Call It A Comeback: Baseball Rallies From 7 Down to Take Series from Cal
PHOENIX – Sun Devil Baseball overcame a seven-run deficit and took the series against Cal with a 16-9 victory on Sunday at Phoenix Municipal Stadium behind a nine-run eighth inning.
Trailing 9-2 after five innings, ASU looked on pace to suffer its second consecutive rout at the hands of the Bears. But the Sun Devils (13-16, 5-4 Pac-12) rallied behind shutdown pitching from Chase Webster and the hot bats of its true freshmen to score five in the sixth inning and nine in the eighth to post the team's largest comeback since 2000.
This recap is much different without the efforts of Webster, who had his longest outing as Division I pitcher at 4.0 innings, not allowing a run or a walk while striking out two and giving up just one hit. Relying on his offspeed pitches to complement his low-to-mid 90's fastball, Webster kept Cal (12-15, 5-7 Pac-12) off balance after the Bears posted crooked numbers in the first, third and fifth innings to jump to a big lead.
After giving up a double to the first batter he faced, he retired eight in a row to stymie the Cal offense and give the Sun Devils a chance.
That chance came to fruition behind the bats of three freshmen recording nine of ASU's 13 RBIs in the sixth and eighth innings (Ryan Campos with four, Cam Magee with three and Alex Champagne with two).
Campos got his first career homer in the sixth, a two-out three run oppo taco to get ASU back within 9-7. Cam Magee recorded bases-loaded triple to blow the game open while Champagne had a huge bases-loaded RBI single in the eighth - the first of nine runs in the frame, bringing ASU within a run and turning the lineup around to the top of the order.
Nate Baez was 3-for-5 and the only Sun Devil to have multiple hits in the game. All three of his knocks were doubles and he finished with three RBIs and two runs scored. Kai Murphy and Conor Davis each added three runs while every slot in the lineup recorded at least one hit.
The Sun Devils had trailed by seven by the time they reached the fifth inning. The sixth inning marked the start of the comeback as Ethan Long and Conor Davis drew one-out walks and Nate Baez doubled for the third time in the game, scoring the pair to make it 9-4. Kai Murphy was able to work out of an unfavorable count of 0-2 with a hit by pitch. After Jacob Tobias flew out, Ryan Campos came to the plate with two outs and a pair of runners on. Campos picked a good time to hit his first collegiate home run as his swing took the game from a six-run deficit to a two-run deficit.
THE BIG MOMENT
The Sun Devils would not score in the seventh, after having a five-run sixth inning, but would piece their offense back together for a nine-run inning in the eighth. Kai Murphy kickstarted the electric inning with a walk on a full count. The three freshmen at the bottom of the order shined in the eighth. Facing Cal reliever Steven Zobac, who had flashed up to 97 on the radar gun last night, Jacob Tobias singled and Ryan Campos battled through an 11-pitch at-bat with seven foul balls to earn a walk to load the bases with no outs. Alex Champagne singled on a 1-2 pitch to bring ASU back within a run and that would open the floodgates. Joe Lampe put the ball in play and let the Cal defense gift the Sun Devils a pair of runs on an error at first base to put ASU on top for the first time at 10-9.
THE FINAL STRAW
Up by one, following the Cal gaffe and a Sean McLain HBP to reload the bases, Cam Magee stepped to the plate. The freshman was only in the game at the position after Ethan Long was tossed for having some extra thoughts on his strikeout in the previous inning. Less than 24 hours removed from recording his first collegiate hit last night in the ninth inning, Magee got his second one on a ball hit over the first baseman's head and down the right-field line. The triple from Magee scored Champagne, Lampe McLain, to make it a 13-9 ball game. ASU would tack on RBIs from Conor Davis on a double, Campos on a bases-loaded walk - his second walk of the inning, and a Champagne fielder's choice on a groundout to make it 16-9 and cap off the nine-run frame - the most by an ASU team in one inning since an 11-run inning against Tennessee Tech in 2015.
- The seven-run deficit overcome by the Sun Devils was the most since March 3, 2000 against Arizona. The Wildcats jumped to a 7-0 lead before ASU rallied to win 9-7.
- This is the third time this season that ASU has rallied from a deficit of five or more runs to tie or win the game. It came back from five runs down to defeat San Francisco earlier this year before rallying to tie UNLV earlier this week after going down five runs, only to lose in walk-off fashion.
- Nate Baez's three doubles were the most since Alika Williams had three against Michigan State on March 3, 2019 against Michigan State.
- He extended his hitting streak to a team-best seven games and tied with Conor Davis, who extended his own streak with an eighth-inning RBI double.
- Chase Webster's 4.0 innings of work were the most he has pitched at the Division I level.
- This was the fifth-straight game and sixth time in the last seven games that ASU had 10 or more hits. It is the 14th time in 29 games that ASU has 10 hits or more.
