ASU baseball forces extras, can't pull out the win against Cal

The Sun Devils battled hard through the last out, but two home runs in the eleventh power the Golden Bears to a win.

Extra inning games have become quite the trend for ASU baseball this season. On Saturday, the Sun Devils battled the Cal Golden Bears but came up short in the eleventh after Cal hit two home runs in the frame to solidify an 8-4 win.

"The losing is never acceptable, but I would live with that effort any day of the week with our guys," head coach Tracy Smith said. "I don't think anybody quit, we used basically everybody on the roster and they all contributed."

Sophomore second baseman Andrew Snow and junior designated hitter Sebastian Zawada agreed with Smith.

"I think we went 100 percent the whole time," Zawada said. "Like Skip said, the intent was there, so if we come out and we stick to the goals we've come up with as a group, then there's not a reason to be disappointed with the way we played."

Snow said he thinks things are looking up for this ASU team.

"I think at this point in the Pac, we've already gone through the works," Snow said. "The whole team vibe, the intent, everything, it's all getting way better."

Zawada hasn't been performing well for ASU baseball in recent weeks, but Saturday afternoon, he stepped up and proved how valuable he is to this team once again.

"It's all a process, you run into a rut here and there, but how you respond to that I think defines you and I'm not going to stop," Zawada said.

Zawada helped put ASU up early in the second inning with a shot over the left field wall. Then, a double from freshman left fielder Tyler Williams would get a runner on for freshman Gage Canning to knock him home, putting the Devils up 2-0.

In the fifth, though, Cal found its momentum as it brought home a run to close the gap. Then, the Golden Bears came out just a frame later and brought home two to edge ahead of ASU. One more run scored after a triple from Cal center fielder Aaron Knapp, making a Cal win seem likely.

ASU knocked in two runs to battle back. After junior Zach Cerbo walked, senior Christopher Beall singled to bring him home. Then, Snow doubled to bring Beall home, forcing the game into extra innings. 

Snow said he found success at the plate despite strong pitching from Cal's Erik Martinez.

"I took two big hacks in the beginning, I just was going for it, then I just was battling trying to see the ball," Snow said. "He threw me a fastball up and I got ahold of it."

Zeros in the tenth forced an eleventh. Cal's Brian Celsi led off the inning with a home run to right to put the Golden Bears up 5-4, enough for the win, but another home run and three more RBIs gave Cal some breathing room.

Nothing from ASU in the bottom of the inning gave Cal the 8-4 win.

Smith said he'd like to have ASU's pitching staff more solidified as they go into each weekend, but they will have to continue to work with what they have.

Sophomore left-handed pitcher Eli Lingos allowed two runs on 11 hits. Despite going six innings, Smith had to use six relievers against Cal. Erives pitched for the second day in a row and picked up the loss.

Smith was not disappointed in his performance.

"I don't fault any part of what he's doing," Smith said. "We're asking him to do things above and beyond what most guys in this league are asked to do. It's unfortunate we didn't snag that win along the way, but I have no issues with what he did today."

Sunday, freshman left-handed pitcher Zach Dixon will likely make the start for the Sun Devils, but Smith said he sure there will continue to be changes through the bullpen.

"Tomorrow's the wild card, because there's probably going to be some guys pitching for us that haven't had a lot of innings," Smith said. "(But) it's time to grow up, time to develop, this is your chance. This is what you've been practicing for, this is what you've been preparing for is to go out and give your team the best chance to win."

Reach the reporter at or follow @haley_stesiak on Twitter.

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