Baseball Falls to Arizona in Heartbreaker
PHOENIX, Ariz. - The Sun Devils fell to No. 16 Arizona for a second straight night, unable to maintain a late lead in Game Two of the Territorial Cup series, falling 7-6 Friday night.
The first lead of the night came early, as the Sun Devils (15-7, 4-4) rocked Arizona lefty Garrett Irvin in the first with three runs, with Joe Lampe, Sean McClain and Nate Baez each knocking in runs. It vanished three innings later, when Sun Devil starter Tyler Thornton surrendered a game-tying two-run home run.
Such was the theme tonight, with the Sun Devils slowly distancing themselves and the Wildcats always having an answer. Down 4-3 in the sixth, the Wildcats tied things up once more in the strangest of ways.
Tanner O'Tremba snuck a ball inside the third base line that trickled into foul territory in left field. As the left fielder Hunter Jump went to retrieve it, his foot became lodged at the base of the wal as the ball rolled away, and he couldn't wiggle it free in time to nab O'Tremba, who circled the bases for an inside-the-park home run.
When the Sun Devils answered in the seventh, scoring two runs on four consecutive hits for a 6-4 lead, the Wildcats countered again with a three-run eighth that would clinch the win.
The Sun Devils tallied 12 hits, with eight different players recording one. Drew Swift, Sean McClain, Hunter Jump and Nate Baez each recorded multi-hit efforts. McClain's first inning RBI double notched his hit streak to 20 games.
Thornton, staring down the Pac-12's best offense, tossed 3.2 innings, giving up three runs on six hits and striking out three. He surrendered two homers, but kept the Wildcats at bay just enough to turn things over to the bullpen with the game tied at three.
Brady Corrigan, Graham Osman and Will Levine combined for the final 5.1 innings of work. Osman, who threw 2.1 innings, was charged with the final three runs and the loss.
The Sun Devils will look to snap a two-game skid tomorrow afternoon, when they host the Wildcats once more at 7:00 p.m.
Minutes after the Sun Devils tallied four consecutive hits and jumped ahead by two runs, the Wildcats stirred up some late-inning offense of their own. They loaded the bases with no outs, and then unseated the Sun Devils with an RBI groundout, a passed ball and Jacob Berry's game-winning single up the middle. The Sun Devils had no answer in their final two trips to the plate.
- With his RBI double in the first inning, freshman Sean McClain extended his hitting streak to 20 games, joining Spencer Torkelson and Riccio Torrez as the only Sun Devils to reach that mark since 2010. Torrez hit safely in 26 straight games, while Torkelson reached 21.
- The Sun Devils scored three runs against Arizona lefty Garrett Irvin in the first, tying the most runs he's given up in seven starts this year.
- The Sun Devils scored two off of Arizona's Vince Vanelle in the seventh, marking the first time this season the left-hander has allowed multiple runs in an outing.
INNING BY INNING
Right-handed starter Tyler Thornton was tested early after consecutive Wildcats reached base with just one out. But Thornton induced a pair of flyouts to leave them stranded. The Sun Devils cashed in right away, as Joe Lampe, Sean McClain and Nate Baez each knocked run-scoring base hits that paved the way for an early 3-0 lead. The Sun Devils tagged Arizona lefty Garrett Irvin for two extra base hits in the inning.
Thornton worked around another threat, this time getting one of the Pac-12's most dangerous power bats in Jacob Berry to whiff on strikes with the bases loaded to keep the Wildcats off the board. The Sun Devils' bats couldn't build off of the leadoff man reaching base.
Ryan Holgate lifted Thornton's 1-2 offering over the left field wall for a solo home run to get the Wildcats on the board in the third. The Sun Devils went down in order.
The Wildcats used the long ball to tie the game at three, courtesy of Donta Williams' two-run poke down the right field line. Thornton was lifted for righty Brady Corrigan, who retired the first batter he faced. The Sun Devils had runners on the corners with two outs, but couldn't do anything with it.
Corrigan worked a quick and efficient fifth, setting the Wildcats down in order for the first time this evening. The Sun Devils had runners in scoring position with no outs thanks to a McClain walk and a Hunter Jump double to the gap. Two pitching changes and a defensive blunder later by Arizona and the Sun Devils were able to reclaim their lead, 4-3. A throwing error by the shortstop allowed McClain to trot home for the go-ahead run.
The Wildcats knotted it back up at four by way of a wacky inside-the-park-home run off the bat of Tanner O'Tremba. O'Tremba snuck a ball inside the third base line that trickled into foul territory in left field. As left fielder Hunter Jump went to retrieve it, his foot became lodged at the base of the wall. As Jump tried to wiggle his foot free, O'Tremba circled the bases. The umpires met and confirmed the call. Left-hander Graham Osman replaced Corrigan, and he did a terrific job of keeping the game tied. The Wildcats brought the go-ahead run to third before Osman would tip-toe around it.
The Sun Devils failed to add their own flair to a dramatic sixth, going down in order for the second time tonight.
Osman recorded a 1-2-3 inning, striking out two and touting a sharp fastball that ticked up to 93 m.p.h. The Sun Devils strung together four consecutive hits to jump back ahead 6-4. Hunter Haas' delivered the go-ahead poke, a sharp single to left field, and Nate Baez padded the lead with an RBI single.
The Wildcats would claim their first lead of the game with a three-run eighth, as two hits, two walks and a hit by pitch helped them to a 7-6 edge. Will Levine came on and induced a big double-play to prevent further damage. Sean McClain's two-out single was the only offense the Sun Devils mustered.
Will Levine kept it a one-run game, but not without the Wildcats putting some more stress on the Sun Devils. They had runners on second and third with only one out but couldn't scratch an insurance run across. The Sun Devils were retired in order in the ninth, falling 7-6.
The Sun Devils take on Arizona tomorrow at 7 pm to finish up the series. For the first time this season, the Sun Devils will be featured on the Pac-12 Network regionally. Dominic Cotroneo will be on the call. Each game will also be broadcast over the airwaves on 1060 AM KDUS. Fans are encouraged to follow along pre-game and in-game content throughout the weekend on the Sun Devil Baseball Twitter account: @ASU_Baseball, especially for key weather updates and time changes.