- Sun Devil true freshmen recorded nine of ASU's 14 RBIs in the contest behind Ryan Campos (4), Cam Magee (3) and Alex Champagne (2).
- ASU had five runs in the sixth inning and nine in the eighth, marking the eighth and ninth times this season that the team has plated five or more runs in an inning.
- Cal reliever Christian Becerra had not allowed an earned run this season in nine appearances over 12.2 innings prior to ASU's massive sixth inning in which he gave up his first home run of the season to Ryan Campos and allowed two runs. He also walked two batters after having just four walks allowed this season.
- Cal starter Ian May had allowed just nine total earned runs in six appearances (22.1 IP and a 3.63 ERA) and two starts this season prior to the five he allowed to the Sun Devils today.
It only took Cal two pitches to get on the board thanks to back-to-back base hits with a balk in between pitches. A slow grounder back to Tulloch would get the Sun Devils their first out of the ball game, but a grounder under the glove of McLain would put another man on the basepaths for the Bears and another run on the scoreboard. Tulloch was able to retire the next two batters on a popup and a groundout to McLain. Lampe led things off for the Sun Devils with a walk after falling behind 0-2, but that was quickly erased as McLain grounded into a double play. Long smoked a ball over the shortstop's head to try and spark things up for ASU with two outs, but Davis ended the inning with a flyout into center field.
Tulloch came back to post a scoreless inning, beginning with a routine grounder to McLain for the first out. The next batter bunted, and beat out the throw. The Sun Devils got a second out on a hard hit grounder to Long, getting the runner out at second, with the throw to first being too late. Tulloch, Davis and Champagne combined to catch the runner attempting to steal second to conclude the top half of the inning. Nate Baez led off the inning with a hit, stretching it to a double on the relay. Kai Murphy moved Baez over to third, on a groundout, luckily, because a balk while Campos was in the box allowed Baez to score the first run of the game. The Sun Devils got one on the board, but were unable to make anything else happen, as Campos struck out.
Cal got the leadoff runner on with a chopper over a leaping Long. A wild pitch put the runner in scoring position for the Bears, which was followed by a triple down the right field line which brought in another run. A homer into the deepest part of centerfield would put the Sun Devils down by four. Tulloch was able to retire the next three with grounders to his middle infielders and a strikeout after falling behind 3-0 in the count. The Arizona State bats went down quietly in order.
A first pitch out got the inning started for Tulloch, before he gave up a single to center. Tulloch struck out his second hitter of the day and got the last California batter of the inning to flyout to Joe Lampe. Long led off the inning, scorching a grounder to the pitcher, but his quick reflexes helped him get the first out. Davis collected his nineteenth walk of the year, getting on base just in time for Baez. Baez made his at bat another important one, bringing Davis home on a double to left. Murphy and Haas both popped up to end the fourth.
The Bears put up a four-spot in the fifth inning, thanks to a trio of doubles, and a couple of base hits. Webster was able to retire three in a row after relieving Tulloch with the bases loaded with a flyout into short right field, a strikeout and a great play from Lampe in center. The Sun Devils all made contact with the ball, but none of it resulted in a base hit.
Webster produced a quick inning to get his bats out for another crack at getting some runs. Webster got his first batter to pop up to first, his second batter to fly out to center, and third to fly out to right. Long and Davis worked full count walks to bring Baez to the plate. Once again, Baez delivered. Baez placed a double to right center, plating Long and Davis. Down two strikes, Murphy was hit on the foot, sending him to first. With runners at first and second, both would trot home, as Ryan Campos earned his first home run of his collegiate career. Campos' three-run home run put the game at 9-7, California.
The Bears had another base hit, but that would be it for them as Webster sent them down. Arizona State went down in order.
Webster was able to keep California at bay for another inning with a flyout, ground out and pop up. Kai Murphy, Jacob Tobias and Ryan Campos loaded the bases with a walk, single, and walk, respectively. Alex Champagne got the nine-run inning started with a single to drive in Murphy. With no outs, Lampe hit a grounder to the first baseman, but a difficult hop led to an error that created no outs and brought Tobias and Campos home for ASU's first lead of the game. McLain was hit with a 0-2 count to reload the bases. Leading by one, a triple down the right field line by Cam Magee brought home Champagne, Lampe, and McLain made it a four-run game. The Sun Devils laid on some more runs with a double from Davis to bring Magee home, a walk for Campos to bring in Davis, and a fielder's choice to complete the eighth inning scoring, driving in Murphy.
Brock Peery would then go in to close out the game. Although the inning started with an error and a hit-by-pitch, Peery ended the game with a ground-out sandwiched by a pair of strikeouts.
The Sun Devils will host rival Arizona in a Tuesday night non-conference contest at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. The game is scheduled for a 6 p.m. first pitch and will be available via the ASU Live Stream and over the airwaves on KDUS 1060 AM.