Baseball Comes to Close in Heartbreaking Loss to Rival
SCOTTSDALE – Sun Devil Baseball saw its season end in heartbreaking fashion after an epic back-and-forth affair with rival Arizona, falling in an 8-6 decision in an elimination game in the inaugural Pac-12 Baseball Tournament on Friday at Scottsdale Stadium.
After the Sun Devils took a 6-5 lead in the top of the seventh on a Ryan Campos two-RBI double, the Wildcats answered in the bottom of the eighth with a two-out, bases loaded and base-clearing triple to go ahead for good, 8-6.
Campos finished 3-for-4 on the day with four RBIs. Joe Lampe had two doubles on is three hits and Sean McLain added three hits of his own.
Christian Bodlovich gave ASU 2.2 scoreless innings of relief in the middle of the game and ASU's bullpen allowed just three hits over the final 5.2 innings after a five-run Wildcat third inning.
Trailing 5-2, the Sun Devils scored two in the fifth and two in the seventh to retake the lead before the decisive eighth inning.
Ryan Campos has been electric against Arizona all season and he almost single-handedly did the Wildcats in on Friday. Right out the gates, ASU got a single and a double from Joe Lampe and Sean McLain and Campos brought both across with a single through the right side. In the seventh it was a little déjà vu as Lampe doubled and McLain took a pitch off the elbow and the freshmen laced a two-RBI double to right center to give ASU a 6-5 lead.
Blake Pivaroff entered in the seventh tossed a big 1-2-3 frame to retire the top of the Wildcat lineup after the big Sun Devil half of the inning. Pivaroff walked the first two batters of the eighth and ASU went to Brock Peery out of the bullpen. A sac bunt moved both into scoring position and an intentional walk loaded the bases with one out. ASU intentionally walked the bases full and got a quick first pitch pop foul fly to get the second out. The Arizona nine-hole hitter got a hold of the second pitch he saw and laced a ball to center. Joe Lampe misread the play off the bat and took a step forward instead of back and that proved to be the difference as the ball sailed over his head and all three runs scored on a triple to make it 8-6.
Campos drew a two-out infield single but ASU was unable to do more than that with a groundout ending the game.
- Sean McLain was hit by his 21st pitch of the season, the third-most at ASU since 1998.
- Joe Lampe added two doubles on the day, taking the lead in the ASU clubhouse with 22 on the season. He and Nate Baez are the first Sun Devils since 2010 to have 20+ doubles and 10+ homers in a season. They are the only dup to do it in the SAME season since at least 1998.
- The 22 doubles are tied for the eighth-most at ASU since the 1998 season.
- ASU recorded double-digit hits for the 28th time in the last 34 games and the 37th time in 58 games this year.
- Ryan Campos went 10-for-20 in five games against the Wildcats this year.
ASU wasted absolutely no time in this one, ripping off three straight base hits to lead off the game with a single from Lampe, a double from McLain and a two-RBI single back up the middle from Campos for a quick 2-0 lead. ASU would run itself off the bases two batters later but answered in the bottom half of the frame. Baez made a great back-handed stab on a ball up the middle, set his feet and got the out at first. Tulloch struck out Daniel Susac but slip trying to field the next ballon a high chopper over the mound. Sean McLain scooped the ball and made an incredible throw while falling down that was picked for the out at first and a 1-2-3 frame.
The Devils went down in order ion the top of the second. Tulloch stranded a two-out walk with a backwards K in another hitless frame.
A leadoff HBP and two-out walk from Campos both ended up stranded on base. After a leadoff strikeout, the Wildcats turned the order around on a pair of misses on two-strike counts, a single to the 9-hole hitter on an 0-2 count and an HBP on a 1-2 count against the leadoff batter. That would bite the Devils as Susac launched an opposite field three-run shot, immediately followed by another oppo taco from O'Tremba to make it 4-2. Another single would cause ASU to go to the pen. Arizona added another on a sac fly to make it 5-2.
ASU got a bloop leadoff single from Conor Davis but that was the extent of the action. Bodlovich worked around a two-out error from his shortstop to get through the frame unscathed.
Joe Lampe got a one out double down the right field line and then had some head's up baserunning on an infield single from McLain that was booted by the shortstop and Lampe never took his foot off the brakes, easily scoring despite the ball not rolling too far away. Nate Baez would add a two-out RBI single to bring ASU within 5-4. Willie Bloomquist made his second successful challenge of the week on a bang-bang play at first base that was overturned for the first out for Bodlovich. Bodlovich worked around a two-out walk to get a flyout to the warning track to Lampe and keep ASU within a run.
ASU went down on just seven pitches. Will Levine entered and found himself in a jam right out the gates with a single up the middle and an HBP. But the veteran induced his 10th double play of the year and got a ground out to escape the frame.
The top of the order continued to keep ASU in this. Lampe doubled to left field on a chopper over the third baseman and McLain drew a HBP to bring up Campos who laced a two-RBI double to right center to make it 6-5. Blake Pivaroff came in and retired the top of the Wildcat order on nine pitches to keep ASU on top.
Will Rogers got a two-out single but was stranded on the basepath. A pair of leadoff walks followed by an intentional walk to load the bases would prove to be ominous after an infield pop fly. The Wildcat nine-hole hitter laced a ball to dead center with the outfield playing in. Lampe took a step forward on his initial move and that would doom the Sun Devils as the ball would clear his head and allow all three baserunners to score on a triple to take a 8-6 lead.
Campos got a two-out single, his third hit of the day but a ground out kept ASU from causing any late theatrics.