Stellar Stanford Pitching Leads No. 1 Cardinal Past Sun Devils In 5-2 Loss
March 31, 2001
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona State starting pitcher Jon Switzer battled through sickness and a potent Stanford lineup to allow only one run through the first eight innings, but a surging four-run rally in the top of the ninth put top-ranked Stanford out of reach in a 5-2 win over the Sun Devils Saturday afternoon in a Pacific-10 Conference baseball game at Packard Stadium.
The win improved Stanford's winning streak to a season-high 10 games and have now won 22 of its last 24 games. With the victory they stand atop the Pac-10 standings at 24-5 overall and a perfect 5-0 in league play. All five of its losses have been by one run. The No. 1 Cardinal have now secured its 15th consecutive series win dating back to last year when the Cardinal dropped two of three to the Sun Devils. The all-time series between the two schools is now even at 74-74. Arizona State endured its fourth consecutive loss, marking the first time since April of 1999, that an ASU squad has lost four straight. At 20-9-1 overall, ASU falls to 3-5 in Pac-10 play.
'I just think we are pressing too hard and trying to make things happen instead of just letting things happen,' said ASU head coach Pat Murphy. 'This is a good team, no bones about it, and I really like the character of this team, I just don't like the way we are playing right now. They are just trying too hard. They remind me a lot of the 1998 team that struggled against some good teams in the middle of the season, but we went on to finish second in the College World Series.'
As good as Switzer was in his 10th start of 2001, Stanford starter Jeff Bruksh was every bit as good in his start, if not better. Continuing a trend that has seen the Cardinal weekend rotation stay undefeated (17-0), Bruksh, a junior transfer from USC, scattered five hits and two runs in eight-plus innings of work. The hard-throwing right-hander had a perfect game through three innings and did not allow a run to cross the plate tell the ninth inning. Improving to 6-0 on the season, the two runs he gave up in the ninth ended a string of 15 consecutive scoreless innings.
With Bruksch's consecutive scoreless streak coming to a halt in the ninth, ASU inched closer to the NCAA record of consecutive games without being shut out. Dating back 347 games, the last time an ASU team did not score a run was on April 7, 1995 vs. USC in Los Angeles. Coastal Carolina holds the all-time record at 349, setting up a possible showdown with USC ace Mark Prior to tie the record next Friday and ASU could break the record on the same day the streak starter (April 7) next Saturday at Dedeaux Field.
Switzer was touched for three runs off of two hits in the ninth, but all but tarnished another great outing by the junior southpaw. Coming off his first complete game of the year a week ago at Oregon State, Switzer battled throughout his outing to keep the potent Stanford bats in check. He allowed only three hits in eight innings before giving up three hits and two runs in the ninth. Switzer is now 4-1 on the year.
The Cardinal scored what would stand as the only run of the game tell the ninth inning with a single tally in the third frame without the benefit of a hit. Consecutive walks to lead off the inning and a sacrifice bunt put runners in scoring position. A weak groundout by leadoff hitter Chris O'Riordan plated a run to put Stanford up 1-0.
ASU threatened in the bottom of the fourth by putting two runners in scoring position, but Bruksch coaxed junior second baseman Brooks Conrad into an inning-ending double play to preserve the 1-0 lead. The Sun Devils threatened again in the with runners on first and second and only one out, but junior right fielder Mel Stocker lined into a double play to kill the potential rally.
Stanford added four big runs in the top of the ninth to extend its lead to 5-0, but ASU would mount a comeback in its last at-bat by bringing the tying run to the plate. Three consecutive doubles by Jeff Phelps, Casey Myers and Brooks Conrad plated two runs and chased Bruksch from the game. Junior Mike Wodnicki sealed the win though, picking up his fourth save of the year by retiring the only three batters he faced.
The Sun Devils, who now have not hit a home run in their last eight games and combined 278 at-bats, were limited to under 10 hits and scored two or less runs for the fourth consecutive game.
ASU and Stanford will meet for the third and final game of the Pac-10 baseball series Sunday at 1 p.m. at Packard Stadium. Freshman RHP Ryan Schroyer is scheduled to start for the Sun Devils, while the Cardinal will send sophomore left-hander Tim Cunningham to the mound.
Stanford 5, Arizona State 2 (Mar 31, 2001 at Tempe, Ariz.)----------------------------------------------------------------------Stanford............ 001 000 004 - 5 7 0 (24-5, 5-0 PAC-10)Arizona State....... 000 000 002 - 2 6 2 (20-9-1, 3-5 PAC-10)----------------------------------------------------------------------Pitchers: Stanford - Bruksch, Gosling(9), Wodnicki(9). Arizona State - Switzer, Torres(9).Win-Bruksch(6-0) Save-Wodnicki(4) Loss-Switzer(4-1) T-3:10 A-2869
Game notes:Next Day's Pitcher's: (ASU) Schroyer vs. (STAN) CunninghamDuffy's 19-game hitting streak comes to an end...all-time series now 74-74ASU has now scored a run in 347 consecutive games, two off NCAA record.
Copy By Jeff R. Evans
ASU Media Relations