Larish Hits Walk-Off Home Run To Lead ASU To 5-4 Victory Over Oklahoma
March 18, 2005
TEMPE, Ariz. (www.TheSunDevils.com) -- Arizona State senior left fielder Jeff Larish hit a walk-off solo home run with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift the Sun Devils to a 5-4 victory over the University of Oklahoma Friday night in front of 3,516 fans at Winkles Field at Packard Stadium.
Larish (Tempe, Ariz.) finished 2-for-3 with two walks and hit his NCAA leading 10th home run of the year to give the Sun Devils their eighth win in the last 11 games, improving to 14-12 overall. Oklahoma dropped its second game of the year to the Sun Devils to fall to 12-6 overall.
Senior relief pitcher Jason Urquidez (Simi Valley, Calif.) earned the win giving up two hits in 1.1 scoreless frames to improve to 4-2 on the season. Junior reliever Tony Barnette (Federal Way, Wash.) kept the Sun Devils in the game with four strikeouts in 2.2 scoreless frames. Sophomore starter Zechry Zinicola (San Bernadino, Calif.) gave up four runs despite allowing only two hits to earn the no-decision. He battled control problems with four walks, three hit-by-pitches and two wild pitches.
The solo home run gave OU reliever John Brownell his first loss of the season. Brownell had retired nine of the first 10 batters he faced in three no-hit innings before giving up the first-pitch homer to Larish. Starting pitcher Steve Guerra scattered nine hits and four runs (three earned) in five and two-thirds innings.
Larish notched his ninth multi-hit game of the year and was one of four Sun Devils to register a pair of hits in the victory. Junior preseason All-American Travis Buck (Richland, Wash.) continued his hot hitting going 2-for-5 with an RBI and center fielder Colin Curtis (Issaquah, Wash.) and first baseman Joe Persichina (Rolling Hills Estates, Calif.) each had two hits.
Oklahoma recorded only six hits, with first baseman Eric Thornton going 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI.
The Sun Devils jumped out to an early 4-0 lead behind two runs in the second and one each in the third and fourth. Freshman designated hitter Willy Fox put the Devils on the scoreboard with a one-out double down the left field line to score Colin Curtis. Sophomore first baseman Joe Persichina tripled to the left field gap to score Fox, staking ASU to the early lead.
Oklahoma got on the board with a run in the fourth on a single to left field by first baseman Eric Thornton. After three perfect innings, Zinicola unraveled with four walks, three hit-by-pitches and two wild pitches in the fourth and fifth innings. The Sooners tied the game with three runs in the top of the fifth without the benefit of a base hit, including bringing home the equalizer with a throwing error by Zinicola on what should have been an inning ending double play.
ASU threatened in the bottom of the sixth loading the bases with two outs after a Persichina single and two walks, but Gosewisch struck out looking on a 3-2 fastball from Brownell to keep the game tied at 4-4.
The Sooners had a chance of their own to pull ahead in the top of the eighth, but a perfectly executed relay throw on a double by designated hitter Freddy Rodriguez cut down the would-be go-ahead run. Rodriguez greeted reliever Jason Urquidez with a two-out double to right field, but Rocky Laguna and Joe Persichina relayed the ball to Gosewisch to throw out Ryan Rohlinger, who was trying to score from first base.
ASU and Oklahoma return to action for game two of the three-game non-conference series Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. at Winkles Field at Packard Stadium. The game will be televised locally in the Phoenix area on AZ-TV (George Allen and Doug Gerlach) and on the radio on KDUS 1060 AM (Tim Healey and Bob Eger). Junior left-hander Erik Averill (4-2, 3.32 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Sun Devils against OU left-hander Garrett Patterson (3-1, 4.26 ERA).
Game Notes: The walk-off home run by Jeff Larish was the first of his career and the first by a Sun Devil since 2003 when Jeremy West beat Washington State with a two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning... Larish entered the game leading the NCAA in home runs and blasted his 38th career homer to tie Mitch Jones (1999-2000) for seventh in the ASU career record books... he also added two more walks to his career total (157), which ranks second in ASU history... the home run was Larish's first at Packard Stadium this season (nine on the road) and his fifth home run in the last three games... junior Travis Buck registered his team-leading 12th multi-hit game of the year and his seventh in the last 11 games to raise his batting average from .246 to .353 (107 points)... Larish extended his hitting streak to five games (hitting .500 during streak, 11-for-22)... freshman DH Willy Fox extended his hitting streak to four games and now has 16 RBI in his 10 starts this season... Joe Persichina recorded his fourth multi-hit game of the year and the 17th of his career... ASU used its 21st different starting batting lineup and 17th different defensive lineup this season... senior catcher Tuffy Gosewisch left six runners on base, tying a season high by a Sun Devil this season... the home tilt vs. OU marked only the fourth home game in the last 19 contests to be played at Packard Stadium... ASU is now 7-4 at Packard Stadium this season.
Arizona State 5, Oklahoma 4 (Mar 18, 2005 at Tempe, Ariz.)----------------------------------------------------------------------Oklahoma............ 000 130 000 - 4 6 2 (12-6)Arizona State....... 021 100 001 - 5 10 1 (14-12)----------------------------------------------------------------------Pitchers: Oklahoma - Guerra, S.; Brownell, J.(6).Arizona State - Zinicola; Barnette(6); Urquidez(8).Win-Urquidez(4-2) Loss-Brownell, J.(0-1) T-3:17 A-3516HR ASU - Larish (10).