Baseball Comes From Behind to Sweep Houston 8-6
Feb. 19, 2006
TEMPE, Ariz. - Earlier this season, Head Coach Pat Murphy said his team needed a come-from-behind victory to find themselves as a team. Sunday afternoon the Devils gave Murphy what he wanted, coming back from a 5-1 deficit to beat the Houston Cougars 8-6 and earn a sweep of the three-game series. Freshman catcher Preston Paramore gave the Devils their first lead of the day with his first career home run in the seventh, then added some insurance when he singled home two in the eighth to help Arizona State improve to 8-4 on the year.
In the first two games of the series, Houston had struggled to score runs early, falling behind in both of the games. Sunday was a different story, as they roughed up starter Drew Bowman, who lasted only one inning, giving up three runs on four hits. Josh Satow was his replacement, but he didn't fare much better, as the Cougars touched him for two runs in an inning as a third to take a 5-1 lead after three.
The Sun Devils started the comeback in the fourth inning, as they quickly loaded the bases on Houston starter Aaron Brown. After a pitching change, Colin Curtis knocked a single through the right side of the infield to draw the Devils to within two. The Cougars escaped that inning without any further damaged, and looked to add more to their side of the scoreboard. Daryl Arreola had other plans, as he shut down the Cougars for two innings, allowing only two Houston hits. Brett Bordes took over for Arreola and was equally as impressive, allowing no Cougar to reach base his 1.2 innings. Bordes was relieved by Zechry Zinicola, who pitched the final three innings.
Meanwhile, the Sun Devils continued to chip away at the lead, tying the game in the sixth. After back-to-back singles by JJ Sferra and Joe Persichina, Willy Fox singled home a run to pull ASU to within one. The Devils would tie it up on an Ike Davis RBI ground out. In the seventh, Paramore would complete the comeback, taking Houston pitcher Luis Flores deep off the right field foul pole to give ASU their first lead of the day at 6-5. The freshman backstop from Allen, Texas was no stranger to Flores, having played against him throughout high school and in the summer leagues.
ASU would add some insurance in the eighth, as Paramore again came through in the clutch, knocking in two more with a bases loaded single to give ASU a three-run cushion heading into the ninth.
Zinicola, who was dominant in the seventh and eighth, gave up a run in the ninth, but eventually closed out the Cougars to earn his first victory of the season. He allowed one run on four hits and struck out three in his three innings of work. Flores took the loss for the Cougars, dropping him to 0-1. Houston fell to 3-4 on the season.
The highly touted Sun Devil freshmen were the story of the Houston series, as Ike Davis hit .417 in the series with five RBI, Paramore hit .364 with five runs batted in while playing solid defense behind the plate, and Jeff Urlaub was outstanding in his win on Saturday afternoon. The Sun Devils now hit the road for their first trip across state lines this season, as they head to Baylor for a three-game set beginning next Friday night in Waco. First pitch is set for 6:00 PM Arizona time.