Seven-Run Fourth Inning Helps Lift No. 4 Baseball To 11-3 Win Over California

April 11, 2003

BERKELEY, Calif. ( -- Rod Allen hit a pinch-hit grand slam home run as part of a seven-run fourth inning and freshman starter Erik Averill pitched seven strong innings as the No. 4 Arizona State Sun Devils opened a three-game Pac-10 series with an 11-3 win over California Friday afternoon at Evans Diamond.

The Sun Devils improved to 36-7 overall and moved one game over the .500 mark in conference play at 4-3. Now 89-50 all-time vs. the Golden Bears, ASU has had good success at Evans Diamond under ninth-year head coach Pat Murphy improving to 12-6 dating back to 1995. Cal falls to 20-16 overall and 6-4 in Pac-10 play while dropping their second straight game.

Averill (Orange, Calif.), who was named to the Baseball America midseason freshman All-America team, improved to 7-0 on the season with seven strong innings. The freshman lefty scattered 10 hits and two runs in his 13th appearance and 10th start of the year. Despite battling wildness with three walks and two hit batters and not striking out a Golden Bear, Averill pitched out of several jams to pick up his Pac-10 leading seventh win of the year. Sophomore right-hander Mark Sopko (Joliet, Ill.) sealed the ASU victory allowing one unearned run and striking out two in the final two innings.

Cal starter Matt Brown, who was a preseason All-America selection by Baseball America, baffled the Sun Devils in 2002 striking out eight in seven and two-thirds innings, but was rocked in his start Friday allowing six runs and 11 hits in three and a third-innings to fall to 2-5 on the year. After the Cal bullpen of Brent Hale and Aaron Swick proved ineffective giving up four runs in two-thirds of an inning, little-used junior reliever Blake Read finished strong for the Bears scattering four hits and one run over the final five frames.

Scoring 10 of their 11 runs in the first four innings, ASU pounded out 17 hits and recorded double-digits in runs for the 22nd time this year. Freshman center fielder Ryan Bosch had a nice homecoming going 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI, including hitting an opposite field home run as part of the seven-run fourth frame. Five Devils recorded multi-hit games, with sophomore first baseman Jeff Larish and junior right fielder Andre Ethier each tabbing three a piece. Larish finished 3-for-4 with a run scored and hit his 11th double of the year and Ethier was 3-for-5 with a double. Leadoff hitter Dustin Pedroia continued his All-American caliber season going 2-for-4 notching his 28th multi-hit game of the year.

Arizona State wasted little time putting runs on the board by taking a 2-0 lead on four hits after its first at-bat. After a leadoff single by Pedroia and a pass ball to move him to second, freshman left fielder Travis Buck drilled a double to the right field gap to plate the first run of the frame. Buck came into score on a single to center field by Larish. ASU added a third run with a two-out run-scoring single from Pedroia in the top of the second.

The Devils exploded for seven runs in the top of the fourth by sending 11 batters to the plate. Leadoff singles by Dennis Wyrick and Steve Garrabrants ignited the rally and led to the first run of the frame on a sacrifice fly by catcher Tuffy Gosewisch. Bosch then blasted an opposite field two-run home run for his third homer of the year. Two walks and a hit-by-pitch from reliever Brent Hale loaded the bases, and then Allen unloaded the bases with a grand slam over the left field fence to put ASU up 10-0.

After Cal put up two runs to break up Averill's shutout bid, ASU capped its scoring with a pinch-hit single by sophomore Frank Mesa (Yuma, Ariz.) to score Larish in the ninth inning.

Cal was solid at the plate in the last four innings notching 11 total hits in the game, but left 13 runners on base in the game. Designated hitter Matt Einspahr, catcher Chris Grossman, left fielder Justin Nelson and right fielder Brian Horwitz each recorded multi-hit games for the Bears. Nelson led Cal going 3-for-3, while center fielder Ben Conley notched two RBI and hit his fourth home run of the year.

Arizona State and Cal continue the scheduled three-game conference series Saturday at 1 p.m., weather permitting. The Bay Area weather forecast calls for scattered rain showers throughout the day. ASU's senior right-hander Jered Liebeck (6-0, 2.84 ERA) is scheduled to receive the start on the mound against California's Brian Montalbo (3-2, 6.21 ERA).

Game Notes: ASU extended its NCAA record consecutive games scoring streak to 476 runs by scoring in the first inning for the 20th time this season... Pedroia increases his hitting streak to 13 games with his 28th multi-hit game... He now has at least one hit in 41 of 43 games this year and 52 of his last 54 dating back to the end of his 2002 freshman season... Pedroia is in the midst of his third hitting streak of 10 or more games this year... Larish recorded his 65th RBI of the year and his 52nd walk and added three this... ASU recorded 10 or more hits for the 33rd time (out of 43 games) and 10 or more runs for the 22nd time... Allen's fourth inning grand slam was ASU's ninth of the season, now just three off the NCAA record of 12 set by Oklahoma State in 1996... Averill gave up 10 hits, the most by an ASU starter this year, and allowed the leadoff hitter to reach base in six of his seven innings pitched... yet, he allowed only two runs and moved into a tie for ninth place in the ASU freshman record books with his seventh win... ASU's pinch-hitters combined to go 2-for-4 with five RBI Friday vs. Cal.

Arizona State 11, California 3 (Apr 11, 2003 at Berkeley, Calif.)----------------------------------------------------------------------Arizona State....... 210 700 001  - 11 17  1      (36-7, 4-3 PAC-10)California.......... 000 011 001  -  3 11  1      (20-16, 6-4 PAC-10)----------------------------------------------------------------------Pitchers: Arizona State - Averill; Sopko(8).California - Brown; Hale(4); Swick(4); Read(5).Win-Averill(7-0)  Loss-Brown(2-5)  T-3:07  A-409HR ASU - Allen (5); Bosch (3).HR CAL - Conley (4).

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