Cal Upsets ASU Baseball 9-5 In Series Opener

April 19, 2002

MESA, Ariz. -- California sophomore first baseman Conor Jackson was 2-for-5 with four RBI to help lead the Golden Bears to a 9-5 upset of 14th-ranked Arizona State in the opener of a three-game Pac-10 series Friday night at Hohokam Stadium.

Jackson, who is second in the Pac-10 in batting at .396, hit a key two-out, three-run home run in Bears' four-run eighth inning to put the game out of reach. The three, four, five and six batters in the Cal lineup combined to go 8-for-18 in the win.

With their third straight win the Golden Bears improved to 25-18 on the year and 7-6 in Pac-10 play. Arizona State falls to 24-14 with the loss and is now in second place in the Pac-10 with an 8-5 record. Dropping its third Pac-10 series opening game of the year, ASU will look to rebound in Saturday's 6 p.m. match-up. The Sun Devils are 4-1 in 2002 in the second game of a series after losing the opening game.

ASU starter Mike Esposito (Las Vegas) battled through two rough innings to take the loss to fall to 6-5 on the year. The sophomore right-hander was touched for a career-high eight runs in six-plus innings of work. He allowed nine hits and struck out five in his 110-pitch effort. Junior relief pitcher Josh Perrault (Mesa) pitched effectively out of the bullpen, throwing two scoreless innings while striking out three.

Cal middle reliever Jesse Ingram (4-2) picked up the win while pitching in his Pac-10 leading 22nd game of the year. Ingram entered in the fifth inning in relief of freshman starter Brent Hale (4.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R) and shut down the Sun Devil offense by allowing only one run in 2.2 innings.

ASU sophomore right fielder Andre Ethier (Phoenix) continued his hot hitting, falling a just home run short of hitting for the cycle in a 3-for-4 performance. Ethier took over the team lead in batting at .386 with his eighth three-hit game of 2002. Leadoff hitter Steve Garrabrants (Phoenix) was also 2-for-3 with two runs scored in the losing effort.

After leaving the bases loaded in the first inning, ASU put the first runs of the game on the board with an unearned tally in the bottom of the third. Designated hitter Nick Walsh (Alamo, Calif.) scored on an error by Hale.

The Golden Bears came right back by answering with three runs in the top of the fourth inning. A leadoff hit-by-pitch started a rally that would see Cal tab four hits in taking a 3-1 lead. A double by Jackson and consecutive run-scoring singles from catcher John Baker and third baseman David Nicholson scored the runs for the Golden Bears.

The Sun Devils pulled to within one run in the fifth at 3-2, but Cal answered once again with a two-out, two-run home run from Nicholson in the top of the sixth to take a 5-2 lead. The home run, Nicholson's fifth of the year, was set up by an infield chopper from Baker that kept the inning alive.

The Golden Bears put the game away with four runs in the top of the seventh to extend their lead to 9-3. A no-out error on by ASU third baseman Jeff Larish (Tempe) on an attempted sacrifice bunt scored a run to start the rally. After reliever Bryce Kartler struck out the first two batters he faced with two runners in scoring position, the junior left gave up a three-run, opposite field home run to Jackson. Freshman Dustin Pedroia (Woodland, Calif.) plated two ASU runs in the bottom of the ninth with a single to right field to bring the game to the final score of 9-5.

ASU and California will continue the weekend series tomorrow night with a 6 p.m. game at Hohokam Stadium. Golden Bear ace Trevor Hutchinson (7-4, 3.09) will start for Cal against ASU's junior right-hander Jered Liebeck (0-1, 5.09).

Game Notes: For the first time since the Mar. 3 game vs. Loyola Marymount and the Mar. 5 game vs. New Mexico State, ASU started a lineup that has previously been used this season... the Devils hit into a season high four double plays... Pedroia left six runners on base, marking a season high by a Sun Devil this year... ASU extended its consecutive games scoring streak to 413 games.

--Sun Devil Baseball--
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