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Devils’ ace Leake able to tame Wildcats

Citizen Staff Writer



TEMPE – University of Arizona baseball coach Andy Lopez remembers trying to recruit Arizona State right-handed pitcher Mike Leake.

He got an up-close reminder of why he wanted him on his team as the Sun Devils’ ace had 15 strikeouts in a 4-1 complete-game victory over the Wildcats in front of 4,371 fans at sold-out Packard Stadium on Friday.

“When we recruited him four years ago, God almighty we knew he was going to be pretty special,” Lopez said. “We knew then, and he has turned out that way.”

Leake (5-1) has established himself as one of the best in the Pac-10 throughout his career, and he limited the Wildcats to just five hits.

The only time the Wildcats got a good swing against Leake was a line-drive home run by outfielder Bobby Coyle just over the 395-foot sign in dead center field to cut ASU’s lead to 2-1 in the eighth.

“I was not trying to do too much,” Coyle said. “He was throwing hard and I was just trying to put the bat on the ball.

“He was pretty good. He was pretty special. He had great command of the fastball. He is as good as they come.”

Coyle’s homer gave the Wildcats a chance, but UA reliever Jason Stoffel gave up a two-run single to Zack MacPhee in the bottom of the eighth to give ASU a cushion.

The Wildcats (11-8, 0-1) have another chance to get their offense going in a 6:30 p.m. start against the No. 4 Sun Devils (15-3, 1-0) on Saturday, before wrapping up the series at 11 a.m. on Sunday.

Arizona starter Preston Guilmet (2-2) was good Friday, throwing strikes and setting up his pitches. He was rolling through four innings, allowing just one hit while striking out eight.

Most days that would have been good enough for the Wildcats’ ace.

Guilmet ended up allowing two earned runs in 5 1/2 innings.

“(Leake’s) makeup is off the charts when he gets going,” Lopez said. “Our guy was not bad either.”

The Sun Devils took advantage of a Jared McDonald walk to open the fifth. He scored on a single by Riccio Torrez.

McDonald drove in a second run on a line-shot double into the left-center field gap in the sixth to make it 2-0.

Bryce Ortega was the only Wildcat through four innings to get a hit off Leake.

The only Arizona threat before the eighth came when Ortega started the fifth with his second hit before getting picked off.

Dwight Childs doubled and Hunter Pace reached on an error, but Rafael Valenzuela hit into an inning-ending double play.

“They just got a couple of hits that were a little more important,” Lopez said.


UA (11-8) at ASU (15-3): 6:30 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. Sunday

• Friday’s box score, 9C

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