ASU baseball comes back to pick up a walk off win against Cal on Thursday night

The ASU baseball team overcame a 4-3 deficit in the ninth inning to beat Cal

When all hope seemed lost for ASU, who were trailing going into the ninth inning with one out, sophomore outfielder Hunter Bishop found a way to come up with a game-winning RBI single to center field, and that was enough for a 5-4 ASU win against the California Golden Bears during the first of a three-game series at Phoenix Municipal Stadium on Thursday night.

In the early innings of Thursday's game, things weren't entirely in the gutter for the Sun Devils as sophomore starting pitcher Alec Marsh pitched a stellar 86 pitches through 6.1 innings, with six strikeouts while allowing four hits and three runs.   

However, after Cal took took a 4-3 lead against ASU's bullpen in the seventh inning, Bishop said the late-inning rally in the ninth came from sophomore outfielder Carter Aldrete, who got things started in with an infield single.

"We kind of strung not some bad innings, but we just weren't scoring any runs, not getting anything going," Bishop said. "Carter getting on base was huge and ... Lyle Lin with a huge knock."

ASU head coach Tracy Smith said he was left with a really proud feeling for his team, even when there was nothing really to play for with ASU not in contention for a postseason birth at this point in the season.

"We keep playing. There is nothing really to play for other than you are a competitive person, and you want to win a game," Smith said. "I love the overall (play) from the position players, and I thought Alec Marsh really threw the ball well tonight, and did his job. We kept playing no matter what ... we keep talking about getting one day better, and I thought we did that today."

As for other sources of offense for ASU, freshman infielder Gage Workman hit a two-run homer in the second inning to get ASU on the board first. 

But shortly after in the third inning, Cal freshman catcher Korey Lee came back with a monster homer to the deepest part of the ballpark, making the score a one-run game.

ASU later responded in the sixth when Aldrete hit a standup double down the left field line, giving ASU a 3-1 lead.  

But in a seesaw game, things started to break down in the sixth inning when Cal sophomore outfielder Jonah Davis had an RBI single to left field that brought the game back to life. 

It only got worse for ASU in the seventh inning when three walks, two hits, a hit by pitch and two bases loaded jams on different occasions occurred, allowing the Golden Bears to take the lead. 

ASU sophomore pitcher Connor Higgins relieved Marsh in the seventh, and he walked home the tying run to make the score 3-3, and then allowed a fielder's choice to allow the go-ahead run to score. 

Higgins then picked up a big strikeout to strand three runners on base before Bishop and his teammates came to save the day in the ninth.

Facing Cal junior reliever Tanner Dodson, ASU was able to put up a couple of gritty at-bats against a pitcher who was throwing in the mid-90s, and the Sun Devils took the opening game of the series.

ASU will continue with game two of the series against Cal tomorrow, Friday, May 25 at 7:00 p.m. MST.

Reach the reporter at or follow @Noriega_Edith on Twitter. 

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