No. 4 ASU Baseball Off To Best Start Since '72 At 18-1 With 17-5 Win

Feb. 17, 2003

TEMPE, Ariz. (www.TheSunDevils.com) -- Second baseman Steve Garrabrants was2-for-5 with a career-high six RBI, including his second grand slam of theseason, as the No. 4 Arizona State Baseball team defeated the GonzagaBulldogs 17-5 Monday night in front of 1,490 at Packard Stadium.

ASU, who moved up to No. 4 in the Sports Weekly/ESPN Coaches Poll aftergoing 3-0 at the Coca-Cola Classic over the weekend, have won nine straightfor the second time this season to improve to 18-1 on the year. The 18-1start is the best by an ASU squad in 31 years since going 23-1 to start theseason in 1972. ASU was also 17-1 in 1988 and 1978, but lost both times inthe 19th game of the year.

The Devils scored their runs behind two big innings, scoring seven in thethird and six more in fifth. In addition to Garrabrants' fourth homer ofthe year, junior left fielder Rod Allen also had a two-run home run.Freshman Travis Buck was 2-for-2 in his first start at designated hitterand sophomore catcher Tuffy Gosewisch was 2-for-4 and had a career-highthree RBI. Gonzaga actually out-hit ASU 13-11, but 10 walks and six Bulldogerrors proved to be costly in the loss.

ASU starting pitcher Erik Averill was ineffective for the second straightouting, giving up three runs and four hits in two innings. Senior BenThurmond picked up his second win of the year to improve to 2-0 by throwingthree scoreless innings. Freshman lefty Chris Beatty had his best outing asa Sun Devil, allowing only one hit in two shutout innings.

Gonzaga starter Sean Lichter, a Glendale native who was making his firststart back from Tommy John surgery, took the loss giving up six runs andthree walks in two-plus innings.

The Sun Devils scored two quick runs in the first with sacrifice flies fromJeff Larish and Andre Ethier. Pedroia and Buck led off the inning withconsecutive singles and scored both runs. Gonzaga came right back withthree runs in the top of the second to take a 3-2 lead. Center fielderChris Sinner had a two-out run-scoring single and Brad Welker had a two-rundouble that just missed the glove of ASU third baseman Frank Mesa to scoretwo more runs.

ASU took the lead for good with a big seven-run inning in the third.Freshman Travis Buck got things started with a run-scoring single to scorePedroia. Garrabrants provided the big blow with his second grand slam homerun of the season. The junior sophomore slugged his second home run in asmany days and now has four on the year. After a single by Mesa, Allen alsotabbed his second homer in as many games with a shot over the left fieldfence. All seven runs in the inning came without an out being recorded.

The Sun Devils return to action this weekend with three more games atPackard Stadium. ASU will host Dayton (0-0) Friday night at 7 p.m., andthen take on No. 11 Notre Dame on Saturday (3 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.).

Game Notes: The Devils scored in the first inning for the 10th time thisyear with two runs in their opening at-bat... the two runs also extendedASU's NCAA record consecutive games scoring streak to 452 games dating backto April 7, 1995... Pedroia's first inning single gives him at least one hitin 18 of ASU's 19 games... the seven-run third inning was ASU's sixth scoringinning of seven or more runs this year... in the 19 games played this year,ASU has mixed and matched for 18 different batting lineups this year... in 58games last year, ASU used 41 different lineups... freshman Travis Buck wasback in the lineup at designated hitter after not playing Sunday with abruised heal... Buck responded by going 2-for-2.

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