Baseball Comes from Behind to Defeat #10/11 Arizona, 10-6
PHOENIX – Sun Devil Baseball once again overcame a multiple-run deficit, clawing back from three down to defeat rival No. 10/11 Arizona, 10-6, on Tuesday evening in front of 3,903 in attendance at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
Just two days after wiping out a seven-run deficit to defeat Cal on Sunday, the Sun Devils (14-16) were again unfazed by an early hole as the team ripped off seven unanswered runs in the second half of the game to take the non-conference midweek tilt from the Wildcats (21-8).
Kai Murphy's second homer in the last three games - a three-run shot to put ASU ahead in the fifth inning - was the big knock on the night as Murphy remained hot with his third multi-hit game in his last four games.
Jacob Tobias added two hits and two RBIs and Cam Magee continued to bounce back from his slow start to the season with his first career home run and a two-hit day while playing exceptionally on defense in his spot start at third in place of the suspended Ethan Long.
Eight Sun Devils recorded a hit as the offense threw up three crooked innings to overcome a slew of matchstick frames from the Wildcats in the early going.
Will Levine was pivotal in stemming the offensive tide of the Wildcats, throwing up the first zeros of the game after Arizona scored two in the first and single runs in the second through fifth innings. Levine went 2.2 innings with no runs allowed to earn the win.
Blake Pivaroff earned his first career save as he retired the final six batters of the game on just 12 pitches. Pivaroff and Levine combined for 4.2 scoreless innings of relief and faced the minimum over the final 13 batters of the game - including retiring the final 10 in succession.
The turning point in this one came by way of the Wildcats. Trailing 6-3 in the bottom of the fifth, ASU looked like it would post another scoreless frame on a harmless ground ball by Ryan Campos to second with two outs. But the Arizona second baseman booted it, keeping the inning alive and putting runners on the corners. Nate Baez took advantage with an RBI single to bring ASU back within two and start the rally caused by that two-out error.
THE BIG MOMENT
After a meeting at the mound following the Baez RBI, Kai Murphy did not allow George Arias Jr. a moment of respite as he sat on the very first pitch after the mound visit and launched it for a three-run shot to right field for his second homer in the last three games and ASU's first lead of the game at 7-6.
THE FINAL STRAW
After the four-run fifth inning, the Sun Devils revived the bats for another inning to keep the foot on the gas in the sixth. Magee's single started the inning, only to be put out at second on Lampe's fielder's choice. Trading speed for speed, Lampe moved to second after McLain was hit by a pitch and both runners advanced to second and third on Davis' deep flyout to left field. Those 90 feet proved to be pivotal. With the Wildcats playing a wicked shift on the right side for Jacob Tobias, he knocked a single right into that gap to plate McLain and Lampe, making the game 9-6.
The Sun Devil bullpen handled business from there as Levine and Pivaroff retired the final nine batters of the contest in the seventh, eighth and ninth to seal the deal.
- Cam Magee's second-inning home run continued a hot streak for the freshman, giving him hits in three straight ABs over three games (single, triple, homer) with five RBIs. He extended it to four straight hits on his next at-bat with a single in the fourth.
- Kai Murphy's fifth-run homer off of George Arias Jr. was the first the Wildcat pitcher had allowed in 10 appearances this year and just the second he had allowed in his entire career (34 appearances over three seasons).
- ASU has wiped out multi-run opponent leads in 8 of the team's last 15 games. They have erased deficits of 3, 7, 5 and 3 runs after 5 opponent innings in four of the last six games alone.
- ASU has won seven games already this season when trailing after four innings, matching its total for all of 2021.
- In Kai Murphy's last four games, he batted .600 on 9-of-15 hitting with a team-best seven RBIs, two homers, two doubles and a 1.133 slugging percentage.
- This was the sixth-straight game and seventh time in the last eight games that ASU had 10 or more hits. It is the 15th time in 30 games that ASU has 10 hits or more.
- Arizona All-American Daniel Susac went 0-for-4 on the night, including grounding into a pair of double plays. He had multiple hits in 7 of his last 12 games. It was the first time in his career he had grounded into two double plays in a single game (90 games). He had grounded into a double play just three times this season in 28 games entering the night.
- ASU turned two double plays, the 26th and 27th of the season after entering the night 13th in the nation in the category.
- Joe Lampe added his team-leading ninth stolen base in the eighth inning.
Boyd Vander Kooi made his return to the mound with a strikeout. A hit batter on the first pitch of the second at-bat followed, with the third batter hitting a two-run home run that caught a wind gale to just clear the wall in opposite right field. The Sun Devils answered back with three hits coming from Joe Lampe, Jacob Tobias, and Ryan Campos. Lampe led off the inning, reaching first on a single into the hole on the right side of the infield. Conor Davis was hit in the head on the second pitch he saw. With runners on first and second, Tobias hit an opposite field single to load the bases. Fellow freshman Campos drove in the Sun Devils first run with a full count single right up the middle. Neither Nate Baez or Kai Murphy were able to get on base to tie the game.
