(Photo: Gabrielle Mercer/WCSN)
After winning the series with a walk-off win last night, the Sun Devils (28-16, 11-10) dropped the finale to Oregon 12-2 (22-19, 10-11) on Sunday.
Zach Dixon got the nod on the rubber and struggled, issuing two walks, two hits and three earned runs in his first inning of work.
After hitting a batter and issuing his third walk of the game in the second inning, Dixon was replaced by Eric Melbostad and watched two additional base runners cross the plate for Oregon.
He was charged with five runs, all earned, in 1 1/3 innings of work.
The pitching struggles didn’t stop there – Melbostad recorded just two outs, giving up three hits and two walks in the process before being pulled in favor of Reagan Todd.
Todd was forced to work with the bags jammed, and with the exception of a run scoring on a miscue by Brian Serven, was able to leave the inning, for the most part, unscathed.
On the day, Todd struck out seven of the 14 batters he faced in 3 1/3 innings.
The seven pitchers deployed — Ryan Hingst, Chris Isbell, Fitz Stadler and Connor Higgins also saw action — issued a combined 10 walks and 11 hits.
Despite a couple of runs from the Sun Devils, they were never able to climb out of five-run hole they were in early.
Colby Woodmansee was credited with both of the team’s two errors today at shortstop.
Even with the loss in the finale, the Sun Devils have still won nine of their last 12 and have won their last four series, three of which were against conference opponents.
Arizona State will get a midweek break against UNLV on the road before jumping back into conference play against Arizona.
Arizona currently ranks third in the Pac-12, followed by Arizona State.
Player of the Game: Mike Mercer, P, Oregon
The freshman Mercer had appeared in 11 games this season, all in relief, and was starting for the first time on Sunday. Mercer did give up 10 hits, however, he was able to strand runners when it mattered, leaving a total of nine runners in scoring position, while striking out five. It also helped that Arizona State spotted Mercer three runs to work with in the first.
Unsung Hero: Tim Susnara, C, Oregon
Susnara came in to pinch-hit in the sixth inning and helped contribute to a four-run inning for the Ducks. He cleared the bases in his first at bat of the game, hitting a three-run double to make it 10-2.
You knew it was over when..
While Oregon lead for the entire game, Arizona State had come back from behind to win in both of the first two games of this series, therefore the game seemed to still be within reach up until Oregon’s four-run sixth inning. After a run walked in by Hingst and the three-RBI double courtesy of Susnara, the game was all but over.
The pitching staff continues to struggle with control and in today’s game, they walked away any chance at a victory. The seven pitchers deployed issued a combined 10 walks.
The Sun Devils will travel to Las Vegas to take on UNLV in a midweek game on Tuesday. They will then head to Tucson for a conference series with Arizona.