Thursday, April 2, 2009

Sun Devils Salvage Split with Titans


From Arizona Republic

By Jonathan Frankel

TEMPE, Ariz.
- Great pitching and power hitting prevented Arizona State from dropping its third consecutive game.

The third-ranked Sun Devils held off top-ranked Cal State-Fullerton for the 3-1 victory in front of 3,489 Wednesday night at Packard Stadium in the second half of a two-game set.

With the game tied 1-1 in the sixth inning, Zack MacPhee pulled a two-run home run over the left-field fence off Fullerton starter Kevin Rath for his first homer of the season.

ASU starting pitcher Seth Blair dazzled with seven innings of four-hit ball, allowing only one unearned run. The right-hander had three strikeouts and no walks and helped the Sun Devils improve to 20-5 on the season.

Left-hander Josh Spence worked the final two innings for the save.

"Needing two pitchers against Fullerton, and not give up an extra-base hit on a night like tonight in this offensive ballpark," ASU coach Pat Murphy said. "This stadium is not used to this 3-1 stuff."

Fullerton got on the board first in the fourth inning.

Christian Colon led off with a single to left field, and moved to second base when ASU first baseman Riccio Torrez couldn't handle a pickoff throw from Blair. Jared Clark knocked Colon in with an RBI single to right.

ASU struck back with a run in the fifth. Drew Maggi started it with an infield single, and came around to third on a wild pith and sacrifice bunt to set the table for Matt Newman, who lined an RBI double to the left-field warning track.

"Newman had some good at-bats," Murphy said. "It takes something to get you out of that rut. He was kind of in a rut there. Newman put a good swing on the ball. . . . It was a turning point."

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