(Photo: Dominic Cotroneo/WCSN)
After coming out victorious in game one on Friday, ASU dropped game two of the series against rival Arizona 4-2.
Offense was hard to come by, as ASU did not score until the eighth inning and had only one total extra-base hit.
The pitching didn’t help their cause, as starting pitcher Eli Lingos wasn’t at his best and the bullpen battled control problems.
UA scored their first two runs in the fifth inning on a sacrifice fly and an RBI single. An RBI single by Kyle Lewis in the following inning followed by a run-scoring ground out added on to their lead.
The Sun Devils tried to mount a come back in the eighth on a home run by Sebastian Zawada and an RBI single by David Greer, but ultimately came up short.
Player of the Game: UA starting pitcher JC Cloney. He stifled the bats of the Sun Devils for the first seven innings of his outing before they were able to tack on a pair in the eighth. Cloney did not walk anyone and allowed just six hits over 7 and 2/3 innings, earning the win in the process.
Unsung Hero: Sebastian Zawada. Home run number seven tied him with Colby Woodmansee for the team lead. It was the only hit of the day for him but it ended the shutout and was the first sign of ASU solving Cloney. The home run was a positive sign for the designated hitter after he went 0-for-4 in the series opener.
You knew it was over when: Andrew Snow struck out with the bases loaded in the eighth inning. Entering the frame the Sun Devils were down four runs before eventually slicing the deficit in half. They were threatening to tie the game or take the lead, but Bobby Dalbec fanned Snow to end the rally and keep the lead for the Wildcats.
Biggest Concern: Eli Lingos has had a season mired in inconsistency, and while today wasn’t his worst start of the season, he was not particularly sharp either. He has shown overall improvement in his performance, but the Sun Devils need more production from the No. 2 starter. The left-hander allowed three runs in 5 and 1/3 innings and walked four hitters.
Stat of the Night: Eight walks issued by the pitching staff is not a recipe for success. Lingos was responsible for half of those, while freshman relievers Fitz Stadler and Chris Isbell combined for four walks total, including three in the eighth inning. For comparison, the Sun Devil hitters walked just once. Only two of the eight hitters that earned free passes came around to score, but this is troubling habit for the pitching staff.
What’s Next?: The rubber match between the two teams will be on Sunday at 3:00, with big Pac-12 implications in play.