Baseball clinches Pac-10 title with win over Oregon

<p>The No. 2 Arizona State University baseball team captured its third consecutive Pacific-10 Conference championship with an 8-0 win over Oregon on Sunday in front of a crowd of 2,578 at Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark. The Sun Devils improve to 41-11 overall, 19-5 in the Pac-10, on the season by completing the three-game sweep of the Ducks.</p><separator></separator><p>The win gives ASU its 20th conference championship in program history, including nine since joining the Pac-10 in 1979. It also marks the fourth Pac-10 title in 15 years under head coach <a href="">Pat Murphy</a>. Arizona State can claim the championship outright with any combination of Sun Devil Pac-10 victory or one Washington State Pac-10 loss. ASU took two of three from the Cougars earlier this season, giving ASU the tiebreaker for the automatic berth into the NCAA tournament.<a href=""></a… href="">Seth Blair</a> was the star on the mound, going 7.2 shutout innings and allowing just two hits with six strikeouts and no walks to earn the win and improve to 6-1. Blair allowed only four Oregon players to reach base, including just one infield single over the first six innings.</p><separator></separator><p><a href=""… Ramirez</a> led the Sun Devils at the plate, driving in four runs on the game and hitting his team-leading 17th home run of the season. <a href="">R… Torrez</a> added two RBI, while the tope two hitters in the order, <a href="">Drew Maggi</a> and <a href="">J… Kipnis</a>, combined to reach base seven times in 10 plate appearances.</p><separator></separator><p>ASU jumped out to an early lead with five runs in the second inning. <a href="">R… Torrez</a> brought in the first run with a sacrifice bunt, and the Sun Devils then scored four more with two outs on an RBI single by Kipnis and Ramirez's three-run homer to left center.</p><separator></separator><p>They would add another run in the third, and then they capped off the scoring with two runs in the sixth. Ramirez put down a sacrifice bunt to drive in Maggi, who came around from second to score, and Kipnis then scored on a throwing error on the same play.</p><separator></separator><p>That was more than enough offense, as Blair and <a href="… Franzblau</a> combined on a four-hit shutout of the Ducks. ASU outscored Oregon 27-2 over the three games, and the three starting pitchers - <a href="">Mike Leake</a>, <a href="… Swagerty</a> and Blair - combined to strike out 26 batters while not issuing a single walk in 23.1 innings.</p><separator></separator><p>The Sun Devils will wrap up the regular season with four games next week, beginning with a non-conference game against Arizona in Tucson at 7 p.m. on Wednesday before hosting UCLA for a three-game Pac-10 series from Friday to Sunday.</p>