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ASU baseball downs Michigan State on 11th inning walk-off

Pac-12 hits leader Spencer Torkelson smokes a three-run home run in extras to keep ASU perfect

ASU Win.jpg

ASU junior outfielder Hunter Bishop (4) flies out in ASU's matchup against the Michigan State Spartans at Phoenix Municipal Stadium in Phoenix, Arizona on Saturday, Mar. 2, 2019.

A back-and-forth affair between ASU baseball and Michigan State ended with some extra inning heroics from ASU sophomore Spencer Torkelson Saturday night. 

The All-American first baseman belted an 11th inning home run to give the Sun Devils an 8-5 victory at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.

"I was trying to put a good at bat together," Torkelson said, who added that he "blacked out a little bit" following the dramatic ending.

Torkelson, who came into Saturday with the most hits in the Pac-12, continued his early season offensive prowess by driving in four runs on the night.

"He's a threat every time he comes to the plate," head coach Tracy Smith said. "There's nobody on the planet that I would have rather had at the plate at that moment than that guy. Great players do great things."

However, Smith pointed to a defensive gem in the 10th inning as the "play of the game" when junior right fielder Myles Denson caught a Bechina fly ball and then fired a game-saving throw to home plate to gun down a runner tagging from third base, keeping the game locked 5-5.  

"If he doesn't make that throw, we lose the game," Smith said.

Despite an early 2-0 deficit for ASU, the team capitalized on three MSU errors to help claw its way back Saturday.

ASU starting pitcher and sophomore Boyd Vander Kooi threw five innings, giving up 2 earned runs (4 total) and struck out six batters. A single, a walk and a Kooi error to begin the sixth inning prompted Smith to pull him for freshman Blake Burzell.

The bullpen combination of Burzell, Brady Corrigan and Erik Tolman tossed six innings of one run ball on two hits.

"(You) don't let the score dictate how you're going to pitch or how you're going to play," Burzell said. "I didn't think we were pressing."

Offensively, ASU leadoff man and sophomore Trevor Hauver also contributed to the output with a team-high three hits on the night.

With eight runs on eleven hits, ASU's bats stayed hot while its timely pitching from the bullpen helped the Sun Devils secure its 10th straight win to open the season.

"This is what it supposed to feel like," Torkelson said. "We come into the clubhouse every day and we expect to win. That's how winning teams think."   

With game three of the series versus MSU on tap for Sunday, the Sun Devils will look for yet another sweep. First pitch is at 12:30 p.m. MST.

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