Sun Devil Baseball Comes Up Short Against Mizzou
PHOENIX – Sun Devil Baseball dropped the second game of its Sunday doubleheader to Missouri, 6-4 at Phoenix Municipal as the team capped off a wild couple of weeks in which it played 11 games over 14 days and 18 non-conference games over a span of just 25 days to start the year.
After a heroic comeback to sweep its weekend series over San Francisco earlier in the afternoon, the Sun Devils seemed to come out a little flat against the Tigers and never truly got things going offensively. The team rallied from a 3-1 hole to tie the game in the fifth only to have Mizzou respond with three unanswered runs - two of which were unearned.
ASU would put the tying run on the basepath in the ninth with the game-winning run at the dish but was unable to capitalize.
Joe Lampe capped his incredible weekend by going 2-for-4 with an RBI double while Sean McClain added his first homer of the year.
ASU got another respectable start out of redshirt senior Jacob Walker, who made his third appearance and second start in a seven day span, as he gave the Devils 5.0 innings of work while allowing just three runs.
Ryan Campos kicked off the fifth inning where the Sun Devils tied the game with a walk. Will Rogers' only hit of the day - a double down the left field line moved - Campos to third. Alex Champagne then followed with a single that brought the Sun Devils within one. Lampe, the hottest Sun Devil hitter, then delivered an RBI double to tie the game at 3-3.
However, the Sun Devils immediately lost that momentum as it did not take long for the Tigers to respond to the game being tied as they went on to regain the lead in the sixth inning - scoring an unearned run off a sac fly that was only on third because of a failed pickoff attempt.
After Mizzou went ahead in the sixth, a pair of doubles in the seventh tacked on another run while ASU let one more score on an error on what could have been an inning-ending double play to keep it two runs. The two unearned runs in the fifth and sixth would prove to be the difference in the final box score.
THE FINAL STRAW
Sean McLain's two-out solo shot in the bottom of the eighth cut the lead to two runs and ASU wiped off a pair of baserunners in the ninth with a double play to give the team a chance.
Nate Baez drew a leadoff walk, followed a couple batters later by Ivan Brethowr's two-out walk to put the tying run on the basepath. A seven-pitch battle from Alex Champagne ended in favor of the Tigers via strikeout to end the threat and send Mizzou home as the victors.
- In his three appearances this week, redshirt senior Jacob Walker has given ASU 14.2 innings with a 3.07 ERA and been a champion at simply eating innings for the team while the Sun Devils maneuvered so many games in a short period of time.
- Joe Lampe reached base on nine consecutive plate appearances between his last two of last night's game, his six in the San Francisco finale this afternoon and a first inning single against the Tigers.
- Lampe finished an incredible weekend for the Sun Devils by going .615 on 8-of-13 hitting with six RBIs, two homers, two doubles and a triple while slugging 1.385. He also drew five walks and a HBP to record a .737 on-base percentage while fielding a perfect 12-for-12 in the outfield.
INNING BY INNING
The Tigers led off the game with a walk that would go on to hurt the Sun Devils with a two-out double just out of reach for Campos which resulted in a first-inning run. Joe Lampe got the bottom half of the inning started for the Sun Devils with a hit, getting on base in nine consecutive plate appearances.
Walker looked far more settled his second time out. McLain made a solid play to get the first out. A groundout and single followed, but Walker was able to close out the inning by inducing a dribbler to second. On the Sun Devils' side, Jacob Tobias ripped a ball just fair down the right field line, and hustle combined with some poor tracking from the outfielder earned him a triple. Campos walked and the Sun Devils put on a delayed double steal, with Tobias stealing home - ASU's second steal of home base this season after Ethan Long did so against UC Irvine earlier in the week.
Missouri added another run on the board with a solo shot to lead off the inning, but that would do it as the next three batters produced outs via flyout. The Sun Devils went down quietly in order.
A groundout started the inning, but another solo shot added to the Tigers' lead. The opponents got two men on base, and did not score thanks to an incredibly unorthodox way around getting the man out at home, with a throwing error from Champagne finding Davis who threw it to Baez to get the runner out. A one, two, three inning would end the fourth for the Sun Devils, who were still vying for the two runs to tie it.
Walker went three up three down when he opened the fifth inning of the game. Campos walked to lead off the inning for ASU and Rogers followed with a double right down the left-field line to put runners on second and third for the Sun Devils. Champagne then notched a line drive single into center field, bringing in another run for the Sun Devils, but the throw home caught Rogers trying to snag an extra base. Lampe ipped a double of his own to right-field to bring in Champagne as the tying run to make it 3-3.
Chase Webster relieved Walker of his duties and sent his first batter down swinging. A double down the left line advanced to third after McLain was unable to come down with a pickoff throw from Webster. A sac fly drove in the Tiger for the go-ahead run - unearned. A pair of strikeouts and a flyout by the Devils would mean the Tigers would retain the lead.
The Tigers added another run with two doubles in the inning. A grounder hit to Pivaroff at third went to second and Champagne couldn't complete the double play, throwing it away into the ASU dugout, leading to another Missouri run. Campos led off the inning with a loud out into the left-field gap. Arizona State's bats were quiet.
A four-pitch walk kicked off the inning. Brock Peery replaced Webster and posted a scoreless inning. McLain launched a solo home run of his own to left to make it a two-run game. Davis singled, but a third out from Tobias would mean the solo shot would be the only run of the inning.
Peery continued his night on the mound with a clean inning. Baez takes ball four on a full count to give the Sun Devils a lead-off base runner in their last chance at the plate, but that would do it for them.
After playing 11 games over 14 days, the Sun Devils will finally get a brief respite before heading to the Pacific Northwest to take on a Top-5 Oregon State program in the team's first Pac-12 series of the year beginning next Friday, March 18 at 5:30 p.m. AZT in Corvallis