(Photo: Gabrielle Mercer/WCSN)
Arizona State baseball battled back to notch a 5-4 walk-off victory in 12 innings in game one of its weekend series against Oregon.
The game was a battle of the pitchers for the first five innings, with ASU’s Seth Martinez and Oregon’s Cole Irvin matching zeroes until the sixth. Oregon left fielder A.J. Balta broke the scoreless tie with a solo home run to right field. Arizona State tied it back up in the bottom of the sixth with a lead-off home run from right fielder Gage Canning, his second of the year.
The Ducks took the lead right back in the seventh, with Travis Moniot’s fielder’s choice allowing Tim Susnara to score from third base. A two-run single with the bases loaded from Balta followed, making the score 4-1 Ducks.
The Sun Devils refused to give in though, as they tied the game at four in the bottom of the eighth with a two-run home run by Colby Woodmansee, followed by a solo shot from Sebastian Zawada. Brian Serven doubled after Zawada’s tying blast, but was stranded after Andrew Shaps struck out and Jeremy McCuin grounded out.
The teams traded scoring chances until the 12th inning, when David Greer’s lead-off double and Zach Cerbo’s sacrifice bunt set up Serven to end the night on a sacrifice fly to center field.
Player of the Game: Brian Serven would be the popular pick, as he had two hits and a walk-off sacrifice fly. But the case could also be made for starter Seth Martinez. He didn’t have his best stuff, but he battled through eight innings, giving up four runs and keeping ASU within reach all night.
Unsung Hero: Sebastian Zawada. He only had one hit all night, but it was a huge one. His game-tying home run in the eighth inning was one of his biggest Sun Devil moments all season long.
You Knew It Was Over When: Greer slid home in the 12th inning on Serven’s sacrifice fly. This game had so many twists and turns that could’ve potentially decided the outcome before the 12th, but the Sun Devils stayed resilient and picked up a huge series opening win.
Stat of the Night: Three home runs on the night for ASU, after having a team total of just 19 coming in. They might end up as some of the biggest home runs of the season, as it allowed it to pick up the victory tonight and bolsters its push for a Pac-12 title.
What’s Up Next? Game two of the series is Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
Bobby Kraus is a beat writer for the Walter Cronkite Sports Network. You can follow him on Twitter @bobbykraus22