(Tempe, AZ) – In the bottom of the first inning after reaching base following a hit by pitch and advancing all the way to third, Arizona State junior and 2007 Pac-10 Triple Crown winner and Player of the Year Brett Wallace was called out at home to end the inning on an attempted double steal. After rising to his feet Wallace was immediately ejected by home plate umpire Ken Eldridge. “It’s a good lesson” ASU head coach Pat Murphy said “You shouldn’t say anything in reaction to a call.”
The Sun Devils certainly reacted as a team however, as starter Mike Leake preceded to mow down the side as he struck out three straight Trojans in the top of the second inning.
Then it was time for the ASU offense to respond. Marcel Champagnie returned to the plate with a fresh count to lead off the bottom of the inning and was also quickly hit by a pitch. Freshman Matt Newman then gave the Devils the lead with his first career home run to right field. A string of successive singles to Raoul Torrez, Rocky Laguna, Jason Kipnis and Ike Davis concluded as Mike Murphy who replaced Wallace at third base added another run with a sacrifice bunt. Next Petey Paramore resumed the production with a single and after a Kiel Roling double that was it for USC starter Kevin Couture. Champagnie greeted Danny Beck who came in from the bullpen with single up the middle and Newman walked before Torrez struck out to end the inning. In all Arizona State sent twelve batters to the plate in the inning and scored seven as the exclamation point.
ASU would score three more in the bottom of the fourth during a two out rally thanks to more timely hitting, walks, a passed ball and a wild pitch.
Southern California finally made a statement in the top of the sixth as Derek Perren hit a solo home run to right and on the next pitch Mike Roskopf also hit a home run to almost the exact same spot. But it was not enough and although each team added another run or two in the late innings, ASU cruised to victory 13 to 5.
Perren was most productive for USC with the three hits while Paramore, Roling and Laguna each hat three hits apiece for ASU.
With the two straight wins for Arizona State, the maroon and gold takes the series for the sixth time in seven years. A victory Sunday would give ASU a home sweep which hasn’t happened in this storied rivalry since 1998, the year in which the Devils and Trojans faced each other seven times. That year the Trojans won the first three games at their home in March, the Devils were victorious in all three games at their home in April, but the Trojans would win the final and most important game. A 21 to14 victory in the final game of the College World Series in Omaha gave the men from USC their twelfth and most recent National Championship.