ASU baseball surrenders 6-5 loss against Saint Mary's

The Sun Devils battled back to take the lead after an early deficit but could not close out a win.

ASU baseball surrendered three runs in the final two innings in a 6-5 loss to the Saint Mary's Gaels on Saturday afternoon at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. 

Saint Mary's junior third baseman Dylan Robertson hit a two-run home run to left field off junior reliever Sam Romero in the eighth inning, tying the game at five. 

Saint Mary's senior center fielder Joey Fiske led off the ninth against junior left-hander Connor Higgins with a single. 

The next batter, senior left fielder Brett Rasso put down a sacrifice bunt but reached first base after a error by Higgins on his throw to second base. Fiske advanced to second on the play and came around to score on another wild pitch by Higgins.

"It was a hard bunt back to you, throw it to the base like you've done a thousand times and we're still playing maybe," ASU head coach Tracy Smith said. "We've got to make plays when the game is on the line, particularly guys that have been here."

The Sun Devils had a chance to tie or take the lead in the ninth. But after freshmen left fielder Trevor Hauver hit a one-out double, pinch hitter Hunter Jump popped up to center field. 

The Gaels intentionally walked junior center fielder Gage Canning setting the stage for freshman shortstop Drew Swift. Swift grounded out to the third baseman, who stepped on the bag to force out Hauver, ending the game.

"I don't have a problem giving up a game-tying two run homer in the eighth if you are being aggressive in the zone," Smith said. "We have given away and thrown away a lot of bunts in crucial situations and it got us again today."

ASU found itself in an early hole for the second consecutive game after the Gaels scored three runs in the first inning. 

ASU came roaring back to take a 5-3 lead in the second against Gaels starter Kevin Milan.

"When we were attacking and hitting pitches early, that is when we had most of our success," Canning said.

First, freshman first baseman Spencer Torkelson tattooed his fourth home run of the season over the wall in left, making the score 3-1 with one out.

Then, the floodgates opened.

 Five straight hits, including Canning’s third triple of the season, plated four ASU runs. 

After Canning’s triple and second baseman Alika Williams' first collegiate hit of an RBI single, Swift brought home the fifth run with a bunt single to the third baseman with two outs. ASU had their first lead of the series, 5-3.

 Canning said the key was being more aggressive on first pitch strikes.

"When we were attacking and hitting pitches early, that is when we had most of our success," Canning said.

With the lead, senior starting pitcher Eli Lingos settled down, retiring 10 in a row in the third through fifth innings. Lingos mainly pitched to contact. He generated five fly-outs, three ground-outs and only struck out two in that time frame.

"I just got more aggressive," Lingos said. "I was kind of feeling myself too much in the first inning. I also had my change up working."

Lingos’ day was done with two outs in the sixth. He allowed three runs, all earned, on eight hits over 5.2 innings. 

"I know he wanted to stay in," Smith said. "I know he wasn't happy with the three runs in the first, but it seems like every time he takes the mound, you're going to look up five or six innings later and see two or three runs given up. I thought he did his job again today."

UP NEXT

ASU baseball and Saint Mary's close out the series on Sunday afternoon. First pitch is set for 12:30 p.m. 

The Sun Devils will look to win their first series of the season.



Reach the reporter at jpjacqu1@asu.edu or follow @joejacquezaz on Twitter.

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