Doble Cruises In First Start Of 2001 As Baseball Blasts Past Gonzaga 9-1

April 24, 2001

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Preseason All-American pitcher Eric Doble showed his true form Tuesday night, making his fourth career start and first since 1999 to throw five shutout innings and registering a career-high nine strikeouts in helping lead the No. 20 Arizona State Sun Devil baseball team to a 9-1 non-conference victory over the visiting Gonzaga Bulldogs at Packard Stadium.

The Sun Devils extended their winning streak to four games and have now won six of their last seven contests. Improving to 28-14-1 on the year, ASU completed its home non-conference schedule with an 18-4-1 record. With the two-game sweep, Gonzaga dropped to 21-20 on the year and are now 0-6 vs. the Sun Devils.

A 10th round draft choice of the Boston Red Sox last June, Doble has been sidelined with an injury on his pitching hand for a majority of the season. Making his 12 pitching appearance of the year, Doble had one of the best pitching performances of his Sun Devil career, scattering three hits in five shutout innings. He did not walk a batter on 71 pitches. With the win he improved to 1-2 on the season and saw his ERA fall from 7.90 to 5.79.

'This was a huge confidence builder for me to come back strong and just go out there and pitch,' said Doble after his outing. 'These are big games for us as a team. We have been hitting well, but just haven't found the holes. We are starting to gel and with the biggest part of the season ahead of us that is a good thing.'

Andy Torres, who is tied for the NCAA lead with 11 wins, added three strong innings out of the bullpen scattering three hits and junior Franco Pezely struck out the side in the ninth to seal the win for ASU.

'That was good to see Doble and Pezely out there returning to the form they showed last year,' said ASU head coach Pat Murphy. 'I am really happy for Eric (Doble) for going out there and giving it his all and putting everything behind him. We have some good momentum heading into this weekend and we are starting to get some timely hits.'

ASU jumped out to a 1-0 lead with a run-scoring single in the first inning from senior All-American catcher Casey Myers. With Doble keeping the Zags in check through the first four innings, the Devils capitalized on three two-out errors by Gonzaga in the third to expand their lead to 5-0. Senior designated hitter Mike Lopez delivered a bases loaded double to plate two runs and sophomore shortstop Dennis Wyrick scored two more with a sharp single up the middle. Junior center fielder Chris Duffy cleared the right field fence for his first career home run in the bottom of the fourth to give the Sun Devils a 6-0 edge.

Lopez added his third hit of the game with a run-scoring single in the fifth. Wyrick, junior third baseman Brooks Conrad and freshman second baseman Steve Garrabrants all tabbed run-scoring singles in the bottom of the fifth to stake ASU to a commanding 9-0 lead.

Gonzaga scored its only run of the game off back-to-back doubles in the sixth inning from designated hitter Barry Matthews and catcher Kevin Richardson.

Duffy, Myers, Lopez and Wyrick all chipped in multi-hit games for the Sun Devils. With a 2-for-4 game and one RBI, Myers pulled to within 23 RBI of the ASU and Pac-10 career record and is just three this short of becoming only the third Sun Devil in history to record 300 hits.

The Sun Devils will return to Pac-10 play this weekend with a crucial three-game series against rival Arizona. The Devils and 'Cats will start the heated three-game series Friday night at 7 p.m. at Packard Stadium. Both Saturday and Sunday's games will start at 1 p.m. ASU has won five of the last six meetings between the two teams and own a commanding 154-100 lead in the all-time series. The Sun Devils are 23-13 vs. Arizona under current head coach Pat Murphy and are coming off a season series last year in which ASU outscored the Wildcats 101-51.

Arizona State 9, Gonzaga 1 (Apr 24, 2001 at Tempe, Ariz.)----------------------------------------------------------------------Gonzaga............. 000 001 000  -  1  6  3      (21-20)Arizona State....... 104 130 00X  -  9 13  1      (28-14-1)----------------------------------------------------------------------Pitchers: Gonzaga - Stencil, Banta(4), Nearhood(5), Ingalls(7), Everson(8). Arizona State -Doble, Torres(6), Pezely(9).Win-Doble(1-2)  Loss-Stencil(2-3)  T-2:49  A-1674HR ASU - Duffy (1).

--Sun Devil Baseball--

Copy By Jeff R. Evans
ASU Media Relations