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Super Regional Scores, Recaps and Capsules
Ramirez Secures Game 1 Win for
By Steve Heath
Special to CollegeBaseballInsider.com
Steve Heath is a 20-plus year veteran sports
writer that has covered everything from junior high basketball
to the Super Bowl. He has seen some of today’s top baseball
prospects at their early stages, including following Tampa Bay’s
David Price when he was a high school baseball and basketball
star at Murfreesboro Blackman High School. Heath was part of the
radio broadcast team as a student at Indiana State.
— For Arizona State, one stressful eighth-inning at-bat led to a
much less stressful ninth inning and a 1-0 lead in the
best-of-three series with Clemson in the NCAA Super Regional at
Packard Stadium Saturday.
Devils junior catcher Carlos Ramirez (right), with a 3-2 count,
bases loaded and a one-run lead, laced a two-run single to left
field. It was the breathing room needed for Arizona State in a
just stepped out [of the box] and took a deep breath,” said
Ramirez. “I wasn’t thinking, ‘Am I going to get a hit? Or, we
need that run.’ It was just see the ball and hit the ball. You
can’t control what the ball does when it comes off the bat. I
was fortunate enough to get a hit.”
Ramirez’s hit secured the 16th win of the season for Arizona
State ace Mike Leake, who went eight innings, gave up eight
hits, struck out seven and walked one. He gave up three earned
Leake, a junior, leads the nation in victories and is a Golden
Spikes finalist. He’s expected to be a first-round choice in
next week’s Major League Baseball Draft. Saturday’s win was his
13th, and he hasn’t lost since a 6-2 defeat at the hands of
Kansas State on March 10.
had thrown three straight complete games prior to Saturday’s
got too amped up and too emotional too early,” said Leake
(left), who admitted he didn’t have his best stuff. “I kept
giving up the lead and they kept getting it [back] for me. [The
offense] won the game for us.”
Clemson tied the game twice (1-1 and 4-4) and had a 2-1 lead.
ASU had three one-run leads (1-0, 3-2, 5-4) in the see-saw,
Sophomore right-fielder Mike Newman had a two-out,
seventh-inning double to give ASU a 5-4 advantage. The last six
Sun Devils runs all came with two outs.
Tigers designated hitter Chris Epps picked up at the plate where
he left off in the Regional. After hitting .526 last weekend,
Epps went 2 for 5 and drove in three of his team’s four runs.
wanted to look for the ball up and capitalize on [Leake’s
mistakes] and he rarely makes mistakes,” said Epps.
Epps’s two-run, seventh-inning single tied the game at 4. It was
the lone inning when Leake was unable to thwart off a potential
big inning, but he still got out of the frame with a little less
than what could have been.
the third with one run in and two runners on base, Leake got
Mike Freeman to ground into a double play. In the sixth, with
runners on the corners and one out, Leake got help from
centerfielder Jason Kipnis, who made a diving catch in
right-center field to keep at least one and possibly two runs
“He’s been doing that all year for us,” said Leake of Kipnis’
catch. “I was expecting it.”
(left), the Pac-10 Player of the Year, got the Sun Devils off on
a good start with a first-inning solo homer. It was his 16th of
the seventh, after Epps’ two-run hit, ASU third baseman Raoul
Torres made a nice grab on a Freeman smash that forced Epps at
second. Another groundout ended the inning.
“We’ve been in this situation before,” said Clemson coach Jack
Leggett, whose team lost the opener in last week’s Regional. “We
have to collect ourselves and try and win two ballgames.”
Sun Devils have, too. They won the opener over Fresno State, at
home, in last year’s Super Regional before losing the next two
to the eventual national champions.
ASU junior Jared McDonald got the start at first base in
place of Riccio Torres, who suffered a hand injury in
last week’s Regional. McDonald got the call just five minutes
before the start of the game and had a double in his first
at-bat … Clemson’s Freeman had his modest six-game hitting
streak come to an end, though he hit a couple balls very hard.
He lined out to Kipnis in the first prior to the seventh-inning
dart to Raoul Torres … Epps, at six games, has the longest
current hitting streak for either team heading into Sunday’s 7
p.m. second game … ASU will start junior left-hander Josh
Spence (8-1, 2.47) and the Tigers will counter with freshman
lefty Chris Dwyer (5-5, 4.85) … Saturday’s game was the
first meeting between the two programs since 1977 when the Sun
Devils beat the Tigers and eventually went on to win the College
(photos courtesy of Arizona State Media