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Sun Devils rout UA 23-9

Junior outfielder Mike Leake slides into home plate during a game against UA on Sunday at Packard Stadium. The Sun Devils routed the Wildcats 23-9 and swept the three-game series. (Matt Pavelek | The State Press)

ASU fans can put down the BB gun and forget about the cardboard Wildcat-target for a few moments, because the baseball team has it covered.

The No. 4 (16-3, 3-0 Pac 10) Sun Devils crushed unranked UA (11-10, 0-3 Pac-10) 23-9 at Packard Stadium on Sunday.

With irritating wind gusts swirling, the Sun Devils were in no mood to get plunked in the batter‘s box. Compounding the vexation of four hit batters in three innings, was a poor starting pitching performance from normally reliable sophomore Seth Blair.

The boys were bound to snap.

ASU finished off the first three-game sweep of UA since 2003 with four monstrous outbursts.

The first occurred in the bottom of the first with ASU down 1-0. Junior Carlos Ramirez unloaded the bases with a scorched single to center for the first run, while a wild pitch and fielder’s choice scored two more. ASU set the stage for the three-run rally with two walks and a hit batter.

In the bottom of the third the Sun Devil offense lit up the scoreboard with a seven spot.

After Ramirez, junior Kole Calhoun and sophomore Andy Workman reached base, junior Raoul Torrez was hit by a pitch, scoring ASU the go-ahead run at 5-4. Drew Maggi followed by reaching on an error, junior Jason Kipnis scored a third run after getting beaned in the shoulder, and Zack MacPhee was awarded an infield hit to make it 7-4.

Freshman Zach Wilson then added a two-run double and Ramirez let a tempestuous wind take care of the seventh run with a sacrifice fly.

Meanwhile, freshman pitcher Mitchell Lambson allowed the ASU offense to find itself, shutting down the Wildcat offense by allowing one hit during 5 innings in relief of the ineffective Blair.

“‘Lambs’ has been pretty much phenomenal this year,” Kipnis said. “He has been way above a freshman level coming in. He’s been lights out.”

In the bottom of the sixth, ASU added five more. The first run came in off a Raoul Torrez single. The next four provided a stamp to the weekend, as junior Jason Kipnis sent seamed cowhide through the gusts and off the green backdrop in center field for a grand slam.

“I was happy to actually contribute today,” Kipnis said. “The first week of [Pac-10 play], it’s a great way to start. A great way to get the young guys their first experience of Pac-10 baseball. Now they know what it is like and they can build off of it.”

Kipnis finished the game with six RBIs and four runs scored.

If the five-run sixth was hitting a dead horse, the six-run eighth broke the whip.

The Sun Devils pounded All-American UA closer Jason Stoffel to the tune of six hits and three walks as ASU was able to clear the bench.

“Now that is Sunday in the [Pac-10],”coach Pat Murphy said of the 23-run output.

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