One disastrous inning sunk ASU baseball Saturday night.
A tightly contested baseball game got out of hand in a hurry in the eighth inning and it cost the Sun Devils their first conference loss, 9-3 to Washington.
The first six Huskies (11-5-1, 1-1 Pac-12) that came to the plate in that inning scored, and the Sun Devils (9-7, 1-1 Pac-12) didn’t do themselves any favors. Sophomore right-hander Jordan Aboites hit the leadoff man, then sophomore third baseman Dalton DiNatale committed errors on back-to-back plays.
“To put it in a nutshell, that eighth inning is exactly how we played the whole game,” coach Tim Esmay said. “We’re going to get what we deserve and we got we deserved tonight.”
A triple, a double, a single, a walk and a single later, ASU was trailing by six runs before it got its first out.
On the scoreboard, the Sun Devils were doing enough. They allowed one in the opening frame, then put up a three-spot in the fourth, with the RBIs from the bottom of their order.
But even when ASU had the lead, Esmay said he wasn’t pleased. He said he keeps a card of quality at-bats, and he counted three ASU bats as quality the first time through the order.
“We had a chance to take control of that game,” Esmay said. “And then we don’t get good at-bats when we can keep guys in scoring position. I don’t think it was well-played by us at all.”
Washington got one back in the fifth, one in the seventh, then exploded for six in the eighth.
Aboites started the eighth inning, and pitched very well before that. It was his third inning of relief, after pitching out of a jam in the sixth. Aboites, normally a shortstop, used his athleticism to make two spectacular plays to keep the Huskies off the scoreboard. He also struck out the side in the seventh.
Sophomore lefty Ryan Kellogg started for the Sun Devils, and while he did not have his best outing, he only gave up two runs. He worked out of trouble most of the night, allowing at least two base runners in four of his innings.
But it didn’t matter in the end.
“No excuses, we didn’t play well,” Esmay said.
The rubber game of the series will be Sunday afternoon at 12:30 p.m., a battle of two junior righties. Darin Gillies will take the ball for ASU, while Washington will counter with Jeff Brigham.
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