The Arizona State Sun Devils took on the North Carolina Tar Heels in the opening game of the second day of action at the College World Series. Arizona State enters the game with a 49-12 record while North Carolina has a 47-16 record. ASU sent LHP and Australian native Josh Spence to the hill as he sported a 9-1 record with a 2.33 ERA. Spence was selected in the third round (110 overall) by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. UNC countered with RHP Alex White who was 8-4 record and a 4.13 ERA. White was selected in the first round (15th overall) by the Cleveland Indians.
The first inning for the Sun Devils was uneventful as Alex White worked around a one out double to Jason Kipnis as he picked up strikeouts to Drew Maggi and Carlos Ramirez before getting Kole Colhoun to ground out to the pitcher for the final out of the inning. Josh Spence would work around two Tar Heels singles to get out of the first inning without allowing any runs. After one inning, the game would be scoreless.
The Sun Devils would get some two out magic in the top of the second inning when Johnny Ruettiger would get a double. Raoul Torrez would follow with a 3-2 walk to put runners on first and second. Zack MacPhee would follow with a double to left field to score Ruettiger from second base and score the first run of the game. Alex White would strike out Drew Maggi to end the inning. That was White’s fourth strikeout of the game.
The game would stay 1-0 until the bottom of the sixth inning when Levi Michael got a lead off walk. He would get to second on a Mark Fleury sacrifice bunt. Garrett Gore would be him home from second with a single up the middle to tie up the game at 1. After a Mike Cavasini single to put runners on first and second, Jacob Stallings hit into a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning.
Mitchell Lambson would replace Josh Spence on the mound in the bottom of the eighth inning. Spence went seven inning allowing eight hits, one earned run, three walks while striking out eight batters. Spence stated the following about working out of a few jams on the day “I can’t really take credit for either of those things. Carlos [Ramirez] called a great game, and I’m just in the palm of his hand; he tells me what to do and I do it.”
The game would go to extra innings with Colin Bates taking the hill for the Tar Heels. White went nine strong innings allowing seven hits and three walks while striking out twelve batters. He was outstanding today pounding the strike zone with his fastball and slider. He was able to leave seven guys on base for the Sun Devils. White said “Obviously this was a tough game, I thought we played well, so did they. I spotted my fastball well and that is the biggest thing with me. This is a tough loss, but the good thing is that we get to play again.”
Bates was lifted after giving up a one out single to Drew Maggi in favor of Brian Moran. Jason Kipnis would follow with a long flyball to right fielder Garrett Gore who would drop the flyball. Maggi could only get to second on the play though. Carlos Ramirez would follow with a RBI single through the shortstop hole to acore Drew Maggi from second and give the Sun Devils the 2-1 lead. Kole Calhoun would follow with a three run homer into the first row of seats in left field to give the Sun Devils the 5-1 lead. The homer was his 10th of the season. Kole Coleman said “If you’d have seen the ball that landed in the outfield [in the bottom of the 10th inning] that ball kind of took off on us. I got the 1-1 pitch up in the wind, and the wind took over. I was trying to have a better at-bat than my one before, and it wasn’t hard. [Coach Murphy] told me to take what he gives me, and I did and hit it into left center. Fortunately it got up in the air.” Moran would give up a double to Riccio Torrez but would strike out Matt Newman and Johnny Ruettiger to end the frame.
Kyle Seager would led off the bottom of the tenth with a double into the left-center field gap which got over the head of Jason Kipnis. He took a horrible route to the ball as it should have been caught by him. Seager would move over to third on a Ryan Graepel ground out to second base. He would score on a grounder to second by Levi Michael which was botched by Zack MacPhee allowing Michael to reach base. Lampson would get Mark Fleury and Garret Gore to strike out to end the game.
UNC head coach Mike Fox stated “It was a terrific game. Two outstanding pitchers went head-to-head. Alex did a great job. It all comes down to a big hit and we didn’t get it done. We got to give hats off to Arizona State. They played better than us today.”
ASU head coach Pat Murphy agreed by saying “I commend (Alex) White and the whole team. We hung in there. White and UNC competed and turned it up a notch. It was pretty special. I’m proud of our guys, we hung in there and it wasn’t pretty. I’m proud of Kole (Calhoun). He is the definition of competition, he’s a great competitor. It was a different game and I’m proud of our guys.”
Arizona State moves onto a winner’s bracket game against the Texas at 7pm Eastern time on Tuesday while UNC will play Southern Miss in the afternoon game at 2pm.
