Sun Devil Baseball Drops Midweek Tilt to UNLV
TEMPE, Ariz. – Sun Devil Baseball went blow-for-blow with UNLV in a midweek slugfest, falling to the Rebels, 10-9, at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
The Arizona State (11-3) offense was clicking all afternoon, banging out 14 hits and scoring nine runs, but it was not quite enough to extend the team's eight-game winning streak. Five different Sun Devils recorded multiple hits, while seven scored a run in a balanced offensive effort.
Freshman right-hander Joe Hauser got his first career start, as the Waunakee, Wisconsin native made just his second career appearance. A total of seven pitchers got the call on the bump, as ASU used this as a bullpen day with the upcoming three-game series against Oregon looming.
In a back-and-forth game that featured five lead changes, UNLV's two-run eighth inning to put them in front proved to be the difference. After the Sun Devils went up 9-8 with a three-run bottom of the seventh thanks to a Drew Swift two-run double, the Rebels answered back. Back-to-back two out RBI singles put the visitors on top for good, as UNLV's closer Conner Woods shut the door on any comeback attempt.
- Drew Swift drove in four runs, giving him 10 on the season. It was his second-career four-RBI performance, also doing it last year on 3/3/20 at Cal State Fullerton.
- Kade Higgins had his first career three-hit effort, doing it in front of his father who is the associate head coach at UNLV.
- Kai Murphy had three hits for the first time as a Sun Devil and is now 8-for-17 over his last four games.
- Nate Baez had a multi-hit game for the second time in his last three starts.
- The Sun Devil offense was relentless in innings 2-6, scoring at least one run in four consecutive innings.
- ASU has scored nine or more runs four times this season.
- The Sun Devil infielders have just two errors on 244 chances this season (.992). That comes despite playing freshmen at first, second and third while Drew Swift has shifted from second base to shortstop. The left side of the infielder of Drew Swift and Hunter Haas has yet to have an error this year.
Freshman right-hander Joe Hauser looked sharp from the start, setting down the Rebels in order to set the tone in the first. He featured a mid-90's fastball and excellent command, needing only 12 pitches to retire the side. The Sun Devils were also set down in order by UNLV's Noah Beal.
UNLV made some noise in the top half of the second, striking first via back-to-back home runs from Edarian Williams and Myles Denson. Hauser bounced back to retire the next two batters, including catching Trevor Rosenberg looking on a slider.
Arizona State answered right back with a threat of their own, kick-started with a single of the bat of Nate Baez. Kai Murphy laced a ball to right field to put runners on the corners with one out. Sam Ferri cashed in on the run scoring opportunity, driving in the Sun Devils' first run of the game.
The Rebels extended their lead back to three with a two-out rally, as Hauser was relieved by right-hander Bryce Barnett after 2.1 innings of work. Barnett was able to get out of the inning with no further damage done.
In the home half of the inning, the Sun Devils bats came out swinging on their way to erasing the UNLV lead. After Joe Lampe reached base with a leadoff single, Drew Swift launched one deep to left-center, soaring over the fence for a two-run home run. A Hunter Jump walk and Nate Baez double put two ASU runners in scoring position. New Rebels pitcher Alex Tisminezky threw one in the dirt and past the catcher, allowing Jump to come in from third and give the Sun Devils the 4-3 lead.
The scoring continued into the fifth, as both sides saw a run posted on the scoreboard. Right-hander Christian Bodlovich would come in for Bryce Barnett and issued a walk and give up two hits, but settled in to get out of the inning with just one run allowed. Sam Ferri made sure the Sun Devils answered quickly, blasting a 427-foot home run to left center to put ASU back up 5-4.
The fourth Sun Devil right-hander of the game, Jared Glenn, came in and gave his team a boost in the fifth. He retired the side and got the Sun Devil bats quickly back in the dugout. For the fourth consecutive inning, Arizona State would manufacture a run, as Kade Higgins doubled in Kai Murphy to push the lead to 6-4.
Glenn would come back out for the sixth inning and the only blemish would come courtesy of a home run to right center by Austin Pfiefer. Clinging to a 6-5 lead, the Sun Devils could not muster anything in the bottom half.
A combination of Jared Glenn and left-hander Graham Osman attempted to get through the seventh, but were unable to get an out against an aggressive Rebels offense. UNLV put up three runs in the inning, reclaiming an 8-6 lead, and were threatening for more. However, right-hander Brady Corrigan came up clutch with a pair of strikeouts and a groundout to strand a runner on third with no outs and keep the separation at two runs.
This allowed the Sun Devil offense to go to work, as Murphy and Higgins singled to set up Joe Lampe with ducks on the pond. Lampe delivered a huge two-out single to even the score once again. UNLV closer Conner Woods came in for an early appearance and was greeted unkindly by Mr. ASU Drew Swift, who smacked his first pitch to left field for a huge two-run double that put the Sun Devils back on top.
Will Levine got the nod in the eighth inning and gave up a pair of runs, allowing the Rebels back on top by a score of 10-9. Arizona State went down quietly in the bottom half of the inning.
Cam Dennie, who came in to get the final out of the eight, pitched a flawless ninth to give the Sun Devils some momentum. ASU was unable to capitalize on a Kade Higgins two-out single, falling to the Rebels 10-9 in the midweek matchup.
The Sun Devils hit the road for the first time this season, for a three-game set with Oregon. The first matchup is on Friday, March 19 at 4 pm MST, with the game to be broadcasted via live stream at the following link. The final two games of the series will take place on Saturday at 2 pm and Sunday at 12 pm.