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No. 9 ASU baseball gets closed out in the ninth with runners in scoring position

ASU drops the series with a 4-3 loss against the Oregon State Beavers on Sunday

Carter Aldrete Home Run

ASU junior infielder Carter Aldrete (21) hits a home run in ASU's 20-7 victory over Notre Dame at Phoenix Municipal Stadium in Tempe, Arizona, on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019.

While No. 9 ASU baseball (27-7, 10-5 Pac-12) displayed strong pitching early on in the game and fought hard to take the series over No. 3 Oregon State (25-8-1, 11-4), the Sun Devils dropped the series finale to the Beavers 4-3 on Sunday. 

ASU starting pitcher Sam Romero went solid through four innings allowing five hits, but after a pitching change with one out in the fifth, the Beavers got four runs that would hold in their close win.

The Sun Devils' answered with a pair of runs in the sixth inning on sophomore infielder Spencer Torkelson's home run and junior infielder Carter Aldrete's RBI double. 

After junior catcher Lyle Lin's single made it a one-run game in the ninth, Torkelson got the opportunity to tie the game with two outs and runners in scoring position.  

On a 2-2 count, Torkelson went down swinging, ending the afternoon 2-for-4 with a walk, double and home run.

"You live for that moment," he said. "You want to be in that situation. Win it and/or tie it up. 

Despite losing the series to Oregon, the Sun Devils competed in three close games against the reigning national champions. 

Coach Tracy Smith said he liked "the team's effort and how hard they played," but didn't like the "execution or lack thereof." 

"I thought we were sloppy at times," Smith said. "We made a couple mistakes there in the fifth, getting crossed up on signals. And when you take teams that are that evenly matched, it's going to be one thing like that. It's hard when you are trying to take something away from a very tough series to swallow." 

The Beavers' defense played dominantly all throughout the nine innings, with starting right-hander Grant Gambrell knotting 10 strikeouts while allowing two runs on five hits through 5.2 innings.

Oregon State redshirt sophomore right-hander Mitchell Verburg earned the save through 0.1 innings, racking up one strikeout.

The defensive line made a key play in the eighth by preventing the Sun Devils from making it a one-run game. When Aldrete hit a dangerous fly ball to the corner of right field, Beavers junior right fielder Tyler Malone went feet-first over the wall to secure it.

ASU dropped to 10-5 in the Pac-12, sitting them in fourth place behind the Beavers, UCLA (9-3) and Stanford (10-2).

ASU will welcome the Seattle University Redhawks (8-25) for one game on Tuesday, April 16 at 6:30 p.m. MST.

Reach the reporter at or follow @Noriega_Edith on Twitter. 

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