Baseball Can't Complete Sweep, Falls to UW in Extras
PHOENIX – Sun Devil Baseball overcame a three-run deficit to force extra innings in the series finale against the Washington Huskies, but eventually fell, 6-4, in 11 innings.
After securing the series victory with a win yesterday afternoon, the Devils were looking for their second straight home series sweep after rolling through San Francisco two weekends ago. However, the team couldn't quite shake off a slow start in which it found itself in a three-run hole and having to claw back to eventually tie things in the ninth to send the game into extras.
Ethan Long continued his tear, recording three hits and coming just a triple short of the cycle. Ryan Campos also had his first career three-hit effort, including a huge RBI game-tying double in the bottom of the ninth to force extra innings.
The Sun Devil bullpen did its part to give ASU a chance as Chase Webster, Christian Bodlovich and Will Levine gave ASU 5.1 scoreless innings of relief over the second half of the game, allowing ASU to scratch across runs in the sixth, eighth and ninth to tie things up.
The Sun Devils stranded 14 opponent base runners to overcome the 18-hit effort by the Huskies - holding UW to just six runs despite the hit tally. It should be noted that only four of those 18 hits were for extra bases and Washington simply found green grass all afternoon to keep the pressure on.
ASU found itself in a tough 3-0 hole after the opponent's half of the fourth inning as UW notched a solo wind-aided home run to center for the first run of the game. Instead of getting out of the frame with just the one run allowed, however, ASU came short on an attempted double-play to get out of the inning and whiffed on a tag on a pickoff attempt that also might have ended things. UW took advantage by getting a two-out double to put two in scoring position and plating a run on a Tulloch balk followed by a 2-2 RBI single on the eighth pitch of the at-bat against the UW nine-hole hitter. While ASU would eventually come back to tie things, the three runs were truly the difference in the game with the Sun Devil bullpen dominating down the stretch.
THE BIG MOMENT
After being down all game, the Sun Devils were down to their last half inning to keep things alive. A leadoff single off the bat of Jacob Tobias gave the Sun Devils some hope but a popup on a sac bunt attempt made things hairy. But freshman Ryan Campos was unfazed by the moment and laced an RBI double into right field to bring in a speedy Andrew Lucas as the tying run. ASU still had two chances with a runner in scoring position to win the game, but couldn't get another big hit to finish the Huskies off in regulation.
THE FINAL STRAW
The Sun Devils strung two hits in the bottom of the tenth, however could not capitalize. Brock Peery was brought out for a second inning and gave up another wind-aided solo home run on a full count. UW then notched a one-out single that moved to second on a ground out. A two-out RBI single made it a two run game and sucked some of the wind out of the Sun Devil rally. ASU would get the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the 11th after Campos' third hit of the game but a leaping play by the UW centerfielder robbed a run and extra bases from Kai Murphy before a fielder's choice for the final out kept ASU from turning the order around to the top of the lineup, sealing the 6-4 victory.
- The Sun Devils pitchers issued just three total walks on the weekend, notable as the team had 15 alone last Friday night against #3 Oregon State.
- Ethan Long capped out the week, including the GCU midweek tilt on Tuesday, with a .529 average on 9-of-17 hitting. He recorded three home runs and six RBIs over the four games with a massive 1.118 slugging percentage.
- Will Levine has been on a tear after a slow start to the year, starting with his UC Irvine effort - despite taking the loss in that one. Since that game, Levine has appeared in a team-high six games with 2.03 ERA over 13.1 innings pitched.
- Christian Bodlovich has not allowed an earned run in any of his last seven appearances. He also inherited AND stranded two more baserunners today, bringing his career total to 38 inherited baserunners with just seven scoring (18.4)
- The Sun Devil pitchers have inherited 83 baserunners this season, allowing just 25 to score (30.1 percent).
- After struggling through the first half of the year, the Sun Devil bullpen has definitely turned a corner in the last couple weeks. In the first 12 games, the bullpen had posted a 7.64 ERA and a 2-6 record, striking out 45 in 53.0 innings of work but also walking an unhealthy 40 at the same time. With the series opener against #3 Oregon State excluded, those number are much more promising with the bullpen posting a 3.47 ERA in the last 12 games with only 16 walks allowed in 49.1 innings.
The Huskies started the game threatening the Sun Devils right off the bat, as they got a full count lead-off walk and a line-drive single up the middle with no outs. A loud fly-out to center field put runners on the corners with one out and Tulloch issued a ground ball to shortstop that resulted in a double play to halt the threat. The ASU bats went down in order, with back-to-back strikeouts and a flyout into the bright sun that ended up in the right fielder's glove.
