Bruins Rally Late to Take Series from Sun Devils
By Griffin Fabits, SDA Media Relations
PHOENIX -- No. 21 Sun Devils dropped the second game of a three-game set against the No. 19 Bruins Friday night, 8-5, at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
The Bruins exploded for a five-run eighth inning, with Mikey Perez delivering the knockout punch in the form of a three-run home run that gave UCLA its largest lead of the night.
The Sun Devil bats tagged UCLA starter Sean Mullen, one of the best arms in the Pac-12, for four runs in four innings, tied for the most the right-hander has surrendered in his career.
They kicked things off in the first with back-to-back base hits that scored the game's first run. They scattered eight hits across those first four frames, with a pair of run-scoring knocks by Hunter Jump, one by Joe Lampe and a sacrifice fly by Nathan Baez.
But they were largely stymied by the Bruin bullpen for the remainder of the night, unable to solve the right-handed offerings of Adrian Chaidez who punched out five Sun Devils over three scoreless frames. Max Rajcic closed things out in the final two innings.
Left-handed starter Justin Fall was in and out of trouble over his 5.2 innings of duty but gave ASU another solid start. He gave up three runs on just four hits, and struck out three. He's now pitched into the sixth inning in four consecutive starts.
Brady Corrigan was terrific in 1.1 innings of high-leverage ball, retiring all four hitters he faced and striking out two. He's now tossed seven scoreless appearances out of the bullpen in his last eight tries.
Seven Sun Devils recorded a hit and four had multi-hit games as ASU reached double digit hits for the 19th time in the last 27 games.
The Sun Devils will try to avoid the sweep tomorrow night against the Bruins in the regular season finale, with first pitch slated for 1 p.m.
The Sun Devils held on to a slim one-run lead for much of the night, until the Bruins hung a crooked number in the top of the eighth. Their five-run frame -- capped by a three-run homer off the bat of Mikey Perez -- paved the way for a win in Phoenix.
INNING BY INNING
Making his 13th start on the bump for the Sun Devils this year, left-hander Justin Fall wiggled around some early traffic on the base paths to keep the Bruins off the board. The Sun Devil bats were quick to pounce on UCLA's Sean Mullen, as back-to-back singles by Ethan Long and Hunter Jump, plus an error by the Bruins' left fielder, plated the game's first run.
Backed by an early lead, Fall tossed a quick 1-2-3 frame. The Sun Devils grew their lead, courtesy of Joe Lampe's run-scoring single that made it 2-0 Sun Devils.
A potent two-out rally and a trio of doubles off Fall allowed the Bruins to jump ahead for their first lead of the game, 3-2. The ASU deficit didn't last for long, as the Sun Devils knotted things at three thanks to a Nathan Baez sacrifice fly that scored Sean McClain. 3-3.
Fall set the Bruins down in order for the second time this evening, an important follow-up for the lefty after a turbulent third frame. For the fourth consecutive inning, the Sun Devils have gotten on the board. This time, it was Hunter Jump's RBI double that scored Drew Swift to give them a 4-3 edge.
Back out for another inning of work, Fall picked up a huge double-play ball to get himself out of trouble. The Bruins' first two batters reached before Fall responded with a strikeout and a 4-6-3 twin-killing, turned beautifully by McClain and Swift. The Bruins' defense responded with a double-play of their own, erasing a leadoff single by Nathan Baez.
Pitching into the sixth inning for a fourth straight start, Fall walked two and couldn't finish the frame, turning things over to right-hander Brady Corrigan. With two on and two out, Corrigan picked up a huge punch-out to end the Bruins' threat and protect the Sun Devils' one-run lead. For the first time tonight, the Sun Devil bats went down in order.
The seventh belonged to Corrigan, who promptly retired the Bruins in order, thanks in part to a phenomenal barehanded play from Drew Swift at shortstop. The Sun Devil bats were lifeless for a second consecutive frame.
After a terrific 1.1 innings of work from Corrigan, in came the left-hander Graham Osman, who would face seven hitters and retire just one. In doing so, he coughed up the Sun Devils' one-run lead, as the Bruins hung five runs on him to make it an 8-4 game. Osman was lifted for Jared Glenn, who prevented additional damage. In the home half of the eighth, Ethan Long helped chip away at the Bruins' lead with an RBI single that made it 8-5.
Back out for the ninth, Glenn worked around a two-out walk to keep the Bruins off the board. The Sun Devil bats went down in order for the night, falling 8-5.