April 1, 2009
Tempe, Ariz. -
Zack MacPhee's first home run of the year broke a 1-1 tie in the sixth inning and carried No. 3-ranked Arizona State to a 3-1 non-conference baseball victory over No. 1-ranked Cal State Fullerton in the DeMarini West Coast Challenge.
Righthander Seth Blair (3-1) went 7 innings and allowed only an unearned run as the Sun Devils improved to 20-5 and earned a split in the two-game series. Weekend starter Josh Spence pitched two scoreless innings of relief for his first save. Fullerton starter Kevin Rath (1-1) went a career-best 7 innings and pitched out of trouble in nearly every inning as the Titans fell to 19-5.
MacPhee's two-run homer to left field came with two out after Andy Workman walked to lead off the inning. It gave ASU its first lead of the series. ASU had tied the game in the fifth. Drew Maggi beat out a ground ball to third for a single and went to second on a wild pitch. He scored on a double to left by Matt Newman.
Fullerton managed only five hits, all singles, and had more than one runner on base only in the ninth inning when Josh Fellhauer singled infield and Jared Clark walked. But Nick Ramirez flied out to left and Khris Davis hit into a force play to end the game.
"I'm disappointed, not so much with the loss but with our attitude coming in," said Coach Dave Serrano. "We gave something away, not to take anything away from ASU because they played their tails off and deserved it. I thought we would finish this series off the right way.
"We missed some signs and gave away some at bats. We weren't tough, and that's uncharacteristic of our team."
Fullerton didn't get a baserunner until Jeff Newman was hit in the knee by a pitch with two out in the third inning and didn't get a hit until Christian Colon led off the fourth with a single, snapping a 2-for-19 skid. The Titans turned it into their only run after Colon went to second when first baseman Riccio Torrez couldn't catch a Blair pickoff toss. Fellhauer bunted Colon to third from where he scored when Clark fisted an 0-2 pitch into right field for a single, extending his streak to 8 games in a row with an RBI.
ASU had four runners thrown out on the basepaths and left seven. ASU got the leadoff man on in six of its eight innings.
For the second night in a row, the Sun Devils loaded the bases in the first without hitting the ball out of the infield. But, again, the Sun Devils couldn't score. Two walks and a swinging bunt single did the trick Wednesday but Rath struck out Riccio Torrez to end the inning. Double plays erased a hit batter in the second and a bunt single in the third.
In the ASU fourth, Carlos Ramirez singled to center and Workman bounced a double over the head of third baseman Gary Brown. Riccio Torrez hit a shot that Joe Scott flagged down on a hop and, despite playing deep, threw home to retire Ramirez with Workman still stuck on second. Brown then made a nice play on Zach Wilson's dribbler with Clark making a major league scoop of the throw.
The Titans host a 3-game Big West Conference series this weekend against No. 8-ranked UC Irvine. Game times are 7 p.m. on Friday, 6 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday. Friday night's game will be televised by ESPNU.