Sun Devils Rally Late, But Come Up Short In 6-5 Loss To No. 5 LSU

March 11, 2005

Box Score

BATON ROUGE, La. ( -- LSU senior starting pitcher Lane Mestepey scattered nine hits in eight solid innings and normal weekend starter Clay Dirks threw a scoreless ninth inning to lead the fifth-ranked Tigers to a 6-5 victory over Arizona State Friday night in front of 7,298 at Alex Box Stadium.

The Sun Devils had their three-game win streak snapped with only the second loss in the last seven games to even their season record at 11-11. LSU snapped a two-game losing streak by improving to 12-4 on the season. The contest was ASU's 10th against a top 10 opponent in the last 12 games.

Mestepey, a fifth-year senior who also threw against the Sun Devils in the last meeting in 2001, improved to 4-1 on the season by giving up five runs (three earned) and striking out five in eight innings. Sophomore lefty Clay Dirks earned his first save of the year with a scoreless ninth.

ASU sophomore Zechry Zinicola (San Bernadino, Calif.) was tagged for six runs and seven hits in three and one-third innings to record the loss. He battled control problems with three walks, two of which came around to score, and struck out one. The bullpen continued its recent dominance as Brett Bordes (Mesa, Ariz.) Quentin Andes (Albuquerque, N.M.) and Kevin Dryanski (Phoenix, Ariz.) combined for 5.2 scoreless innings.

Redshirt freshman right fielder Rocky Laguna (Yuma, Ariz.) led the Sun Devils at the plate going 2-for-4 with two RBI. Freshman shortstop Andrew Romine (Lake Forest, Calif.) recorded his third multi-hit game of the year going 2-for-3 with an RBI.

LSU out-hit the Sun Devils 10-9 and were led by three hits from third baseman Blake Gill. Second baseman Clay Harris went 2-for-4 with two RBI and catcher Matt Liuzza also went 2-for-4.

The Tigers took the early lead with a single tally in the bottom of the first inning. Shortstop Michael Hollander led off with a walk and scored on a hit-and-run double down the left field line by Gill.

ASU answered in the next half inning with three runs to take a 3-1 lead. A single from center fielder Colin Curtis (Issaquah, Wash.) and a pair of hit-by-pitches to catcher Tuffy Gosewisch (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and designated hitter Willy Fox (Scottsdale, Ariz.) loaded the bases. A run-scoring groundout by Laguna tied the game at 1-1 and run-scoring singles from Romine and second baseman Joe Persichina (Rolling Hills Estates, Calif.) gave ASU the early lead.

A three-run bottom of the third inning allowed LSU to retake the lead at 4-3. Hollander and Gill fueled the rally with a pair of one-out singles and center fielder Ryan Patterson started the scoring with a single to left field. Second baseman Clay Harris gave the Tigers the lead for good on a two-run double to the right field gap to plate Gill and Patterson with the tying and go-ahead runs.

Fueled by three perfect innings from Mestepey, the Tigers added to its lead with a two-run home run off the bat of left fielder Quinn Stewart.

ASU climbed to within one run with two runs in the eighth inning. Senior first baseman Jeff Larish (Tempe, Ariz.) led off with a bloop double to right field and scored on a sacrifice fly by Curtis. A two-out single by Laguna cut LSU's lead to one run at 6-5 with a single to right field to score Gosewisch, but pinch-runner Jeff Landry (Walnut Creek, Calif.) was thrown out on the play trying to advance to third base.

ASU returns to action Saturday afternoon against Western Illinois (4-10) at 12 p.m.. The Sun Devils will complete their seven-game road trip with a doubleheader Sunday with a 12 p.m. game against Western Illinois and a 4 p.m. game against LSU.

Game Notes: ASU is now 1-5-1 all-time against LSU and 1-4 at Alex Box Stadium... junior Travis Buck extended his hitting streak to a season-high seven games with a single in the sixth inning... Buck made his 146th career start, but his first at third base... a prep shortstop, Buck made his previous 145 starts in the outfield... ASU used its 18th different starting batting lineup and 14th different defensive lineup in 22 games this season... J.J Sferra and Colin Curtis swapped positions with Sferra making his first career start in left field and Curtis his first start this season in center... Curtis made all 57 of his starts in 2004 in center field... the Devils had six left-handed hitters in the starting lineup while facing a left-handed pitcher for the 10th time in the last 13 games... junior lefty Brett Bordes tossed 2.1 scoreless innings out of the bullpen and has not given up an earned run in his last three appearances (5.2 IP)... the game against LSU marked the 10th game against a top 10 team in the last 12 games... ASU sophomore RHP Quentin Andes made his third appearance of the year... he was born and raised in Baton Rouge before moving to Albuquerque when he was 10... the ASU bullpen has not given up an earned run in the last 15.2 innings dating back to the start of the Keith LeClair Classic... ASU recorded its third error-free game.

LSU 6, Arizona State 5 (Mar 11, 2005 at Baton Rouge, La.)----------------------------------------------------------------------Arizona State....... 030 000 020  -  5  9  0      (11-11)LSU................. 103 200 00X  -  6 10  1      (12-4)----------------------------------------------------------------------Pitchers: Arizona State - Zinicola; Bordes, B.(4); Andes(6); Dryanski(7).LSU - Mestepey; Dirks(9).Win-Mestepey(4-1)  Save-Dirks(1)  Loss-Zinicola(2-2)  T-2:40  A-7298HR LSU - Stewart (1).

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