June 9, 2008

2008 Super Regionals

Hedstrom's Slam Forces Game 3 in Tempe

ASU strands 12 in 8-6 loss


By Alex Espinoza

The State Press   www.asuwebdevil.com


Alex finished his third year at Arizona State and is pursuing his undergraduate degree in journalism from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. A Bay Area native, Alex came to ASU for the weather, sports and girls and hasn't been disappointed. He still keeps the A's, Raiders, Warriors and Cal sports (Shhh don't tell anybody) close to his heart and has also taken an interest in the other football (Go Arsenal and Spain) in recent years.

TEMPE, Ariz. - Not many people picked Fresno State to emerge from the Long Beach Regional as the No. 4 seed. Even fewer foresaw the Bulldogs making a trip to Omaha.


They will have another chance to silence the doubters Monday night, after forcing a deciding Game 3 with an 8-6 victory over Arizona State in the NCAA Super Regionals in Sunday night.


“The worm has flipped,” ASU coach Pat Murphy said. “The pressure is on us now.”


With the Bulldogs on the brink of elimination, Fresno State coach Mike Batesole had to do some things he normally wouldn’t have done to help his team earn the victory. Namely, he had to call on a couple of his bullpen workhorses earlier than usual.


Fresno State pitcher Brandon Burke starred on the hill to earn a save of the extra-long variety. He tossed 3.2 scoreless innings against ASU’s robust lineup, allowing two hits and three walks while striking out four.


“We weren’t going home with any bullets in our gun,” Batesole said.


The Bulldogs lineup managed its biggest output of the NCAA Tournament, knocking around ASU starter Josh Satow for six runs in 3.2 innings of work.


Outfielder Gavin Hedstrom delivered the game-winning hit in the fourth inning, a grand slam to left field to give Fresno State a 7-5 lead. Satow was responsible for the three runners on base that came around to score, though it was ASU reliever Stephen Sauer who allowed the hit.


“It’s a great booster,” Hedstrom said of the hit. “We did really well that inning getting guys on base and doing the right things. When you do that, anything can happen and you saw that.”


Meanwhile, ASU repeatedly shot itself in the foot by leaving men on base in crucial situations. The latest of which happened in the eighth inning, when Fresno State escaped a bases-loaded jam thanks to a nifty backhanded flick by shortstop Danny Muno to nab ASU’s Brett Wallace at second base.


In all, the Sun Devils left 12 men on base.


Fresno State outfielder Steve Detwiler started off the scoring in the second inning with an opposite-field, two-run shot to right that also plated Alan Ahmady.


ASU would go on to take a 5-2 lead before Hedstrom’s slam put Fresno State up for good.