Vander Kooi went out for another inning of work and started it with another strikeout, but on the very next pitch, the Cats were able to again get a wind-aided home run to make it 3-1. A double off the left field wall and back-to-back walks would end his night. Jacob Walker came in to relieve him and was able to avoid damage with a 6-4-3 double play off of Arizona All-American Daniel Susac.. Champagne led off the inning for the Sun Devils with a single into right field and Magee followed with his first career home run, smoking the ball over the right center field wall to tie the game. The next three bats went down in order to keep it a 3-3 game.
Just when the Sun Devils were able to wipe the slate, Arizona came right back with a punch of its own on a one-out homer to go back on top 4-3. Lampe slid on his knees to get the second out. Walker threw a three pitch strikeout for his third out. Down one, the Sun Devils were unable to get anything back as a popup from Tobias, and a grounder from Baez turned into a double play after Campos and Baez were both called out due to an interfering slide on Campos' end.
The Wildcats added another run with another solo homer to lead off the fourth inning. Walker was able to retire the next three though with a ground ball that deflected off his glove that Champagne was able to pick up and make the throw just in time and get the runner out at first. McLain was able to backhand a ground ball for the second out, and a flyout in short right ended the inning. In the bottom half of the inning, Murphy and Champagne both grounded out to begin the inning, but Magee followed with his second hit of the game, singling to second. Lampe was unable to take advantage of the opportunity as he popped up to short to end the inning.
Walker was replaced with Will Levine after giving up a one-out double off the wall. Levine walked his first batter on four pitches, but was able to get his second batter to fly out for a second out. Levine was unable to put away the next batter, as he singled to left, bringing in a run to make it 6-3. A walk followed the single, but nothing came of it as a ground out ended the Wildcats' at-bats. Needing some offense, the Sun Devils got a gift on a two-out error to Campos that put runners on the corners and extended the inning. Baez approached and knocked his first hit of the night on a single through the right side, with Davis scoring. Murphy then provided the biggest hit of the game with an electric home run to right, adding three to the board to put the Sun Devils up at 7-6.
Levine faced the minimum to open up the sixth inning, as a groundball back to Champagne recorded the first out. Although the next batter was walked, a ground ball was hit to Davis at first and he tagged the bag and then made the throw to McLain on time for him to tag the runner for the third out of the inning. Magee reached for the third time on the night, thanks to an error from the Cats' third baseman. Lampe grounded into a forceout and McLain was then hit by his eighth pitch of the year to put runners on first and second for the Sun Devils. Davis then flew out to the farthest part of left field and both runners were able to move up a bag. This would prove to be a huge advance as Tobias beat the shift on the right side to bring two more unearned runs in for the Devils, putting them up 9-6.
Holding on to a narrow lead, it was integral the pitching could hold off the Wildcats - and they did exactly that. Levine collected a pair of groundouts - one on the 1-3 and another on the 3-1 - and a flyout to bring up ASU's bats. After two innings for a combined six runs, the Sun Devils were unable to ignite the bats for a third straight inning. Murphy did get another hit, but it was erased on a Champagne double play.
Blake Pivaroff came in to relieve Levine and had a quick inning, retiring the first batter he faced with the help of Magee flashing the leather over at third to make the play. The next two went down with a short fly ball into right field and a ground ball to second. In the bottom of the inning, Lampe reached on a check-swing base hit that landed in left field. McLain got called out for reaching for a ball in the dirt, but Davis walked right after. Lampe stole third on some head's up baserunning on the catch exchange back to the pitcher and the Devils continued to show off some savvy baserunning with a fake delayed double steal. As Davis was taking second, the Cats tried making a play at third so that Lampe would not attempt to go home, but the throw went past third baseman and resulted in another run for the Sun Devils.
Pivaroff closed the game, getting the first batter of the inning out at first. Then came the top of the lineup, which Pivaroff was able to whizz through, with a routine groundout to McLain and a groundout by Susac to Magee to cap the contest without any drama.
Another Top-25 opponent awaits Arizona State on the road this weekend as the Devils will head to the Farm to take on #14 Stanford for a three-game weekend series in Palo Alto beginning on Friday at 6 p.m. AZT.
On guys getting timely hits:
"I think they are starting to understand how big those are and not trying to do too much in those situations and just continue to get pitches they can handle for one and for two not trying to do too much with those pitches. Staying hard up the middle and hard the other way, good things will happen. It's not just one or two guys, it's everybody contributing."
On Cam Magee's performance:
"He's been thrown into some tough situations. He gets thrown in there tonight against the No.11 team in the country and doesn't miss a beat. He plays well, he plays with some energy and some athleticism. He's playing like he belongs out there."
On his first homer of the season:
"(It felt) pretty great, I wanted to play UofA my whole life so being able to do it – no better feeling."
On Cam Magee's homer setting the tone:
"This guy was ready you know, first ab (he) got us going. That's probably one of the biggest plays of the game because it got us kick started and we said yeah we can do this."
On his outing:
"I obviously didn't have my best stuff tonight, probably struggled the most I have this season with you know command and just trying to get outs, but the guys behind me did an incredible job all game."
On Ryan Campos behind the plate:
"He plays like a senior. He has a good relationship with each and every one of us pitchers and he does a great job of learning who we are and how we play and what you know calms us down and what gets us going. He just has a really good feel for the game."
On Ryan Campos behind the plate:
"He definitely adds a lot of comfort when you're out there on the mound just knowing that he is doing everything he can to get us strikes and make us look good sometimes."