(Photo: Dominic Cotroneo/WCSN)
Despite a second half of the season full of comebacks and close games, Arizona State couldn’t muster up another one on Sunday as its season came to a close on a 7-1 loss to TCU.
Climbing out of the losers’ bracket to the Regional final, the Sun Devils had not used Eder Erives all weekend. Head coach Tracy Smith opted for the junior to start the game, but walks held him back from success.
Erives walked six over seven innings of work in which he didn’t allow much hard contact. After a pair of walks and a double loaded the bases in the second inning, the soft stuff fell against ASU. First, a sacrifice fly to left scored the first run, then a bloop double in shallow right field scored another. To put the cherry on top, a “Baltimore chopper” by Evan Skoug brought in the third run for the Horned Frogs.
ASU would get on the board thanks to an RBI single from David Greer in the bottom of the third, but then left two runners on base with the middle of the order batting.
TCU poured it on in the top of the eighth with two outs. An RBI single from Austen Wade was the prelude to a two-run homer by Cam Warner off of Seth Martinez.
The pitching was the weakness coming into the weekend for ASU, but it was surprising to see its best assets (Martinez and Erives) on the staff struggle during the weekend. The Sun Devils’ season ends with a 36-23 record.
Player of the Game: Brian Howard, TCU starting pitcher
Considering TCU was 15-3 when Howard starts the game on the mound, ASU knew the odds were against it. The junior went eight innings and retired the last 17 batters he faced with nine strikeouts. The Sun Devils simply didn’t have an answer to his mix.
Unsung Hero: Cam Warner
This selection could be easily switched with Howard, but his two-run home run put the game out of reach in the eighth inning. He would finish with three runs driven in.
Stat of the game: Four
Four hits for Arizona State was not a season low, but it felt like it. Howard kept the ASU bats at bay while striking out nine and only allowing one extra-base hit.
Biggest concern for ASU: Flying home safely
The season is over, and Arizona State will return to Phoenix tomorrow.
What’s next? The MLB Draft
To continue the “MLBU” tradition, the Maroon and Gold will hear its top prospects being called starting on June 9 in the MLB First-Year Player Draft. Colby Woodmansee, Hever Bueno, Brian Serven, as well as ASU commits could hear their names called early.
Dominic Cotroneo is a broadcaster for ASU Baseball on Pac-12 Digital. He also covers the team for CronkiteSports.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @Dom_Cotroneohttp://twitter.com/dom_cotroneo