Depleted Sun Devils Battle But Fall Short to #4 Oklahoma State
PHOENIX – Sun Devil Baseball began the day with a five-run first inning, but that would not be enough against the No.4 Oklahoma State Cowboys, who rallied in the sixth and seventh innings to go on top to take the second game of the series and sweep ASU in an 11-6 final at Phoenix Municipal Stadium on Wednesday.
Despite a depleted roster with four opening day starters out of the game, Arizona State battled from behind in their first time at the plate with Oklahoma putting up three runs in the top of the first inning. RBIs from Ethan Long, Nate Baez, Cam Magee and Alex Champagne led the Sun Devils to a quick 5-3 first-inning lead.
Champagne, making just his second collegiate start, finished 3-for-4 on the day with two RBIs and a run. Conor Davis and Will Rogers also added two-hit efforts.
ASU put up another run in the third inning to go ahead 6-3 but the Cowboys scored runs in four consecutive innings to give them their first lead of the game and ASU was unable to find an answer.
The Sun Devil bullpen could not control the strike zone, walking nine and hitting two, giving Oklahoma a total of 11 free bases on the day. Dom Cacchione was a highlight at the end of the game, tossing 2.0 scoreless innings and striking out a pair.
Holding on to a one-run lead in the fifth, Will Rogers led off the inning with a base hit, but Kai Murphy quickly grounded into a forceout putting him at first on the play. After a bad throw to the first baseman on a pickoff attempt, Murphy tried taking third on the play but overslid the bag and was tagged out on the play. Instead of having a runner at third with one out, ASU couldn't add to its lead and the momentum snowballed from there.
After the base-running gaffe by the Sun Devils in the bottom of the fifth, the Cowboys led off the sixth inning with a double, a single and another double bringing in the tying run and putting the go-ahead run on the basepaths. A sacrifice fly put OSU on top and it didn't let up.
THE FINAL STRAW
Oklahoma State got some insurance off of the bat of Caeden Trankle when he hit his second home run of the game and collected three more RBI's putting him at seven on the day.
- The Sun Devils stranded 11 Cowboy baserunners on the day and 21 for the two-game series. ASU has stranded 76 opponent runners this season (8.4 per game).
- As has been the issue all season, ASU went 3-for-18 (.167) with runners on the base path, dropping its season tally to just .238 with runners on (36-of-151) and only .243 with runners in scoring position (25-of-103). The team's two grand slams against Dixie State aside, ASU is 0-for-9 in the rest of its opportunities with the bases loaded.
- ASU is getting its leadoff base runner on at a .430 clip (34-of-79) and did so on 4-of-9 chances today.
- The Sun Devils have been their own worst enemy through the first nine games of the year. 30 of the 63 runs (47.6) percent of the teams runs allowed this year were either on base because of a walk, error or hit by pitch OR only in position to score because of a error, passed ball or wild pitch. Six of the Cowboy's seven runs last night came as a result of this and two more today were added to the tally.
INNING BY INNING
Jacob Walker, the righty for the Sun Devils started the game a little shaky allowing two singles and a home run by Oklahoma State's Caeden Trenkle to give the Cowboys an early 3-0 lead.
It did not take long for the Sun Devils to respond, however, as Champagne hit a leadoff single to get him on and a balk moved him over to second to quickly get him in scoring position. Long then ripped a double right off the wall in left field to give Arizona State their first run of the game. Baez followed with an RBI of his own with a base hit into center field to bring in Long. An error by the Oklahoma State shortstop brought in Baez to tie the game with two outs in the bottom of the first. Magee then went up to bat and brought in Arizona State's fourth run of the game with a bases-loaded walk. In Champagne's second plate appearance of the inning, he was HBP, bringing in another run for ASU.
After his first inning, Walker settled into the game in the second inning going three-up three-down. The Sun Devils were able to get a RISP, but nothing to show for it.
Arizona State escaped potential damage as the Cowboys put runners on first and second, but a ground ball to Magee ended the inning. Murphy began the bottom half of the third with ASU's fourth walk of the game. A wild pitch and Champagne's second hit of the game gave him another RBI to put Arizona State up 6-3.
Sun Devil pitching loaded the bases with walks, and another walk brought in a run for the Cowboys. La Flam came in to face Oklahoma State's hottest hitter Nolan McLean and escaped the bases-loaded jam successfully with a flyout to centerfield. Conor Davis beat the throw at first and advanced to third on a ground out and a wild pitch, but was stranded there to end the inning.
Two HBP and another walk loaded them for the Cowboys for the second time in as many innings, but with two outs, a comebacker hit off of Peery's glove found a way to bring in a run for OSU. ASU was, however, to make a play at the plate to limit the damage to a run and keep ASU on top, 6-5. Murphy reached on a force out and on a bad pickoff attempt, he was thrown out trying to take third with a great play by the Cowboys' left fielder.
Jared Glenn, coming in for the Sun Devils was welcomed with a ground-rule double off of Roc Riggio's bat. A line drive base hit into center field by Jake Thompson brought in the tying run. The second double of the inning and a sacrifice fly gave the Cowboys their first lead of the game. Glenn escaped a big inning with a 6-4-3 double play to end the Cowboys' threat. Champagne collected his third hit of the game, but the rest of the Sun Devils went down quietly.
A leadoff single to the left side of the infield gave Oklahoma State their fourth consecutive leadoff man to begin an inning. Two more singles and Trenkle's second home run of the day gave OSU some insurance, putting them up 11-6. The Sun Devils get a two-out double by Rogers but he was left stranded.
Dom Cacchione came in for the Sun Devils and held Oklahoma State to one walk while striking out one and getting two fly balls to interim center fielder Andrew Lucas, who filled in for Joe Lampe after the sophomore dislocated his shoulder last night. ASU went down in order.
Both teams went down quietly in the ninth inning to end the game.