Sun Devils Jam The Base Paths In 11-4 Win Over USC
March 29, 2003
By Brian Gomez, TheSunDevils.com
LOS ANGELES -- On Friday night, the base paths at Dedeaux Field were asjammed as the nearby 110 Freeway that runs along Southern California's campus.
And they were covered with Sun Devil footprints.
No. 2-ranked Arizona State reached base in an unprecedented fashion during afour-hour game that included dueling fans in the stands, a runaway squirrelon the diamond and multiple trips to the bathroom. The Sun Devils put on 33base runners and pounded out 17 hits in an 11-4 victory over the Trojans thatgave them a much-needed advantage in the second Pac-10 series of the season.
'We had a pretty good plan,' said ASU head coach Pat Murphy, whose team drew14 walks off five USC pitchers. 'We had great at-bats and we were reallyrelentless.'
The Sun Devils had at least three base runners in six of nine innings. Theysent 55 men to the plate and they averaged 3.7 base runners per inning.
ASU accomplished the mind-boggling feat by mixing a hearty blend of patienceand aggressiveness at the plate. USC's 14 walks were only two shy of theschool record of 16 set in 1979 against Arizona.
'They kind of struggled a little bit, but we came into the game confident,'Sun Devil senior third baseman Dennis Wyrick said. 'We knew we didn't play asgood as we could have last week. We knew we could play better, and I think wedid today.'
USC freshman left-hander Bobby Paschal's troubles started in the top of thesecond inning when Wyrick singled home freshman center fielder Ryan Bosch andsophomore catcher Tuffy Gosewisch. Heading into that at-bat, Wyrick was0-for-16 all-time against the Trojans.
'It feels good for me to play well,' said Wyrick, who went 3-for-6 with threeRBIs. 'Hopefully, I'll carry that over to tomorrow. Hopefully, our team willcarry that over to tomorrow and we can come out right from the beginning anddo the same thing.'
Despite loading the bases with only one out in the third inning, the SunDevils came up scoreless. Bosch went down swinging, before Gosewisch linedout to left field.
In the fourth inning, ASU atoned for its lack of offensive production whensix hitters reached base, three of which came around to score. Juniordesignated hitter Rod Allen and sophomore second baseman Frank Mesa both drewwalks to bring home a pair of runners in the frame that put the Sun Devilsahead for good. ASU freshman outfielder Travis Buck's single to left fieldscored junior outfielder Andre Ethier from third.
'We were being aggressive and we were just taking what they gave us,' Wyricksaid. 'We got guys on at the beginning of the inning and then we justexecuted to get them in.'
Five more base runners got aboard in the fifth inning as ASU extended itslead to 7-3 on the strength of Wyrick's single to center field and Ethier'sbroken-bat double off the right-field wall.
The Sun Devils batted around in the sixth inning, as six of nine hittersreached base. Sophomore first baseman Jeff Larish brought home Gosewisch andBuck with a double to the left-field wall. Wyrick then scored on USC juniorright-hander Clayton Wentworth's wild pitch to Ethier.
'Not one guy carries our team,' Wyrick said. 'Any guy on our bench or in thestarting lineup can get the job done. Once one guy got a hit, it was kind ofcontagious and we just kept rolling.'
The Sun Devils could have tacked on more runs, had they not stranded aseason-high 17 base runners. They also had a pair of runners gunned down atthe plate, as Allen was easily tagged out on a throw from right field in thefourth inning and Wyrick went down sliding on an infield challenge in thefifth.
'We definitely don't want to leave that many guys on base because in a closegame, that's going to hurt us,' Wyrick said. 'But tonight, we won.'
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