No. 8 Baseball Earns Come-From-Behind Victory Over Tony Gwynn's SDSU Aztecs

Jan. 24, 2003

TEMPE, Ariz. ( -- The No. 8 Arizona State Baseball team scored six runs in the last two innings to spoil the collegiate head coaching debut of Tony Gwynn as the Sun Devils beat San Diego State 7-5 in front of a sold-out Packard Stadium crowd of 3,972 on Friday night. Arizona State improves to 7-0 on the season while the Aztecs dropped their season opener.

The Sun Devils were shut down for the first five innings by SDSU starter Mike Moat before scoring a single tally in the bottom of the sixth. Down 5-1, Pedroia rallied the Devils with a two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh to cut SDSU's lead to two runs. After out-scoring Hawai'i-Hilo 85-15 in six games last weekend, ASU was tested for the first time this year and rose to the occasion with a four-run eighth inning to pick up the victory.

A run-scoring single from Pedroia and an RBI double from freshman left fielder Travis Buck highlighted the four-run eighth. Pedroia's single to left field tied the game at 4-4 and Buck's double to the right field gap put ASU ahead for good. A fielding error by SDSU's second baseman Peter Stonard gave the Devils a two-run cushion. Preseason All-American closer Ryan Schroyer struck out two and allowed just an infield single in a scoreless ninth inning to pick up his second save of the year to seal the victory.

Senior Robbie McClellan picked up the win out of the bullpen to improve to 3-0 in the early season. McClellan struck out five and gave up only one run in three and a third solid innings of relief. Starter Mark Sopko struck out four and allowed two runs in his third start of the year.

SDSU junior starting pitcher Mike Moat (Longmont, Colo.) was stellar in his 2003 debut, allowing three hits and striking out two in five scoreless innings, but picked up the no-decision. Arizona transfer Will Miller, the projected closer for the Aztecs, picked up the loss and blown save by giving up two runs and a walk in one inning of work.

Buck led the Devils at the plate by going 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and is now hitting .524 (11x21) while recording at least one hit in all seven of his games as a Sun Devil. Pedroia was 2-for-5 with three RBI to extend his career-long hitting streak to 18 games. Junior utility player Nick Walsh had a pinch-hit double and clutch sacrifice bunt that helped set up the big eighth inning rally. Senior Dennis Wyrick also helped fuel the rally with a pinch-hit single to spark the Devils.

The Aztecs struck first in the top of the third with a single run. Catcher Josh Allen led off the inning with a double down the right field line and moved to third on a single by leadoff batter James Guerrero. After Sopko struck out preseason All-American Anthony Gwynn, Alabama transfer Peter Stonard staked SDSU to the early lead with a run-scoring single through the left side of the infield.

SDSU added to its lead with three runs in the top of the fifth. After run-scoring single by Gwynn off ASU reliever Bryce Kartler, first baseman Jon Stephens tabbed a two-run double to center field to score two more runs and extend the Aztecs lead to 4-0.

ASU threatened in the fifth and sixth innings by putting runners in scoring position with less than two outs. In the fifth, Pedroia lined into a double play to end the inning and the possible scoring threat. The Devils loaded the bases in the sixth with one out and prevailed only with a sacrifice fly to deep right field by center fielder Rodney Allen. Sophomore third baseman Frank Mesa grounded out harmlessly to second base to end the threat.

The Aztecs scored a two-out run in the top of the seventh to take a 5-1 lead, but the Devils bounced right back with two runs in the bottom half of the inning on a two-run home run by Pedroia. ASU threatened for more, but first baseman Stephens made a pair of nice plays to preserve the two-run lead for SDSU.

The Sun Devils and Aztecs will continue the three-game series tomorrow (Saturday) with a 1 p.m. game at Packard Stadium. The Sun Devils will send senior right-hander Jered Liebeck (1-0, 3.00 ERA) to the mound. SDSU had not announced a starter at press time.

Game Notes: The run scored in the bottom of the sixth inning extended ASU's NCAA record consecutive games scoring streak to 440 games... Pedroia's second career home run (both at Packard Stadium) extended his current hitting streak to 18 games... Robbie McClellan now has three of ASU's seven wins... Ryan Schroyer picked up his 10th career save to Eric Doble (1999-2001) for seventh place in the ASU career record books... ASU has now started the season 7-0 for the fifth time in the last six years... Arizona Diamondback players Luis Gonzales, Tony Womack and Craig Counsell all were in attendance to say hello to their former big league opponent, Tony Gwynn... Counsell, who played for ASU head coach Pat Murphy at Notre Dame, threw out the ceremonial first pitch... in his first exchanges of lineups as a college coach, Gwynn and ASU players Rodney Allen and Dustin Pedroia met with the umpires before the game... over 150 professional scouts were in attendance to watch the first west coast game of the year... former BYU and Chicago Bears QB Jim McMahon was also in attendance at the game... Mark Sopko has now started three of ASU's seven games... the sold-out crowd of 3,972 (down from 5,000 capacity due to removal of bleachers and right-field berm being closed) was bigger than any home crowd in any of the home games last year at Hohokam Park.

Arizona State 7, San Diego State 5 (Jan 24, 2003 at Tempe, Ariz.)----------------------------------------------------------------------San Diego State..... 001 030 100  -  5 13  2      (0-1)Arizona State....... 000 001 24X  -  7  9  0      (7-0)----------------------------------------------------------------------Pitchers: San Diego State - Moat; Jenson(6); Pace(6); Esquibel(7); Miller(8).Arizona State - Sopko; Kartler(5); McClellan(5); Schroyer(9).Win-McClellan(3-0)  Save-Schroyer(2)  Loss-Miller(0-1)  T-3:20  A-3972HR ASU - Pedroia (1).Kartler faced 2 batters in the 5th.Esquibel faced 2 batters in the 8th.

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