(Photo: Dominic Cotroneo/WCSN)
In the Pac-12 Conference opener for Arizona State Thursday night, the Sun Devils battled No. 2 Oregon State in the first game of a three-game series, but fell to the Beavers 2-0.
Eli Lingos started the game for ASU and allowed two first inning runs, a trend the Sun Devils have experienced on a consistent basis as of late. However, Lingos was able to settle down after allowing two hits in the first, as the southpaw threw 116 pitches in the game over seven innings, his last six being scoreless frames.
Lingos retired his last eight batters and 12 of his last 14, allowing six hits and two walks, while striking out five in the contest.
Luke Heimlich was the starting pitcher for the OSU Beavers and entered Thursday night having only allowed one run in 28 and 2/3 innings in his four starts. Heimlich was nothing short of dominant in the series opener, pitching the first eight innings without allowing a run.
The ASU offense could not muster up much of anything all night long, with the team’s only two hits coming in the fifth and sixth innings, from the bats of Andrew Snow and Andrew Shaps, respectively.
After Eli Lingos exited the game, Ryan Hingst pitched the next inning and a third, as he allowed two hits and no runs, giving way to Connor Higgins, who got the final two outs in the top of the ninth. Max Engelbrekt faced the Devils in the bottom of the ninth, retiring ASU’s 2-3-4 hitters in order to earn his fifth save of the season.
Player of the Game: Luke Heimlich. Oregon State’s starter threw eight shutout innings, as he allowed just two hits and two walks, while striking out eight Sun Devil batters en route to his fourth win of the season.
Unsung Hero: Trevor Larnach. The OSU first baseman doubled in the game’s first run, back in the first inning and went 2-4 on the night.
You knew it was over when: Gage Canning grounded out to end the eighth inning. Replay showed that Canning beat the throw on the bang-bang play by a half step and this play was a representation of the entire night for the Sun Devils, as nothing seemed to be going right for them all night long.
Biggest Concern: First inning runs. While the 11 allowed against Long Beach State did not hurt them in the end, this is their fifth straight game having allowed at least two first-inning runs.
Stat of the Day: Including tonight’s game, Arizona State has allowed 15 first-inning runs in their last five games, dating back to March 8th’s game against Cal State Fullerton.
What’s Next?: The series continues tomorrow, as ASU looks to tie things up. First pitch for game two is at 4:00 P.M. and Spencer Van Scoyoc is scheduled to start for the Sun Devils.
Nick Badders is a baseball beat writer for the Walter Cronkite Sports Network. You can follow him on Twitter @BadderUpSports.