ASU Opens NCAA Tournament With 14-2 Win Over Central Connecticut State
May 30, 2003
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona State center fielder Andre Ethier went 3-for-4 with three RBI and the No. 4 Sun Devils scored in all but two innings en route to an NCAA Tournament opening 14-2 victory over Central Connecticut State Friday night at Tempe Diablo Stadium.
The Sun Devils improved to 51-12 overall with the victory and now own an all-time 125-51 record in the NCAA Tournament. The Sun Devils advance to the winner's bracket game and will face New Mexico State (14-12 winners over UNLV) at 2 p.m. on Saturday. The Blue Devils, who are making their second appearance in the NCAA Tournament in school history, dropped to 32-16-2. CCSU will face UNLV in an elimination game Saturday morning at 10 a.m.
Senior right-hander Jered Liebeck (Glendale, Ariz.) picked up the win out of the bullpen to improve to 8-0 on the year. Liebeck gave up one hit and struck out three in two innings. Redshirt sophomore Mark Sopko (Joliet, Ill.) started his first game since March 7 (Southern Utah), allowing one earned in four innings. Junior Javy Lopez (El Paso, Texas) added three scoreless innings of relief to seal the win for his first career save.
Central Connecticut State starter Lewis Pappariella surrendered the loss giving up 11 hits and nine runs in five innings to fall to 7-4 on the year.
Reaching double-digits in runs for the 33rd time this season and out-hitting the Blue Devils 16-9, ASU had six players record multi hit games. All-American sophomore shortstop Dustin Pedroia (Woodland, Calif.) finished 3-for-5 with three runs scored and drilled his 33rd double of the year. Ethier's (Phoenix, Ariz.) three-hit game extended his hitting streak to a career-high 18 games. Junior designated hitter Jeremy West (Las Vegas, Nev.) added two hits and two RBI.
The Sun Devils jumped out to the early lead with five runs in the first two innings. plated ASU's first run with a two-out single to center field to bring home Nick Walsh. ASU added to the two-run first inning with three more in the second frame. Nick Walsh and Andre Ethier both drove home runs in the inning with singles.
ASU extended its lead to seven runs with three more runs in the bottom of the third. Pedroia scored a run with a single through the left side of the infield and Ethier staked the Sun Devils to a 8-1 lead with a two-run single to center field. The scoring continued with the Devils scoring in every inning with exception to the fourth. After a pair of one-run frames in the fifth and sixth, ASU score four in the seventh to extend its lead to 14-2.
The Blue Devils were led at the plate by catcher Tim D'Aquila, who went 3-for-4 and broke the CCSU single-season hits record with 79 on the year.
Game Notes: Arizona State extended its NCAA record consecutive games scoring streak to 496 games... the Devils have now scored in the first inning in 30 of the 63 games in 2003... D'Aquila's first-inning single was his 77th hit of the year, breaking the CCSU single-season record... ASU has now scored 10 or more runs in 33 games this year... the Sun Devils and Blue Devils met for the first time... the Pac-10 went 3-1 to open the 2003 NCAA Tournament with ASU, Stanford and Washington opening with wins... Arizona lost 13-5 to Notre Dame at the Cal State Fullerton Regional.
Everybody's All-American: Collegiate Baseball and USA Today Sports Weekly named sophomore shortstop Dustin Pedroia a first-team All-American when the annual awards were announced today. Collegiate Baseball also named sophomore first baseman Jeff Larish a second-team All-American. Southern second baseman Rickie Weeks, a teammate of Pedroia's on the 2002 USA Baseball National Team, was named the Collegiate Baseball Player of the Year.
Double Vision For Pedroia: Dustin Pedroia hit his 33rd double of the year as part of the three-run second inning for his 33rd of the year. The sophomore shortstop has already broken the ASU and Pac-10 single-season record and is now three away from the NCAA record of 36. Pedroia recorded his 39th multi-hit game of the year going 3-for-5 vs. the Blue Devils. Pedroia is now 13-for-25 (.520) in his career in the NCAA Tournament.
Arizona State 14, Central Conn. State 2 (May 30, 2003 at Tempe, Ariz.)----------------------------------------------------------------------Central Conn. State. 010 010 000 - 2 10 4 (31-16-2)Arizona State....... 233 011 40X - 14 16 1 (51-12)----------------------------------------------------------------------Pitchers: Central Conn. State - Pappariella; Ruder(6); Crossman(7).Arizona State - Sopko; Liebeck(5); Lopez, J.(7).Win-Liebeck(8-0) Save-Lopez, J.(1) Loss-Pappariella(7-4) T-2:58 A-3305