No. 9 ASU Comes From Behind In 8-6 Win Over No. 14 Long Beach State
Jan. 29, 2005
TEMPE, Ariz. - Arizona State freshman center fielder J.J. Sferra singled home the game-winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning to lead the No. 9 Sun Devils to a 8-6 come-from-behind victory over No. 14 Long Beach State in a non-conference game Saturday afternoon at Packard Stadium.
The Devils (1-1) trailed Long Beach State (1-1) 5-1 heading into their half of the fifth inning before mother nature halted the game for over an hour with rain and thunder storms passing through the East Valley. ASU scored a single tally right out of the gates in the fifth and then tied the game with a three-run sixth inning. Sferra's game-winning single was part of a three-run eighth inning.
'I am proud of this team and the way they didn't give up today,' said 11th year head coach Pat Murphy. 'We didn't get many breaks and were relentless there in the end. We certainly are not playing that well right now, but we got a big win today and had some players step up when they needed to.'
Sophomore Zechry Zinicola (San Bernadino, Calif.) picked up the win with 1.1 scoreless innings. Senior preseason All-American Jason Urquidez (Simi Valley, Calif.) earned the no-decision after giving up five runs and striking out four in five innings. Senior reliever Ty Marotz (Crystal Lake, Ill.) held the Devils close striking out four and allowing only two hits in 2.2 innings.
'I am very proud of the pitching staff and the way they battled,' added Murphy. 'It won't show in the box score, but Jason (Urquidez) pitched very well and had a few balls misplayed behind him. Marotz really stepped up and gave us some quality innings and that should give him some confidence.'
LBSU freshman reliever Andrew Liebel was saddled with the loss giving up two runs in one inning of work. Junior starting pitcher Cody Evans gave up five hits and two runs in 4.2 innings.
Senior transfer Joey Hooft (Reno, Nev.) lead the Sun Devil offense going 3-for-4 with two runs scored, one RBI and a stolen base. Hooft, who is 5-for-7 in his first two games for ASU, also brought home the tying run with a single in the eighth. Sferra (Phoenix, Ariz.) recorded the first hits of his Sun Devil career going 2-for-4 with two RBI. Junior preseason All-American Travis Buck (Richland, Wash.) recorded his second straight multi-hit game going 2-for-4.
Long Beach State out-hit ASU 13-11 and was led by three hits each from second baseman Chuck Sindlinger and third baseman Danny Mocny. Designated hitter Evan Longoria (2-for-3) and first baseman Brandon Godfrey (2-for-4, 2 RBI) also notched multi-hit performances.
ASU took the early lead with a run in the bottom of the second inning. Freshman shortstop Andrew Romine (Lake Forest, Calif.) drilled a two-out triple to center field and scored on a throwing error by catcher Tito Cruz.
The Beach tied the game with a run in the third and took the lead with a two-run fourth inning. Back-to-back doubles from left fielder Jamie Huizar and Longoria broke the tie and Mocny extended the lead to 3-1 with a single to left field.
The Dirtbags added two more runs in the top of the fifth before the rains halted the game for one hour, nine minutes. Before the extended rain delay, Godfrey scored a pair of runs on a single that was misjudged by ASU left fielder Colin Curtis (Issaquah, Wash.).
Sferra led off the fifth with a sharp single up the middle and scored on a fielder's choice by senior catcher Tuffy Gosewisch (Scottsdale, Ariz.).
ASU tied the game with a three-run sixth inning. Zinicola, who started the game as the designated hitter, led off with a double to left field and scored on a single by sophomore first baseman Joe Persichina (Rolling Hills Estates, Calif.). Sferra plated a run on a fielding error by LBSU shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and Curtis tied the game with a sacrifice fly to left field.
The Dirtbags retook the lead in the top of the eighth inning. Godfrey tripled down the left field line and scored on a one-out single to right field by Mocny.
Persichina led off ASU's game-winning eighth inning with a walk and moved to second base on a balk. Hooft fouled off four pitches before delivering the eighth pitch of his at-bat to left field to bring home the tying run. After Hooft stole second, Romine moved him to third on a groundout and Sferra brought home the eventual game-winner with a single to right field.
The two teams will play the rubber match of the three-game series Sunday at 1 p.m. at Packard Stadium. Junior LHP Brett Bordes (Mesa, Ariz.) will start for the Sun Devils against Long Beach State junior college transfer Marco Estrada. The game can be heard live on the radio on KDUS 1060 AM and over the internet at www.TheSunDevils.com.
Game Notes: A pair of Galena High School (Reno, Nev.) products (Joey Hooft and Chuck Sindlinger) combined to go 6-for-9 in the game... Hooft is hitting .714 (5-for-7) in his first two games as a Sun Devil after transferring from the University of Miami (Fla.)... Travis Buck has recorded a pair of hits in both games this season... through two games, ASU is hitting .319... Urquidez, Marotz and Zinicola combined to allow only one walk and did not hit a batter... Romine (triple) and Sferra (single) both recorded the first hits of their Sun Devil careers.
Arizona State 8, Long Beach State 6 (Jan 29, 2005 at Tempe, Ariz.)----------------------------------------------------------------------Long Beach State.... 001 220 010 - 6 13 3 (1-1)Arizona State....... 010 013 03X - 8 11 0 (1-1)----------------------------------------------------------------------Pitchers: Long Beach State - Evans; Hume(5); Liebel(7); Andrade(8).Arizona State - Urquidez; Marotz(6); Zinicola(8).Win-Zinicola(1-0) Loss-Liebel(0-1) T-3:36 A-2926**Weather/rain delay from 2:44 p.m. to 3:53 p.m. (1:09)**