Baseball Drops Hard-Fought Battle in Extras Against Arizona, 7-6
TUCSON – Friday night's tilt between Sun Devil Baseball and the Arizona Wildcats had everything you could ask for in a rivalry game. There was a raucous crowd. Extra innings. Multiple run leads erased by both sides. Massive pitches made to strand runners in scoring position. Go-ahead home runs with boo's raining down. And a walk-off home run.
Unfortunately for the Sun Devils, that last one went against their favor as the Wildcats took the opening game of the series, 7-6, on a walk-off solo shot in the bottom of the tenth.
The two teams combined for 30 hits in the back-and-forth affair, stranding 25 baserunners between them. ASU scored six unanswered to take a 6-4 lead after the top half of the eighth, only for Arizona to come back and tie it in the bottom half and walk it off two innings later.
Conor Davis had three hits, none bigger than his go-ahead two-run jack in the top of the seventh put ASU on top 5-4 after a kerfuffle at first in the bottom half of the seventh. With over 5,000 rabid fans letting the super senior know how they felt about him, Davis launched the 1-2 offering over the scoreboard for his sixth homer of the year.
Joe Lampe added three hits and rwo runs and eight of nine Sun Devil starters recorded a hit, five of them with multiple ones.
ASU allowed plenty of baserunners, as demonstrated by 15 hits, two errors and four walks but time and against the pitching staff worked out of jams and stranded 14 Wildcat baserunners in the process.
Adam Tulloch went 4.2 innings with just two earned runs allowed while punching out eight in arguably his best performance in a month and a half. Christian Bodlovich gave ASU 1.1 scoreless innings and Blake Pivaroff was huge to make big pitches to send the game to extra innings despite inevitably taking the loss on the solo shot in the 10th.
After Arizona took an early 4-0 lead, ASU did what it has done all season and picked away at the lead to get back within 4-3 through six innings. A minor clash at first base on a groundout in the bottom of the sixth led to words being exchanged between Conor Davis and the Wildcat dugout out. With two outs and a runner on in the top of the seventh, Davis came to the dish amid of a chorus of boo's from the Wildcat faithful and quickly found himself down 1-2 in the count after a massive daddy hack that added another level of jubilation from the 5,500+ fans in attendance. Davis immediately silenced them with a moonshot to deep left field for the go-ahead home run and setting up the exciting finish down the stretch.
THE BIG MOMENT
ASU saw the return of Hunter Haas to lineup card as a position player for the first time since Week Two and he responded with an RBI single in the eighth to make it 6-4. The Wildcats were up to task though and a one-out RBI triple followed by an RBI single quickly squared things back up at 6-6. ASU had a shot in the ninth, getting leadoff singles from Sean McLain and Ethan Long. The Sun Devils then hit a streak of bad luck with three straight line outs to left, right and center – all of which came off the bat between 97 and 101 miles per hour and just happened to find their way to defenders.
THE FINAL STRAW
ASU again had a pair of runners in scoring position in the tenth, mounting a two out rally behind Hunter Haas and Joe Lampe but a bang-bang play at first ended the threat on a groundout. Blake Pivaroff had mowed down six straight Wildcat batters, send the game to extra innings and doing his part to give his offense a chance. After getting the first out in the bottom of the tenth, the Wildcat cleanup hitter Chase Davis launched a no doubter to deep right field to send the Wildcats home victorious.
- ASU recorded double-digit hits for the eight-straight game and 14th time in the last 15 games.
- Ryan Campos and Joe Lampe extended their hitting streaks to eight straight games.
- Nate Baez added his Pac-12 leading 17th double of the season. He also reached base for the 17th consecutive game, the longest active streak on the team currently.
- ASU had three doubles, giving the team multiple doubles 26 times in 39 games this year.
- With the loss, ASU is now 1-7 in one-run games this season.
Sean McLain and Conor Davis recorded hits and ASU had a pair in scoring position but a groundout ended the threat. Arizona loaded the bases with no outs to put the pressure on early but Tulloch got a huge backwards K against the Wildcat cleanup hitter. Ethan Long made a head's up play to go home on a fielder's choice and then McLain made a huge throw across his body for the third out to get ASU out of the frame unscathed.
ASU got a leadoff single from Tobias but he was easily wiped off the basepath after misreading a ball in the dirt. Nate Baez singled but a double play ended the threat. Arizona again got a pair on with no outs after a blown call at first. Tulloch would get the next two outs but a two-RBI single would bring two unearned runs across to make it 2-0. Tulloch stranded a pair to get out of the inning without more damage done.
ASU went down in order. Another twoout rally doomed the Devils as Tulloch was a strike away from a 1-23 inning before giving up a single to the seven-hole hitter. Two more singles would score a run and and then the Wildcats got a bases-loaded HBP to make it 4-0 before Tulloch got a strikeout to strand the bases loaded.
ASU got one the board with back-to-back doubles from Ethan Long and Conor Davis but stranded runners on the corners to keep it at 4-1. Tulloch got a much-needed quiet frame, striking out the side.
ASU capitalized on some wild pitching from the Wildcats in the fifth, scoring two runs despite having just one hit in the inning as Hunter Haas and Joe Lampe both scored on wild pitches. That said, ASU did strand the bases loaded in the frame and were unable to complete close the gap despite getting within 4-3. The would be some more drama for the Devils as Arizona put two on with two outs. ASU went to Christian Bodlovich to get out of the jam and get out of it he did, issuing a ground out to keep ASU within a run.
A flyout, walk, double-play was the extent of business for the Sun Devil offense. Bodlovich gave up a one-out double but got a big groundout back to himself and a flyout to enter to keep ASU within a run.
Joe Lampe got a leadoff single and moved over on a sac bunt but a groundout quickly put ASU at two outs in the frame. Davis came to the dish to a chorus of boo's after some words were exchanged over at first in the previous inning and Davis quickly went down 1-2 on a daddy hack that the crowd reveled in. The super senior quickly silenced them on the next pitch with a massive blast over the scoreboard in left field got the go-ahead shot and a 5-4 lead. Jared Glenn still had his work cut out with him in the bottom half after a pair of leadoff singles. A strikeout got the first out and both runners moved to scoring position on a groundout but the sophomore got a massive flyout on a hard-hit ball to center that Joe Lampe ran down to get out of the frame unscathed.
Nate Baez led off with his team-leading 17th double of the year and took third on Kai Murphy's sac bunt. Hunter Haas brought him in with an RBI single though he was wiped off the base path on a tough-luck line out into a double play by Lampe, despite the 6-4 lead. The Wildcats came back with an RBI triple followed by an RBI single to tie the game. Pivaroff was able to get a pair of strikeouts to keep the game tied at 6-6, however.
ASU got a pair of leadoff singles from McLain and Long but lined into three loud flyouts to left, right and center on 97, 98 and 100 MPH exit speeds. Pivaroff was able to retire the Wildcats in order to send the game to extras, tied at 6-6.
ASU tried to work a two-out rally with a walk, single and both moving into scoring position on wild pitch but a groundout ended the threat. After getting a 108 mph lineout to center for the first out, Pivaroff could not stave off the Wildcat offense as Chase Davis gave one a ride for a walk-off homer on the next batter.
The Sun Devils will look to even the series in what is now a crucial game to keep in contention down the stretch over the last month of the season. The two teams square off tomorrow at 5 p.m. AZT on the Pac-12 Network. Kyle Luckham will square off on the mound against Arizona Chandler Murphy.