Comeback Falls Short In 9-8 Loss To USC Trojans

March 24, 2005

Box Score

LOS ANGELES, Calif. ( -- Despite walking nine batters and hitting three more, the Arizona State Sun Devils still had a chance to win their Pac-10 opening game against No. 21 USC, but a late comeback wasn't enough in a 9-8 loss to the Trojans in a four-hour marathon Thursday night at Dedeaux Field.

The Sun Devils scored four runs in the top of the seventh inning to pull to within one run, but USC closer Paul Koss shut the door on the victory with 2.2 scoreless innings to send the Trojans to their fifth straight victory.

Arizona State had its three-game win streak snapped, falling to 16-13 overall and 0-1 in Pac-10 play. USC improved to 14-6. The series continues Friday with the middle game of the three-game conference series at 6 p.m. at Dedeaux Field.

USC preseason All-American pitcher Ian Kennedy recorded the victory to improve to 3-1 on the season. The 2004 USA Baseball National Team member gave up five hits and four runs in six innings. He struck out nine and walked four. Koss notched his fourth save of the year after coming into the game with the tying run in scoring position.

ASU junior reliever Brett Bordes (Mesa, Ariz.) suffered the loss walking two and hitting one batter without getting an out. Sophomore starter Zechry Zinicola (San Bernadino, Calif.) pitched two scoreless innings, but was removed from the game after being hit in the right shin by a line drive. Relievers Erik Averill (Orange, Calif.), Seth Garrison (Coppell, Texas) and Tony Barnette (Federal Way, Wash.) combined to give up nine runs and walked seven in 3.1 innings. Senior right-hander Ty Marotz (Crystal Lake, Ill.) was the line bright spot for the bullpen, holding USC scoreless with only one hit in the final 2.2 innings.

Junior All-America candidate Travis Buck (Richland, Wash.) led the Sun Devils at the plate going 3-for-5 with two doubles and one RBI. Sophomore Colin Curtis (Issaquah, Wash.) and senior catcher Tuffy Gosewisch (Scottsdale, Ariz.) each added two hits as the Sun Devils out-hit the Trojans 11-10.

Trojan shortstop Blake Sharpe went 3-for-4 and scored three runs to pace the USC offense. Left fielder Cyle Hankerd (2-for-3, 2 RBI) and freshman first baseman Lucas Duda (2-for-2, 2 RBI) also notched multi-hit games. USC score four of its nine runs on bases loaded walks by the Sun Devil pitching staff.

Trailing 9-4, ASU made a valiant comeback with a four-run seventh inning. Buck, Curtis, second baseman Seth Dhaenens (Chandler, Ariz.) and right fielder Rocky Laguna (Yuma, Ariz.) all tabbed doubles in the inning to pull ASU to within one run.

ASU put the tying run on base in the eighth inning after Buck's third hit of the game, but Curtis bounced into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play. A leadoff walk in the top of the ninth inning to left fielder Jeff Larish (Tempe, Ariz.) also put the tying run aboard, but Larish was caught stealing on an attempted hit-and-run play with Gosewisch at the plate. Down to its last out, Laguna looked to pull the Sun Devils even, but his drive to deep right field was caught at the warning track to end the game.

Game Notes: ASU walked a season high nine batters, including four with the bases loaded... adding in three hit batters and one error, the Sun Devils gave up 13 free bases... junior third baseman Travis Buck recorded his team-leading 15th multi-hit game and fifth game with three or more hits by going 3-for-5... he has recorded at least one hit in 13 of the last 14 games and a multi-hit game in 11 of his last 14... over the last 14 games Buck has raised his batting average from .246 to .380 (134 points) by going 34-for-68 (.500)... he has a current four-game hitting steak in which he is hitting .556 (10-for-18)... Buck is a career .536 (15-for-28) hitter all-time against USC and 11-for-16 (.688) in four games at Dedeaux Field... sophomore Colin Curtis recorded his 13th multi-hit game of the year to extend his hitting streak to eight games... he is hitting .351 (13-for-37) during the hitting streak... senior Ty Marotz threw 2.2 scoreless innings in his first appearance since giving up a walk-off, two-run home run in the bottom of the 14th inning in a 7-6 loss to the University of Arizona (2/15)... Marotz has been sidelined with a shoulder injury... senior Jeff Larish recorded three walks and now has recorded at least one walk in six straight games... with 12 walks in the last six games (7 intentional), Larish now leads the team with 22 walks on the season and is second in ASU history with 164 in his career... ASU has lost its last two Pac-10 seasons openers... USC leads the all-time series 91-82 and has won seven of the last 11 games... ASU is now 28-48 all-time at Dedeaux Field... the game featured a four players that were part of the USA Baseball National Team over the last two summers... ASU's Travis Buck and USC's Jeff Clement (catcher) and Ian Kennedy (starting pitcher) were teammates on the 2004 National Team that won a gold medal in the FISU World University Games in Tainan, Taiwan... Clement and Jeff Larish were members of the 2003 Team USA squad that won a silver medal in the Pan Am Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic... with the injury to Zechry Zinicola, ASU was forced to use scheduled Friday starter Erik Averill out of the bullpen... sophomore RHP Pat Bresnehan will be moved up a day to pitch tomorrow and Saturday's starter has still not yet been determined.

USC 9, Arizona State 8 (Mar 24, 2005 at Los Angeles, Calif.)----------------------------------------------------------------------Arizona State....... 002 020 400  -  8 11  1      (16-13, 0-1 Pac-10)USC................. 001 143 00X  -  9 10  0      (14-6, 1-0 Pac-10)----------------------------------------------------------------------Arizona State - Zinicola; Averill(3); Bordes, B.(5); Garrison(5); Barnette(5); Marotz(6).USC - Kennedy; Friedman(7); Smith(7); Williams(7); Koss(7).Win-Kennedy(3-1)  Save-Koss(4)  Loss-Bordes, B.(1-3)  T-4:01  A-318

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