Long Homers Twice In Midweek Loss to GCU
PHOENIX – Sun Devil Baseball dropped its midweek tilt against Grand Canyon on Tuesday, 7-5.
Ethan Long added two home runs in the contest - his fifth career multi-home run game - while extending his reached base streak to 15 games. Sean McLain extended his reached base streak to a team-best 20 games - each game he has played this season - with a hit and his team leading sixth hit-by-pitch.
Will Levine came out of the bullpen for the Sun Devils and put up a much needed scoreless three innings. He was as efficient as it comes, recording all nine outs on just 23 total pitches - despite issuing a leadoff walk to the first batter he faced.
After ASU clawed back to tie the game at 4-4 after five innings, Jared Glenn came on and got two outs in the sixth before the wheels came off. A infield chopper over the pitcher's mound reached for a base hit as there was no play that could be made and kept the inning alive instead of a shutdown inning after the big Sun Devil fifth.
THE BIG MOMENT
The chopper brought up the defending National Player of the Week Jacob Wilson and the sophomore continued his hot streak with a two-run blast. ASU remained unable to get out of the inning with a bunt single and a walk keeping the inning alive before GCU plated another on an infield error to make it 7-4 after the ASU rally.
THE FINAL STRAW
Ethan Long got a one-out homer in the eighth to cut the deficit to two runs. The Devils would twice get the tying run to the plate after that, following a two-out walk by Tobias in the eighth and a one-out pinch hit single by Alex Champagne in the ninth, but ASU was unable to get the big knock to draw things even.
- Ethan Long had his first multi-home run game of the season and fifth of his career.
- Long extended his reached base streak to 15 games.
- Sean McLain has reached base in each game he has played this season - 20 total games.
- ASU entered the game 13th in the nation with 18 double plays this season and turned its 19th in this one.
- Will Levine has returned to form after a couple spotty appearances early in the season. He has appeared in four games since the team's finale at UC Irvine, recording a 1.69 ERA in 10.2 innings pitched.
The first play of the game confronted Nate Baez, who was making his first start at second this season, with a weakly hit ball that the batter beat out. A walk followed, and would move over to third on a double off the top of the wall to bring the infield single home. With no outs, Tulloch gave up a blooper that fell in front of Lampe, bringing a second run home. The first out of the game, a flyout, brought home the third and last run of the inning for the Lopes.
The Lopes posted three in the first inning, but the Sun Devils looked confident that they would claw their way to a lead. On his 21st birthday, Sean McLain put the Sun Devils' first runner on the bases with a single up the middle. Ethan Long stepped to the plate with a familiar walk-up song, but one fans had not heard in a while. Eazy-E's "We Want Eazy" was Long's mainstay throughout his 16 homer in 16 game run last season, and Long would continue to prove the magic of that walk-up song with an opposite field two-run home run to put the Sun Devils within one after an early deficit.
Bodlovich came in for the second inning in which he allowed just a single and got all three outs via flyout. Lampe had an impressive run tracking down and snagging a ball to the right center warning track. The Sun Devil bats also had a quiet inning, going down in order.
Bodlovich came back for a second inning and collected all three outs unscathed. He did work around two full count walks, but sent the Sun Devils out to bat rather quickly. Lampe and McLain both flew out, and Long struck out.
Chase Webster took the mound for the fourth inning, but a well-struck double and a base hit to right added another run for the Lopes, giving the Sun Devils a two-run deficit. The Sun Devils went three up three down for their half of the inning.
Webster returned, and gave up a one-out single, which was erased after a lineout to Long in which he doubled up the base runner with a throw to Conor Davis to get the third out. Kai Murphy rounded first on a routine fly out to right, but a drop from the outfielder allowed Murphy to get to second. A Will Rogers' strikeout brought Campos up to bat, in which he was able to get his first hit of the game, with a single to center to bring Murphy home. Things looked dangerous for the Lopes, as the Sun Devils now had the top of the lineup vying for the tying run. With two balls, Joe Lampe hit a towering double to right center to earn the tying run.
Jared Glenn got the ball for the sixth inning. A groundball that hit Long's glove would result in a leadoff guy on for the Lopes, but Campos would throw him out after he attempted to take second. Glenn struck out the next batter, but a weird chopper right behind Glenn landed in no man's land giving the Lopes another baserunner with two outs. A well-struck hanging curve ended up in the away team's bullpen and gave the Lopes a two-run lead. Another slow grounder to third and a walk gave GCU more baserunners. What looked like an inning-ending groundball to first, turned out to hurt the Sun Devils as the ball hit off of Davis' glove, and gave the Lopes an insurance run. The Sun Devil bats went down in order.
Keeping the score as is and getting his offense back up as quick as possible is a demand Will Levine is all too familiar with. Levine did exactly that, not letting a leadoff walk see home as he secured three ground outs on the next three pitches he threw to send his offense up to eat at the three-run debt. Rogers, Campos, and Lampe were unable to make anything happen.
Levine continued his work on the mound and the Lopes went three up three down for the first time. A second opposite-field homer off of the bat of Long put the Sun Devils within two. The benches nearly cleared as Long crossed home, but the umpires put a quick stop to it.
Levine pushed for another, and was able to put up a third scoreless frame, with a flyout and a pair of groundouts. The final chance to take the lead was not taken, as an Alex Champagne single would be the only runner the Sun Devils would see on base in the ninth. A balk advanced the pinch hitter, with a grounder from Campos pushing him 90 feet closer, but Lampe fell victim to the third out with a groundout to the shortstop.
After a quick break from Pac-12 opponents, Arizona State will remain home to face Washington. The three-game series will take place this weekend at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, from Friday to Sunday. The Friday game is scheduled for a 6 p.m. first pitch and will be broadcast live on Pac-12 Network Arizona/Washington and available over the airwaves on KDUS 1060 AM. Kyle Luckham is scheduled to take the mound for the opener against UW's Jared Engman.