No. 6 Sun Devil Baseball Steals Their Way Past Southern Utah In 18-8 Win.

Feb. 1, 2001

TEMPE, Ariz. -- It wasn't pretty and it wasn't powerful, but behind 18 hits that resulted in 18 runs and a gutsy five-inning pitching performance from newcomer starting pitcher Andy Torres, the No. 6 Arizona State University Sun Devil baseball team defeated the Southern Utah Thunderbirds 18-8 in front of 1,711 fans at Packard Stadium Thursday evening.

The Sun Devils, who are ranked sixth in all three preseason polls, evened their season record at 1-1. Southern Utah dropped their 2001 opener and are now 0-15 career vs. the Sun Devils.

Torres, a product of East Los Angeles CC, gave up four runs in his first inning as a Sun Devil, but battled back to contribute five solid innings and pick up his first win in the Maroon and Gold. The junior right-hander struck out five and walked two in his 81-pitch performance, retiring at one point seven consecutive batters.

On offense, a speedy Sun Devil lineup broke a school record by swiping 10 bases, with center fielder Mel Stocker (Tucson, Ariz.) tying a school record with four of his own. The Devils certainly didn't do their damage with power, connecting on 17 singles and one double. In fact, it took the Sun Devil bats 25 hits and a combined 83 at-bats in the 2001 season to record their first extra-base hit when Mike Lopez pounded a double in the right-center field gap in the eighth frame.

An offensive minded SUU team came out of the gates hot with four runs in the first inning. After the first three batters reached base, first basemen Keith Dickinson lined a ball off Torres' shin to push across the Thunderbirds' first score. On the very next pitch after Torres was shaken up, second baseman Todd Mitchell drove a ball over the left field fence for a three-run home run to give SUU the early 4-0 lead.

ASU scored a run in the bottom of the first and then tied the game with three in the second. Freshman designated hitter Jeremy West (Las Vegas, Nev.) brought home two runs with a sharp single up the middle. ASU exploded for six runs by sending 11 batters to the plate in the third to gain the lead for good in the game. Sophomore Dennis Wyrick (Azusa, Calif.) tallied a two-run single to get the rally started.

Wyrick, who ended the game 3-for-3 before leaving the game in the seventh, is a perfect 6-for-6 to start the season and only three hits shy of tying the school record for the most consecutive hits in a row. West ended 3-for-4 in his second collegiate game and third baseman Lopez (Glendale, Ariz.) was 3-for-5 with three RBI.

For the Thunderbirds, starter Justin Kittrell was saddled with the loss, allowing 10 runs and nine hits in his 2.1 innings of work. At the plate, the middle of the Thunderbird order was a combined 6-for-15, with Mitchell's two-hit, three RBI night leading the way.

The Thunderbirds and Sun Devils will meet in the second of the four game series Friday night at 7 p.m. at Packard Stadium. ASU's left-handed ace Jon Switzer (0-0, 5.06) will take to the mound to face SUU's Rick White (0-0, 0.00).

Arizona State 18, Southern Utah 8 (Feb 1, 2001 at Tempe, Ariz.)----------------------------------------------------------------------Southern Utah....... 400 022 000  -  8  8  2      (0-1)Arizona State....... 136 041 03X  - 18 18  2      (1-1)----------------------------------------------------------------------Pitchers: Southern Utah - Kittrell, Hunter(3), Ball(6), Grant(8).Arizona State - Torres, Ramirez(6), Kartler(6), Pezely(7), Klusman(8).Win-Torres(1-0)  Loss-Kittrell(0-1)  T-3:22  A-1711HR SUU - Jacobsen (1), Mitchell (1).
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