ASU baseball secures another win over the Cougars with ninth inning walk-off

The Sun Devils eke out an 8-7 victory over the Cougars with a ninth inning homer from ASU's Sam Ferri

A teeter-totter nine innings ended with No. 25 ASU baseball (18-0, 2-0 Pac-12) on top with an 8-7 win over Washington State (6-12, 0-2 Pac-12) on Saturday. 

Redshirt sophomore catcher Sam Ferri stepped into the batter's box with a tie ball game to start the ninth inning. Three pitches later, Ferri sent his first home run of the season flying down the left-field line, giving the Sun Devils their eighteenth straight win. 

"That's actually my second (walk-off) ever and I've only hit five home runs in my entire life," he said. "The last (home run) I hit, I think I was 12."  

Ferri went 2-for-4 with two RBIs. While Ferri spent the 2018 season on the injured list, coach Tracy Smith said he has come back and taken ownership of the team and pitching staff.

Sun Devils sophomore starting pitcher Boyd Vander Kooi went 6.1 innings and allowed four runs on six hits.

"(Kooi) competed," Smith said. "The other thing I think was good, there were a couple untimely walks that led to anytime you get to freebases. But what I liked about our play tonight is we didn't steamroll things."

The Sun Devils wasted no time getting their home-run show started with one shot each from sophomore infielders Spencer Torkelson during the first inning and Gage Workman during the third, pulling the team ahead 3-0. 

"It feels good obviously hitting home runs," Torkelson said. "Whether it's my first one last year or twentieth, I'm always smiling because hitting home runs is fun."

Vander Kooi, who was looking for his third straight win, kept the Cougars' offense tamed up until the fourth inning when a lead-off walk started to warm things up for them.

When freshman left-handed pitcher Erik Tolman came into pitch for Kooi during the seventh inning, he allowed a walk, putting runners on first and second with two outs. 

Tolman would not have a memorable night after allowing Cougars junior infielder Dillion Plew a two-run RBI double to right center.

Despite Tolman's shaky start, Smith said he would still have given him the ball if he could do it over again. 

"He put the toe in the water tonight, so I would expect him to jump in next time," Smith said.

Down 5-4, the Sun Devils came up big offensively during the seventh inning after freshman pinch runner Dusty Garcia stole second and third. Ferri then connected again with his bat to tie the game for the second time that night.

During the eighth inning, the teeter totter would lean toward the Cougars' side on Cougars senior Rob Teel's RBI single, making it a one-run game. 

Then during the ninth inning, a double from Plew sent freshman infielder Kodie Kolden rounding third and colliding with the umpire, preventing the team from tying the game. However, Cougars junior Danny Sinatro's single RBI would eventually bring him in. 

As Ferri led off the bottom of the ninth, the night capped off with his first home run and the win for the Sun Devils.

ASU will go for the sweep when they face the Cougars again in Phoenix on Sunday, March 17 at 12 p.m. MST. 


Reach the reporter at Edith.Noriega@asu.edu or follow @Noriega_Edith on Twitter. 

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