Baseball Uses Late-Inning Heroics With 6-4 Win Over Utah

March 8, 2003

TEMPE, Ariz. ( -- Arizona State second baseman Steve Garrabrants drilled a two-strike, two-out double in the bottom of the eighth inning to break a 4-4 tie and lift the No. 3 Sun Devils to their 18th straight victory with a 6-4 come-from-behind victory over Utah Saturday night in the Bob Schaefer Memorial Classic at Packard Stadium.

ASU improved to 27-1 with the victory and continued its best start in school history. The 18-game winning streak is the longest since the 1990 squad rattled off 23 straight wins. The school record for consecutive wins is 32 set in 1972. ASU has also now won 20 straight games at Packard Stadium dating back to the end of the 2001 season. Utah fell to 0-2 in the tournament and evened its season record at 7-7.

Closer Ryan Schroyer sealed the win by striking out the side in the ninth inning to pick up his sixth save of the year. The junior remains perfect on the year with 24 strikeouts and a 0.00 ERA in 15.2 innings this year. Schroyer followed winner senior Beau Vaughan (4-1) who was stellar in allowing only one hit and struck out five in 4.1 scoreless innings. Vaughan inherited a bases loaded jam in the fourth and allowed only one run to score. After that single, his only hit given up, he retired 12 in a row and 13 of the 15 batters he faced. Starter Ben Thurmond (3-0) had a season-best eight strikeouts, but was touched for six hits and four runs in 3.2 innings. The three ASU pitchers combined to strike out a season-high 16 batters.

Garrabrants, who finished the day 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles, plated the eventual winning run after senior Dennis Wyrick layed down a bunt single to second base. Utah reliever Jason Price got ahead of Garrabrants with two quick strikes, but the Garrabrants placed a ball in the right field gap to score Wyrick from first. Sophomore catcher Tuffy Gosewisch followed with a single to add an insurance run. Price took the loss to fall to 2-1 on the year.

For only the seventh time this year ASU's opponent jumped out to the lead when Utah struck for three runs in the top of the third inning. Second baseman Jared Pena led off with a double to left field and came around to score on a single by catcher Wick Udy. First baseman Jake Jordinson then drilled a two-out, two-run home run to give the Utes the early 3-0 lead. Utah added to its lead with another run-scoring single from Udy to push its lead to 4-0.

Facing adversity for the first time since trailing to Oklahoma State (2/15), ASU jumped on Utah starter Clay Westmoreland in the fifth to score four runs to knot the game at 4-4. Back-to-back doubles from Garrabrants and Gosewisch pushed home the first run of the inning. Two walks and a hit-by-pitch brought home another run before junior designated hitter Jeremy West tied the game with a two-run single through the left side of the infield.

Westmoreland, a sophomore from Mesa's Mountain View High School, was strong in his first four innings, before giving up all four runs in the fifth frame. He finished with two walks and two strikeouts. Utah second baseman Jared Pena was 2-for-4 at the plate with a pair of doubles and made several spectacular plays in the field. Udy also finished with two hits and two RBI.

Arizona State concludes tournament play tomorrow with a 2 p.m. game against Cal State Northridge (5-16). ASU beat CSUN on Thursday to open the tournament 10-2. Utah faces in-state rival Southern Utah (3-3) at 10 a.m.

Game Notes: Pedroia leadoff double in the first inning was his 17th of the year, extending his hitting streak to 17 games... he now has a hit in 27 of ASU's 28 games this year and 38 of his last 39 games dating back to the end of the 2002 season... ASU's four runs in the fifth extended its NCAA record consecutive games scoring streak to 461 games... Thurmond registered a season-high eight K's while taking a no-decision... Utah catcher Wick Udy may sound familiar to ASU fans as he played for Pac-10 rival Oregon State last year... Utah head coach Tim Esmay, a former Sun Devil (1986-87) was ejected from the game for arguing a balk in the bottom of the eight inning.

Arizona State 6, Utah 4 (Mar 08, 2003 at Tempe, Ariz.)----------------------------------------------------------------------Utah................ 003 100 000  -  4  7  0      (7-7)Arizona State....... 000 040 02X  -  6  8  0      (27-1)----------------------------------------------------------------------Pitchers: Utah - WESTMORELAND; PRICE(5); SIMONSEN(8).Arizona State - Thurmond; Vaughan(4); Schroyer(9).Win-Vaughan(4-1)  Save-Schroyer(6)  Loss-PRICE(2-1)  T-3:02  A-2927HR UTAH - JORDISON (4).

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