June 12, 2010
Scores, Schedules & Capsules
Resilient Sun Devils
outlast Razorbacks in 12
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 and current Vanderbilt
ace Sonny Gray when he starred at Smyrna High in baseball and
football. Heath was part of the radio broadcast team as a
student at Indiana State and is currently assistant sports
information director at Grand Canyon University, an NCAA
Division II school that has produced 13 major leaguers,
including Angels great Tim Salmon, Yankees World Series hero and
Jim Gray protester Chad Curtis and recent draftees Jeff Urlaub
(30th round/A’s) and Billy Schroeder (47th round/Brewers).
TEMPE, Ariz. – Top-ranked Arizona State
showed its resilience Saturday.
After four hours and 20 minutes, 12 innings and
19 runners left on base, the No. 1 Sun Devils defeated Arkansas
7-6 in the first game of the best-of-three series in the Tempe
Super Regional at Packard Stadium.
Freshman designated hitter Deven Marrero singled
to left-center field on the first pitch he saw from reliever
Brett Eibner (3-5) with one out in the 12th to score senior
right fielder Kole Calhoun with the winning run.
“It’s one of my best hits. I’ll never forget it,”
said Marrero, who had a two-run single in the third to give ASU
a 3-0 lead. “I knew (Eibner) would pump fastballs because that’s
the kind of guy he is. I was up ready to hit and attack.”
Through nine innings, Arizona State (51-8) left
17 runners on base, frustrating the coach but not the players.
“It’s always frustrating to a coach,” said
first-year Arizona State coach Tim Esmay. “Thankfully, it’s not
frustrating to the guys out there swinging. I grew a few more
gray hairs, but our guys are resilient.”
“We know it’s going to be like that,” said
Calhoun, who set a team record with five walks and added his
fourth home run of the postseason. “We do whatever we have to
do, nine innings, 12 innings, whatever it takes. Tonight it took
Arkansas (43-20) chased ASU ace Seth Blair, a
Compensation A pick of the St. Louis Cardinals, after five
innings. Blair was unbeaten in 12 decisions, but struggled
Saturday against a talented Razorback club. He gave up nine hits
and five runs, walking two and hitting a batter in five innings.
Back-to-back doubles from Arkansas designated
hitter Zack Cox, a first-round choice of the Cardinals, and
Eibner and Bo Bigham’s RBI-single gave the Razorbacks a 5-4
lead. Bigham had four hits and two RBI, but the visitors from
the SEC could only manage one more run the rest of the way.
“We started out good and jumped on (Blair) but we
didn’t come through late in the game,” said Bigham.
Arkansas took a 6-4 lead on a solo home run by
right fielder Matt Vinson, who came into the game hitting just
Part of Arkansas’ late-game struggles was due to
a strong Sun Devil relief effort. Sophomore left-hander Mitchell
Lambson (8-2) gave up only one hit in the final five innings. He
fanned seven and walked one. He faced just one over the minimum,
picking off Bigham after he singled in the 10th.
While the Sun Devils were leaving runners
stranded, the Razorbacks were getting them picked off. ASU
catcher Austin Barnes picked off one runner at first base, threw
another out stealing and was credited with two more caught-stealings
due to batter interference.
“It was a very competitive game and a very
strange game,” said Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn. “We had two
interference calls on strike threes and there were a probably a
few other things I can’t comment on.
“Both teams gave it their all. We battled and
we’ll have another game tomorrow.”
In the seventh inning with Arkansas leading 6-5,
Razorback left fielder Collin Kuhn threw a perfect strike to the
plate on a single by Zack MacPhee to get Andrew Aplin for the
final out of the inning.
MacPhee and Aplin got
revenge in the ninth. Aplin, who had singled, was on third with
two outs when MacPhee’s chopper to the right of the mound was
fielded cleanly by Arkansas reliever Jordan Pratt, but the
rushed throw to first base was off line and errant, scoring
Aplin with the tying run.
Game 2 of the series starts at 7 p.m. PDT Sunday.
Arkansas will throw ace Drew Smyly (9-1, 2.56). Arizona State
will start Merrill Kelly (10-2, 3.52).