A crowd of 6,655 that split its allegiances to both teams gathered at Salt River Fields to watch ASU baseball take on the Arizona Diamondbacks. While the game didn't matter to either team's standings, it was an opportunity for a few former Sun Devils to get a chance to play their alma mater.
"It's a blast, when I was there, I would have loved to play the Diamondbacks," Dbacks catcher Tuffy Gosewisch said. "Really fun to go out there and see those kids. They play the game the right way.
Gosewisch played with the Sun Devils from 2002-05, and along with right-hander Jake Barrett (2010-12), make up the ASU contingent on the Diamondbacks. As part of the Collegiate Baseball Series beginning this year, the Diamondbacks will play a game each of the next six years against the three Arizona colleges: ASU, Arizona and Grand Canyon.
Arizona's pro club kicked off the inaugural series game with a win over its college counterparts from Tempe 4-0.
"When I saw them on the schedule, I was extremely excited," Barrett said.
Both players said they got a chance to chat with ASU coach Tracy Smith and came away impressed with what they saw. Gosewisch said it's part of the line: from Bobby Winkles to Smith, ASU breeds great coaches.
So calling upon his experience, when Gosewisch reached second base in the game, he shared some advice with Sun Devil second baseman Jordan Aboites.
"I just told him, keep playing the way he's playing," Gosewisch said. "All those guys play the game the right away and they continue to do that for as long as they want. Hopefully they all get a chance in professional baseball."
Gosewisch is a player who paid his dues in the minor leagues. He was selected in the 11th round of the 2005 draft at age 22, but did not make his big league debut until 2013, 16 days shy of his 30th birthday.
Barrett is a different case. Drafted in the third round in 2012, he figures to make his major league debut at some point in the 2015 season.
Gosewisch and Barrett not only played at ASU, but grew up in the Valley. Gosewisch went to Horizon High School in Scottsdale while Barrett attended Desert Ridge in Mesa. For both of them, they wouldn't want anything more than the chance to play their pro ball where it all started.
"It's a dream come true," Gosewisch said. "Couldn't ask for anything better."
Added Barrett: "It's awesome. I was lucky to get a scholarship to go to ASU then just lucky again to be drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks, being a hometown guy."