Offense Reigns Supreme For Sun Devil Baseball in 13-10 Victory Over GCU
PHOENIX – For the first time since the 2010 season and just the third time since the turn of the century, Sun Devil Baseball stepped onto the same field as the GCU Lopes. A back-and-forth midweek affair came out in favor of Arizona State as the Sun Devils took down their crosstown opponents, 13-10, on Tuesday at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
The Sun Devils (20-11) snapped the nation's fifth-longest win streak in the process – also ending GCU's (22-15-1) program-record streak as a Division I program at eight victories in a row.
The two teams combined for 24 hits and 23 runs though ASU outscored the Lopes 6-3 down the stretch after a 7-7 tie through four innings. There were no late-game theatrics for GCU – which walked off its midweek tilt against Arizona last week – as Cam Dennie and Will Levine combined to retire the final seven batters of the game without a base runner.
Ethan Long and Allbry Major launched their second home runs of of the season – a three-run shot by Long in the first to shake off a rocky start to the game and a pivotal two-run dinger by Major in the bottom of the seventh to put a dagger in GCU's rally attempt.
Long, Major and Drew Swift all recorded three RBIs and ASU got multi-hit efforts from Swift, Hunter Haas, Sam Ferri and Joe Lampe. Lampe led the way with three hits out of the nine-hole while Ferri added a team-best three runs in the process. Major, Ferri and Lampe combined to go 6-for-10 with five RBIs and seven runs scored out of the 7-8-9 holes on the evening.
ASU was flawless defensively, with several highlight reel plays out of its middle infield and a huge run-saving diving stab in center by Joe Lampe in the top of the sixth that prevented what could have eventually led to a tie game after a GCU solo shot in the seventh made things interesting and a one-run game before Major shut the door with his homer in the bottom of the frame.
With the game netted at 7-7 after an action packed first four innings, ASU erupted for four runs in the bottom half of the fifth. ASU loaded the bases with no outs and scored runs on four straight batters with an RBI fielder's choice from Major, an RBI single from Ferri, an RBI double Lampe and a sac fly from Swift to go back on top, 11-7.
THE BIG HIT
GCU didn't go quietly, closing within 11-10 after a solo shot in the seventh inning. Allbry Major put together what was arguably his biggest at-bat of the season after a leadoff Hunter Haas double after quickly going down 0-2 on swinging strikes. Major fouled off a couple pitches to stay alive and brought the count even at 2-2 before giving a ride off the batters eye in dead center – a two-run shot that made it a three-run game and took the wind out of GCU's persistent rally. Cam Dennie and Will Levine handled the rest, retiring the final six batters of the game to avoid any drama.
- The Sun Devils turned have turned eight double plays in the last four games and now have 29 on the year – notable as it only had six in the first 14 games of the season and have now posted 23 in the last 17 games.
- GCU entered the game on an eight-game winning streak – the fifth-longest active one in the NCAA and the longest of its D1 tenure (16 years).
- In GCU's previous 14 games, it had gone 12-2 and now allowed more than four runs in a game with a 1.95 ERA prior to ASU's eruption on Tuesday.
- GCU had won four of its last five midweek games over Pac-12 schools, including a walk-off win over Arizona last week.
- The 13 runs were the second-most allowed by GCU this season outside of its 14-5 loss to Pepperdine on March 23.
- Drew Swift has multiple hits in 5 of his last 9 games with nine of his team-high 21 RBIs this season in that span.
- Swift has reached base in 22 consecutive games, the longest active streak on the team ahead of Hunter Jump's 17 games.
- Hunter Haas has 17 hits with runners in scoring position this year – six more than any other player on the roster. He is batting .447 with runners in scoring position (17-of-38).
- Ethan Long has 11 hits with runners in scoring position, the second-highest tally on the team despite having 40+ fewer at-bats than some of the mainstays in the Sun Devil day-to-day lineups.
- Joe Lampe has advanced 20 players with an out this year – eight more than any other player on the team.
- It wasn't the most auspicious start to the season for Cam Dennie with six runs allowed in his first five appearances and a 13.50 ERA through that point. Dennie has settled in to a nice groove since though, allowing just one earned run over his last 11 games and shaving exactly 10 points off his ERA in the process as it now sits at 3.50.
The Sun Devils will head across town for the second part of thie home and home series against GCU on Wednesday. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. AZT and the game will be streamed live via ESPN3.
Seth Tomczak struggled with his control early as a pair of walks and a single led the game off and led to a pair of runs. ASU was able to limit the damage with a double play and set the stage for the bottom half of the frame. Back-to-back singles to lead the game off had runners on the corners and Ethan Long did the rest with a three-run shot to bring home Swift and Jump and make it 3-2.
Christian Bodlovich entered to get the Devils out of a jam with two in scoring position and two outs thanks to a nice play at short from Swift. ASU kept the hammer down with a single and double to lead off the bottom of the frame from Ferri and Lampe. A Swift sac fly and a Jump RBI groundout pushed two more across and a 5-2 ASU lead.
GCU tied things up with a three-run shot in the third. The Devils went down in order in the bottom half.
GCU reclaimed the lead behind a two-out single and homer to go up 7-5. ASU came right back again with the bottom half of the order. Ferri and Lampe recorded one-out singles and Swift brought Ferri home with an RBI single through the left side. Another Hunter Jump RBI groundout plated Lampe and evened things at 7-7.
Brock Peery got a much-needed scoreless frame in the fifth that was highlighted by an incredible bare-handed jump throw to first on a grounder up the middle from Sean McLain. That set up another big inning for the Devils, again paced by the bottom half of the order. ASU loaded the bases with no outs and scored runs on four straight batters with an RBI fielder's choice from Allbry Major, an RBI single from Sam Ferri, an RBI double from Joe Lampe and a sac fly from Drew Swift to go back on top, 11-7.
Again, GCU came back with three straight base hits to lead off the sixth and get a run back and added another on an RBI groundout. Joe Lampe made a highlight-reel diving play to save a run and Jack Moss had a solid play in foul territory to keep ASU on top by a pair. ASU only brought the minimum to the plate in the bottom half.
ASU again couldn't manage a clean inning with a two-out solo shot bringing GCU back within a run. The Devils again had an answer behind Allbry Major's two-run shot to the batter's eye to give ASU some insurance and a 13-10 lead.
Dennie put together ASU's second 1-2-3 inning of the game. Unfortunately, ASU was unable to add to its lead, going down in order during its half as well.
Will Levine came in and did his part to avoid any late dramatics, retiring the Lopes' side in order for this third save of the year.