Devils Bid For Sweep Of Arizona Falls Short In 13-7 Loss

May 23, 2004

TUCSON, Ariz. ( -- Jeff Larish went 3-for-4 with a pair of solo home runs and four RBI, but a six-run first inning proved to be costly in Arizona State's bid for a series sweep of rival Arizona in a 13-7 loss Sunday afternoon at Kindall Field at Sancet Stadium. The game was stopped after the top of the eighth inning due to the umpires ruling you can not start an inning after four hours of elapsed play.

ASU out-hit the Wildcats 17-14, but was its own worst enemies recording season highs in walks (12) and runners left on base (15). In the midst of a four-run rally, the game controversially came to an end after the top of the eighth inning when Joe Persichina was called out on a force play at second base with the bases loaded.

While dropping the series finale, ASU took the first two games of the series to clinch its sixth straight series victory over Wildcats. The Sun Devils, winners of 16 of their last 19 games, also had their season-high 11-game win streak snapped to fall to 39-14 overall and 12-9 in Pac-10 play. The Devils had won seven straight against Arizona and are 16-4 in the last 20 meetings dating back to 2000. Arizona improved to 28-23-1 overall and 10-11 in Pac-10 play.

Sophomore starter Brett Bordes (3-1) suffered his first loss of the year in his shortest outing of his career, giving up four walks, four hits and six runs in one-third of an inning while not making it out of the first inning. ASU tied a season-high using eight pitchers in the contest, combining to give up 14 hits and 12 walks. Sophomore lefty Erik Averill (Orange, Calif.) threw 2.1 scoreless frames and freshman lefty Josh Blake had two strikeouts in his only inning of action.

Arizona starting pitcher John Meloan maintained his perfect record improving to 7-0 on the season. Meloan scattered 12 hits, but pitched well with runners on base by giving up only three runs in 6.1 innings.

Larish (Tempe) recorded the second multi-homer game of his career and finished the five-game road trip with three home runs. Sophomore right fielder Travis Buck (Richland, Wash.) continued his hot hitting going 3-for-5 with a double to extend his hitting streak to 16 games. Buck finished the five-game road trip hitting .619 (13-for-21). Junior third baseman Josh Asanovich (Gold Canyon) notched his fourth straight multi-hit game by going 2-for-4 to extend his career-high hitting streak to 12 games. Zechry Zinicola (2-for-3), Tuffy Gosewisch (2-for-4) and Joe Persichina (2-for-3) also recorded multi-hit games.

Leadoff hitter Trevor Crowe led the Arizona offensive charge going 3-for-5 with three runs scored, three stolen bases and two RBI. Senior third baseman Moises Duran went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and four RBI.

For the fifth straight game and 29th time this season the Devils put a run on the board in their first at-bat. Larish blasted a two-out home run off the scoreboard in right field for his fifth homer of the season.

Arizona countered with six runs and batted around in the bottom half of the inning to take the lead. A walk to Crowe and consecutive singles from Jeff Van Houten and Jordan Brown tied the game at 1-1. Consecutive walks to Duran and Jason Donald forced home a run and designated hitter Richard Mercado drove home a run with a sacrifice fly. Catcher Nick Hundley followed with a run-scoring single to right field and Crowe tabbed a two-out, two-run single to right-center field to extend the lead to 6-0.

ASU cut into the lead with a single tally in the third on a two-out single up the middle by Zinicola to score Dustin Pedroia from second base.

Arizona added two more runs in the third inning on a two-out, two-run single by Duran to cushion its lead to 8-2. ASU looked to put a dent in the six-run lead when Larish blasted a ball to center field, but Derek Decater leaped above he fence just in front of the 400-foot marker to rob ASU of a two-run home run.

ASU had a golden opportunity rally in the seventh loading the bases with one out, but reliever Scott Burns struck out Joel Bocchi looking and got Joe Persichina to ground into an inning-ending fielder's choice to preserve the 8-3 lead. Larish led off the frame with his second solo home run of the game.

With the momentum remaining with the Wildcats, Arizona tagged the Sun Devils for five more runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. Duran had another two-run single and catcher Nick Hundley scored a run with a single to left field.

The Devils rallied for four runs in the top of the eighth inning before the umpires called the game. Larish plated two with a single to right field and Persichina and Asanovich each hard run-scoring singles.

The Sun Devils (39-14, 12-9 Pac-10) complete the regular season this weekend with a three-game series at Stanford. ASU will need a sweep of the Cardinal to earn a three-way tie for the Pac-10 title. The three-game series begins Friday (May 28) at 6 p.m. at Sunken Diamond and continues Saturday (May 29, 1 p.m.) and Sunday (May 30, 1 p.m.). The NCAA Tournament Field of 64 will be announced Monday (May 31) at 9 a.m. on ESPN2.

Game Notes: ASU scored in the first inning for 29th time this season and lost for only the fourth time when scoring in its first at-bat (25-4)... it marked the fifth straight game ASU has scored in its first at-bat... Buck went 3-for-5 with a double to extend his hitting streak to 16 games (.441, 30-for-68), and finished the five-game road trip through the Southwest 13-for-21 (.619)... the six-run first inning by the Wildcats matches a season high for runs given up in the first frame this year (Florida State, Feb. 7)... ASU had its seven-game win streak against Arizona snapped, but has won 16 of the last 20 going back to the 2000 season... Asanovich recorded his fourth straight two-hit game to extend his hitting streak to 12 games (.512, 21-for-41 during streak)... for the 19th time this season and fourth in the last five games, ASU did not make a fielding error and now have a .974 fielding percentage... Larish entered the week with three home runs, but equaled his season output with three in the last three games and now has six on the season.

Arizona 13, Arizona State 7 (May 23, 2004 at Tucson, Ariz.)----------------------------------------------------------------------Arizona State....... 101 000 14 -  7 17  0      (39-14, 12-9 Pac-10)Arizona............. 602 000 5X - 13 14  0      (28-23-1, 10-11 Pac-10)----------------------------------------------------------------------Pitchers: Arizona State - Bordes; Bresnehan(1); Cassa(2); Marotz(3); Averill(4); Zinicola(6);Andes(7); Blake(7). Arizona - Meloan; Burns(7); Mills(8).Win-Meloan(7-0)  Loss-Bordes(3-1)  T-3:59  A-912HR ASU - Larish 2 (6).

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