Feb. 29, 2008


Around the Bases

Leake and leaks lead to big win for No. 1 Arizona State

Kipnis goes deep twice, drives in five

By Phil Stanton

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder


TEMPE, Ariz. – Coaches constantly preach it: You can’t give a good team extra outs and extra base-runners.


Sophomore right-hander Mike Leake (pictured right) of Arizona State abided by that principle. He only allowed one baserunner in his first six innings, a leadoff single to Jason Christian in the fourth, and he picked him off first.


Michigan (3-1) was not as fortunate. The Wolverine pitchers walked 11 and hit four more, while the UM defense committed a pair of errors as the Sun Devils  (4-0) rolled 15-4 Thursday evening in the first day of the Coca-Cola Classic at Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark.


Of the 16 Sun Devils who reached base without benefit of a hit, a dozen scored. A pair of errors helped the Sun Devils get on the board in the second. Five walks in the third gave ASU a huge lead it would not relinquish.


There were also big hits. Sophomore outfielder Jason Kipnis went deep twice, a solo shot to right in the fourth and a monstrous grand slam to centerfield in the fifth that gave the home team a 13-0 cushion. He now has four knocks in four games.


"They were having trouble finding the zone," Kipnis said. "You’ll hear Murph (head coach Pat Murphy) in the dugout preaching patience, make them come to you. Don’t help them out especially when they are struggling out there. It’s not really take the first strike, but square up your zone, make it a little smaller. Be more patient in your at bats.


"You ask players, they become comfortable," explained Kipnis. "They’re not trying to defend themselves at the plate. They’re not just trying to just hit the ball, they’re trying to attack the ball. You become more aggressive You’re full of confidence at the plate."


Junior shortstop Marcel Champagnie three hits, including a double in the second and a two-run single in the third. Freshman Matt Newman had a pinch-hit two-run single in the third. And junior third baseman Brett Wallace finally got in on the fun with a two-run double in the sixth that gave the Sun Devils a 15-0 advantage.


The Wolverines got on the board in the top of the seventh, using five consecutive singles and two fielder’s choices to plate four runs.


Leake (2-0) finished with 7.2 innings, six hits, one walk and seven strikeouts. When asked how he felt, Leake said "Good. I got a little tired that last inning."


He also started as DH and got a hit, a walk and got hit by a pitch.


"Nice to get a hit while I got my opening at-bats," Leake said. "Nice to contribute both sides."


Three of ASU's four victories this season are against ranked teams (Oregon State, Vanderbilt, Michigan).


"It’s great results, but we didn’t play great," Murphy said. "We’re not swinging it great. Kipnis is on it a little bit. Marcel’s been great. But Mike Leake was the story tonight, in total control for six."




Arizona State wore its black jersey tops in memory of the students killed at Northern Illinois. The Sun Devils also wore commemorative wrist bands. Since its opening weekend was canceled, Northern Illinois was brought out to Arizona to make up two games it lost. The Huskies fell to Portland 9-6 in 16 innings in Surprise on Thursday afternoon, the longest game on record for Northern Illinois. NIU faced Hawaii on Thursday evening.


If any Arizona State players make it to the big leagues with the New York Mets, the jets flying in and out of LaGuardia won’t bother them. There were a steady stream of jets flying low over the stadium, heading to Phoenix Airport.