A Tale of Two Games: ASU baseball loses wild 17-inning game to UCLA

​Saturday's game was the longest home game for ASU baseball since 1990's 6-5 win against UCLA in 18 innings.

It was the best of games, it was the worst of games.

There was a near-brawl, a double pickle, a go-ahead wild pitch and a game-tying near double play. And that was just in the span of two innings.

No. 9 ASU baseball's (29-17, 14-9 Pac-12) game Saturday night was a tale of two games in its own, embarking on a long, extra-inning journey that neither team seemed to be able to finish.

The "Cardiac Devils" struck again Saturday night, putting together a 17-inning trek before falling 11-5 to No. 2 UCLA (36-11, 18-5 Pac-12) on a go-ahead single by sophomore Brett Stephens.

Senior third baseman Chris Keck reached second base on an error to open the 17th inning, reaching third on a sac bunt before Stephens drove him home.

The two sides combined to throw 491 pitches.

UCLA would tack on five more runs in the inning off of a Kevin Kramer RBI single, a Trent Chatterton three-RBI, bases-clearing triple and another Sun Devil error before ASU finally got their third out.

UCLA's breakthrough occurred after they squandered an opportunity with two runners in scoring position the inning before. Junior outfielder Brett Urabe and Kramer were each tagged out in separate pickles one the same play, with the latter resulting in a hard tag at home plate.

Kramer took offense to the tag, and a shoving match ensued. Both benches cleared, and UCLA head coach John Savage was ejected from the game.

"It was a good, hard, aggressive slide," ASU head coach Tracy Smith said. "I think it's a bunch of 18- and 19-year-olds with a lot of testosterone flowing."

After battling until the 15th inning, UCLA finally broke the stalemate after sophomore first baseman Luke Persico scored on a wild pitch from ASU freshman left-hander Andrew Shaps.

The Sun Devils answered back in the bottom half of the inning, as sophomore catcher Brian Serven beat out a potential double-play ball to drive in the game-tying run.

ASU blew a 4-run lead in the eighth inning and were unable to recover, as the Bruins pegged junior left-hander Ryan Kellogg for four runs to force extra innings.

The Sun Devils led 4-0 heading into the eighth inning when ASU head coach Tracy Smith elected to keep Kellogg in the game with nobody warming up. Kellogg entered the inning with 90 pitches.

UCLA led off the inning with a Sean Bouchard single, scoring a pair of runs before Keck drove a two-run, game-tying double into left.

Smith had no doubts about keeping Kellogg in the game, even electing to do so in the ninth inning after the Bruins' four-run outburst.

"Were you watching the game?" Smith said. "How was he throwing?"

The four-run eighth inning marred what was a spectacular outing for Kellogg, who went 7.1 shutout innings before the wheels came off.

"You kind of go on what you see, and how guys have been throwing, Smith said. "I thought (Kellogg) threw extremely well tonight, and it's very easy (to keep him in)."

Kellogg threw nine innings, giving up eight hits and four earned runs while striking out seven batters and throwing 117 pitches.

"He's very good when he's ahead," Smith said. "I thought he did a great job of strike one, and made those guys put the ball in play...just the most minute things cost us."

ASU had built up the 4-0 lead by scoring early and often.

Junior outfielder Johnny Sewald led off the game for the Sun Devils with a double to right, scoring off of a groundout from sophomore shortstop Colby Woodmansee to put ASU up 1-0. 

ASU would score again in the third inning off of a Woodmansee sacrifice fly brought home Sewald, extending the lead to 2-0.

The Sun Devils tacked on two more runs in the fourth inning, coming off of RBI singles from redshirt senior outfielder Trever Allen and Sewald.

Sewald finished the game with a career-high five hits, going 5-for-7 on the night.

Despite the loss, Smith was encouraged following the effort of Friday's 9-0 loss. 

"This was a turning point, I hope, with this group," Smith said. "You want to have the win, but as a coach you have to look at how does your team play...I will go home tonight wondering if we were into it, and I mean every single pitch."

Reach the reporter at fardaya@asu.edu or follow @fardaya15 on Twitter.

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