Baseball Stays Alive With 6-4 Win Over Minnesota

June 5, 2004

FULLERTON, Calif. ( -- Junior starting pitcher Jason Urquidez gave a gutsy performance and freshman closer Zechry Zinicola nailed down his eighth save as the Arizona State Sun Devils stayed alive in the NCAA Tournament with a 6-4 win over Minnesota in an elimination game at the Fullerton Regional at Goodwin Field.

The Sun Devils improved to 41-17 overall and will look to extend the 2004 season one more day with a matchup against the loser of the Cal State Fullerton/Pepperdine game currently being played. The Sun Devils will have to win three straight games in order to move on to the NCAA Super Regional.

Urquidez (Simi Valley, Calif.) improved to 12-3 while scattering six hits and three runs in 5.1 innings. The junior right-hander struck out four and walked three. Zinicola (San Bernadino, Calif.) tied the ASU freshman record with his eighth save, allowing one run and striking out four over the final 3.2 innings.

Minnesota starter Jay Gagner (6-1) had his perfect 5-0 record spoiled giving up four hits and three runs in 2.2 innings. Reliever Craig Molldrem gave up three runs and five hits in 4.2 innings and freshman lefty John Gaub shut down ASU late in the game with three strikeouts in 1.2 perfect innings.

The Devils got off to a quick start with three runs in the first inning. A leadoff walk to Dustin Pedroia and singles from Travis Buck and Jeff Larish loaded the bases with one out. Junior catcher Tuffy Gosewisch gave ASU the early lead plating a run with a sharp groundout to shortstop. Freshman first baseman Joe Persichina came through with a clutch two-out, two-run single to left field.

ASU added to its lead with two more runs in the top of the fourth inning. Persichina led off with a bunt single and came around to score on a groundout by third baseman Seth Dhaenens. Pedroia extended the lead to 5-0 with a two-out single to center field.

Minnesota got on the board with a leadoff solo home run from first baseman Andy Hunter. Hunter again cut into the ASU lead with a run-scoring single in the bottom of the sixth inning to pull UM to within two runs at 5-3.

The Devils added to their lead with a single tally in the seventh. Pedroia led off with a single to left field and moved to third base on a hit-and-run single through the left side by Buck. Josh Asanovich put ASU's sixth run on the board with a fielder's choice groundout to second base.

The Gophers pulled to within two runs at 6-4 with Hunter again in the middle of the rally. The sophomore first baseman led off with a double down the right field line, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a groundout by designated hitter Mike Mee. Zinicola got pinch-hitter Gary Dick to strike out to end the inning.

Minnesota tried to rally in the ninth loading the bases with two outs, but Zinicola got Mike Mee to fly out to center field on a 3-2 fastball to end the game.

Buck (Richland, Wash.) led ASU at the plate going 3-for-5 and in two regional games is batting .700 (7-for-10). Pedroia also went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and Persichina was 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI.

Hunter led Minnesota's 10-hit attack going 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBI. Third baseman David Hrncirik and Luke McLean were also 2-for-4.

Arizona State 6, Minnesota 4 (Jun 05, 2004 at Fullerton, Calif.)----------------------------------------------------------------------Arizona State....... 300 200 100  -  6  9  0      (41-17)Minnesota........... 000 102 010  -  4 10  1      (38-23)----------------------------------------------------------------------Pitchers: Arizona State - Urquidez; Zinicola(6). Minnesota - Gagner; Molldrem(3); Gaub(8).Win-Urquidez(12-3)  Save-Zinicola(8)  Loss-Gagner(5-1)  T-3:29  A-1151HR MINN - Hunter (10).

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