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Baseball outlasts Cal after 17 innings

Marathon: ASU junior pitcher Kramer Champlin delivers a pitch against Oregon on April 2 in Tempe. Champlin is set to start the second game of the series against Cal on Friday after a long, 17-inning game against the Golden Bears on Thursday. (Photo by Michael Arellano)
Marathon: ASU junior pitcher Kramer Champlin delivers a pitch against Oregon on April 2 in Tempe. Champlin is set to start the second game of the series against Cal on Friday after a long, 17-inning game against the Golden Bears on Thursday. (Photo by Michael Arellano)

It took nearly six and a half hours and 17 innings to determine a winner in Berkeley, Calif. Thursday evening.

Somehow, the ASU baseball team found itself on top when the dust settled.

With darkness looming and no stadium lighting at Evans Diamond, ASU sophomore shortstop Deven Marrero provided the game-winning hit with the bases loaded and one out in the 17th, driving in two runs.

ASU freshman reliever Mark Lambson (2-0) pitched his third consecutive scoreless inning to secure the 6-4 win for the No. 9 Sun Devils (26-9, 9-4 Pac-10) over California.

“That was a heck of a ball game by both teams,” ASU coach Tim Esmay told The Fan AM 1060. “First game on the road in the Pac-10, you have to give all you can to steal one. We used all our bullets tonight.”

The game was the second longest in program history. The record is 18 innings in 1990.

ASU had leads in the 10th and 13th innings, but failed to close out the No. 19 Golden Bears (24-10, 9-4 Pac-10) in the bottom halves of the frames.

“We still have a chance to get a good night sleep and come out tomorrow, it’s not like this game started at night and lasted until the early morning,” Esmay said. “Obviously the winning is great but this was a great test of our mental makeup. Everybody battled until the end.”

The Sun Devils struck first in the second inning. After ASU senior outfielder Matt Newman walked and advanced to second on a wild pitch, junior catch Austin Barnes drove him home with a RBI single to right field.

ASU extended its lead to two an inning later courtesy of a RBI single from junior first baseman Zach Wilson, scoring sophomore designated hitter Joey DeMichele.

ASU sophomore starter Brady Rodgers held the Golden Bears at bay for the majority of his outing, but Cal sophomore first baseman Devon Rodriguez connected in the fourth inning for a two-run home run to right field to tie the game up.

Neither starter on Thursday allowed another run the rest of the way.

Cal junior starter Erik Johnson went nine innings, allowing eight hits.

Rodgers got through 7 1/3 before the Sun Devil bullpen took over.

ASU managed to get out of tight jams to keep the game tied in the eighth and ninth innings.

The Golden Bears had runners in scoring position in each inning, but ASU relievers Trevor Williams and Mitchell Lambson prevented any damage.

With two outs and nobody on in the 10th, ASU junior second baseman Zack MacPhee drew a walk to start a rally.

The next batter, junior third baseman Riccio Torrez, singled to left to advance MacPhee to third.

After Torrez stole second, DeMichele chopped an infield single to second base to score MacPhee.

Equipped with a chance to secure the win, Lambson couldn’t hold the lead in the Cal half of the 10th.

With two outs and a runner on third, junior catcher Chadd Krist singled to left, tying the score at three and sending the game into an 11th inning.

In the following frame, after a scoreless Sun Devil at-bat, ASU sophomore pitcher Alex Blackford allowed a lead-off double but retired the Golden Bear side to get out unscathed.

The two teams exchanged runs yet again in the 13th inning.

Barnes hit a RBI single for ASU to give his team the lead but Blackford allowed a RBI single from Cal freshman third baseman Derek Campbell to tie the game.

The 14th, 15th and 16th innings were scoreless, setting up the final inning and game-winning hit for Marrero.

Up next

The Sun Devils will come back Friday afternoon to finish the rest of their series with Cal by Saturday night.

Junior Kramer Champlin (5-1, 3.20 ERA) and sophomore Jake Barrett (4-3, 5.36 ERA) are set to start the final two games of the three-game set for ASU.

Reach the reporter at tyler.emerick@asu.edu


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