Sun Devils Outlast Utes in 6-3 Middle Game
PHOENIX – Utah was even with Arizona State for most of the night, but it was a three-run eighth inning for the Sun Devils that broke a 3-3 tie as the Utes fell by a 6-3 score on Saturday at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. The three-game series between the teams will conclude on Sunday, May 8 with first pitch at 1:30 p.m. MDT (12:30 p.m. in Phoenix).
Leadoff man and right fielder Kai Roberts led Utah (25-19-1, 10-13 Pac-12) with a 3-for-5 performance including an RBI triple. First baseman Alex Baeza was 2-for-3 with a run scored, joining Roberts with a multi-hit evening. Center fielder Dakota Duffalo, hitting nine-hole, contributed a two-run triple and scored a run on Roberts' three-bagger.
Right hander Jaden Harris went 5.2 innings in his no-decision start, allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits and two walks with two strikeouts. Lefty Micah Ashman (2-1) came on for two innings of relief and Zac McCleve also appeared during the eighth inning.
ASU broke the ice in the bottom of the first with a pair of runs. A double through the left side gave the Sun Devils a 1-0 lead, then an RBI ground out came in the aftermath of an error for the home club to double the advantage.
Utah took a 3-2 lead in its next turn at bat. After a single by Baeza and four-pitch walk to Richardson, Duffalo laced a triple to the gap in right center to plate a pair of runs and tie the score. With the lineup turning over to Roberts, the Utes' leadoff man put the first pitch down the right field line and into the corner for a triple of his own. It went down as the first three-bagger as a Ute for Duffalo, and Roberts' second of the 2022 season.
The bottom of the second would see the score leveled once again on an RBI groundout for ASU.
From that point until the eighth inning the game cruised at the 3-3 score, though both sides threatened along the way with runners in scoring position. In the top of the eighth, Utah had two on and two out, with Roberts stepping into the batter's box. He put a single into right field, but a bang-bang play at the plate went ASU's way to end the inning and leave the score at three-apiece.
In the bottom of the eighth the Sun Devils broke the deadlock with three straight two-out RBI singles.
Utah now has combined for 16 triples as a team this season, the most for the club since the 2018 team recorded 19 triples.
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