FULLERTON, Calif. - Arizona State used its one decided advantage over Cal State Fullerton to even their best-of-three NCAA Super Regional baseball series Saturday afternoon.

The fifth-ranked Sun Devils got two-run homers from Andre Ethier and Jeff Larish in taking a 7-2 lead then held on for a 7-6 victory before a second-straight record crowd of 3,581 at Goodwin Field.

"(The ballpark) plays differently in the early afternoon," said ASU coach Pat Murphy, who must be pleased that the deciding game will start at 12:05 p.m. ASU has belted 80 homers to Fullerton's 32. "Our guys were a little more locked in."

Ethier's 10th homer in the third inning gave the Devils a 4-0 lead against freshman lefty Ryan Schreppel (5-3).

Larish hit his 18th dinger with Jeremy West aboard in what proved to be the decisive hit of the day for the Sun Devils. The blast in the fifth blunted some Fullerton momentum after the Titans had scored two runs in the top of the frame.

"The home run by Larish," said Fullerton first baseman Richie Burgos, "made (the momentum) seem less important to us."

Said Larish, "That really pumped us up."

Fullerton had five hits after four innings against Ben Thurmond, but they were all singles.

After Ethier's homer, West doubled and scored on a two-out single by Tuffy Gosewisch for a 5-0 lead.

"It gave our offense more confidence to swing the bat and do what we're capable of doing," Ethier said of the homers. "We were able to get some balls in the gap. It showed the guys behind us they could take their regular hack. It makes manufacturing runs easier."

Thurmond (8-0), a senior transfer from Winthrop (S.C.) University, left after the fifth inning because of an open blister on his pitching hand.

Fullerton had little trouble with reliever Robbie McClellan as pinch-hitter Justin Smyres doubled home two runs to make it 7-4 in the sixth.

McClellan was relieved by Carlos Arguello who yielded a line-drive sacrifice fly to Ronnie Prettyman to cut ASU's lead to 7-5.

With one out in the seventh, Burgos homered off Arguello. Arguello got the next batter, but Murphy decided to bring closer Ryan Schroyer to face freshman Danny Dorin.

Schroyer caught Dorin looking for a called third strike to start a run of seven consecutive batters retired to finish the game.

"I was disappointed in my outing (against UNLV last Sunday). There were a multitude of issues," said Schroyer, who earned his ninth save. "I was disappointed in the draft. Our backs were against the wall; I tried to do what I could."

Coach George Horton said the Titans (47-14) weren't sharp in any phase at the game's outset. A first-inning error helped ASU score an unearned run.

"I was disappointed we didn't play well early," Horton said. "We gave away some things. We gave away too many at-bats. We had Thurmond on the ropes."

Fullerton had two runners on in three of the first four innings.

"Ben is a big-game pitcher," Murphy said.

"He made the pitches for us," Ethier said. "He provided a good five innings not giving them anything big to their offense."

"He tricked us," Horton added.

Both coaches agreed the two national powerhouses staged an outstanding college game.

Another is expected Sunday.

Who'll win?

Will it be Cal State Fullerton's pitching?

Or will the Sun Devil power to be the difference?

"It's going to be a battle," Ethier said. "Who knows what to expect?

"We have to go out and play our game. Hopefully we can get a couple of lucky breaks. We'll come to the ballpark prepared."

Said Fullerton second baseman Jason Corapci, "It was ASU's day today. Tomorrow we'll come back."

The winner advances to the College World Series to play the Louisiana State-Baylor winner. That series is also tied 1-1.

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