Sun Devils Pick Up Big Win Over USC With Thrilling 7-5 Victory

March 30, 2003

LOS ANGELES - Arizona State scored four runs in the final two innings and held off a furious ninth-inning USC rally to earn thrilling 7-5 victory over the Trojans in Pac-10 baseball action Sunday afternoon at Dedeaux Field. The victory clinched the first series win at Dedeaux Field by ASU since a series sweep in 1993.

The Sun Devils improved to 34-6 overall and evened their Pac-10 record at 3-3. USC fell to 14-16 overall and 2-4 in conference play. The victory also moved ASU to within one game of the Trojans in the all-time series at 85-84.

The Devils rallied for two runs each in the eighth and ninth innings to build a 7-4 lead, but USC mounted a furious comeback in the ninth. Jon Brewster plated a run with a single and after another hit and a hit-by-pitch to load the bases, but Schroyer got pinch-hitter Darin Vieira to line out to first base to end the game.

ASU reliever Carlos Arguello picked up the win to improve to 1-0 by allowing three hits and one run in one-plus inning. Junior closer Ryan Schroyer picked up his seventh save of the year allowing one run in one and two-thirds innings. Starter Ben Thurmond picked up the no-decision scattering three hits and giving up one run in four and two-thirds innings. Six ASU pitchers combined in the victory without striking out a Trojan.

USC reliever Brett Butler was saddled with the loss to fall to 0-3 on the year by giving up six hits and four runs in three innings. Starter Jordan Olson left with a no-decision giving up five hits and three runs.

The Devils were led at the plate by freshman outfielder Travis Buck (3-for-4, RBI). Buck finished the series 8-for-11 to raise his batting average to .394. Junior second baseman Steve Garrabrants was also 3-for-5 in the win as the Sun Devils totaled 10 or more hits for the 31st time this year.

After four scoreless innings, the Devils and Trojans exchanged runs in the fifth inning. ASU scored when hot-hitting Buck singled to left field with two outs to score Garrabrants from second base. USC answered in the bottom half of the inning when Jeff Clement battled ASU reliever Brett Bordes for a nine-pitch at-bat and singled to center field to tie the game at 1-1.

The Devils immediately responded in the top of the sixth by hitting back-to-back home runs to lead off the frame. Sophomore Jeff Larish deposited the first pitch offering from Olsen on to the parking garage over the right field fence for his team-leading 12th home run of the year. Junior designated hitter Mike Guerrero followed with a solo shot off the net in left field for his second home run of the year staking ASU to a 3-1 lead.

USC came back to score a run in the bottom of the sixth to cut ASU's lead to 3-2. The Trojans loaded the bases with two walks and a single, but could only bring one run home on a run-scoring double play by designated hitter Bobby Paschal. ASU reliever Robbie McClellan worked out the jam nicely allowing only one run to score.

The Devils had a golden opportunity to pull away with runners on second and third and no outs in the seventh, but could not put a run on the board after a groundout and double play to end the inning. USC capitalized on the missed ASU opportunity by tying the game in the bottom half of the inning when Anthony Lunetta blasted his fifth home run of the year to tie the game at 3-3.

ASU took the lead with a pair of runs in the eighth inning. Andre Ethier led off the inning with a single to center field and scored the go-ahead run when relief pitcher Brett Butler balked. Dustin Pedroia added a sacrifice fly to give ASU an 5-3 advantage.

Continuing the series trend, USC battled right back in the bottom of the eighth. With one out, pinch-hitter Matt Bonovich hit an opposite field home run off reliever Carlos Arguello to pull the Trojans to within one run at 5-4. After a single by left fielder Spencer Gordon to chase Arguello from the game, Lunetta drilled a two-out double off the left field fence off ASU closer Ryan Schroyer. But left fielder Buck fielded the ball cleanly and combined with Pedroia on a perfectly-executed relay throw to nail pinch-runner Dale Legaspi at the plate to preserve the one-run lead.

The Sun Devils added two crucial insurance runs in the top of the ninth to cushion their lead to 7-4. A walk to Jeff Larish and a single by Schroyer in his first at-bat as a Sun Devil lead to the two ASU runs. Ethier brought home a run on his second single of the game and Steve Garrabrants plated a run with a bloop single to center field.

The Sun Devils return to action Wednesday vs. the University of New Mexico at 4:30 p.m., at Packard Stadium. ASU next plays a Pac-10 series April 11-13 when they travel to Evans Diamond to take on the California Golden Bears in Berkeley, Calif.

Arizona State 7, USC 5 (Mar 30, 2003 at Los Angeles, Calif.)----------------------------------------------------------------------Arizona State....... 000 012 022  -  7 13  1      (34-6, 3-3 PAC-10)USC................. 000 011 111  -  5 12  2      (14-16, 2-4 PAC-10)----------------------------------------------------------------------Pitchers: Arizona State - Thurmond; Bordes(5); McClellan(6); Kartler(7); Arguello(7);Schroyer(8). USC - Olson; Butler(6); Rummonds(9); Quinonez(9).Win-Arguello(1-0)  Save-Schroyer(7)  Loss-Butler(0-3)  T-3:43  A-1157HR ASU - Larish (12); Guerrero (2).HR USC - Lunetta (5); Bonovich (2).
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