Freak Double Play In Eighth Costs ASU In 9-8 Setback To UCLA

April 17, 2003

TEMPE, Ariz. ( -- After a wild bottom half of the eighth inning that included an 8-5-4 double play to erase Arizona State's would be go-ahead run, UCLA scored two runs in the top of the ninth to pull ahead and take the series opener 9-8 over the No. 4 Sun Devils Thursday night at Packard Stadium.

The win improved UCLA to 18-23 overall and 4-6 in Pac-10 play. Arizona State had its four-game winning streak put to an end and dropped to 38-8 overall and 6-4 in Pac-10 play. With USC beating California (3-1) and Arizona beating Washington State (11-9), there is now a three-way tie for second place in the Pac-10.

UCLA broke the 7-7 tie game with two runs in the top of the ninth inning. Back-to-back doubles from Brandon Averill and Chris Jensen plated the go-ahead run and Jensen scored a crucial insurance run on a wild pitch by ASU reliever Ryan Schroyer.

With the game tied 7-7 in the eighth, ASU had a golden chance to pull ahead slip away on one of the strangest plays you will ever see in baseball. With one out and the bases loaded, Travis Buck looped a ball to center field that Matt Thayer appeared to catch. But the umpire ruled the ball was trapped and a double play was recorded with force outs at third and second base. Although pinch-runner Rod Allen scored the would-be go-ahead run before any outs on the play had been recorded, the double play erased any scoring.

ASU rallied in the bottom of the ninth to put one run on the board, but pinch-hitter Frank Mesa flied out to left field to end the game with the tying run on third base.

ASU reliever Beau Vaughan was saddled with the tough-luck loss falling to 6-3 on the year despite striking out 10 in five and a third innings out of the bullpen. Freshman starter Erik Averill (7-0) was roughed up giving up five runs and six hits in two and two-thirds innings.

Arizona State jumped out of the gates scoring four quick runs in the first inning. Pedroia drilled a two-run double off the center field fence to start the scoring. Two UCLA errors and an Andre Ethier single led to two more runs to stake ASU to the early lead.

The Bruins bounced right back in the top of the second to score three two-out runs to cut the ASU lead to one run. After a leadoff double by Billy Susdorf, shortstop Ryan McCarthy drove in a run on a sharp single to center field. After Averill hit his brother, Brandon, left fielder Christian Lewis hit a two-run triple to the left field gap.

The Devils and Bruins exchanged two-run home runs for the game to remain a one-run ASU lead. UCLA first baseman Wes Whisler blasted a shot deep over the right field fence in the third to give the Bruins a short-lived one-run lead. ASU countered in the bottom half of the inning with a two-run homer from catcher Tuffy Gosewisch. Second baseman Steve Garrabrants ignited the two-out rally with a single to right field before Gosewisch connected on his first career home run. After ASU scored a run on a wild pitch in the bottom of the fifth, UCLA came right back to tie the game in the sixth on a two-run home run off Vaughan by McCarthy.

Arizona State out-hit UCLA 12-11 in the game but left eight runners on base. Ethier led ASU going 4-for-5 at the plate to tie his season and career high for hits. Buck was the only other Devil to record a multi-hit game going 2-for-5, but hit into two double plays.

ASU and UCLA resume the three-game conference series Friday evening at 7 p.m. Senior right-hander Robbie McClellan (5-0, 3.79 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Sun Devils.

UCLA 9, Arizona State 8 (Apr 17, 2003 at Tempe, Ariz.)----------------------------------------------------------------------UCLA................ 032 002 002  -  9 11  2      (18-23, 4-6 PAC-10)Arizona State....... 402 010 001  -  8 12  1      (38-8, 6-4 PAC-10)----------------------------------------------------------------------Pitchers: UCLA - Kunes; Beck(6).Arizona State - Averill; Vaughan(3); Schroyer(9); Bordes(9).Win-Beck(1-1)  Loss-Vaughan(6-3)  T-3:02  A-2227HR UCLA - Whisler (5); McCarthy (6); HR ASU - Gosewisch (1).

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