Sun Devil Baseball Drops Series Opener at Cal
BERKELEY – Sun Devil Baseball dropped its series opener to Cal on road on Friday in a 7-2 defeat in Berkeley.
The Sun Devil defense matched a season high with four double plays, but an explosive third inning from Cal proved to be the difference as the Golden Bears scored four runs after leading off the inning with a cycle on four consecutive batters to take a commanding lead it would not relinquish.
ASU stranded 10 baserunners on the day, drawing six walks but struggling to find the big hit 0 going just 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
Sean McLain added his team-leading 20th multi-hit game and registered ASU's only two RBI in the game with a double in the seventh. He was also a part of three of the four ASU double plays.
Tyler Thornton took the loss in relief but ASU saw a solid game out of its remaining staff as Joe Hauser, Blake Burzell, Brady Corrigan, Christian Bodlovich and Seth Tomczak did not allow an earned run. Hauser earned his first career Pac-12 start and gave ASU two scoreless innings with no hits allowed on just 20 pitches.
THE BIG MOMENT
Cal jumped on Tyler Thornton in the third inning, hitting for the cycle as a team on four consecutive batters to lead off the frame with a homer, double, single and triple followed by an HBP and an RBI fielder's choice – the first out of the frame capping off four Golden Bear runs and a lead ASU would never press in the context.
- Ethan Long's 11-game hitting streak and 14-game reached base streak came to an end.
- Sean McLain recorded his team-leading 20th multi-hit game of the season.
- With four today, ASU has 43 double plays this season and 37 in the last 26 games. It had just six in the first 14 games of the season. ASU entered the weekend fifth nationally in double plays turned.
- ASU drew four walks off of Cal starter Josh White, notable as he had allowed just 11 walks in 40.2 innings this season entering the weekend.
- ASU has stranded 346 opponent baserunners in 40 games this season (8.7 per game).
- The ASU bullpen has inherited 160 base runners this year and allowed just 45 to score (28.1 percent).
- ASU has 41 doubles in the last 14 games (2.9 per game). The team had averaged just 1.8 doubles per game in the first 25 games of the season.
The Sun Devils will look to even the series with Cal tomorrow at 3 p.m. AZT. The game will broadcasted via live stream at the following link.
ASU led off with back-to-back singles from Swift and Jump and loaded the bases with two outs on a Moss walk but White struck out the side to get out of the jam. Joe Hauser faced the minimum has he shook off a booted ball behind him and ASU turned its 40th double play of the year to keep it scoreless through one.
ASU stranded a one-out walk from Ferri. Hauser posted his second straight 10-pitch inning to retire the Cal side in order.
The heart of the Sun Devil order went down in a 1-2-3 inning. It was a disastrous bottom half of the frame for the Devils as Cal scored four runs off Tyler Thornton before ASU recorded an out to take a commanding early lead.
The Sun Devils out a pair of runners on with two outs thanks to walks from Haas and Ferri but a flyout ended the threat. Sean McLain turned a sweet double play on a diving stab before doubling off the runner at first to keep it a four-run game.
ASU got a two-out single from Sean McLain, its first hit since the first two batters of the game, but a fielder's choice kept ASU off the board. ASU turned its third double play of the game in another scoreless frame.
ASU went down in order. Cal walked the bases full and added a pair on a sac fly and a scream shot to third to make it 6-0.
ASU finally broke through on a two-out RBI double from Sean McLain to score a pair and cut the deficit back to four. But Cal came back and scored on a rare error at the hot corner to make it a five-run lead again.
Nate Baez ripped a two-out liner to left field that likely would have scored a run but Cal make an incredible leaping grab to rob him of the RBI and keep it a five-run game. ASU turned its fourth double play of the game.
There were no theatrics as Cal stranded a two-out ASU walk to complete the win.