Sopko Dominates In Relief to Tame Gonzaga Down the Stretch

Feb. 14, 2003

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Relief pitcher Mark Sopkostruckout a career high five batters and allowed only three hits in seveninningsas the No. 5 Arizona State Sun Devils defeated the Gonzaga Bulldogs 8-4Friday night during the first day of the inaugural Coca-Cola SpringTraining Classic at Surprise Stadium.

Arizona State won its sixth straight game to improve to 15-1 overall.Gonzaga opened its season with a loss and are now 0-7 all-time againsttheSun Devils. Both teams return to action tomorrow during the second dayofthe tournament with the Bulldogs squaring off against Oregon State inthenoon game and ASU facing Oklahoma State at 4 p.m. Oregon State won thefirst game over the Cowboys by a score of 4-0.

Sopko (Joliet, Ill.) cruised in his first relief outing of the yearafterstarting five previous games. The redshirt sophomore scattered five hitsinthe longest outing of his ASU career. At one point Sopko retired 12straight batters from the third through seventh innings. Senior BenThurmond made his first start as a Sun Devil, giving up four runs (twoearned) in two innings of work before Sopko took over. Thurmond, whotransferred from Winthrop after being an All-American in 2001, struckoutone and allowed five hits.

Gonzaga reliever John Gonzalez suffered the loss by giving up four runsandseven hits in three and a third innings out of the bullpen. Starter EdClelland took the no-decision loss by giving up four runs and five walksintwo innings. Three of the four Gonzaga pitchers in the game wereleft-handers.

After overcoming a 4-1 deficit with a five-run third inning, ASU rodethestellar pitching of Sopko to the victory. Big hits in the five-run third

frame included consecutive run-scoring singles from third baseman Dennis

Wyrick, center fielder Ryan Bosch and catcher Tuffy Gosewisch.

Wyrick and Gosewisch each notched multi-hit games, while sophomore first

baseman Jeff Larish continued his torrid start to the 2003 season withtwomore hits (2-for-4) and two RBI. Larish is now hitting .472 (25x53) with29RBI through the first 16 games.

Gonzaga leadoff hitter Eric Rodland (2x4) and catcher Sam Hess (2x4)eachrecorded multi-hit games for the Zags.

Game Notes: The run scored in the first inning extended ASU's NCAArecordconsecutive games scoring streak to 449 games, now surpassing the oldmarkof 349 by 100 games... Pedroia and Larish each recorded hits in thefirstinning, extending each players streak of having recorded at least onehitin 15 of ASU's 16 games... both teams endured a 28-minute rain delay inthetop of the third inning.

Arizona State 8, Gonzaga 4 (Feb 14, 2003 at Surprise, Ariz.)----------------------------------------------------------------------Gonzaga............. 211 000 000 - 4 8 0 (0-1)Arizona State....... 105 002 00X - 8 11 1 (15-1)----------------------------------------------------------------------

Pitchers: Gonzaga - CLELLAND, E.; GONZALEZ, J.(3); WHITE, K(6); DONOVAN,P(8).
Arizona State - Thurmond; Sopko(3).
Win-Sopko(2-0) Loss-GONZALEZ, J.(0-1) T-2:59 A-467
Game notes:
28-minute rain delay in third inning.
Sopko career-high five strikeouts.

Now on Pac-12 Network
8:30 AM PT

Airing on:

  • Pac-12 Network
Get Pac-12 Networks
Pac-12 Networks Channel Finder