May 6, 2011
Tempe, Ariz. - Mike Marjama had three hits, scoring once and driving in two, but four runs in the sixth and seventh innings combined with a strong pitching performance from Brady Rodgers allowed No. 6 Arizona State to take the victory in the first game of a three-game series.
Junior starter Andrew Gagnon pitched 6.2 innings for Long Beach State (23-20), but allowed all six runs, including five earned, while Rodgers held the Dirtbags to just three runs over 7.1 innings.
Arizona State (33-11) struck first, scoring an unearned run as Johnny Ruettiger came around to score on a failed pickoff move from Gagnon.
The Dirtbags answered back in the fourth inning, as Marjama singled to start the inning. Ino Patron followed with another single on a perfectly executed hit-and-run to put runners on the corners, and a sacrifice fly from Matt Duffy tied the game.
ASU regained the lead in the bottom of the inning, as a leadoff walk came around to score without a hit in the inning, giving the Sun Devils a 2-1 lead.
The real trouble for Long Beach State began in the sixth inning. Gagnon, who'd avoided trouble for the first five innings, allowed a leadoff single to Zack McPhee, and that was followed by a triple to the wall by Joey DeMichele. DeMichele then scored on a sacrifice fly, putting the Sun Devils in the lead 4-1. ASU then added two more in the bottom of the seventh to move ahead 6-1.
Long Beach State pulled back two runs in the top of the eighth inning. Rodgers struck out the first batter of the inning, but Royce Murai hit a comebacker to start a rally, and after hitting Matt Hibbert, a single by Jeff McNeil loaded the bases for Marjama.
The junior came through for his third hit of the game, scoring a pair of runs, but ASU turned to their setup/closer tandem of Trevor Williams and Mitchell Lambson who finished the rest of the game without allowing a hit.
The teams return to Packard Stadium tomorrow for game two of the series at 6:30 p.m.
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