Sun Devils Get Hot; Bring Down Beavers 7-3

Conforto could not do enough to overcome the Sun Devils. - Andy Wooldridge

The Beavers and Sun Devils clashed in a game that went down to the final couple innings, but it ended with Arizona State taking home the series win.

Jace Fry started off pitching well, forcing a couple groundouts, but then Nate Causey continued his hot streak from Saturday's game and got on base with a single through the right side with two outs. RJ Ybarra followed that up with another hit to put a runner in scoring position, but then Fry would force another groundout to escape from the top of the 1st. Arizona State starter Darin Gillies would face the minimum to close out the inning.

Fry took care of the Sun Devils in the top of the second, and the Beavs would get two on base with a walk and a single and no outs. Gabe Clark was next up to bat and he came in to bunt to move over the runners from 1st and 2nd. He would pop it up to the catcher though and then Logan Ice and Michael Howard both flied out. The third inning was uneventful, as the only player to reach base was Trever Morrison on a walk.

The top of the 4th was similar to the top of the 1st, as Fry put down the first two batters, but allowed two hits with two outs. He would again get the next batter out to escape the inning though, and the Beavers would not threaten in the bottom of the 4th. The 5th went by with only a single to Andy Peterson, but then the top of the 6th is where trouble started for the Beavers.

The Sun Devils got their leadoff man on base in Trever Allen, and got another single from Causey. Ybarra would come back and smack an RBI single. A sac bunt moved the runners over, and that was followed by a strikeout. The Sun Devils would then plate two as 3rd baseman Dalton DiNatale hit for a single. That would end the ASU scorring for the inning and it was Oregon State's chance to answer.

Kavin Keyes would lead off with a single, followed by another Michael Conforto walk. The Sun Devil starter would be pulled there and Jordan Aboites would enter the game in relief. Dylan Davis would bring home Keyes with a single and that brought Jeff Hendrix up to bat. He would hit to the second baseman, but he booted the ball and both Conforto and Davis scored tying up the game. The rest of the Beaver batters would go down quietly though, leaving the game tied at 3 through 6 innings.

The top of the 7th opened with a HBP, but the Sun Devils could not bring home a run in the inning, despite another Ybarra single. The Beavers went down in order to take it to the 8th inning. The Sun Devils would open the inning with a double and would advance the runner with a sac bunt. DiNatale would bring home the runner for his third RBI of the day, pulling ASU ahead 4-3. The Beavers quickly got a hit back with Conforto slamming one up the middle, but he would be thrown out at second on a strike-em-out, throw-em-out double play. Hendrix would fly out to end the inning, taking away the best chance for a comeback with the best two Beaver hitters taken care of.

The top of the 9th sealed the game, as the Sun Devils smacked around the Beaver bullpen, starting with Max Engelbrekt, going to Chandler Eden, and then Trent Shelton would finally get the Beavers out of the inning, but not before the Sun Devils had racked up an additional 2 hits, 2 walks, and brought in three more runs. The Beavers would get a walk out of Tyler Mildenberg, but could not do anything else, ending with an Andy Peterson strikeout. The Beavs lost the game 7-3 and lost the series as well.

It was the first conference series loss at Goss for the Beavers after having won their last 9, since losing to eventual CWS Champion Arizona in early 2012.

Notes:

Fry pitched okay, but the Sun Devils were seeing him well from the beginning especially the 3 and 4 hitters Causey and Ybarra.

The Beaver starters are pitching well, but the offense still needs to pick up, and the bullpen beyond Schultz is struggling. Trent Shelton should probably be the first pitcher behind Schultz right now. Eden is still working on his control, and for whatever reason Engelbrekt is having trouble getting batters out this year.

The bottom of the Beaver order needs to pick it up, as they really offered no production today.

The Gabe Clark missed bunt was a bad one and was extremely costly. With a runner on third the Beavers could have brought home a runner on a sac fly from Ice or Howard. Might have been a better decision to let Clark swing at that, as he has some pop.

This is the first series against a quality team since the weekend at Surprise, and the Beavs could not pull it out, although they were both close games. The Beavers did lose two of those games against Big Ten teams. The opponent quality does not need to be a concern yet, but it is something to think about.

The Beavs will make to look a recovery at Goss Stadium against Seattle University on Tuesday, before heading to Tucson to take on the Arizona Wildcats.

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