Sun Devil Baseball Battles, Comes Short to #4 Oklahoma State
PHOENIX, Ariz. – Sun Devil Baseball gave fourth-ranked Oklahoma State everything it could handle on Tuesday evening at Phoenix Municipal Stadium but the Cowboys rallied behind a four run eighth-inning to overtake ASU in a 7-5 decision.
The Sun Devils cruised through much of the evening, thanks to a couple of big swings from Conor Davis. In the bottom of the first, he lifted a 441-foot bomb, his third home run of the spring, and then poked a run-scoring double down the right-field line for a 2-0 lead.
Davis would finish 3-for-5 for the day while ASU also got multiple hits from Kai Murphy, Nate Baez and Joe Lampe – who dislocated his shoulder sliding into third base in the first inning but returning to the game and recording a single, stolen base and a run scored in the third.
The Sun Devils recorded 12 hits in the contest despite facing OSU's typical Saturday starter Victor Mederos and the Cowboy's primary setup reliever and closer – a rare combination for a midweek game.
The Sun Devils received a quality start from right-hander Tyler Meyer, who went six innings of one-run ball, allowing a run, four hits and punching out four.
The decisive eighth inning included an error, three walks and a hit by pitch that did the majority of the damage on Oklahoma State's two RBI pinch hits as a 4-1 Sun Devil advantage turned to a 5-4 Cowboy lead. ASU had its chances in the final frames, even with Oklahoma State adding a pair of insurance runs in the ninth, but couldn't find the big knock all night – stranding a season high 14 baserunners.
The Sun Devils went to Friday night ace Adam Tulloch in the eighth inning to take advantage of a slew of lefties due up in the order. Tulloch worked ahead against the leadoff batter but a fielding error at first base turned the tide and the junior walked the next two batters he faced to load the bases with no outs.
Clinging to a 4-1 lead with six outs remaining, the Sun Devils were torched by a pinch-hit, bases-clearing double by Brett Brown and a pinch-hit, go-ahead knock via Jaxson Crull moments later.
The Sun Devils opened the visiting half of the eighth inning with a defensive error, three walks, a hit batsman and three pitching changes, which gifted the Cowboys a golden opportunity to take their first lead of the night.
THE FINAL STRAW
After ASU couldn't capitalize on a leadoff baserunner in scoring position in the bottom of the eight, another fielding error would lead to another unearned run in a two-run ninth inning for the Cowboys that made it a three-run game instead of one. ASU would get one back in the ninth and put the game-winning run at the plate but couldn't find the late inning magic.
- Joe Lampe dislocated his shoulder attempting to steal third in the first inning following his leadoff double. The sophomore had it popped back in by the team trainer and returned to the field for the remainder of the game – including a third inning where he singled, stole second and scored a run.
- ASU drew two walks off Oklahoma State set-up reliever Roman Phansalkar, the first two he had allowed in his four appearances this season.
- The Sun Devils held Oklahoma State to 4-for-20 hitting (.200) with runners on the base path, a number skewed by the finale two frames. In the first seven innings of the game, the Cowboys were 0-for-10 with runners on base.
- Christian Bodlovich stranded the bases loaded in the eighth inning upon entering the game – entering the jam with one out and escaping unscathed. The sophomore has now inherited 8 runners this season and none have scored. For his career, he has inherited 30 baserunners and only five have scored (16.7 percent).
INNING BY INNING
Tyler Meyer started off on the pitcher's mound for the Sun Devils tonight. Meyer ultimately worked around this initial setback after two OSU players got on base and prevented them from scoring a run. The Sun Devils got after it early in the first, when Joe Lampe poked a leadoff double into right field. Moments after Lampe was thrown out attempting to steal third, senior Conor Davis hit his third home run of the year off of OSU's Victor Mederos to score the first run of the game.
Getting more comfortable on the mound, Meyer quickly threw two strikeouts to start off the inning and worked around a two-out single. The Sun Devils had an uneventful at-bat, keeping their 1-0 lead.
Meyer kept OSU's at-bats brief, pitching another scoreless inning with the help of a great double play by Ethan Long, Jacob Tobias and Conor Davis. After Joe Lampe stole second, Conor Davis followed up with a double down the right-field line, allowing Lampe to give the Sun Devils a 2-0 lead.
The Cowboys cut into the Sun Devil lead in the fourth with a leadoff home run by Nolan McLean. Tyler Meyer settled in, preventing the Cowboys from scoring again. The Sun Devils had another scoreless inning, keeping the score 2-1.
Despite a one-out walk and the tying run reaching third, Meyer was able to escape trouble and preserved the Sun Devils' lead. The Sun Devils weren't able to make anything of Conor Davis' two-out single, his third hit of the night.
Staring down the Cowboys' 4-5-6 hitters, Meyer tossed a scoreless eight-pitch inning to keep the Cowboys at bay. OSU went to the bullpen to bring in Roman Phansalkar to replace Mederos after Nate Baez doubled and Kai Murphy singled to score another run for the Sun Devils.
In his fourth career plate appearance, freshman Cam Magee drew a four-pitch walk against Phansalkar. The Cowboys' right-hander had yet to allow a walk through seven innings pitched this season. The Sun Devils loaded the bases but were unable to further their 3-1 lead.
After Meyer pitched six innings of one-run ball, striking out four and allowing four hits, junior Will Levine was pulled out of the Sun Devils bullpen and held the Cowboys to another lackluster inning. Will Rogers ripped a single to left field, scoring Baez from third to give the Sun Devils a 4-1 lead.
What started as a comfortable 4-1 lead with six outs to play, the Sun Devils' trend of dominating the scoreboard slowly slipped away. After a trio of pitching changes, three walks, and an error, the Cowboys claimed their first lead of the night via Brett Brown's pinch-hit, a three-run double and Jaxson Crull's pinch-hit go-ahead single. Now leading 5-4, the Cowboys turned to right-hander Trevor Martin to face off against ASU. The Sun Devils weren't able to advance their score, keeping OSU in the lead.
After a busy top half of the ninth, in which the Cowboys tacked on three singles, they added two insurance runs to make it a 7-4 game. The Sun Devils tried to come back and lessen OSU's lead. A wild pitch allowed Nate Baez to score a run, but the Sun Devils were ultimately unable to pull ahead, leaving the score at 7-5.
The Sun Devils continue their two-game series against No. 4 Oklahoma State on March 2 at Phoenix Municipal Stadium at 1 P.M. MST.