No. 8 Baseball Blanks Hawai'i-Hilo 9-0 To Open 2003 Season

Jan. 17, 2003

HILO, Hawai'i ( -- Led by a combined shutout and 13 strikeouts from six different pitchers, the No. 8 Arizona State Sun Devil Baseball team opened the 2003 college baseball season with a 9-0 victory over the University of Hawai'i at Hilo Vulcans Thursday night at Wong Stadium.

The win improved ASU to 25-2 in season openers dating back to the 1977 season. ASU's ninth-year head coach Pat Murphy is now 8-1 in season openers as a Sun Devil and 15-1 as a Division I head coach. The Sun Devils also improved to 12-0 all-time vs. the Hawai'i-Hilo.

The ASU offense was led by the two hits and three RBI from sophomore catcher Joel Bocchi (Phoenix, Ariz.). Bocchi gave ASU all the runs it would need with a three-run homer run in the top of the fourth inning. He also added a single in the second inning and finished the night 2-for-3. Junior second baseman Steve Garrabrants (Phoenix, Ariz.) was 3-for-4 with a run-scoring triple and a stolen base. Other Devils to notch multi-hit games included sophomore third baseman Frank Mesa (Yuma, Ariz.) who was 2-for-3 with an RBI in his ASU debut and junior preseason All-American center fielder Rodney Allen (2x3).

The stellar pitching performance features six pitchers, including four newcomers, combined to allow only four hits and strikeout 13 batters. Sophomore right-hander Mark Sopko (Joliet, Ill.) made his first career start and struck out four in two and a third innings. Freshman Brett Bordes (Mesa, Ariz.), junior Javy Lopez (El Paso, Texas) and freshman lefty Chris Betty (Kokomo, Ind.) all struck out two in their Sun Devil debuts. Hard-throwing senior right-hander Robbie McClellan (Liberal, Kan.) picked up the win with two innings of hitless ball. Senior transfer Beau Vaughan (Glendale, Ariz.) struck out the side in the ninth inning to seal the win.

After ASU left three runners on base in the first three innings, the Vulcans threatened in their half of the third. Two sharp singles and a questionable hit-by-pitch Sopko from the game. Freshman lefty Bordes entered out of the bullpen to successfully strand all three baserunners by getting two groundouts to end the inning.

The Sun Devils scored the first runs of the 2003 season with a three-run fourth inning. After a pair of two-out singles from junior designated hitter Jeremy West (Las Vegas, Nev.) and Mesa, Bocchi cleared the bases with his first career home run.

ASU added to its lead with two more runs in the top of the fifth inning. Freshman left fielder Travis Buck (Richland, Wash.) had a single to start the rally and came around to score on a sacrifice fly by preseason All-American right fielder Andre Ethier (Phoenix, Ariz.). Mesa plated the second run of the inning on a flare to left field to bring home sophomore first baseman Jeff Larish (Tempe, Ariz.).

A four-run seventh inning put the game out of the reach to expand ASU's lead to 9-0. Back-to-back doubles from Larish and Rodney Allen brought home the first run of the inning and a sharp single by Ethier plated another run. Triples by junior Mike Guerrero (Mesa, Ariz.) and Garrabrants drove home two more runs to cap the four-run frame.

The Sun Devils and Vulcans will continue their six-game series tomorrow (Friday) with a double-header (two nine-inning games) starting at 3 p.m. (6 p.m. Arizona Time). The game can be viewed using the LiveStats feature on ASU and UHH will play the last three games of the series in Kona.

Game Notes: Pedroia's double in the first inning to lead off the game extended his hitting streak to 12 games continuing from 2002... with Bocchi's three-run homer in the fourth inning ASU extended its NCAA record consecutive games scoring streak to 434 games... Freshman Travis Buck, sophomore Frank Mesa and junior Mike Guerrero each recorded hits in their Sun Devil debuts... pitchers Brett Bordes, Chris Beatty and Javy Lopez each struck out two batters in their Sun Devil debuts on the mound... Beau Vaughan struck out the side in his first ASU appearance... the shutout was ASU's first since blanking UNLV in a seven-inning contest on March 8, 2002 (10-0)... the opening-day shutout as ASU's first since 1995 when they blanked Duke 7-0 (Jan. 27) in Murphy's ASU debut... the Devils scored six of their nine runs with two outs.

Arizona State 9, Hawaii-Hilo 0 (Jan 16, 2003 at Hilo, Hawai'i)----------------------------------------------------------------------#8 Arizona State.... 000 320 400  -  9 16  0      (1-0)Hawaii-Hilo......... 000 000 000  -  0  4  2      (0-1)----------------------------------------------------------------------Pitchers: Arizona State - Sopko; Bordes(3); McClellan(5); Lopez(7); Beatty(8); Vaughan(9).Hawaii-Hilo - Shimabuku; Lockett(4); Daugherty(5); Jobes(7); Glaser(9).Win-McClellan(1-0)  Loss-Shimabuku(0-1)  T-3:29  A-324HR ASU - Bocchi (1).

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