ASU gambles away lead, loses big to UNLV in Las Vegas

Spencer Torkelson hit his team-leading 16th home run of the season in Vegas

LAS VEGAS — Despite a leadoff home run from freshman infielder Spencer Torkelson, the Sun Devils (14-19) fell to the UNLV Rebels, 14-6, Tuesday at Earl E. Wilson Baseball Stadium. ASU has now lost three straight and 10 of its last 13. 

The Rebels stormed out of the gates offensively, scoring seven runs in the first two innings. 

"I think we threw (out on the mound) ... four or five pitchers before the third inning," ASU head coach Tracy Smith said. "You got to get more out of your starters." 

ASU’s second big spark of offense came in the top of the fifth inning, when junior outfielder Gage Canning hit a three-run home run to right center field, cutting UNLV’s lead to 7-5. It was Canning’s fifth home run of the season, and his third in the last week. 

"If you watch his batting practice, the guy has some serious power too," Smith said. "Struck that one tonight. I thought when he got that one, we were going to get things rolling, but what more can you day about him."

However, UNLV responded in the bottom of the seventh inning, tacking on six more runs to win big at home. 

UNLV’s Blaze Bohall won his second game of the year. ASU’s starting pitcher, freshman Brady Corrigan, lost his third game of the season. 

ASU pitching struggles

Sun Devil pitching struggled Tuesday night as the group surrendered 20 hits and 14 runs. Six walks were also issued. 

Eight Sun Devil pitchers were used in Vegas, and no pitcher threw more than two innings in the eight-run loss. 

Raish Returns

While ASU’s pitching was not a premium feature on Tuesday night, freshman pitcher Dellan Raish was a source of stability. 

Raish went 1.2 innings, giving up just one hit and a walk while striking out two batters. 

"I thought he did a good job of cutting it off, stop the bleeding there for a little bit," Smith said. "If that's a conference game, he probably rolls on a little bit more, but wanted to give some other guys some opportunities."

Though normally seen later in games, Raish entered the contest in the bottom of the third inning with one out and put zeros up on the scoreboard for the third and fourth frames and provided stability, giving ASU a chance to make a comeback. 

However, the comeback would ultimately fall short. 

Additional Notes

Torkelson’s leadoff homer at UNLV was ASU’s first since Kasey Coffman did it against Gonzaga on March 3, 2013. 

"We put him there just to ignite the offense a little bit," Smith said. "(We wanted to) bring him to the plate as many times as possible in a hitter's park. He had a very productive night in the leadoff spot."

What’s Next for ASU

The Sun Devils remain on the road and travel to Palo Alto, California, to face the No. 2 Stanford Cardinal in a three-game series beginning this Friday. First pitch Friday from Northern California is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. PST.   


Reach the reporter at michael.baron@asu.edu or follow @Michael_Baron96 on Twitter.

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