Conrad's Two Home Runs Lift Baseball To 7-4 Victory Over Arizona

April 27, 2001

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona State junior second baseman Brooks Conrad was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two solo home runs to lead the No. 20 Sun Devil baseball team to a 7-4 defeat of rival Arizona in Pac-10 baseball action Friday night in front of 3,108 fans at Packard Stadium.

Despite Arizona out-hitting the Devils 14-6 and ASU committed four errors, the Sun Devils capitalized with a four-run sixth inning to break a 1-1 tie and held on for their fifth straight win and seventh in the last eight games. ASU is now 29-14-1 on the year and cracked the .500 mark in league action at 8-8. The Wildcats dropped to 7-9 in conference play with the loss and are now 28-20 overall on the year.

'You are always hyped to play the U of A because of the rivalry. I have been struggling as of late and really needed a game like this. It is finally nice to have this feeling after a game again,' said Conrad after the game. ' This was a huge win for us to get ahead in the series and make a statement right out of the gates.'

Arizona State jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a gigantic solo home run by Conrad deep over the right field fence in the bottom of the second inning. Conrad blasted a 1-0 fastball from Arizona starter Marc Kaiser for his second home run of the year that cleared Rural Road over the right field fence.

The Wildcats evened the score with a single tally in the top of the third. Second baseman Moises Duran led off the inning with a single to left field and came around to score on a double to right field by first baseman Ernie Durazo.

Kaiser, who was a third round pick by the Cincinnati Reds last June, was phenomenal in his outing, shutting down the potent Sun Devil lineup by allowing only one hit through the first five innings. The Sun Devils held tough though, behind a sterling pitching performance by Mike Esposito, and then exploded for four runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a 5-1 lead. Right fielder Nick Walsh ignited the rally with a double to center field and came around to score on a triple by junior center fielder Chris Duffy. Senior catcher Casey Myers followed with a double off the left field fence to score Duffy and later scored on a groundout by Jeff Phelps. Conrad belted his second home run of the game and his third of the year with a solo shot of Arizona reliever Tony Sulser to cap the four-hit, four-run outburst.

The Wildcats threatened in the top of the seventh, but walked away with only one run after leaving two men on base to end the inning. Junior left fielder Justyn St. Clair belted his first career home run off reliever Aaron Klusman to cut ASU's lead to 5-2. The Sun Devils added an important insurance run in the seventh when Mel Stocker scored on a Rod Allen groundout.

Arizona made the game interesting by scoring two runs in the top of the eighth to pull within two runs at 6-4. Consecutive singles by Shelley Duncan and Matt Abram set the table for the U of A comeback attempt. Duncan scored on a RBI groundout by center fielder Brian Anderson. Duran plated the 'Cats second run of the inning on a single through the right side. Klusman ended the threat by getting leadoff hitter Brad Hassey to ground into a fielder's choice to end the inning.

Esposito picked up the win to improve to 3-2 on the season by scattering eight hits in six innings. The redshirt freshman from Las Vegas struck out six, allowed only one earned run and did not walk a batter in his outing. Redshirt freshman Aaron Klusman sealed the win for his first career save, allowing six hits and three runs over the final three innings. Klusman and Esposito did not walk a batter in the game and stranded 10 Wildcat runners on base.

Kaiser was saddled with the loss by allowing four runs, all in the sixth, and four hits in five innings of work. The freshman falls to 7-5 on the year.

Conrad led the Sun Devil charge at the plate with the first multi-home run game for an ASU player this year. No other Sun Devil tallied more than one hit, but Myers tabbed his 14th double of the year and the 61st in his career to help fuel the fourth-inning rally. The senior All-American catcher is now two hits shy of 300, bidding to become only the third Sun Devil in history to reach that milestone.

The Wildcats and Sun Devils will resume the three-game Pac-10 series tomorrow with a 1 p.m. game at Packard Stadium. Junior left-handed pitcher Jon Switzer will start for ASU, while the U of A will combat with Sean Rierson (4-4, 5.45). The game will be televised nationally on Fox Sports Net as part of the Pac-10 Game of the Week.

Arizona State 7, Arizona 4 (Apr 27, 2001 at Tempe, Ariz.)----------------------------------------------------------------------Arizona............. 001 000 120  -  4 14  0      (28-20, 7-9 PAC-10)Arizona State....... 010 004 11X  -  7  6  4      (29-14-1, 8-8 PAC-10)----------------------------------------------------------------------Pitchers: Arizona - Kaiser, Sulser(6), Elias(7).Arizona State - Esposito, Klusman(7).Win-Esposito(3-2)  Save-Klusman(1)  Loss-Kaiser(7-5)  T-2:35  A-3108HR ARIZ - St. Clair (1), HR ASU - Conrad 2 (3).

--Sun Devil Baseball--

Copy By Jeff R. Evans
ASU Media Relations

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