ASU and Cal State Fullerton are two of the most historic baseball schools in the country, and the heavyweight clash lived up to the lofty expectations. Goodwin Field was jam-packed, and the hometown fans left happy as their Titans defeated the Sun Devils 1-0. It's been a long night and I don't get paid overtime, so the recap is short and sweet.
The freshman starting pitchers didn't show any nerves, as Cal State Fullerton's Justin Garza and ASU's Ryan Kellogg both tossed gems. From the get go it seemed like one run may by enough, and indeed it was. Although, there can only be one winner, and Garza ended up out dueling Kellogg.
Garza's final stat line included 8 1/3 scoreless innings, seven hits allowed, no walks and a career-high with nine strikeouts. The Sun Devil hitters were never able to gain any substantial opportunities, struggling to catch up to Garza's low 90's fastball and appearing perplexed by his nasty change up. Tim Esmay's ball club had the tying run 90 feet away in the 8th frame, but star hitter Michael Benjamin couldn't deliver. Cal State Fullerton two-way weapon Michael Lorenzen came in and got the final two outs, earning his 19th save of the year.
Meanwhile, let's not diminish the valiant effort of Kellogg, posting 6 1/3 innings, one earned run, eight hits allowed, two walks and three strikeouts. Kellogg didn't bring his A-game, but continuously fought through it and escaped numerous jams. Rick Vanderhook's ball club overcame seven stranded runners in scoring position. Titans' shortstop Richy Pedroza drove in the games sole run via a sacrifice fly in the 7th inning.
After losing tonight ASU plays Columbia in an elimination game Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. The loser goes home and the winner goes on to play Cal State Fullerton at 8 p.m. If the Sun Devils find a way to defeat the Columbia, they will have to beat Cal State Fullerton two straight games in order to win the regional.
Just when you think you have seen it all, the unpredictable happens. It isn't too uncommon to see a fan rush the field, but a dog doing so is a different story. Someone's gorgeous Siberian Husky went trotting around the diamond, and left the playing field moments later.
"That was an outstanding performance by both sides, and we just happened to be on the other end of it," Tim Esmay said. "We never really got anything going against him (Just Garza) and he pitched really well."
"Good game, pitcher's game, I thought Kellogg was good," Rick Vanderhook said. "We broke through before them, and I thought Justin was amazing."
"Its been a history here where a lot games ASU and Fullerton have played in," Fullerton shortstop Richy Pedroza said. "I was just proud to be a part of it."
"If you don't play well you go home, these kids will be ready," Esmay said in reference to the elimination game against Columbia."