0      (38-22)Arizona State....... 001 012 02X  -  6 14  1      (36-19)----------------------------------------------------------------------Pitchers: San Diego - Barrett; Dunn(8). Arizona State - Liebeck; Sopko(4);Arguello(6);Schroyer(8).Win-Arguello(4-1)  Save-Schroyer(8)  Loss-Barrett(10-2)  T-2:59  A-2745HR ASU - Allen (6); Castillo (1).
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