Asanovich's Grand Slam Sinks Baseball

May 22, 2004

TUCSON, Ariz.- ASU's Josh Asanovich's grand slam home run in the top of the eighth inning put away what was a close game as the No. 19-ranked Sun Devils defeated Arizona 7-2 in Pac-10 action at Kindall Field on Saturday. The loss, Arizona seventh straight to its rival to the north, dropped it to 27-23-1 overall and into a tie with USC for fifth in the conference standings at 9-11.

ASU, which has won 11-straight contests, improved to 39-13 overall and into sole possession of third place in the Pac-10 race at 12-8, just a game and a half behind conference leader Washington.

The Sun Devils rode arm of right-hander Jason Urquidez for the first seven innings as they jumped out to a tenuous 3-2 lead on a first inning, two-run homer by Travis Buck and sac fly by Colin Curtis, while limiting the Wildcats to just a pair of runs on three hits before Asanovich broke open the game with his first career bases-loaded home run.

The Devils started the game-changing eighth inning with a leadoff double by Buck and intentional walk to Jeff Larish before hard-luck loser Kevin Guyette was forced from the game.

Zechry Zinicola welcomed Wildcat reliever Mark Melancon to the game with a hard hit grounder to third that senior Moises Duran knocked down for an infield single and a bases-loaded opportunity for Asanovich.

The junior third baseman went 10 pitches deep against the Wildcat freshman, including five straight foul balls to stay alive, before launching the four-run blast just off the top of the wall in left center.

The blast gave the Urquidez (11-2) and reliever Zinacola more than enough runs, as the pair combined to limit Arizona to just the two runs on four hits in the game. Urquidez picked up his Pac-10 leading 11th win of the season. The junior college transfer went 7 1/3 innings, giving up just two runs on three hits with nine strikeouts and four walks. Zinacola came on the work a scoreless final 1 2/3 innings.

Guyette (6-6), who gave up four runs on eight hits in seven innings, was charged with his sixth loss of the season despite keeping the Sun Devils off balance for most of the night. The right-hander finished with five strikeouts and four walks in the game.

Junior Richard Mercado was the lone Wildcat offensive threat on the night, finishing 3 for 4 with one of UA's two RBI.

Arizona will try to salvage one game of the series in the three-game finale on Sunday. UA's John Meloan (6-0) will attempt to remain undefeated on the year as the starting pitcher.

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