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Wednesday June 22, 2005Arizona State Forces Rematch With Gator Baseball, 6-1

Omaha, NE

Pitching on two days’ rest, junior Erik Averill fired a complete game to lift Arizona State to a 6-1 victory over Florida on Wednesday afternoon at Rosenblatt Stadium. In snapping the Gators’ (47-21) season-high seven-game winning streak, the left-hander scattered five hits and registered seven strikeouts in helping the Sun Devils (42-24) stave off elimination at the NCAA College World Series for the third-consecutive game. Averill (11-4) threw 113 pitches and did not issue any walks to notch his fifth complete-game effort of the season.

 

The squads will now meet again tomorrow at either 2 p.m. or 7 p.m. ET for the right to advance to this weekend’s best-of-three championship series. Since a 5-3 setback to Nebraska on Friday, ASU has defeated Tennessee (4-2), Nebraska (8-7 in 11 innings) and now UF. Baylor and Texas tangle tonight at 7 p.m., with the Longhorns needing one victory to punch their ticket to the next round.

 

Junior Travis Buck, a first-round pick of the Oakland A’s, put the Sun Devils on the board in the bottom of the first inning with his sixth homer of the season. With one down, Buck sent a 1-0 pitch from junior Bryan Ball (Punta Gorda, Fla.) over the right-field wall to put the Gators behind for the first time in a span of 43 innings dating back to June 5 against Notre Dame.

 

Sophomore Brian Leclerc (Clearwater, Fla.) punched a one-out double in the second frame off Averill but was stranded when the southpaw retired sophomore Gavin Dickey (Tallahassee, Fla.) on a ground ball and had junior Justin Tordi (Orlando, Fla.) fly out to center.

 

Ball ran into problems in the fourth by issuing consecutive four-pitch walks to Buck and sophomore Colin Curtis. A sacrifice bunt by senior Tuffy Gosewisch advanced the runners into scoring position and sophomore Seth Dhaenens had an RBI grounder to second base to give Arizona State a 2-0 lead. Ball jammed senior Joey Hooft on a pop-up to Leclerc to leave the runner perched on third.

 

Florida cut the deficit in half on freshman Jared Kubin’s (Oakton, Va.) two-out single in the fifth. Dickey had stroked a one-out base-hit into left field and moved to second on Tordi’s bunt that was not ruled a sacrifice. Kubin grooved Averill’s 2-2 offering through the left side to score his teammate.

 

Larish led off ASU’s sixth with a double to deep center field and advanced on a grounder by Buck. Curtis followed with a single to right field for a 3-1 Sun Devil advantage. Ball responded with his third pickoff of the season and had Gosewisch ground out to end the frame.

 

Ball (7-5) departed in the home portion of the seventh after allowing four hits and three runs, with three walks and one strikeout. Inheriting a 2-0 count, senior Mike Pete (Brandon, Fla.) walked Dhaenens and then gave up a single to Hooft. Rookie Rocky Laguna laid down a sac bunt to put both runners in scoring position and freshman J.J. Sferra broke the game open with a two-run single to increase Arizona State’s margin to 5-1.

 

Curtis opened the eighth with a double to right that was lost in the sun, ending Pete’s time on the hill. The lefty permitted three hits and two runs and faced seven batters over one inning. Gosewisch greeted senior reliever Connor Falkenbach (Parkland, Fla.) with an RBI single to right to boost the Sun Devils’ lead to 6-1.

Powered by a 3-for-3 performance from Curtis, Arizona State out-hit the Gators, 9-5. The Sun Devils’ top four hitters in the lineup each had at least one hit and were a combined 6-for-12, while Florida’s quartet managed one hit in 12 at bats. Leclerc (2-for-3) was the lone UF player with multiple hits.

 

59TH ANNUAL MEN’S COLLEGE WORLD SERIES POSTGAME QUOTES

Game 11 - Florida (47-21) vs. Arizona State (42-24)

 

Florida Head Coach Pat McMahon

(opening statement): “It’s a tough loss as all losses are. Erik (Averill) pitched very, very well for them. He did a masterful job of keeping us off stride.”

 

(on his team’s approach to the game): “I’m extremely proud of our effort today. We tried to do everything we possibly could to compete and be successful.”

 

Designated Hitter Jared Kubin

(on facing Erik Averill): “He threw three pitches in the strike zone and threw his changeup any time he wanted. He had great command of that pitch today.”

 

Left fielder Gavin Dickey

(on facing Erik Averill): “He didn’t throw that hard but he kept us off-balance. We weren’t able to drive a lot of balls that were thrown up there.”

 

(on Averill’s pace of play on the mound. Was it a distraction?)

That probably had something to do with the game but that’s not an excuse. You can’t hit until he throws it up there. The kid pitched a great game. Hat’s off to him.”

 

Starting pitcher Bryan Ball

(on the team’s approach to the game): “I never go out on the field not wanting to win. That’s never the case at all.”

 

Arizona State Head Coach Pat Murphy

(opening statement): “What can you say?  Erik Averill.  Nine innings, five hits, no walks against a team of that magnitude?  Erik Averill.   Unbelievable.  That’s all I have on my mind.  Ask me who is going to be pitching tomorrow?  Erik Averill. 

 

(about whether he was surprised Averill went nine innings): “He told me before the game what he could give me.  He said I’m going nine.  I listened to him.  A CG at the College World Series at this time against a team that’s in the driver’s seat is pretty special.”

 

(about his ability to comeback): “This group is a tremendous group of guys who played hard.  Utah Valley State beat us.  Remember that?  Since that game, they realized we had to do more than play hard.  Most important thing is to play well.  It’s to the point if they don’t know how to play by now, they’ve been through everything.

 

Arizona State Starting Pitcher Erik Averill

(about his performance): “I was trying to get as many innings as I could.  I know the bullpen has been tired lately.  I only threw 73-74 pitches three days ago.  I took it pretty easy.  I played catch other than yesterday.”

 

Arizona State Right Fielder Travis Buck

(about his team’s performance after yesterday’s game): “It was just as fun as yesterday.  We’re going out and playing and hearing our fans for the first time in about a week.  We feed off our fans, but more importantly we feed off each other.”

 

Arizona State Left Fielder Colin Curtis

(about a possible letdown): “We came out and we were prepared.  We were musical today.  Whatever that means.  We were laid back, but prepared and focused.  We came out with the same level of intensity as before. 

 

(about the double): “Yesterday that pop fly that went foul gave me life at bat.  Today I hit the ball and heard (Coach) Murph yell at me so I took off.  I tried to get to second in case he missed it and he did.  I like to look at the field vertically because there are a lot of holes.”

 

-UF-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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