Sun Devil Baseball Battles From Five Down, Loses in Walk-Off at UNLV
LAS VEGAS – For the second straight game, Sun Devil Baseball rallied from an early crooked number deficit to tie the game in the ninth inning only to come up short again - this time in an 11-10 walk-off defeat at UNLV on Tuesday night in Las Vegas.
The Devils trailed by as many as five runs but roared back behind five runs in the sixth and seventh innings before tying the game in the top of the ninth. But the Rebels got a leadoff triple in the bottom half of the frame that would prove to be ASU's undoing, scoring on a bases-loaded wild pitch for the walk-off victory.
Joe Lampe was 3-for-6 with four runs scored and a massive three-run home run in the seventh inning that cut UNLV's lead to a single run. Sean McLain added three RBI with a two-run shot and an RBI double. Conor Davis, Nate Baez and Alex Champagne all finished with two hits and an RBI each.
There wasn't a ton to be excited about on the pitching side as the Sun Devils walked nine batters to just six strikeouts. Three runs scored for UNLV on bases loaded walks, one by a wild pitch and another on an infield error. ASU could not take advantage of five UNLV errors in the game.
After the Sun Devils took an early 2-0 lead in the first, it gifted that lead back and then some in the bottom of the second. Four straight singles to lead off the frame led to one run before ASU walked in another two runs and allowed a fourth to score on an error to make it 4-2 for UNLV and knock the Devils back on their heels.
THE BIG MOMENT
Down by four, Joe Lampe kept things interesting as he turned on one in the top of the seventh after a Jacob Tobias reach on an error and Alex Champagne walk. The three-run shot brought ASU back within 10-9 and set up the ninth inning theatrics. It was Lampe's team-leading eighth home run of the year.
THE FINAL STRAW
It didn't take long for UNLV to stifle the momentum. A leadoff triple in the bottom of the night from Edarian Williams – his second of the game - led to some gamesmanship as ASU walked the bases loaded and brought Lampe in to the infield to keep the force at home open. It would end up not mattering as a wild pitch allowed Williams to score without any fanfare and give UNLV the walk-off win.
- Ethan Long reached base in his active team-leading 19th straight game with his RBI double in the sixth.
- With a double and home run on the day, Joe Lampe now has 20 extra-base hits in the first 26 games of the season (11 doubles, 1 triple, eight homers) – already matching his total for the entire 2021 season.
- It was the second straight game that ASU rallied for a multi-run deficit to eventually tie the game in the ninth inning, coming back from three down to tie the game against UW on Sunday at 4-4 before eventually dropping the contest in 11 innings.
- At one point trailing 9-4, it was the second time ASU has erased a five run deficit this season, having also done so against San Francisco in the series finale – a game in which it eventually won 17-10.
INNING BY INNING
Joe Lampe led off with his team-leading 11th double of the season. Long reached on an error and Davis got the Devils on the board first after Lampe stole third, plating him with an RBI single. Baez added a single of his own to make it 2-0. Walker retired the side in order.
The Devils ran themselves off the basepath to ruin a pair of singles to leadoff the inning. UNLV led off with four straight singles to chase Walker. Osman walked in a pair of runs and another would score on an infield error as UNLV dropped a four-spot to take a 4-2 lead.
Baez got a one-out double and Brethowr reached on a two-out HBP but ASU stranded the pair. A seeing-eye single followed by an RBI triple tacked on another run for the UNLV and doubled that up with a sac fly to make it 6-2.
Lampe reached on a one-out error and Sean McLain quickly halved the deficit with a two-run shot into the pool in right center to make it 6-4. UNLV would make a pair of exceptional defensive plays to rob a hit from Ethan Long and throw Conor Davis out as he attempted to turn a double to end the top half of the frame. However, UNLV came right back with a massive two-out rally capped by a bases-loaded, bases-clearing RBI double to blow it open at 9-4.
Both sides faced the minimum in an uneventful frame.
The Devils got a bit of a rally going, keyed by Joe Lampe reaching on a fielder's choice that likely would have been a double play against any other runner in ASU's lineup. Instead of ending the inning, Lampe's hustle opened the door for two-out doubles from McLain and Long to cut UNLV's lead to 9-6 – though ASU would end up stranding the bases loaded in the frame. ASU would gift the Rebels a run back due to three straight walks but McLain bailed his pitchers out with a huge leaping stab with the bases loaded and then doubling off the runner to keep ASU within four.
Jacob Tobias pinch hit and reached on an error while Alex Champagne battled from behind to draw a one-out walk. That brought up Joe Lampe and the sophomore did not disappoint with a massive three-run shot to right – his team-leading eighth of the season – to bring ASU back within a run. Levine gave up a leadoff double but stranded it on the bases to keep the score 10-9.
ASU harmlessly went down in order while Blake Pivaroff also set the Rebels down with a 1-2-3 inning.
The Sun Devils again clawed back from the depths to tie a game in the ninth inning for the second straight game. Tobias led off with a double and pinch runner Hunter Haas took third on Murphy's sac bunt. Champagne laced an RBI single to left to even the game at 10-10. UNLV got a leadoff triple and ASU walked the bases full and brought in an extra infielder to go for the force at home. It would matter not as the Rebels walked it off on a wild pitch.
ASU will set its sights back on Pac-12 play as it hosts its second straight home series this weekend with a three-game set against Cal beginning on Friday, April 1 at 6:30 p.m. AZT. All three games will be available the the ASU Live Stream and also available over the airwaves on KDUS 1060 AM.