Sixth Inning Dooms Baseball in 7-5 Loss at #13 UCLA
LOS ANGELES – For the second consecutive game, the sixth inning spelled doom for Sun Devil Baseball as No. 13 UCLA scored four runs in the frame to take a lead it wouldn't relinquish in a 7-5 loss on Saturday afternoon in Los Angeles.
Joe Lampe went 3-for-5 on the day and Ryan Campos added two hits and a run. Nate Baez scored twice and recorded his fifth home run of the year.
Kyle Luckham staved off a shaky start where he struggled with command and a tight strike zone to give ASU 5.1 innings with just three runs allowed. Blake Pivaroff was efficient in relief with 2.0 innings with three runs allowed and being credited with one earned run.
Walks proved to be ASU's undoing, as all four innings in which the Bruins scored were made possible due to eight free passes issued by Sun Devil pitching
A solo shot from Nate Baez and some sloppy play by UCLA combined with savvy baserunning from the Devils led to three runs in the top of the fifth to give ASU a 5-2 advantage. Stops after scores have been an area of trouble for ASU all season and Saturday would provide no different. Kyle Luckham got the first out of the bottom half of the inning on one pitch. But a four-pitch walk would end his day after 5.1 innings. Will Levine simply didn't have it in relief, issuing a walk and a single to load the bases with no outs.
THE BIG MOMENT
Cody Schrier made ASU pay for the free passes with a base-clearing three RBI double to tie the game with one swing of the bat. That was immediately followed by a Jake Palmer go-ahead RBI double to make it 6-5 and a lead UCLA would not relinquish.
THE FINAL STRAW
ASU got runners on the corners with one out in the seventh but a strikeout and groundout ended the threat. The Devils would put the tying run in scoring position in the eighth as well but couldn't capitalize. UCLA did in the bottom half, however, getting a two-out RBI single in a frame aided by two walks to get the decisive insurance and make it 7-5.
- ASU drew three walks in the second inning, notable as UCLA allowed just 2.9 walks PER GAME entering the weekend. It was just the second time this season UCLA starter Ethan Flanagan had allowed three walks in a game in 18 appearances.
- Joe Lampe picked up a hit in his 13th straight game, the active team lead in the category.
- It was ASU's 21st game this season that game down to 1 or 2 runs in the final score, surpassing the team's total of 20 from last year. 13 of ASU's 24 losses this year have come by 1 or 2 runs.
The Devils went down quietly in order. Luckham ran into trouble right away after a soft leadoff single, loading the bases on a walk and hit-by-pitch and struggling with a tight strike zone. A bases loaded walk would get UCLA on the board but Luckham got a fielder's choice to strand the bases loaded.
UCLA struggled with control of its own in the top of the second. Ryan Campos got things started with a leadoff double followed by an HBP and a walk. Kai Murphy and Cam Magee would both draw one-out RBI walks to take a 2-1 lead though ASU would leave the bases stranded. Luckham gave up a one-out infield single, HBP and walk that set the table for a sac fly to tie the game.
The Devils went down in order. Luckham posted his first clean inning of the game, adding a pair of strikeouts in the process.
Kai Murphy gave one a ride to the warning track with two outs but ASU went down in order despite the hard-hit ball. However, Luckham answered with a 1-2-3 inning of his own to keep things even at 2-2.
Lampe extended his hitting streak to 13 straight games with a one-out single but back-to-back strikeouts would end the threat. Luckham stranded a one-out walk to keep things even.
It was a chaotic from for the Sun Devils in the best possible sense, starting with a one-out solo shot from Nate Baez as he shook off a tough strike call that put him down 0-2 and launched a line drive over the left field wall to give ASU a 3-2 lead. Will Rogers reached on what should have been an easy inning-ending pop out to the second basemen to extend the frame. UCLA went to the bullpen, trying to take advantage of three lefties due up in the ASU order but Kai Murphy wore one on the small of his back to put two on. Cam Magee was ejected from the game following some choice words for the umpire after a questionable foul ball call on an inside pitch. Alex Champagne stepped into the box with no notice but before he got settled, ASU called for a double steal in the confusion and Will Rogers took third. The throw sailed into the dugout, allowing Rogers to score and moving Murphy to third. Champagne also shook off a questionable foul tip and sent a single up the middle to make it a 5-2 game.
Unfortunately ASU had no answer in the bottom half. A one-out walk ended the day for Kyle Luckham, followed by another walk and a single to load the bases. UCLA cleared them with a double into the gap in right center, followed by another RBI double to make it 6-5.
ASU wasn't going quietly after allowing the UCLA rally, reaching on a leadoff error and soft single up the middle and had runners on the corners with one out as the Bruins went to the pen. After a strikeout, ASU ran into some terrible luck as Will Rogers smoked a ball back down Broadway that would have brought in the tying run if not for the fact it hit the pitcher and didn't roll far enough say to cause an damage as UCLA got the 1-3 putout at first to escape the game. Pivaroff put together a 1-2-3 frame with a pair of strikeouts to keep ASU within a run.
Joe Lampe got a two-out single and stole second but was stranded there on a strikeout. UCLA got some insurance in an inning that was again stretched out due to a pair of walks, scoring on a two-out RBI single to make it 7-5.
ASU put a couple good swings on some balls, but they would simply be loud outs as the team went down in order.