(Photo: Dominic Cotroneo/WCSN)
The pitching struggled for Arizona State once again Friday night, and it was not able to clinch a series victory against Washington State, losing 7-3. With the loss, ASU is now just 2-6 in Pac-12 and is still searching for answers.
If the Sun Devils lose tomorrow, they will have dropped their first three Pac-12 series of the season. Two of the three teams they have played, the Utah Utes and the Cougars, are at the bottom of the conference standings.
The issues that plagued them before the series continued, and most of the problems revolved around the inconsistency of the pitching staff. One game after they allowed a single run, the Cougars scored nine against the Sun Devils pitching staff.
ASU used six pitchers in the defeat, and although not all of them struggled, it was the first few that set the table for the rest of the evening.
Ryan Hingst, who threw the 10th no-hitter in ASU baseball history in his last outing, started off on the wrong foot and was never quite able to right the ship. He allowed four runs, six hits and three walks over just three innings. Senior Eric Melbostad was then called on to stop the bleeding, but instead allowed three runs in just one inning of work. The pitching settled down, however, as they surrendered only two runs in the final five innings. The two runs were charged to freshman Chris Isbell.
Unlike last night, in which ASU drove in 10 runs, the Sun Devils could not generate enough offense to make up for the rough outing from the pitching staff. David Greer, Andrew Shaps and Andrew Snow all had an RBI apiece, but the offensive production mainly stopped there.
Only Greer and Colby Woodmansee, ASU’s top two hitters when sorted by batting average, had multiple hits. The two continue to be strong offensive performers, while the rest of the offense had its fair share of struggles. The Sun Devils had plenty run-scoring opportunities in this one though, but did not quite drive in enough runs to get the job done.
From the sixth inning on, the opportunities for runs were limited, with the ninth inning presenting really the only good chance for ASU. Facing a pitching staff that has had its share of issues, this series was a prime opportunity for ASU to get back on track offensively.
ASU will have a chance to claim its first conference series win on Saturday against WSU. Right now, the starter has not been announced, but Hever Bueno could be a candidate. First pitch will be at 1:00.