After getting two outs on the ground, the third batter laced a ball just over first baseman Conor Davis' glove. Tulloch's first strikeout of the game would serve as the escape of the second. After working a full count, the freshman who has had an impressive showing this series, Jacob Tobias, hit a ground rule double to right center. A grounder to third from Baez and a strikeout from Campos would keep Tobias stagnant.
The Huskies added another pair of flyouts, with an incredible third out that Lampe caught on the run and with a dive. The Sun Devils went three-up. three-down, but not before Champagne hit the opposing pitcher with a line drive, that ended in a close play at first.
The second batter of the inning began what would be a three-run inning for the Huskies. With a man on first, Tulloch gave up a double, but Campos made a speedy recovery to get it to the infield, holding the lead runner at third. Tulloch would not see a way out of the inning after a balk would send the runner home and a single to right would send the third and final run of the inning home. Jared Glenn entered the game, giving up a single, but got a third out on a fielder's choice. With the heart of the order up, the Sun Devils would look to chip away at the lead. Ethan Long was able to get one back with a single home run shot to center, making it his fourth of the season and third homer of the week.
The Huskies gave Glenn some trouble, as a leadoff double got them a runner in scoring position, and a pop-up that got lost in the sun gave them two baserunners. A groundball was then hit in the hole and McLain was able to get the lead runner out at third. A hit batter loaded them, and a single into left field brought another run in for Washington, putting Arizona State back in a three-run deficit. Webster then went into the game with two inherited runners but quickly wiped out the threat by issuing a double play on his first pitch. The Sun Devil bats only had a single from Campos in the inning.
Webster found himself with runners on first and second, one out. A flyout and a roller that was snatched by Webster with a behind the back effort kept the game at three. The top of the order was due up for the Sun Devils. The first one to step to the plate for ASU would be Joe Lampe. On a 1-1 count, Lampe hit one the center fielder would track until he ran out of room to find the ball out of the reach and over the wall for Lampe's seventh home run of the year to bring ASU back within 4-2. The next three, McLain, Long, and Davis, were unable to get the game within less than two, though.
Webster stayed in the inning and started it with a three-pitch strikeout, but a single into right field and a hit batter would do it for him. Bodlovich went in to relieve him with one out and escaped potential damage with a high pop out that landed in Champagne's glove and a ground out to Davis at first. In the bottom half of the inning, with a two-strike approach, Baez blooped one into left field to give Arizona State a baserunner with one out. Campos and Rogers couldn't capitalize on the one-out single, as they left Baez on.
Bodlovich sat down all three batters faced in the eighth, with a flyout to left, a chopper cleanly fielded by McLain, and a warning track flyout to Rogers for the final out. Alex Champagne walked to start the inning. Joe Lampe hit into a fielder's choice, swapping speed for more speed. This switch proved to be useful, as a steal at second turned into a two-base move, taking third as the throw sailed into center. Lampe would be driven in by McLain's ground out to second. Wasting no time, Long hit a double to left, but a Davis pop up to first kept the Sun Devils down by a run.
Bodlovich faced the first two batters in the ninth and produced a flyout for the first out, but Will Levine then went in to relieve him. Levine got the two batters he faced to pop-out and line out to keep the Sun Devils in the game. Tobias, the leadoff hitter, was able to get on with a base hit into right. Campos then followed with a double into right and brought home the tying run. A strikeout and a groundout would end the inning for the Devils, but they stayed alive.
Levine was called upon for another inning, getting two outs through a lineout and a fielder's choice. Brock Peery entered the game for Levine, dealing with a man on first. Peery's first batter faced, took three pitches before a groundout to McLain ended the first phase of extras. With one through three poised to bat for the Sun Devils, their situation looked promising. After outs from Lampe and McLain, Long earned his third hit with a single and Davis kept the inning alive with a single, as well. Andrew Lucas pinch ran for Tobias in the ninth to earn the tying run, so it would be up to him to continue the hits in the tenth as the DH, however the threat was squashed as the UW catcher made an incredible diving play in foul territory for the third out.
A leadoff homerun for the Huskies put them up by one in the top of the eleventh. A single was then followed by a groundout to Davis that moved the runner up a base. Another single gave Washington an extra run, and made it a two-run game. Arizona State would get the tying run at the plate as Campos got his third hit of the game with a single into right, but that would do it for the Sun Devils.
The Sun Devils will hit the road to take on UNLV at the Las Vegas Ballpark on Tuesday this week before returning home next weekend for a three-game series against Cal at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.