(Photo: Dominic Cotroneo/WCSN)
Facing their first conference test of the season, the Sun Devils offense and pitching both floundered, resulting in a three-game sweep by No. 4 Oregon State.
The Beavers (15-2) flexed their muscles on their home field, and the Sun Devils (13-6) simply had no answers. ASU carried an eight-game winning streak into the series and left Corvallis as losers of their last three. They had a golden opportunity to enter the top-25 rankings, but it appears that prospect will be shelved for the time being.
Game One: Oregon State 3, Arizona State 2
The closest contest of the series came in the opener. The low scoring affair came as a surprise to nobody, as ASU threw the always-reliable Seth Martinez, while the Beavers countered with Drew Rasmussen, one of the best pitchers in the country.
Both pitchers delivered quality starts, but Rasmussen out-dueled Martinez, going 8 and 1/3 innings, allowing two runs and no walks. Shortstop Colby Woodmansee’s ninth inning home run cost him a bid at a complete game.
Although the game was close, the Sun Devils never had the lead. Martinez was solid but not spectacular, surrendering six hits and three walks. ASU used Eric Melbostad and freshman Zach Dixon to get the other four outs after Martinez went 6 and 2/3.
Outside of Woodmansee, who also doubled, the Sun Devils were limited on offense, which was a recurring theme of the series. Ryan Lillard delivered an RBI single in the seventh inning, but ASU could not string enough hits together to mount a comeback, and dropped game one.
Game Two: Oregon State 12, Arizona State 2
Because of a poor outing from the pitching staff, ASU trailed Oregon State from the get-go and couldn’t get back on track.
Saturday’s starter Eli Lingos never quite found a rhythm against the Beavers, as his shortcomings were again pronounced by superior competition.
He has allowed eight hits and four runs in 1 and ½ innings in two starts against OSU and Long Beach State and failed to record an out on Saturday. The Sun Devils only used three other pitchers, but they all struggled to varying degrees as well. Ryan Hingst let up an earned run in four innings while Fitz Stadler and Gio Lopez, two freshmen, let up four combined earned runs in four innings.
Jack Anderson and Trevor Morrison, who each drove in two runs, led the offensive onslaught.
ASU was shut down at the plate once again, this time by Jake Thompson, who struck out six in seven shutout innings. All eight ASU hits were singles, and they only scored their two runs after the game was already out of reach in the ninth inning. Andrew Snow and Zach Cerbo each had RBIs against Beavers reliever Mitch Hickey.
Game Three: Oregon State 7, Arizona State 3
Once again, the Sun Devils offense was nowhere to be seen, and the Beavers built up a big enough lead to where ASU could not come back.
For the second consecutive game, the Sun Devil starter failed to make it out of the first inning. Reagan Todd got a quick hook after allowing two earned runs, two walks, and three hits while recording just two outs. Tracy Smith had to go to his bullpen early after a rain delay. Eder Erives did most of the work among relievers, throwing 6 and 1/3 innings, much more than either of the two starters the past couple days. He allowed three runs but provided a huge lift by eating up innings.
Grant Schneider, Zach Dixon and Eric Melbostad each recorded an out.
ASU had just four hits and one extra-base hit off starter Travis Eckert and OSU’s bullpen. Coltin Gerhart, who got a rare start, was the biggest bright spot with a hit and two RBIs.
The Sun Devils will have a home weekday game against San Diego before Utah comes to town to continue Pac-12 play.