March 22, 2002
TUCSON, Ariz.- The Arizona State baseball team rallied from a 7-2 deficit through five innings to steal a 9-7 win over Arizona at Frank Sancet Field on Friday night. The Sun Devils scored three runs in the ninth inning to complete the come-from-behind victory and take the opening game of the three-game series. The loss drops Arizona to 19-9 for the season and 0-1 in Pac-10 play. ASU improves to 17-8 overall and 1-0 in the Pac-10.
Andre Ethier's two-run single with one out in the ninth gave the Sun Devils the lead for good at 8-7 and ASU added another on a fielding error by Brad Hassey and a throwing error by John Hardy for the final run of the game.
Arizona closer Brian Anderson (0-1) picked up the loss, giving up all three runs in the ninth. The sophomore, who was 5-for-6 in save attempts heading into the game, struggled with his control, walking three, and was hurt by three Arizona errors in the inning. The Wildcats committed a season-high seven miscues in the game.
The Wildcats appeared to have the game under control for starter Sean Rierson, scoring one in the second and three each in the fourth and fifth to take the 7-2 lead. ASU closed the gap to 7-5 with three runs of its own in the top of the sixth off of Rierson, who did not earn a decision in seven innings pitched.
The Devils then scored one in the eighth off of reliever Tony Sulser to cut the deficit to one and pave the way for the ninth inning.
Offensively, Arizona was led by a pair of freshman. Hardy led all players with four RBIs in the game, going 2-for-2 in the process with a double and two-run single. Classmate Pat Reilly finished 2-for-5 with two RBIs. All seven Arizona runs came with two outs.
ASU was paced by Ethier's three RBIs on a 1-for-3 effort at the plate. Infielder Dustin Pedroia was the only Sun Devil player to finish with multiple hits, going 3-for-5 in the game.
Reliever Mark Sopko (1-0) picked up his first win of the season with two innings of work out of the bullpen. Closer Ryan Schroyer struck out the side in the ninth for his second save on the year.
The rivals will meet again on Saturday for the second game of the series. The game will be televised nationally by Fox Sports Net. Joe Little will take the mound for Arizona against ASU's Mike Esposito. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.