MCWS GAME 3 NEWS AND NOTES
*-Today’s attendance of 24,273 broke the Session 3 attendance record of 24,067 set in Texas’ 2-1 victory over Rice on June 15, 2002. This is the second single-session attendance record tied or set in the 2009 MCWS.
*-Today is the 80th all-time MCWS game to go extra innings and the first since UC Irvine’s 8-7 win over Arizona State in the 2007 MCWS. Three of the last five MCWS games to go extra innings have involved Arizona State.
*-Arizona State’s 12 extra-inning games in the MCWS are the most of any program, snapping a tie with Texas. The Sun Devils are now 7-5 all-time in extra-inning games at the MCWS, matching Texas for second place among teams with extra-inning wins (USC is 8-2 in extra-inning contests).
*-Arizona State improves to 2-0 in extra-inning games this year, as the Sun Devils also won an 11-inning contest against San Diego (8-7 in 11 innings) on May 5.
*-Arizona State now has won seven straight games and 17 of their last 18 games dating back to the extra-inning win over San Diego on May 5
*-Arizona State is now 4-1 all-time against North Carolina in program history
*-With today’s win, the Sun Devils became only the third program to win 60 MCWS games, joining Texas (78 before tonight’s game against Southern Miss) and USC (74). ASU is also third in games played at the MCWS with 94 (Texas-131; USC-100), as the Sun Devils are making their 21st appearance in Omaha.
*-Arizona State is now second nationally with 50 wins this season (LSU has 52 wins). The Sun Devils reached the 50-win plateau for the first time since 2003 and the second time in Pat Murphy’s 15 seasons at Arizona State. Only the 2003 Sun Devils, who won 54 contests, have more games under Murphy than the 2009 squad.
*-Today’s win was the 999th victory by Arizona State Coach Pat Murphy, as he will go for his 1,000th career win Tuesday evening.
*-Arizona State is now 28-0 when allowing two runs or less this season and lowered their national-best ERA to 2.76.
*-Drew Maggi broke Arizona State’s freshman record for runs scored with 61, breaking the mark of 60 he shared with Barry Bonds in 1983.
*-Arizona State is now 28-1 this season when a starter goes seven or more innings in a start.
*-Arizona State starter Josh Spence allowed one run over seven innings, marking the 11th time in 14 starts that the left-hander allowed two earned runs or less in a game. Spence fanned eight hitters, raising his season total to 117.
*-The 14 times Arizona State struck out were a season high, topping the 13 times against Oral Roberts on May 30. ASU is now 8-1 this season with its hitters reach double digits in strikeouts.
*-North Carolina falls to 13-16 all- time at the MCWS, as the Tar Heels are making their eighth appearance.
*-The Tar Heels saw their five-game win streak snapped, as they had not lost in the Regional or Super Regional. UNC has allowed five runs or less in all six of its NCAA Tournament games
*-North Carolina is now 2-4 in extra-inning games this season
*-Alex White matches a career high by striking out 12 Sun Devils on Sunday. He tied his career high of 12 set last weekend in the Super Regional against East Carolina. It is the third time this season and seventh time in his career that White has fanned at least 10 hitters. He now has 121 strikeouts on the season, a total that is fourth on UNC’s single-season list.
*-Alex White’s nine-inning performance matches his career long previously set two other times (vs. Miami on 4/17/09; vs. UNC Wilmington on 5/31/08).
*-With his two hits today, Dustin Ackley now has 22 career MCWS hits, jumping into the top five all-time at the MCWS. He is now tied for fourth place with John Gall of Stanford, who had 22 hits over three MCWS appearances (1997-99-2000). Ackley is now hitting .386 (22-57) in career 13 MCWS
*-The 13 strikeouts by UNC hitters matched a season high, also set against Clemson on May 23.
*-With his start today, North Carolina’s Garrett Gore moves into a tie for second place on the all-time MCWS list with 18 games. He is tied with three other former North Carolina players (Chad Flack, Tim Federowicz and Seth Williams). Only Darly Arenstein of USC (1970-73) has appeared in 20 MCWS games.
*-The three runs allowed by UNC’s Brian Moran were the most he has allowed in any of his 35 appearances this season, as he entered the MCWS with a 7-1 record and a 1.95 ERA over 64.2 innings. Moran had not given up a run in his two NCAA Tournament appearances this season and was 4-0 with four saves and 1.45 ERA over his previous 14 outings before today