(Photo: Gabrielle Mercer/WCSN)
The game could have been a lot uglier a lot faster for a team that doesn’t mind to “win ugly.” Considering ASU could only push one run across in the bottom of the first when, at one point, the bases were loaded with one out.
The problem is it got ugly the other way around and on the other end of the line score.
Arizona State allowed five runs (the last three of them unearned) in the top of the ninth inning to keep UC Davis alive and force extra innings.
Arizona State’s (11-3) was sitting pretty until the ninth inning. Not a single UC Davis (5-8) base runner had reached third base until the final frame. Tracy Smith started the inning with his fourth pitcher of the night in freshman Gio Lopez. The righty was making his first appearance as a Sun Devil and allowed the first two runners aboard.
Smith was quick with the hook to bring in Eric Melbostad. He allowed his two runners to reach on RBI singles and he was given the hook. So the skipper went to his closer in a game he never imagined he would need him. Erives blew the save due in part to a passed ball, an error on the second baseman David Greer, two seeing-eye singles, and a sac fly to center to tie the game.
A two-out rally spawned thanks to the veteran middle order of Greer, Woodmansee, and Serven. The junior catcher delivered the walk-off single on a chopper up the middle to score Greer and send everyone home.
Player of the game:
Hard to choose between Gage Canning and Eli Lingos considering both played admirably. The freshman Canning went 3-3 and drove in three runs on one swing – a bases loaded triple. However the lefty Lingos should not be ignored. He went six shutout innings scattering four hits, and collecting five strikeouts. He also has only allowed one run over his last 13 and 2/3 innings.
Ryan Lillard. Sure he only had one official at bat, but his two-out, full count walk extended the third inning for Canning to deliver his big triple. He also played fine defense in left field and threw in a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning.
You knew it was over when:
Well we thought it was over when Gage Canning reached third base on his feet, clearing the bases for a 4-0 lead. Obviously that was not the case. It was over when Serven hit the last pitch of the game up the middle.
Biggest concern for ASU:
What is the plan moving forward for the back end of the ASU bullpen? Considering how strong they were on Wednesday in the 2-1, 14 inning win over Cal State Fullerton, they looked like the bullpen that blew the save to Eastern Michigan last Saturday. There are questions to be answered still before conference play.
Stat of the night:
There were 24 combined hits in the game. Three were for extra bases and two of those were triples. In fact all of the extra bases belonged to ASU. All 11 hits for UC Davis were singles.
Game two of the series Saturday night at 6:30 MST from Phoenix Muni.
You can follow the writer on Twitter @Dom_Cotroneo