June 6, 2009
Tempe, AZ –
Matt Newman’s two-out double in the seventh inning plated the go-ahead run and #2 Arizona State outlasted #13 Clemson 7-4 in the first game of the Tempe Super Regional in front of 4,381 fans at Packard Stadium on Saturday night. The Sun Devils took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series and improved to 48-12 on the season. The Tigers, who were playing their first-ever game at Arizona State, dropped to 44-21.
Sun Devil starter Mike Leake (16-1) added to his national lead in victories. In 8.0 innings pitched, the righthander allowed a season-high-tying eight hits, a season-high four runs (three earned), and one walk with seven strikeouts. Mitchell Lambson pitched a scoreless ninth inning to record his fifth save of the season. Tiger reliever Graham Stoneburner (7-4) suffered the loss, as he yielded three runs on four hits in 2.0 innings pitched.
Jason Kipnis gave the Sun Devils the game’s first lead in the first inning when he hit a solo homer to right-center, his 16th long ball of the season.
In the third inning, Brad Miller led off with a single up the middle and advanced to second on a one-out single up the middle by Chris Epps then singled up the middle to score Miller, tying the score 1-1.
In the top of the fifth inning, an error helped the Tigers take the lead. Leadoff batter Kyle Parker reached on a throwing error by shortstop Drew Maggi and later stole second base on a failed hit-and-run. Two batters later, John Nester reached on an infield single to put runners at the corners. Sanders then grounded a ball to second, but the Sun Devils could not turn the double play as Sanders just beat the throw to first base, allowing Parker to score.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Zack MacPhee drew a one-out walk and advanced to second on a passed ball. Maggi then blooped a ball near second base that fell, allowing him to reach on the infield single as MacPhee held at second. After Kipnis flied out for out #2, Carlos Ramirez laced a single to left to plate MacPhee. Kole Kalhoun then ripped a ball to Parker. The rightfielder slid and got a glove on the ball, but he could not come up with the catch, allowing Maggi to score the go-ahead run on the single.
The Sun Devils added to their lead in the sixth inning. Johnny Ruettiger hit a two-out single to right-center, stole second, then was moving again on MacPhee’s chopper down the third-base line. Sanders made the over-the-shoulder grab and saw that Ruettiger was rounding third and headed for home. Instead of making the long throw to first, he elected to throw to the plate, where a good throw would have easily retired Ruettiger. But Sanders’ throw went over Nester’s head, allowing Ruettiger to score on the RBI single.
The Tigers came right back and scored two runs in the top of the seventh inning to tie the score. Miller led off with an infield single and went to third on Nester’s double to left field. Two batters later, Epps lined a single to right field to score Miller and Nester.
But Arizona State regained the lead thanks to another two-out hit in the bottom of the seventh inning. Ramirez hit a one-out single through the left side and advanced to second on Kalhoun’s groundout. Newman then belted a two-out double off the centerfield fence to score Ramirez, giving the Sun Devils a 5-4 lead.
The Sun Devils added two insurance runs in the eighth inning. Ruettiger drew a one-out walk but was retired at second base on MacPhee’s fielder’s choice. Maggi followed with a two-out single through the left side, then Kipnis walked to load the bases. After Stoneburner just missed on a 2-2 pitch, Ramirez hit a single on a 3-2 pitch through the left side to score MacPhee and Maggi to give the Sun Devils a 7-4 lead.
Every Arizona State starter had at least one hit, including three apiece by Maggi and Ramirez. Maggi added two runs, while Ramirez had three RBIs. Each of the last six runs scored by the Sun Devils, who outhit Clemson 14-9, came with two outs.
Epps paced Clemson by going 2-for-5 with three RBIs. Miller, Nester, and Sanders all had two hits apiece as well.
Clemson and Arizona State will play the second game of the best-of-three super regional on Sunday at 10:00 PM EDT. The Tigers will be the designated home team. The game will be televised live by ESPN2.
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