ASU baseball doomed by disastrous fifth inning in first midweek game of the season

ASU baseball’s first midweek game of the season did not go as the Sun Devils had hoped.

New Mexico started the scoring, putting two on the board before a home run by ASU sophomore first baseman David Graybill made the score 2-1 after four innings. ASU was hanging in the game.

And then the fifth inning happened. After that the Lobos coasted to a 7-1 victory.

 
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The Lobos (2-2) plated five runs on seven singles as 10 Lobos came to bat. Sophomore second baseman Sam Haggerty started and finished the inning, singling his first time up and striking out the second.

Junior right-hander Darin Gillies started the game for the Sun Devils (2-2), and after pitching four solid innings, could not seem to get anyone out. He allowed four singles with a strikeout sprinkled in before giving way to redshirt junior right-hander Mark Lambson.

Lambson allowed three hits and only recorded one out while allowing one unearned run. Six runs were credited to Gillies.

Freshman righty Eder Erives came in to restore order, striking out Haggerty to put an end to the inning, but not before the game was out-of-hand as New Mexico led 7-1.

No one scored after that, and 7-1 became the final.

One bright spot was redshirt freshman lefty Nick Diamond. After a poor outing on Friday, ASU coach Tim Esmay said he wanted to give him a chance to bounce back. He did just that, pitching three innings and only allowing one hit.

“He needed to go out and respond to what he did in his first outing as a Sun Devil the other night,” Esmay said. “The way we’re set up, he’s the only lefty out of the pen, we need him to be a guy to do what he did against those left-handers and see if he can get into situations and command his breaking ball, and I thought he did that tonight.”

Still, it doesn’t help when the team loses 7-1.

“It was a really humbling loss for us,” Diamond said. “We just need to let it go. We need to forget about it and move on.”

ASU had its chances offensively. It loaded the bases with one out in the second, then loaded them again with two outs in the fourth. The Sun Devils were unable to convert on both instances. In all, they left nine on base. It brings the season total to 38 in four games.

Esmay said he isn’t worried about number of runners left on base.

“I look at it from an offensive standpoint is we got guys on base,” he said. “All those things start to kind of take care of themselves. I’d rather us have guys on base and we’ll figure (it) out.”

Esmay said the team needs to make adjustments, citing a different pitching style employed by New Mexico as opposed to Baylor. He said he plans on using the loss as a learning opportunity.

“You either can learn from it or let it define you,” Esmay said. “This game can humble you, and it did tonight.”

Additional notes

– Sophomore catcher RJ Ybarra left the game for a pinch runner in the sixth with an apparent knee injury. Esmay said he does not know the extent of the injury but hopes it is not serious.

– ASU made three errors Tuesday after only making one in the three-game set versus Baylor.

Reach the reporter at justin.emerson@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @J15Emerson