Arizona State took the first two games against the No. 7 UCLA Bruins, but could not sweep the Easter weekend series as they fell in extra innings, 12-10.
As the Sun Devils trailed 10-8 with Kasey Coffman on second in the bottom of the ninth, pinch hitter Dalton DiNatale took a David Berg fastball over the right field fence to tie the game.
“I was just trying to get a good pitch I could drive in the zone, and he happened to throw one right down the middle and I was just ready for it,” said DiNatale.
But before the game could go too many extra innings, UCLA was able to score two runs in the top of the 10th and ASU could not respond.
Offense was the story of the game at Packard Stadium on Saturday. ASU and UCLA combined for 22 runs and 31 hits at the plate. Eight Sun Devils had multi-hit games, highlighted by James McDonald, who went 2-for-5 with two runs and 3 RBIs. David Graybill started at first base for the Sun Devils, but was eventually replaced by Dalton DiNatale.
UCLA’s hitters replicated what the Sun Devils accomplished at the plate. Led by third baseman Kevin Kramer (2-for-3, three runs, three RBIs) and second baseman Trent Chatterton (3-for-3, 4 runs), the Bruins kept the pressure on the Sun Devils’ pitchers by getting on base however they could. 12 hits, 10 walks and four hit-by-pitches got the Bruins on base during the four-hour affair. They backed up their runs with solid relief pitching, including a four-inning stint by Berg that earned the win.
UCLA’s increased offensive output could be attributed to Adam McCreery’s recent struggles. ASU’s sophomore southpaw was chased in the first inning without recording an out, giving up one hit, two runs (both earned) and two walks to four Bruins batters. ASU head coach Tim Esmay was forced into a nine-inning relief effort.
“We used nine pitchers today. That’s the story,” an upset Esmay said. “Your starter on Sunday can’t even get out of the first inning, and now we’re having to extend guys or go to guys earlier than we were anticipating and it’s not a good situation.”
UCLA had four multi-run innings, scoring two in the first, four in the second, two in the seventh and the two in the tenth that would seal the deal and ruin Arizona State’s attempt at a series sweep.
With the loss, Arizona State now sits at 15-8-1 with a 4-5 record in the Pac-12. UCLA will most likely keep a high ranking, improving to 18-6 with a 6-3 record in conference. The Sun Devils travel to Wichita State for a mid-week two-game series, starting this Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.