Arizona State’s big guns provided the spark as the Sun Devils evened their weekend series with Tulane with an 11-3 victory Saturday afternoon at Packard Stadium.
Shortstop Dustin Pedroia led off the game with a homer, the third time he’s done that in his career, and ASU was off to a 13-hit afternoon after being held to four hits in Friday night’s 5-3 loss.
Pedroia had four hits and a career-high five RBIs. Left fielder Jeff Larish had two hits and drove in a trio of runs.
But it was Pedroia, snapping an 0-for-10 slide, who got things rolling.
"I wanted to set the tempo early. Hit a ball hard and get us off to good start," said Pedroia, who raised his average to .436. "The attitude and spirit of this team is the best I’ve been on. It was big to come back and play like that."
"That was huge," Larish said of Pedroia’s fourth homer. "Pedro’s our catalyst. He sets the tone."
Pedroia pulled a changeup over the left field wall.
ASU added a second run in the first off Tulane’s J.R. Crowel (3-1) when Larish walked and Tuffy Gosewisch doubled.
Given an early lead, ace Jason Urquidez (6-0) pitched his way through 5 2/3 innings, allowing only four hits and one run. He walked five and struck out five.
"He was dominant," pitching coach Chris Sinacori said. "He just ran out of gas in the sixth. His offspeed pitches were really sharp."
The eighth-ranked Sun Devils (16-3) scored nine runs over the last five innings.
Pedroia drove in four with a two-run single in the fourth and two-run double in the seventh.
Pedroia’s two-strike single to left gave ASU a 4-0 lead. One batter later, Larish lined an opposite field double down the left field line for a 6-0 lead.
"I was just looking to put the ball in play," said Larish, who’s batting .263 in his pro contract season and was dropped from third to cleanup Saturday. "I got good placement."
His homer in the eighth cleared the center field wall.
"It feels good to finally hit one out," he said.
Brian Bormaster had two hits for 11th-ranked Tulane (12-4), which complained about the umpiring, starting with a balk call made on Crowel in the fourth.
The teams will play the rubber match today with Brett Bordes scheduled to start for ASU.
EXTRA BASES: Yuma junior Frank Mesa, who began the season as the starting third baseman, left the team for personal reasons. Mesa had split time with freshman Seth Dhaenens and was batting only .206.
Crowel was ejected in the bottom of the seventh for chirping at the umpires.
ASU fan and alumnus Phil Root, who sits in box seats near the visitors dugout, was escorted from the game by stadium security and athletic director Gene Smith after his excessive heckling apparently caused a disturbance. A friend said Root won’t be allowed to attend any more ASU games.