(Photo: Dominic Cotroneo/WCSN)
Coming off a 6-4 win on Friday night against the second-place team in the Pac-12, Arizona State came out against the California Golden Bears on Saturday and were dealt a tough extra-inning loss 8-4.
ASU got on the board in the second inning thanks to designated hitter Sebastian Zawada’s first home run and RBI since March 12, followed up by a Gage Canning RBI single later in the inning to make the score 2-0.
Sun Devil starting pitcher Eli Lingos, having thrown 16 pitches on Friday night, battled through plenty of Cal scoring chances and delivered a gutsy start for head coach Tracy Smith. The sophomore lasted six-plus innings, scattering 11 hits and giving up two runs to go along with one walk and four strikeouts.
Cal scraped a run across in the fifth on a Mitchell Kranson RBI single, then took the lead in the seventh when Kranson doubled to deep center and scored Brian Celsi. Kranson then came around to score himself after an error at first base by David Greer off the bat of Brett Cumberland.
The Devils saved their best for for the ninth inning, with Chris Beall singling home pinch hitter Zach Cerbo to make the score 4-3, and Andrew Snow doubling him home off of Cal closer Erik Martinez.
Eder Erives worked a clean 10th inning, but gave up solo home runs to Celsi and Robbie Tenerowicz in the 11th making the score 6-4 Cal. RBI from Nick Halamandaris and Aaron Knapp followed to make the score 8-4.
Player of the Game: Mitchell Kranson. The Cal left fielder went 4-6 with two doubles and two RBI. His RBI single in the fifth got Cal on the board, and his RBI double in the seventh tied the game at 2 after Lingos had departed. He roped his second double following the Celsi and Tenerowicz home runs and came in to score to give Cal a three-run lead heading into the bottom of the 11th.
Unsung Hero: Eli Lingos. After throwing 2/3 of an inning in the opening game of the series, the sophomore battled his way through six plus innings, scattering 11 hits and only giving up two runs. He did all he could to put ASU in a position to win for the final innings.
You Knew It Was Over When: Celsi and Tenerowicz launched home runs in a span of three batters against Erives in the 11th.
Stat of the Night: With no announced starter for the Sunday series finale, head coach Tracy Smith had to use seven total pitchers in this game. It may have eliminated Eder Erives from being available for the rubber match of the series, as he threw 21 pitches after throwing 22 in Friday’s win.
Biggest Concern for ASU: Arizona State went 4-20 with runners on base and 2-13 with 2 outs. They wasted plenty of opportunities to extend the lead for Lingos but couldn’t cash in. While Beall and Snow did deliver with runners on and two outs to tie the game in the ninth, it wasn’t enough to get the series win wrapped up for ASU.
What’s Up Next?: ASU will wrap up the series with California tomorrow at 12:30 PM.
Bobby Kraus is a baseball beat reporter for the Walter Cronkite Sports Network. You can follow him on Twitter @bobbykraus22