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Joey DeMichele remembered watching last season’s Omaha run from the dugout.

A year later, the sophomore designated hitter single handedly took the ASU baseball team one step closer to getting back to the College World Series.

With one out in the bottom of the ninth inning and the Sun Devils trailing 2-1 to New Mexico, DeMichele took a 1-2 curveball and crushed it onto Rural Road for a walk-off three run homer and a 4-2 ASU win.

“I’m just happy to help my team win; we’ve got a great bunch of teammates and coaches,” he said. “The pitch was pretty low, but it wasn’t going to be in the dirt.”

New Mexico coach Ray Birmingham said after the game he wanted to pitch around the Pac-10 batting champion but DeMichele put a good swing on a bad pitch.

Just minutes before the walk-off home run though, another headline was brewing.

After ASU junior outfielder Johnny Ruettiger singled to start the ninth, Deven Marrero laid down a bunt to try to advance Ruettiger to second.

The play at first base was close, but Lobo second baseman Kyle Stiner couldn’t handle the throw and both Sun Devil runners reached safely.

Or so ASU thought.

The umpiring crew ruled Marrero interfered with the throw, forcing Ruettiger back to first and causing Marrero to be out. ASU coach Tim Esmay immediately raced out of the dugout to argue the call.

After about 30 seconds of a heated confrontation, the second year manager was tossed from the game.

It was the first ejection in Esmay’s career.

“There was a certain energy that just caused the dugout to explode,” ASU sophomore starter Brady Rodgers said. “The fans got pretty into also and that pumped us too.”

The next batter, ASU junior third baseman Riccio Torrez, walked to put runners on first and second.

After a wild pitch allowed both runners to advance, all DeMichele needed was a sacrifice fly to tie the game up at two.

He did a little more than that.

ASU struggled offensively through the first eight innings. The Sun Devils didn’t get their first hit off of New Mexico starter Rudy Jaramillo until the sixth inning.

The Lobos scored their runs in the sixth courtesy of a two run single from Luke Campbell.

Rodgers was dominant on the mound other than that inning.

The ASU ace struck out 10 through eight innings, while only allowing five hits.

The Sun Devils got their first run in the seventh when DeMichele doubled to left field to score Marrero from second.

ASU junior closer Mitchell Lambson (6-3) pitched a scoreless ninth to earn the win.

The team will now face Charlotte Saturday night. The 49ers upset Arkansas 3-2 Friday.

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Click here to watch postgame interviews from Packard Stadium

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