Baseball Drops Tough Tourney Opener to #3 Stanford
SCOTTSDALE – Sun Devil Baseball battled to the end against third-ranked Stanford, but could not pull off the upset in a tough 6-3 defeat in the opening game of the inaugural Pac-12 Baseball Tournament in at Scottsdale Stadium in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Stanford – the top-seed in the tourney – hit the go-ahead two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh and added another two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth to come from behind for the win and force the eighth-seeded Sun Devils into a elimination game tomorrow against the Oregon Ducks at 9 a.m. AZT.
Kyle Luckham gave the Sun Devils a valiant effort on the mound, going 6.0 innings with seven strikeouts and just two runs allowed on seven hits and exiting the game with a 3-2 lead.
It was ASU's true freshmen who did much of the work on the day on offense as Ryan Campos recorded three hits and Jacob Tobias and Will Rogers each had two. Rogers had a go-ahead RBI double in the sixth and Hunter Haas added an RBI as well.
ASU stranded 11 runners in the game and was just 1-for-17 with runners in scoring position – easily the difference in the game.
The Sun Devils broke a 1-1 tie in the sixth with a RBI double from Rogers that scored Tobias from first and an RBI single from Haas to make it 3-1. Stanford got one back in the bottom of the sixth but ASU had a chance to open things up in the seventh, loading the bases but stranding them loaded to keep the game at 3-2. Stanford made the Devils pay for the opening with a leadoff single followed by a mammoth homer in the bottom of the seventh to take a 4-3 lead it wouldn't relinquish.
ASU had a chance to even things in the eighth as Lampe doubled off the wall in right center and tried to turn it into three. He was called out on the tag at third, giving ASU two outs with no runners on instead of a one out and a runner on third in a one-run game. The play went to video review and it appeared Lampe might have avoided the tag just in time to touch third but the replay was inconclusive and the call stood.
Stanford got the insurance it needed in the bottom of the eighth with another towering two-run homer to center field that made it 6-3 and a much more comfortable lead for the ninth. ASU threatened with two on and no outs but a double play and strikeout quickly ended the hopes of the comeback.
- Kyle Luckham induced his team-leading 13th double play of the season in the bottom of the sixth.
- ASU reached double-digit hits for the 26th time in the last 32 games and 35th time in 56 games this season.
- With his 6.0 innings today, Kyle Luckham officially gave ASU 5.0+ innings in every start except for week one against Dixie State (on a pitch count with first game) and in the series opener against Stanford (ejected in second).
INNING BY INNING
ASU got a pair of one-out singles from Sean McLain and Nate Baez but a double play ended the threat. Luckham got an out on the first pitch of the game and a strikeout and flyout retired the side in order.
Davis laced a line drive to left but was robbed of extra bases on a diving catch from the left fielder. Tobias did, however, follow with a double to left center. A strikeout and a pop fly kept ASU off the board. A leadoff single through the left side by Stanford would be stranded at second following a stolen base as Luckham struck out the side.
ASU went down quietly and quickly in order in the third. Stanford got a one-out single to turn the order around but Luckham got the dangerous 1-2 combo of Brock Jones and Carter Graham to ground out and strikeout, respectively, stranding the runner second.
Campos led off with his second single of the game and took third on a failed pickoff attempt that rolled into foul territory after the first baseman lost his footing. Baez drew a walk to put runners on the corners with no outs. But the next three batters went down in orderto squander the chance. Luckham continued to impress, tossing another 1-2-3 frame.
The Sun Devils broke through first, starting with a leadoff single from Will Rogers and then moving to second on Haas' sac bunt. With two outs, the Stanford third basemen sailed his throw to first on McLain's ground ball, allowing Rogers to score and ASU to get on the board first. Stanford had an answer as the normally sure-handed Joe Lampe misjudged a deep fly ball to center and the ball popped in and out of his glove for a triple that would immediately score on an RBI single after that. A Texas League single put runners on the corners with one out and the top of the order coming to the dish. Luckham got a huge strikeout against Jones but loaded the bases with two outs with his first walk of the game. Luckham got a fielder's choice to get out of the jam and keep the game even at 1-1.
ASU struck right back with a one-out single from Tobias. With two outs Rogers laced one to left center and Tobias got on his horse to beat the tag at the plate and putting the Devils back up by a run. Haas followed with an 0-1 RBI single to score Rogers and give ASU a 3-1 lead. Again, Stanford punched right back with a liner off Luckham for an infield single and a walk followed by an RBI chopper down the left field line. With runners on first and second and no outs, Luckham buckled in to get an infield fly and then induced his team-leading 13th double play ball of the year to keep ASU on top by a run.
A leadoff single from Campos and a walk by Baez put two on with no outs. An infield fly was followed by a flyout to center that moved Campos to third and Murphy drew a walk to load the bases with two outs hut a flyout stranded them loaded. That would come back to haunt ASU and Stanford led off with a single and a homer off Pivaroff to take its first lead of the game, 4-3. Pivaroff did set the next three batters down, including a huge throw from Rogers in left field to hose a runner trying to take an extra base at second.
Joe Lampe got a one-out double but was thrown out trying to extend it to a triple, a play that was upheld upon video review as ASU eventually went down in order. It was déjà vu for the Devils in the bottom half as Stanford led off with a single up the middle before a massive two-run homer to center made it 6-3. ASU made a couple nice defensive plays to stay within reach, including a caught stealing and a double play.
ASU was in business with a leadoff walk from Campos followed by Baez taking an HBP. But a double play and a strikeout wiped out any chance of a comeback.