(Photo: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE)
It was a star-studded Friday night and ESPNU was in town. Scouts were in the stands and both aces were on the mound.
With just one more month left this season, the race for the top spot in the Pac-12 continued to heat up as No. 8 Arizona State lost 5-3 to the No. 22 Stanford Cardinal on Friday at Packard Stadium.
It was nearly a sold out crowd as Trevor Williams and Mark Appel took the mound in this epic matchup of Pac-12 aces. Mark Appel proved why he could easily be the first overall pick in this year’s MLB Draft as the righty went seven and two-thirds innings with 13 strikeout, one walk and one hit batter. At one point in the game, the Stanford senior had seven strikeouts in a row and struck out the side three times.
Williams continued to struggle in his junior campaign as he pitched six innings with seven strikeouts and three walks. Stanford got on the board early, however, with three runs in the third inning as Williams surrendered five runs to the Cardinal.
Head Coach Tim Esmay felt that Williams giving up the five runs early did not affect the ace of this Sun Devil pitching staff.
“He’s been out there too long. He’s just out there competing and just trying to make some pitches,” Esmay said.
The Sun Devils’ bats would not stay quiet as they responded to the Cardinal’s early lead with two runs in the fourth. The Sun Devils capitalized with doubles by RJ Ybarra and Trever Allen, who finished the night with two RBIs. “Facing a guy like (Appel) is extremely tough,” Allen said.
Allen thought that his hit “was a pretty big momentum swing for us. It helped us. You’re not going to make your living off of guys like that because they’re just that good.” Ybarra continued to swing his hot bat as he went two for four on the night.
The Sun Devils fell to 29-13-1 on the season, but ASU is not discouraged by this loss to Appel and Stanford.
“It was a battle,” Esmay said. “Our guys played hard. They played for nine and they didn’t give anything away. You’ve got to use that as an advantage to come out and do the same thing tomorrow.”
Freshman phenom Ryan Kellogg, who is 10-0 on the year, looks to continue his stellar season Saturday as the Sun Devils look to even up the series against the Cardinal.