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Late Grand Slam Downs Devils at #14 Stanford

Apr 9, 2022

PALO ALTO – Sun Devil Baseball exchanged a flurry of blows against 14th-ranked Stanford, but a late Cardinal grand slam would prove to be the difference in the 10-6 defeat on Saturday at the Sunken Diamond in Palo Alto.
In a game that featured four ties and four lead changes, it inevitably came down to Stanford's seventh inning grand slam from Braden Montgomery to put the Cardinal up for good, despite ASU bringing the tying run to the plate in the eighth and on deck in the ninth.
Kai Murphy continued his hot hitting, going 3-for-4 with two RBI singles, a double, a walk and a run scored. Nate Baez extended his hitting streak to 10 games, adding an RBI and Conor Davis and Ryan Campos each added two hits. However, ASU stranded 12 baserunners in the contest, struggling to find big knocks with runners on base despite battling the whole afternoon.
Free passes in the form of six walks, a passed ball, a wild pitch and two Sun Devil errors were again ASU's undoing. Six of Stanford's nine runs were either on base or in scoring position solely due to those free bases. 
Adam Tulloch struck out four in 4.1 innings of work in his best outing in a month. Will Levine took the loss, despite inducing a huge double play in the fifth inning that kept ASU in the game. 
After Stanford plated a pair due to an error and a passed ball in the sixth to take a 5-3 lead, ASU quick punched back with two runs in the top of the seventh to the the game back at 5-5. With things very much in the balance, Levine issued a pair of one-out walks in the bottom half of the inning to put the pressure on and force a pitching change. 
Stanford loaded the bases on an infield single to third that Cam Magee couldn't corral. That brought Montgomery to the plate and the freshman switch-hitting standout responded with a no-doubter to right field to blow the game open and make it 9-5. 
ASU didn't go quietly, as Murphy led off with a double in the ninth and Magee followed with a single to put runners on the corners. A sac fly from Lampe cut the deficit to three and McLain drew a walk to bring the potential tying runs to the dish with one out. Ethan Long and Conor Davis both struck out, however, and Stanford tacked on an insurance run in the bottom half of the inning to seal the deal. 

  • The first inning home run allowed by Stanford's Drew Dowd to Ethan Long was just the third allowed in eight starts and over 34 innings pitched.
  • Tulloch's 1-2-3 first inning was his first since March 11 in the 7th inning against San Francisco – a streak that lasted four games.
  • Nate Baez extended his team-leading hit streak to 10 games with a second-inning double – which also was his team-leading 12th of the year.  He has five of those in the last six games. 
  • It was the eighth time in the last 10 games that ASU recorded double-digit hits in a game
  • Kai Murphy now has nine RBIs in the last six games after having just four total in the first 26 games. 
  • In the six-game stretch, Murphy is batting .545 on 12-of-22 hitting with 9 RBIs – three more than any other player – and a .955 slugging percentage on three doubles and two homers. 

After Joe Lampe gave one a ride to the center field warning track and Sean McLain struck out on a check swing, Ethan Long tattooed a ball deep to left over the trees to give ASU an 1early 1-0 lead. Tulloch came in and gave ASU exactly what it – and himself – needed: a 1-2-3 inning and his first since March 11 against San Francisco. 
Nate Baez led the frame off with a double down the left field line and ASU was able to capitalize with a two-out RBI single from Kai Murphy to make it 2-0. Tulloch posted another 1-2-3 frame, thanks in large part to a sweet stab by Cameron Magee at the hot corner. 
Joe Lampe reached on a check-swing infield single, beating the throw to first. Sean McLain wore his nine pitch of the year to put two on with no out and chase Stanford starter Drew Dowd. A two-out error to Baez loaded the bases but ASU could not capitalize, stranding the bases loaded. A one-out walk would bite ASU as Brock Jones knocked a two-out triple off the wall in right field to halve the Sun Devil lead to 2-1.
The Devils went down in order in the fourth but so did the Cardinal as Tulloch added a pair of strikeouts to keep it 2-1. 

ASU continued to struggle to solve Stanford reliever Ty Uber as he sat the Devils down in order for the second straight inning. Stanford tied it with a leadoff home run from Vincent Martinez, his second such accomplishment in as many days. Stanford would load the bases and take the lead on a bases-loaded infield error. However, with the bases juiced and one out, Sean McLain made one of the best defensive plays of the season – laying out on a ground ball up the middle, flipping it to second from his stomach and Nate Baez turned it for a double play to keep it a one-run game at 3-2. 
ASU got a leadoff single from Conor Davis and had runners on the corners with one out after a Campos hit-and-run. Kai Murphy came up with another clutch two-out single to tie the game at 3-3. Cam Magee absolutely ripped a ball right back to the pitcher for the tough luck out that would have plated another run. ASU gifted Stanford a pair of unearned runs in to the sixth, taking advantage of an error in the outfield and a passed ball.
ASU continued to battle, getting a pair of leadoff runners in Lampe and McLain on a walk and HBP. A one-out RBI single from Conor Davis brought ASU within a run and put runners on the corners and Nate Baez knocked a sac fly to tie things back up at 5-5. Free bases again reared their ugly head as a pair of one-out walks chased Levine from the game. A hard infield single to third loaded the bases and Stanford made ASU pay with a grand slam to make it 9-5. 
ASU wasn't quite done, getting a leadoff double from Murphy and a single from Magee to put runners on the corners and bring in a new pitcher. ASU got one back on a Joe Lampe sac fly. ASU had two on with one out and the tying run at the plate but back-to-back strikeouts ended the threat. Stanford tacked on a two-out insurance run in the bottom half of the inning.
The Sun Devils still battling in their final at-bat as Campos and Murphy both drew walks but would end up being stranded.
ASU will look to salvage the series tomorrow at 12 p.m. AZT in the weekend finale. Both team's pitchers are TBD. The game is available via the Stanford Live Stream and availably locally over the airwaves on KDUS 1060 AM.