ASU baseball loses second game of the series to No. 1 UCLA

The Bruins defeated the Sun Devil's 18-3 on Saturday following a 3-2 win on Friday

Scoring in not one, not two, but eighth straight innings sent No. 1 UCLA baseball (37-7, 16-4 Pac-12) into cruise control Saturday in its 18-3 win over ASU.

Feshman Noah Cardenas' home run in the second, junior Chase Strumpf's fourth inning grand slam and senior Jake Pries' dingers, one each in the fifth and seventh inning, all contributing to the Bruins' victory, marking its eighth in a row and it's second in the series.

To top it off, UCLA scored eight runs in the eighth inning from sophomore Garrett Mitchell, junior Michael Toglia and senior Jake Hirabayashi who combined for 10 RBIs.

Bruins' red shirt junior starter Jack Ralston backed up the offensive power by launching seven solid frames, allowing just three hits while striking out seven.

"(UCLA's) a good baseball team," said ASU Head Coach Tracy Smith. "... When those guys are on, I can tell you it's frustrating seeing our guys wave at balls in the dirt, but I can assure you it's not for a lack of trying." 

The Sun Devils (32-12, 13-10 Pac-12) were left thirsty for offensive power following the two games as the team scrambled eight hits and five runs against its high caliber opponent.

On Saturday, ASU's defense got off to a shaky start through a series of unfortunate events, including Sun Devil sophomore starter Boyd Vander Kooi throwing 22 pitches in the first, a homer in the second and a runner called safe on the throw to third, granting the Bruins an early 3-0 lead. 

Mitigating a 10-0 deficit, Smith gave freshman pitchers Dom Cacchione, Will Levine and Luke La Flam each a chance at the rotation in the eighth inning but was ultimately disappointed, not only on the pitching side, but when "the game tilted in (UCLA's) advantage."

Sophomore Alika Williams finally made a scratch in the Sun Devils' 18-0 deficit with a three-run shot in the eighth, but the the tone was set by the Bruins early on in the game. 

"On a positive piece of it, to me, that illustrates why Alika Williams is Alika Williams, because it didn't matter what the score was, that kid was still going to give you quality at bat," Smith said.

ASU is looking to dig out a win in the concluding game of the series Sunday at 2 p.m. MST.  


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

Like The State Press on Facebook and follow @statepress on Twitter.


Get the best of State Press delivered straight to your inbox.