Bullpen And Nick Walsh Come Up Clutch In 5-3 Come From Behind Win For ASU Baseball

Feb. 23, 2001

FULLERTON, Calif. -- A clutch pinch-hit, two-run single by redshirt freshman Nick Walsh and three solid innings out of the bullpen from relief pitcher Drew Friedberg helped lead the No. 4 Arizona State Sun Devil baseball team to a 5-3 come-from-behind win over the No. 18 Cal State Fullerton Titans on a cold Friday night at Goodwin Field.

The win improved ASU to 13-2 on the season and snapped a two-game losing streak to the Titans. The Titans fell to 6-7 on the year with the loss. It wasn't the prettiest game in the world with the two teams combining for eight errors. Cal State Fullerton committed five of those errors, left a season-high 14 runners on base and was the victim of four unearned runs.

Friedberg (Middleton, Wisc.) came out of the bullpen in relief of starter Jon Switzer (5.0 IP, 3 R) in the sixth and was stellar in his fourth outing of the year. Friedberg picked up the win by allowing only one hit and striking out three in three shutout innings. In 11.0 combined innings in 2001, Friedberg, a 29th round draft choice of the Milwaukee Brewers last June, has not allowed a run to cross the plate. The win was the first for Friedberg in over a year, dating back to March 18, 2000 when he beat Maine. Redshirt freshman Bryce Kartler inherited two runners in scoring position in the ninth, but came up with two huge strikeouts to seal the 5-3 Sun Devil win and pick up his first career save. Fullerton reliever Chad Cordero (1-2) was saddled with loss allowing three runs in four innings of work.

The Sun Devils jumped out to an early 2-0 lead by scoring two unearned runs in the top of the second inning. With two outs and two runners on base, junior right fielder Mel Stocker (Tucson, Ariz.) hit a ball hard right at first baseman Aaron Rifkin that was ruled an error to load the bases. Leadoff hitter Jonah Martin drove home ASU's first run with an infield single to third base. Jeremy West (Las Vegas) put ASU up 2-0 when he scored on an error by shortstop Mike Rouse.

The Titans battled back with a single tally in the bottom of second when Rouse doubled to right-center field to score Rifkin. With CSF starter Jon Smith in cruise control on the mound, the Titans took the 3-2 lead with two runs in the fourth. Third baseman Mike Martinez scored the equalizer with a triple to deep center field and crossed the plate with the go-ahead run when Rouse singled through the right side give Fullerton the 3-2 lead.

Trailing 3-2 in the top of the seventh, pinch hitter Walsh (Concord, Calif.) came up with the clutch hit scoring two runs with a two-out, two-strike single through the left side to stake ASU to the 4-3 lead. The Titans rallied to put the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position in the bottom of the seventh, but Friedberg came up with the big strikeout of Fullerton third baseman Mike Martinez to kill the threat and preserve the 4-3 lead.

ASU added a valuable insurance run in the eighth with the big hit being a double to right field off the bat of freshman first baseman West. After the leadoff double and a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt from Stocker to move West to third, Martin plated ASU's fifth run with a sacrifice fly deep to left field to give the Sun Devils the 5-3 lead.

The Titans toed the line again in the eighth by loading the bases after a two-out fielding error by ASU shortstop Dennis Wyrick (Azusa, Calif.). With two outs and the bases loaded, Friedberg clutched up again by coaxing three-time Big West all-conference player David Bacini to fly out to center field. Fullerton rallied again in the ninth with the tying run on second base, but left-handed reliever Kartler came in and put out the fire with two strikeouts.

At the plate the Devils were led by senior All-American catcher Casey Myers (Case Grande, Ariz.) who went 3-for-5 with a run scored. Myers extended his hitting streak to 12 games with his 12th multi-hit game of the year.

The Titans and Sun Devils will continue the three-game series Saturday with first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m. PST. Andy Torres (5-0, 3.00) is scheduled to go to the mound for ASU with Fullerton ace Kirk Saarloos (2-2, 1.41) ace expected to be pushed up one day from his regular Sunday start to take the hill vs. the Sun Devils.

Arizona State 5, Cal State Fullerton 3 (Feb 23, 2001 at Fullerton, Calif.)----------------------------------------------------------------------Arizona State....... 020 000 210  -  5  8  3      (13-2)Cal State Fullerton. 010 200 000  -  3  9  5      (6-7)----------------------------------------------------------------------Pitchers: Arizona State - Switzer, Friedberg(6), Klusman(9), Kartler(9).Cal State Fullerton - Smith, Cordero(6).Win-Friedberg(1-0)  Save-Kartler(1)  Loss-Cordero(1-2)  T-3:38  A-843

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