Baseball's Late-Inning Comeback Not Enough In 5-3 Loss To No. 3 Florida State

Feb. 16, 2002

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The No. 5 Arizona State Sun Devils out-hit No. 3 Florida State 13-8, but it wasn't enough as the No. 3 Seminoles rode the steady starting pitching of senior Blair Varnes en route to a 5-3 victory Saturday afternoon in non-conference college baseball action at Dick Howser Stadium. Varnes scattered eight hits and allowed only one run in five and two-thirds innings to improve to 2-1 on the year.

The Devils endured their second consecutive loss to fall to 7-2 on the year and are now 1-14 all-time at Dick Howser Stadium. Florida State won its third straight game to improve to 9-3 on the year.

Trailing 4-0 after five innings, with starter Mike Esposito (2-1) already out of the game, ASU cut into the FSU lead when sophomore designated hitter Steve Garrabrants belted a solo home run over the right field wall.

FSU built its 4-0 lead with two runs in the second and a single tally in each the third and fourth frames. Seminole designated hitter Tony McQuade drove in two runs in the second inning with one of his three doubles in the game.

Down by three after the Garrabrants solo home run, ASU drew within one run with a two-run seventh inning. Loading the bases on consecutive singles by junior Dennis Wyrick, senior Doug Schutt and sophomore Ian Kinsler, sophomore pinch hitter Nick Walsh came up with a clutch two-run double down the left field line. With the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position, ASU preseason All-American outfielder Rod Allen grounded out to third base to preserve the one-run FSU lead.

The Seminoles added an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh and then held off a ninth-inning comeback attempt by the Devils to improve to 9-3 on the year and set up the chance for the series sweep tomorrow. Florida State will start junior right-hander Bobby Read (2-0, 3.00) against ASU's junior left-hander Bryce Kartler (1-0, 2.31). First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. EST.

While out-hitting FSU 13-8, the Devils were their own worst enemies by hitting into three double plays and leaving eight men on base. Garrabrants (Phoenix) was 2-for-5 to extend his hitting streak to nine games and sophomore right fielder Andre Ethier tabbed his fourth straight multi-hit game by going 2-for-3. Ethier (Phoenix) is now hitting .515 (17x33) on the year with five doubles and 10 RBI. Sophomore Jeremy West, Wyrick and Kinsler also had two hits apiece for the Sun Devils.

Game Notes: with the Garrabrants solo home run in the sixth inning, ASU has now scored at least one run in 384 consecutive games, extending its NCAA record... Garrabrants extended his hitting streak to nine games with the solo HR... he also started last year with a career-high 11-game hitting streak... LHP Carlos Arguello made his ASU debut... Ryan McKenna made his first career start in center field... his one start this year came in right field and all 10 of his starts last year were divided between left and right field... Florida State pitchers have allowed only one walk in the two games so far in the series.

--Sun Devil Baseball--
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