Asanovich Grand Slam And Urquidez Pitching Gem Lead Devils To 7-2 Win Over Arizona

May 22, 2004

TUCSON, Ariz. ( -- Arizona State's Josh Asanovich hit a grand slam home run in the eighth inning to break open a 3-2 pitcher's duel and junior ace Jason Urquidez pitched another gem to lead the No. 13 Sun Devils to a 7-2 victory over rival Arizona Saturday night at Kindall Field at Sancet Stadium.

Asanovich (Gold Canyon) fouled off five straight pitches before driving the 10th pitch of his at-bat over the left field fence for his fourth home run of the year and first career grand slam. The clutch hit broke open a 3-2 game and gave Urquidez (Simi Valley, Calif.) all he would need to pick up his Pac-10 leading 11th win of the year.

The Sun Devils continued its recent tear, clinching their fourth straight Pac-10 series while winning their 11th straight game. With 16 wins in the last 18 games, ASU is now 39-13 overall and gained sole possession of third place in the conference with a 12-8 record. With its fourth straight win over the Wildcats this season and seventh overall, ASU has now won 16 of the last 19 games in the rivalry series. Arizona drops to 27-23-1 overall and 9-11 in the Pac-10.

'This was a great team effort tonight,' said 10th year head coach Pat Murphy, who goes for his 400th career win as a Sun Devil tomorrow. 'We had some great defensive plays in the outfield and Jason (Urquidez) threw another unbelievable game. You can't say enough about the at-bat by Asanovich. That's what it is all about and it is pretty special.'

Urquidez was again dominant on the mound limiting the Wildcats to only three hits and two runs in 7.1 innings. The junior right-hander gained his league-leading 11th win (11-2) while striking out nine. In his last three starts, Urquidez is 3-0 with 28 strikeouts in 20.2 innings. Freshman closer Zechry Zinicola (San Bernadino, Calif.) sealed the win giving up one hit in the final 1.2 innings.

Arizona starting pitcher Kevin Guyette allowed two early runs in the first inning, but settled down in the middle innings. Guyette (6-6) was saddled with the loss giving up eight hits and five runs in five innings. Freshman reliever Mark Melancon gave up the grand slam to Asanovich and allowed two runs in the final two innings.

The Devils got off to another strong start with two runs in their first at-bat. Junior shortstop Dustin Pedroia (Woodland, Calif.) led off with a single to center field and scored on a two-run home run off the scoreboard in right field by Travis Buck.

Arizona pulled to within one run with a two-out RBI single to right field by catcher Richard Mercado.

ASU extended the lead to 3-1 on a sacrifice fly to left field by Colin Curtis in the top of the fourth inning.

A leadoff double in the fifth by Arizona freshman shortstop Jason Donald came around to score on a one-out sacrifice fly by center fielder Derek Decater to pull the Wildcats to within one run at 3-2.

Curtis came up with the biggest defensive play of the night, robbing UA right fielder Jeff Van Houten of an extra base hit to lead off the sixth inning. ASU's freshman center fielder made a diving grab with his back to home plate, taking away a possible inside-the-park home run if the ball got passed him.

ASU loaded the bases to start the eighth inning on a double by Buck, an intentional walk to Jeff Larish and an infield single by Zinicola. After falling down 0-2, Asanovich worked the count even before fouling off five straight pitches from Melancon. On the 10th pitch, ASU's junior third baseman drove a high fastball barely over the 375-foot marker in left-center field to put the game out of reach.

'I was just up there in survival mode trying to get the run in by putting the ball in play,' said Asanovich. 'I didn't think I got it at first, but when it went over the fence it was an awesome feeling. We've got different people stepping up each night and are on a roll right now.'

ASU out-hit the Wildcats 11-4 and in two games have allowed UA only nine hits. Buck (Richland, Wash.) extended his career-high hitting streak to 15 games going 3-for-4, falling just a triple short of hitting for the cycle. Pedroia notched his 27th multi-hit game of the year going 2-for-4 to extend his hitting steak to seven games. Junior left fielder Jeff Larish (Tempe) added two hits and scored a run, raising his season batting average to .301. Zinicola also had two hits and scored two runs.

Mercado was the lone bright spot for the Wildcats, going 3-for-4 with an RBI.

The Sun Devils (39-13, 12-8 Pac-10) will go for their second straight Pac-10 series sweep Sunday at 1 p.m. at Kindall Field at Sancet Stadium on the UA campus. ASU swept the Wildcats last year in Tempe. Sophomore LHP Brett Bordes (3-0, 6.00 ERA) will start against UA sophomore RHP John Meloan (6-0, 4.95 ERA). The game can be heard live on the radio in the Phoenix area on KDUS 1060 AM.

Game Notes: After starting the Pac-10 slate 3-6 with three straight series losses, ASU has now rattled off nine wins in the last 11 conference tilts, winning four straight series... ASU extended its winning streak to a season-high 11 games, including five straight Pac-10 contests... Asanovich his hit safely in the last 11 games after going 2-for-4 tonight and is 19-for-37 (.514) during the hitting streak... he recorded his third straight two-hit game and now has 12th multi-hit performances on the season (6-for-10 during current road trip)... Pedroia notched his 291st and 292nd career hits by going 2-for-4 to raise his season average to .417... he notched his 27th multi-hit game of the year and extended his current hitting streak to seven games... Buck's first-inning home run was his ninth of the year, tying him with Pedroia for the team lead... he is 10-for-16 during the last four games and 27-for-63 (.429) during his current 15-game hitting streak... ASU has scored in the first inning 28 times this season and is 25-3 when putting runs on the board in its first at-bat... for the 18th time this season and third in last four games, the Devils did not make an error in the field... ASU head coach Pat Murphy is now 399-191-1 in his ASU career and 34-15 (.694) against Arizona... Urquidez's 11 wins are the most by a Sun Devil since Andy Torres had 13 in 2001.

Arizona State 7, Arizona 2 (May 22, 2004 at Tucson, Ariz.)----------------------------------------------------------------------Arizona State....... 200 100 040  -  7 11  0      (39-13, 12-8 Pac-10)Arizona............. 010 010 000  -  2  4  0      (27-23-1, 9-11 Pac-10)----------------------------------------------------------------------Pitchers: Arizona State - Urquidez; Zinicola(8). Arizona - Guyette; Melancon(8).Win-Urquidez(11-2)  Loss-Guyette(6-6)  T-2:56  A-1483HR ASU - Buck (9); Asanovich (4).

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