A trio of Arizona State pitchers combined to limit Oregon State to five hits as the Sun Devils defeated the Beavers, 9-3, Friday night in Pac-10 baseball at Packard Stadium.
Reliever Erik Averill (4-2) struck out the side in the seventh to preserve a two-run lead, and closer Zechry Zinicola struck out four over the final two innings.
With the victory, 19thranked ASU (33-13, 8-8) joined UCLA in third place 3 1/2 games behind Stanford. The Bruins (27-24, 8-8) were defeated by Washington State.
ASU starter Jeff Mousser and Oregon State’s Jake Postlewait were locked in a pitching duel for five innings when the Beavers (27-16, 7-9) scored a run in the top of the sixth to take a 3-1 lead. Postlewait had limited ASU to six hits through five innings, one a bunt single by Nick Walsh.
"Their starting pitcher did a good job of keeping us off balance for five innings; he’s a good pitcher," said ASU shortstop Dustin Pedroia. "But we fought through it and scratched out some runs."
ASU finally broke through for a big inning in the sixth, scoring four times with the help of two stolen bases, an error and an RBI sacrifice.
Third baseman Josh Asanovich started the rally with a lead-off double. Tuffy Gosewisch followed with a single to right.
Colin Curtis’ grounder scored Asanovich, forcing Gosewisch at second. Curtis wound up at second after a throwing error and later stole third.
After pinch-hitter Joel Bocchi walked, Walsh’s bunt scored Curtis to tie the game 3-3.
Pedroia was walked intentionally, but Travis Buck drilled a 3-2 pitch up the middle to score Bocchi and send Pedroia to third.
With a one-run lead, the Devils attempted a double steal that worked for the second time in three tries this year as Pedroia scored easily when first baseman Cole Gillespie missed catching the ball while glancing at Pedroia.
"I was supposed to watch his (Postlewait’s) front leg and then go home," Pedroia said. "It was a play we’d been practicing all year."
The play seemed to deflate the Beavers, who are trying to qualify for postseason play for the first time in 18 years.
"Anytime you can get a momentum change, it gets them on their heels and gets them thinking," Pedroia said. "It makes it good in the dugout."
ASU tacked on four runs in the eighth, two on a double by Buck, who also had an RBI in the first.