(Photo: Nicole Hernandez/WCSN)
Despite outhitting the country’s 13th-best team, the Arizona State Sun Devils were unable to scrape out a victory against the Stanford Cardinal, as they fell 7-5.
The Cardinal scored early and often in the game, plating three runs in the first three innings, giving them a 3-0 lead before ASU could get on the scoreboard.
The Devils scored five runs, but never more than one run in an inning. The Cardinal also scored in five different innings, however they scored three in the fifth on a three-run home run from Matt Winaker.
For ASU, the big offense came in the form of Andrew Shaps, who went 3-3 with two walks and a solo home run that tied him for the team lead with five. Gage Canning also had a multi-hit game with two knocks and a solo home run of his own as well.
Starter Eder Erives could not make it out of the second inning, as he only pitched and inning and a third, before giving way to Jake Godfrey, who finished the inning. Ryan Hingst came on in relief and threw six innings that while were rough, helped rest the bullpen.
Garvin Alston Jr. pitched a scoreless ninth and gave ASU a chance to win but despite bringing the game-winning run to the plate, the Sun Devil offense was not able to capitalize, as Colton Hock notched his 13th save of the season.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Matt Winaker. While he only had one hit, is one hit was a big one, as his three-run blast in the fifth inning was the difference in the game, without that, Stanford would have lost.
UNSUNG HERO: Ryan Hingst. Looking at the box score, his performance was not impressive by any means. However, he had his longest outing of the season, going six innings in relief. What makes him the unsung hero is the rest he gave the bullpen. With all of the struggles ASU’s bullpen has had this season and the multitude of use they have been forced to endure, his extended outing gave them much-needed rest on a Friday. Going forward, this will pay dividends for ASU’s pitching staff, bullpen and team as a whole.
YOU KNEW IT WAS OVER WHEN: Zach Cerbo grounded into a double play to end the game. ASU battled all night long and appeared to have a rally going in the ninth, as they brought the game-winning run to the plate with no outs, but Cerbo’s groundout killed all momentum that the Sun Devils had.
STAT OF THE DAY: All nine ASU starters reached base, with eight of the nine recording hits. It was an all-around team effort, as five different players had at least two hits.
BIGGEST CONCERN: The big hit. ASU outhit the Cardinal 14-12, but scored fewer runs than Stanford. They left 12 runners on base and never scored more than one run in an inning. They were hitting the ball hard all night long, but could not get the big or timely hit, or even big inning. Going forward, especially against tough teams, it’ll be crucial that they score runs when the game is close.
WHAT’S UP NEXT? ASU hosts the Cardinal for the second game of the three-game series tomorrow evening. Saturday’s first pitch will be at 6:30 once again. Eli Lingos is the probable starter for ASU, Andrew Summerville is slated to start the game for the Cardinal.
Nick Badders is a baseball beat writer for the Walter Cronkite Sports Network. You can follow him on Twitter @BadderUpSports.