Photo: Blaine McCormick/WCSN
The Arizona State baseball team began its second home series of Pac-12 play Friday night, when they welcomed 2013 national champion UCLA to Phoenix Municipal Stadium for a three-game series.
Coming off a 5-4 comeback win against UNLV on Tuesday, the Sun Devils were stymied by UCLA pitching all night long, dropping the series opener 9-3.
Eli Lingos took the hill for head coach Tracy Smith and ran into a bit of trouble early, allowing three runs in the top of the second inning. Three walks from Lingos, an error from Carter Aldrete, and singles from Chase Strumpf and Ryan Kreidler spotted UCLA an early 3-0 lead.
Arizona State responded in their half of the third, with Hunter Bishop managing a sacrifice fly that scored Gage Canning to cut UCLA’s lead to 3-1. The Bruins answered back the next half inning, with Daniel Rosica coming around to score on a Daniel Amaral single.
ASU cut the lead to two again in the bottom of the fifth, with Bishop picking up his second RBI by singling home Canning, making the score 4-2.
Lingos (3-2) was pulled with two outs in the sixth inning, giving way to Jake Godfrey to record the final out of the frame. The junior finished his seventh start of the year with 5.2 innings, allowing five hits and four runs (two earned).
UCLA starter Griffin Canning (2-1) fared much better as he kept ASU hitter off balance throughout, departing with runners on first and third with one out in the eighth.
The Sun Devils pulled within 4-3 in the eighth with Aldrete’s sacrifice fly scoring pinch runner Jackson Willeford, after Lyle Lin led off the frame with a walk. The inning came to an end with Gage Canning in a potential game-tying situation before pinch runner Garvin Alston, Jr. was picked off at second base.
The Bruins added five more runs in the top of the ninth, with Michael Toglia earning a bases-loaded walk, followed by a Strumpf sacrifice fly and a Kriedler single to make the score 8-3. Grant Schneider allowed the fifth run on a Brett Stephens single.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Griffin Canning. The UCLA junior hurled 7.1 innings, scattered seven hits and allowed just two runs while striking out nine.
UNSUNG HERO: Hunter Bishop. The freshman knocked in both runs for Arizona State, continuing to provide stability for Smith since he was inserted into the lead-off spot.
YOU KNEW IT WAS OVER WHEN: Chris Isbell allowed three runs in the top of the ninth, giving UCLA and Jake Bird plenty of cushion for the bottom half to finish off ASU in game 2.
STAT OF THE NIGHT: In a true pitcher’s duel, Zach Cerbo’s double in the seventh inning was the only extra-base hit of the night for either team.
BIGGEST CONCERN: Five walks for Lingos. The junior came into the night having allowed only eight all season. The three he allowed in the second inning came back to sting, as the early 3-0 deficit proved insurmountable for ASU.
WHAT’S UP NEXT? Game 2 of the series, with Chaz Montoya making his second career start for ASU opposed by UCLA’s Moises Ceja. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30.
Bobby Kraus is a baseball beat reporter for the Walter Cronkite Sports Network. You can follow him on Twitter @bobbykraus22