Sun Devil Baseball Takes Series vs. #23 Beavers, Drops Finale
PHOENIX – Sun Devil Baseball dropped the series finale to No. 23 Oregon State, 11-4, on Sunday at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
Arizona State (30-16, 14-10) settled for the series victory over the Beavers (32-17, 14-10), after previously winning the first two games of the weekend. Oregon State's offense jumped on Sun Devil starter Kai Murphy from the start and did not look back, leading the entire way.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Making his second start of the season, Kai Murphy put together a scoreless first inning, but things began to unravel in the second. He allowed five runs on four hits, eventually getting out of the inning but not before the Beavers had taken a big lead. The Sun Devils managed to respond with a run of their own in the bottom of the second.
Murphy continued to struggle in the third, giving up two more runs before giving way to the bullpen. By the time the top of the third was over, Oregon State had taken an 8-1 lead. The visitors weren't done scoring, adding three more runs in the fourth inning, increasing the deficit to 11-1.
Arizona State showed life in the next two innings, attempting to spark a comeback effort. First, they scored two runs in the fourth inning as the bottom of the lineup came through. Next inning, ASU added one more run to cut the lead to 11-4. Both pitching staffs prevented another run from scoring, as the game finished with the same score.
- Ethan Long finished the weekend improving his stock in Pac-12 league-only games as he is first with a .400 average, first in homers (9), first in slugging (.850), third in RBI (27) and fifth in OBP (.479). His .850 in Pac-12 games is 100 points higher than any other player in the league. He is the only player in the league in the top-five in all five categories..
- With another on Sunday, ASU now has 36 home runs in the last 23 games (1.6 per game). ASU had just 16 home runs in the first 23 games of the year (0.70 per game).
- Prior to the series, the Beavers' pitching staff had allowed only 17 home runs before the Sun Devil got a hold of 8 in three games.
- ASU added two doubles today and has 56 in the last 20 games (2.8 per game). It averaged just 1.8 doubles per game in the first 26 games of the year. ASU entered the game 19th in the nation in doubles.
- While it didn't get there Sunday with 8, ASU has now posted double-digit hits in 16 of its last 22 games. The Devils had just 10 double-digit hitting games in the first 24 games of the year. ASU did so twice against Oregon State and finished the series with 30 hits in the series - notable as OSU had entered the weekend fifth nationally with just 6.7 hits allowed per game and only 5.82 hits per road game.
- ASU is now 11-3 in weekend series this year. It's three series losses came in three series splits to three teams in the Pac-12 currently ranked in the Top 15 nationally by at least one publication (Arizona, Oregon, Stanford).
- The Sun Devil pitching staff has inherited 174 baserunners this season and allowed just 49 to score (28.2 percent). The ASU pitching staff has stranded 392 baserunners in 46 games (8.5 per game) - including 11 on Sunday
- ASU's 24 runs in the series against the Beavers were the most OSU has allowed in a series this season and the most since it allowed 24 to Utah in a three-game series in 2018.
Arizona State will head to Los Angeles for a three-game set with USC beginning Friday, May 21 at 6 pm. The next two games will be Saturday, May 22 at 3 pm and Sunday, May 23 at 12 pm. All games will be broadcasted live on Pac-12 Network.
Left-hander Kai Murphy got the call to open the game for the Sun Devils, his second start of the season. Murphy was coming off a seven-inning gem in his previous appearance and he was able to carry over that momentum in the first inning. Murphy retired the top of the Beavers' lineup in order on only 14 pitches, setting the tone for the Maroon and Gold.
Arizona State had scored in the first inning in both games in the series and threatened immediately in this one. Facing Beavers' starter Jake Pfennings, Hunter Jump worked a walk and Sean McLain was hit by a pitch. With two runners on, Ethan Long came up and put together an excellent at bat, but was eventually retired via fly out. Jack Moss followed with another long plate appearance and struck a ball well, but Oregon State shortstop Andy Armstrong made a nice play to end the inning.
For the first time all season, Kai Murphy gave up a run, as Troy Claunch hit a lead off home run to give the Beavers the lead. Murphy went on to get the next two hitters out, but ran into trouble with Oregon State generating a two-out rally. By the end of it, the Beavers had put up a five spot in the inning and jumped out to an early 5-0 lead.
In need of a response, the Sun Devil offense provided exactly that, beginning with a Hunter Haas lead off double. Nate Baez worked a seven-pitch walk to put two runners on with nobody out. Kade Higgins laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt, moving the runners into scoring position for Joe Lampe. Lampe used his speed to beat out an infield single, driving in the first run of the game in the process. ASU would have to settle for one, trailing 5-1 after two innings.
After a lead off double and a line out, Kai Murphy's afternoon was over as he was relieved by right-hander Jared Glenn. The first batter he faced added to the Beavers' lead with a RBI single, but Glenn retired the next hitter. Another two-out rally struck the Sun Devils, as a two-run home run from Kyle Froemke.
Trailing 8-1, Arizona State was in search of a big inning to cut into the lead. Sean McLain reached base after being hit by a pitch for the second time, but was erased on an inning-ending double play.
Right-hander Joe Hauser got the call as the second reliever out of the bullpen, starting the fourth inning. Hauser gave up three runs on two hits and was pulled after only getting two outs. Right-hander Christian Bodlovich came in and got the final out of the inning.
Despite the big deficit, the Sun Devil offense has enough fire power where they are not out of any game. The inning started with a Hunter Haas lead off single and he came home on a Nate Baez run-scoring double. Kade Higgings continued the line with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch, but the next three batters were retired to end the inning.
Bodloivch came out for the fifth inning and shut the door on the Beavers' offense. He worked around a two out walk, completing a scoreless frame. In the bottom of the fifth, Sam Ferri refused to let the Sun Devils go down in order, hitting a home run to right field after coming in as a defensive replacement.
Right-hander Blake Burzell got the call for the fourth time this season and delivered his most successful outing. He started with a 1-2-3 top of the sixth inning, coming in with an aggressive mindset. In the home half of the inning, Nate Baez and Drew Swift reached base with two outs, but were left stranded.
Burzell earned a second inning of work for the first time this season and was able to get the first two outs, but after walking the bases loaded his day was done. Left-hander Graham Osman came in and got the final out, keeping the game at 11-4. Two more Sun Devil runners got on base in the seventh, first Ethan Long with a single followed by a Sam Ferri walk. ASU could not come up with a clutch hit, leaving two more runners on.
Osman stayed in the game and registered the first two outs of the inning, before leaving the game with the bases loaded. Brady Corrigan came in to try and get the Sun Devils out of the jam. He did exactly that, recording the final out of the eighth. Arizona State went down in order in the home half, with OSU still leading 11-4.
Corrigan delivered an impressive 1-2-3 ninth inning, setting the Beavers down in order and getting the bats back up to the plate. An Ethan Long two-out hit by pitch was the only action on the basepaths, as Arizona State was unable to cut into the 11-4 lead.