Sun Devils Keep Omaha Dreams Alive With Thrilling 7-6 Win Over Titans

June 7, 2003

FULLERTON, Calif. ( -- Andre Ethier and Jeff Larish each hit two-run home runs and junior closer Ryan Schroyer nailed down the win with two and a third perfect innings as the No. 4 Arizona State Sun Devils defeated No. 3 Cal State Fullerton 7-6 Saturday afternoon in front of a record crowd of 3,581 at Goodwin Field.

The Sun Devil victory forced a third game in the Fullerton Super Regional with the winner of Sunday's 12 p.m. game advancing to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb. ASU improved to 54-13 overall and have an impressive 11-2 record after each of its 13 losses. The Titans lost for only the third time at Goodwin Field this year, falling to 47-14 on the year.

ASU senior starting pitcher Ben Thurmond improved to 8-0 on the year giving five solid innings before leaving with a blister on his pitching hand. The transfer from Winthrop scattered eight hits and gave up two runs to pick up the win. The Devils are now 14-2 this year when Thurmond starts. After relievers Robbie McClellan and Carlos Arguello combined to give up four runs, Schroyer sealed the win with his ninth save of the year and the 17th of his career. The 17 saves tie him for third in the ASU career record books.

Cal State Fullerton's freshman All-American starter Ryan Schreppel was tagged for six hits and five runs in three innings as he took the loss to fall to 5-3. Darric Merrell, a freshman All-American in 2001, allowed only four hits in three and a third scoreless innings.

Ethier led the Devils at the plate going 3-for-4 to extend his career-long hitting streak to 22 games. The second-round draft choice of the Oakland A's earlier in the week hit his 10th home run of the year with a two-run shot in the third inning. During the streak Ethier is 43-for-96 (.448) with eight of his 10 home runs.

Cal State Fullerton's Shane Costa is out at second as Arizona State second baseman Frank Mesa (pictured) makes the throw to first.

Jeremy West went 2-for-4 with two runs scored to extend his hitting streak to 23 games, marking the seventh longest in ASU history. Nick Walsh scored three runs while going 2-for-3 and Larish went 2-for-4 with three RBI and hit his team-leading 18th home run of the season. Larish now has 95 RBI on the season, moving him into fifth place in the ASU single-season record books.

The Titans recorded 12 hits in the loss and left seven runners on base. Shane Costa (2-for-5), Richie Burgos (2-for-4, HR), Kurt Suzuki (2-for-4) and Jason Corapci (2-for-3) all recorded multi-hit games.

ASU gained the early lead with a two-run first inning and built its lead to 5-0 after a three-run third frame. Ethier extended the Devils lead with a two-run homer over the right field fence. The Titans came storming back with two runs in the fifth and three more in the sixth. Burgos drilled a solo homer off Arguello in the seventh to cut ASU's lead to 7-6, but Schroyer came in to retire all seven batters he faced for his ninth save of the year.

Sunday's game will be televised live across the nation on ESPN2. ASU will be the visitor in the game as decided by a coin flip following today's game. Senior right-hander Beau Vaughan (10-5, 4.34 ERA) will face freshman All-American Dustin Miller (8-2, 3.19 ERA).

Game Notes: ASU's two-run first inning marked the 32nd time this year the Devils have scored in their first at-bat... ASU is 29-3 when scoring in the first... ASU is also 51-1 this year when leading after eight innings... ASU's NCAA record consecutive games scoring streak reached 500 games with today's victory... the streak dates back to April 7, 1995 (at USC)... Andre Ethier (22 games) and Jeremy West (23 games) each extended their career-high hitting streaks... senior third baseman Dennis Wyrick also extended his hitting streak to eight games...

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