Baseball sweeps Gonzaga behind freshman's clutch hitting
Pac-12 Baseball Standings prior to May 13, 2012 games
Arizona, 15-8 (1 GB)
UCLA, 14-9 (2 GB)
Arizona State, 14-10 (2.5 GB)
Stanford, 13-10 (3 GB)
Freshman Nathaniel Causey hit a go-ahead two-run double in the ninth inning to give the 19th-ranked Arizona State baseball team a 3-1 win over Gonzaga on Sunday at Patterson Baseball Complex in Spokane, Wash.
The Sun Devils (32-17) completed a sweep over the Bulldogs and have now swept at least five three-game series' in eight straight seasons.
James McDonald led off the ninth frame with a single through the left side and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt, and Michael Benjamin was intentionally walked to put runners on first and second. Causey, who went 3-for-3 on the day, followed with a double down the left-field line to put ASU ahead, 3-1.
Right-hander Jake Barrett (2-4) earned the win after pitching a perfect 1 1/3 innings. He took the mound in the bottom of the eighth with runners on first and second and two outs, and provoked a fly ball to keep the score knotted, 1-1. He started the ninth frame with a strikeout and followed with consecutive groundouts to preserve the Devils' two-run lead.
Joey DeMichele scored the first run of the game in the sixth inning on an RBI sacrifice fly by Max Rossiter. DeMichele drilled a double to right-center field for the first extra-base hit of the day and advanced to third on a single by McDonald before coming home on the fly out to center field.
Gonzaga left-hander Marco Gonzales (6-2) took the loss after giving up three runs on 10 hits in a complete game. Gonzales has accepted an invitation to play for Team USA over the summer and will join ASU right-hander Trevor Williams.
The Bulldogs (29-20) tied the game at one run apiece in the bottom of the seventh inning on an RBI double by Gonzales, but ASU stopped the Zags from taking the lead as right fielder Trever Allen threw in to Abe Ruiz, who relayed the ball to Rossiter to tag the trail runner out at home. Gonzaga's leadoff batter scored from second after he walked and moved over on a groundout.
Starting right-hander Alex Blackford allowed just one hit over 4 2/3 innings and struck out five, including the final batter in each of the first four frames. Right-hander Joseph Lopez (B.S. Health Sciences, 2012) replaced him and induced a groundout to end the fifth.
The Sun Devils host their final four home games of the season next week. They face Arizona on May 16 in a State Farm Territorial Cup Series game and the second "Cory Hahn Pass The Bucket Night." The Sun Devils host Washington for a three-game Pac-12 series May 18-20, with the contest on May 19 being televised live by Fox Sports Arizona. The Sun Devil Sports Network on The Fan AM 1060 will broadcast all four games.
Game notes: Lopez gave up no hits in 1 2/3 innings, but was credited with the earned run after he walked the leadoff batter who eventually scored...left-hander Matt Dunbar walked the only batter he faced in the middle of the seventh inning...right-hander Robert Ravago gave up three hits and a walk in 1 1/3 innings.