ASU baseball split two-game series with Pacific, marks consecutive losing seasons

The ASU baseball team fell on Sunday before handing Pacific an 8-3 loss on Monday night

Game One: Sunday

In a game full of blunders, miscues and errors, the Pacific Tigers came into Phoenix Municipal Stadium on Sunday afternoon and took game one of a two-game set from ASU (21-28, 11-13 Pac-12) by a final score of 12-7.

What turned into a nightmare of an afternoon for the Sun Devils got off to a rocky start from the get-go, and the loss marked the first time ever that an ASU baseball program will finish with a losing record for two straight seasons.

“It’s just disappointing. That’s the word I would use for it,” ASU head coach Tracy Smith said. “It was very disappointing and very unprofessional.”

The Sun Devils finished the game with four errors, seven walks and some baserunning gaffes.

Even though Pacific had a few of its own mishaps, the Tigers got a strong six-inning performance out of the bullpen from redshirt sophomore pitcher Shelby Lackey, and were able to make fewer mistakes to pick up a win. 

One positive for ASU was the team’s offense. The Sun Devils had 14 hits and sophomore infielder Carter Aldrete hit a home run.

However, too many mistakes would lead to their demise. After a roller coaster of a season, this game marked one of the lowest points for the Sun Devils with a loss to a Pacific team that is in last place in the West Coast Conference.

“This (loss) takes the cake,” Smith said. “Ironically, the thing that I probably praised the team the most on the last couple of days is that they have been coming and having some good practices, and working hard to come and get their work done … You aren’t playing for postseason play, but you are certainly playing to take a step forward. I thought it was a giant step backwards in all facets — baserunning, defensively and particularly on the mound.”

Game Two: Monday

ASU came back on Monday and defeated Pacific 8-3. The Sun Devils had 11 hits, and the although the bats were loud, the game itself was not.

In the third inning of Monday’s game, a power outage caused all in-game amenities to go out. Both teams were still able to play under the lights, but there was no music in between innings, no PA announcing and no score on the scoreboard.

Regardless of having no in-game sound, the Sun Devils were able to make some noise with their offense.

ASU junior outfielder Gage Canning and freshman outfielder Hunter Jump both had two hits, and freshman infielder Gage Workman had a three-hit night with three RBIs after not starting in yesterday’s game. 

“I just kind of stick with my approach (at the plate),” Workman said. “I tried to hit the ball up the middle, and (Pacific’s starting pitcher) left a couple pitches over the plate, and I just hit them well tonight.”

As for the defense, ASU senior pitcher Eli Lingos delivered an effective performance, pitching six innings while allowing three runs.

In contrast to Sunday, ASU’s defense was up to par on Monday night as they made no errors, and ASU sophomore outfielder Hunter Bishop robbed a home run with a magnificent defensive play in the eighth inning that saved a potential two-run home run.

“I’d say the hardest part is putting your head down and kind of feeling out where the wall is,” Bishop said of taking on the wall to rob the home run. “It’s kind of just trusting yourself and knowing that once you see the ball off of the bat, you can trust where it is and take your eye off of it.”

While the win on Monday was a polar opposite from Sunday, the two-game series was still another example of some of the inconsistencies on a day-to-day basis that have plagued a young ASU team all season long. 

With six conference games remaining to close out the season, ASU will return to action when they take on UA for a three-game series in Tucson. First pitch of game one is set Thursday, May 13 at 6 p.m. Mountain Standard Time.


Reach the reporter at atbell1@asu.edu or follow @AndrewBell7 on Twitter.

Like State Press Sports on Facebook and follow @statepressport on Twitter.


Get the best of State Press delivered straight to your inbox.