Lampe’s Game-Saving Catch Helps Sun Devils to 4-1 win
by Griffin Fabits, SDA Media Relations
PHOENIX -- It looked and sounded like trouble off the bat when Utah's Jayden Kiernan ripped a ball into the left-center field gap and stole the collective breath out of Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
Clinging on to a 3-1 lead, the Sun Devils' toughest test of the day came in the seventh inning, when the Utes loaded the bags with two outs for the top of their order. Kiernan ripped Christian Bodlovich's 1-0 pitch toward left-center field, and it seemed destined to score the go-ahead run. But then came center fielder Joe Lampe to the rescue, who tracked it all the way and made an unbelievable diving catch looking into the sun to stun the Utes.
It turned out to be a game-saving grab, the exclamation point on the 19th-ranked Sun Devils' 4-1 win over the Utes on Saturday afternoon. The Sun Devils have now won five straight and have held opponents to under five runs in 24 of 26 games since pitching coach Jason Kelly arrived last season.
The Sun Devils jumped on the board early via Sean McClain's two-run home run to left field -- and they never looked back, adding insurance runs in both the sixth and seventh innings. It's the sixth straight game ASU has scored first.
Erik Tolman twirled five innings of shutout ball, striking out five and walked none over 64 pitches. The Sun Devils pieced together the rest of the afternoon with a collective bullpen effort, as four different arms were used in the decisive seventh inning. Christian Bodlovich slammed the door shut on the Utes in a 1-2-3 ninth inning to cap off a seven-out save.
McClain went 2-for-3 with two RBI to extend his eight-game hitting streak. His second-inning homer, the first of his career, also extended his hitting-streak to eight games. Drew Swift also added two hits and a pair of dazzling defensive plays.
The Utes loaded the bags in the top of the seventh inning for Jayden Kiernan, who smoked a ball into the left-center field gap that looked like trouble off the bat. But center fielder Joe Lampe, the speedy defensive wizard in as a defensive replacement, tracked it all the way and laid out to make a spectacular catch. Had it fallen, the Utes would have likely taken a 4-3 lead.
The Sun Devils used four pitchers in the inning -- Corrigan, Peery, Osman and Bodlovich -- and only allowed one run to keep it a 3-1 game. The Sun Devils got that run right back, courtesy of Hunter Jump's run-scoring double.
- Christian Bodlovich recorded his first collegiate save and Sean McLain launched his first collegiate home run.
- After starting the season 1-for-8, Sean McLain now has 12 hits in his last 24 at bats to raise his average over .400.
- Drew Swift notched his fifth multi-hit game of the season and 30th of his career.
- Erik Tolman threw five scoreless innings, the third start of his career going at least five without allowing a run.
- In 31 career appearances, Erik Tolman has allowed more than three earned runs in a single game just once.
- With two more hits on the day, Sean McLain is now tied for the team lead with five multi-hit performances.
- Blake Pivaroff once again delivered a clutch pinch hit RBI, starting his Sun Devil career 4-for-4, all of which were pinch-hit appearances.
- Ethan Long reached base twice and scored a run the day after earning his third save of the season.
- ASU used 20 different players in Saturday's contest, with roles being filled in the batter's box, on the basepath, out of the bullpen and in the field.
- The Sun Devils have had at least seven players record a hit in four straight games.
INNING BY INNING
Erik Tolman had a sharp 12-pitch first inning in which he retired the side in order, struck out one and snapped off several filthy curveballs. The Sun Devils made Utah lefty Kyle Robeniol work early, seeing 24 pitches, but couldn't build off of a Drew Swift leadoff knock.
Save for a slight two-out threat, in which Utah pushed a runner into scoring position, Tolman fired another solid frame and struck out two. Sean McClain golfed a two-run home run to left field, giving ASU an early 2-0 edge. The first homer of his career also nudged his hit-streak to eight consecutive games.
Tolman cruised through the top of the third, setting down the Utes in order. Nothing doing for the Sun Devils in the home half of the third, who were set down in order for the first time this afternoon.
The Utes' best offensive chance of the day to this point was quickly extinguished by Tolman, who induced three consecutive fly outs after allowing two base hits to begin the frame. Nate Baez's leadoff single to begin the inning marked the fourth time the Sun Devils' leadoff man has reached. They loaded the bags, but couldn't do anything with it.
Tolman worked around a one-out bunt single to keep the Utes scoreless. He registered his fifth strikeout of the day and ended the frame with a pickoff. The Sun Devils threatened again in the fifth, bringing a runner to third, but failed to grow their lead any
The top of the sixth belonged to Brady Corrigan, called on in relief of Tolman, who tossed five shutout innings. Corrigan did his job and retired the Utes, tip-toeing around a one-out hit batsmen. He got some help from Drew Swift, who soared to his right and made an impressive catch to take away a leadoff single. After back-to-back walks led off the inning, the Sun Devils pushed the runners to second and third with just one out. They cashed in via another clutch, pinch-hit single off the bat of Blake Pivaroff, the second time he's done so in as many days, to stretch the lead to 3-0. It's also the fourth time this season Pivaroff has notched a pinch-hit.
The Sun Devils needed four different pitchers to maneuver their way through a tense seventh inning. The Utes scratched their first run across the board via a two-out double, pinching the gap closer, 3-1. Corrigan was lifted, and both Brock Peery and Graham Osman couldn't retire the Utes. Right-hander Christian Bodlovich came on to face a bases loaded, two-out jam. On the second pitch he threw, Utah's Jayden Kiernan laced a ball into the left-center field gap, which looked like trouble off the bat, but not before Joe Lampe was able to flag it down with a tremendous, game-saving diving grab. The Sun Devils got that run back in the home half, thanks to back-to-back doubles from Hunter Haas and Hunter Jump to make it 4-1. Haas' double pushed his hitting-streak to eight games.
The Utes brought the tying run to the dish for the second consecutive inning, but Bodlovich worked around a hit batsmen and a single to keep them scoreless. The Sun Devils weren't able to push across an extra insurance run.
Bodlovich aced the final test of the afternoon, setting the Utes down in order to clinch a 4-1 victory.
The Sun Devils will go for the sweep tomorrow at 12:35 pm MST at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. The game will be featured on the ASU Live Stream and over the airwaves at KDUS 1060 AM.