Tempe, Ariz. – Nebraska nearly overcame a six-run deficit, but fifth-ranked Arizona State pulled away in the later innings to post a 19-7 victory late Sunday in the title game of the NCAA Tempe Regional.
The Sun Devils, who upped their record to 46-13, will now take on Mississippi in a Super Regional matchup next weekend, while the Huskers, who reached a regional title game for the sixth time in the last eight years, finished the 2007 campaign with a 32-27 record.
Trailing 9-3, the Huskers scored a run in the sixth and used an RBI triple by Craig Corriston and a RBI single by Andrew Brown off of ASU starter Josh Satow to pull within three runs. After an error and a wild pitch put runners on second and third with no outs, Sun Devil closer Jason Jarvis came and struck out Andy Gerch before Jeff Tezak’s grounded the short made it a 9-7 game. Jarvis, who struck out five in three innings of no-hit relief for his 11th save, escaped additional trouble by getting Bryce Nimmo to ground out to end the threat.
That would be as close as Nebraska would get, as ASU salted the contest away with six runs in the bottom of the seventh, highlighted by CJ Retherford’s grand slam, and added four more runs against the Husker bullpen one inning later.
Retherford went 2-for-2 with five RBIs, while Kiel Roling had a 2-for-4 night with four RBIs, including a three-run homer in the first, en route to Regional Most Outstanding Player honors. In all, ASU pounded out 23 hits, including four hits from Eric Sogard and Petey Paramore.
Corriston led Nebraska with a 3-for-5 effort and score twice, while Tezak and Nimmo drove in two runs apiece. Corriston was one of three Husker players on the all-tournament team, joining left fielder Andy Gerch and first baseman Andrew Brown.
Nebraska jumped on Satow in the top of the first, stringing together five hits to jump out to a 2-0 lead on RBI singles from Tezak and Nimmo. The Husker loaded the bases with three straight singles by Craig Corriston, Andrew Brown and Jake Opitz. After a strikeout, Tezak’s infield single made it 1-0 before Nimmo singled through the right side to give NU a two-run cushion.
The Sun Devils wasted little time touching Husker starter Thad Weber for four runs in just 0.2 innings of work. With one out, a walk and a single put two on before Roling cleared the bases with a three-run homer to right center. ASU strung together three straight hits, including doubles by Ike Davis and Matt Spencer to chase Weber and give the Sun Devils a 4-2 lead.
Weber, making his first start of the year, allowing four runs on five hits to take the defeat.
ASU continued to apply pressure, pushing the lead in the second inning on Roling’s second hit of the day, an RBI single and a sacrifice fly from Davis to extend its lead to four runs.
The Huskers manufactured a run in the top of the third, putting together two singles a groundout and a sacrifice fly from Nimmo to make it a 6-3 game.
Nebraska, which did not commit an error in its first three regional games, had a couple of defensive lapses prove costly, as the Sun Devils plated three unearned runs to make it 9-3, including a single by Retherford.
2007 ALL-TEMPE REGIONAL TEAM
Ike Davis, OF, Arizona State
Carl Uhl, OF, UC Riverside
Kyle Messineo, Monmouth
Andy Gerch, OF, Nebraska
Mike Leake, P, Arizona State (MOP)
Brian Flores, P, Arizona State
Kiel Roling, DH, Arizona State
Andrew Brown, 1B, Nebraska
Eric Sogard, 2B, Arizona State
Craig Corriston, 3B, Nebraska
Andrew Romine, SS, Arizona State
Petey Paramore, C, Arizona State