Sun Devil Baseball Makes History Despite 5-1 Loss To No. 12 USC

April 7, 2001

LOS ANGELES -- University of Southern California senior starting pitcher Rik Currier struck out seven and allowed only one run in seven and a third innings and late-inning replacement Abel Montanez was 2-for-2 with two RBI to help lead the No. 12 Trojans past the No. 10 Arizona State University Sun Devils 5-1 Saturday afternoon in a Pac-10 baseball game at Dedeaux Field.

Despite the loss for the Sun Devils, ASU etched its name in the NCAA record book by scoring a run in its 350th consecutive game. The last time ASU was shut out was six years ago to the day (April 7, 1995) at Dedeaux Field against the Trojans. The Sun Devils broke a 12-year-old record set by Coastal Carolina who had not been shut out in 349 games from 1983-89. ASU also had a streak of 278 games without a shutout in the early 1990's, maintaining an impressive streak that has seen the program only get shutout three times since the start of the 1990 season. Saturday marked only the seventh time during the current streak that a Sun Devil offense has been limited to only one run.

With the win the Trojans, who were picked to win the Pac-10 in the annual preseason coaches poll, improved to 6-2 in Pac-10 play this year and have now won four straight to improve to 23-11 overall. USC now leads the all-time series with the Sun Devils 83-77 and have won six of the last eight in the last three years. Arizona State dropped its sixth game out of its last seven contests, falling to 21-11-1 on the year and 4-7 in Pac-10 play. The two schools will conclude the three-game, Pac-10 series Sunday at 1 p.m. at Dedeaux Field pending threatening weather conditions.

Currier, who was the 2000 Pac-10 co-Pitcher of the Year in 2000 and a 2001 preseason All-American, wasn't overpowering in his start, but baffled the Sun Devil hitters with seven strikeouts in seven and a third innings of one-run ball. The senior right-hander scattered eight hits in his ninth start of 2001 and walked three while throwing 128 pitches to improve to 6-1 on the year. Freshman left-hander Frazier Dizard came on in the eighth and allowed only one hit in one and a third innings to pick up his third save of the year.

Switzer was saddled with his second loss in as many starts, allowing three runs and scattering eight hits in his six innings of work. The hard-throwing junior struck out and walked only one while being credited for three earned runs. He is now 4-2 on the year. The ASU bullpen was roughed up for

After the Sun Devils threatened in the first by loading the bases without any results, the Trojans made good of their first at-bat by jumping out to a 2-0 lead. Sophomore second baseman Anthony Lunetta provided what would end up to be the only runs USC would need, plating both runs with a towering triple off the center field fence to stake the Trojans to the early lead.

Arizona State jumped on the board in the top of the second and in doing so etched its name in the NCAA record books. A double down the left field line by senior third baseman Jeff Phelps scored freshman second baseman Steve Garrabrants to cut USC's lead to 2-1 and extend ASU's consecutive game streak of scoring at least one run to 350 games.

After Switzer cruised through the early innings not allowing a run from the second until the sixth, the Trojans padded their lead in the sixth inning with a two-out, run-scoring single by pinch-hitter Abel Montanez to left field. USC tallied two more runs in the bottom of the eighth to bring the final score to 5-1. Montanez produced an RBI-single in the eighth to finish off a perfect 2-for-2 game and right fielder Rob Garibaldi (2x4, 1 RBI) capped the rally with a run-scoring single to right field.

The Sun Devils were their own worst enemy in this one, leaving 10 men on base, eight of which were stranded in scoring position. ASU was collectively 1-for-10 in RBI opportunity situations and hit into two key double plays that squandered potential scoring rallies. The Devils did play good defense, however, playing error-free ball for only the first time in the last 13 games. Chris Duffy, Rod Allen and Phelps each tallied two hits apiece for the Devils.

'This is a tough stretch for us where we are playing great teams who aren't making many mistakes. We just can't come up with that clutch hit to put the momentum of the game in our corner,' said ASU head coach Pat Murphy. 'We are one of six programs who has finished in the top 12 in the nation three of the past four years, and Stanford and USC are two of those six. They are great teams, but I expect to beat them and play better against them.'

USC 5, Arizona State 1 (Apr 07, 2001 at Los Angeles, Calif.)----------------------------------------------------------------------Arizona State....... 010 000 000  -  1  9  0      (21-11-1, 4-7 PAC-10)USC................. 200 001 02X  -  5 10  0      (23-11, 6-2 PAC-10)----------------------------------------------------------------------Pitchers: Arizona State - Switzer, Friedberg(7), Kartler(8), Torres(8), Klusman(8).USC - Currier, Dizard(8).Win-Currier(6-1)  Save-Dizard(3)  Loss-Switzer(4-2)  T-3:11  A-526

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