No. 8 ASU baseball records 18 strikeouts in 2-1 loss to No. 24 Oklahoma State

The Sun Devils went hitless in four attempts with the bases loaded

Despite striking out 18 batters, No. 8 ASU baseball fell 2-1 against No. 24 Oklahoma State on Tuesday evening at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.

The Sun Devils went up to bat four times with the bases loaded and failed to record a hit in each of those at-bats.

ASU sophomore left-handed pitcher Erik Tolman got his first start of the 2020 season and faced off against OSU sophomore right-hander Brett Standlee.

"It felt good," Tolman said of his performance. "I knew that my arm was going to be there and come out there and feel fresh, and I went out there and felt really good."

A string of singles from the Cowboys in the top of the second from senior outfielder Carson McCusker, junior catcher Brock Mathis and senior outfielder Cade Cabbiness put the team up 1-0 with only one out in the half inning.

In his second at-bat of the game, Cabbiness homered a solo shot over the right-field wall to double OSU's (2-2) lead in the top of the fourth.

ASU junior first baseman Spencer Torkelson hit a leadoff double at the bottom of the sixth for his first hit of the evening. After junior left fielder Trevor Hauver singled to right to put runners on the corners with no outs, a sacrifice fly to deep center from junior shortstop Alika Williams brought Torkelson home and sliced OSU's lead to 2-1.

Despite ASU (2-3) scoring the run, its bats struggled, only recording seven hits in the game.

Even though the team has stumbled in the batter's box, head coach Tracy Smith believes that there shouldn't be any major concern, especially at this point in the season.

"Baseball is a funny game," Smith said. "You go through things like this, it just takes that one hit. We just have to keep grinding it out and stay in there and stay focused and not try to do too much.

"We've got a bunch of good hitters, right now they're struggling a little bit. Are they going to struggle like this the rest of the way? I doubt it."

Tolman was pulled from the game in the top of the seventh, recording 12 strikeouts on 118 pitches through six innings pitched. 

"I thought (Erik) was very competitive all the way through, a warrior all the way through," Smith said. "(He) gave his team a chance to win, it just didn't happen."

Freshman right-handed pitcher Cam Dennie—who came into the game with the bases loaded in the top of the seventh—struck out OSU's senior infielder Alix Garcia and junior infielder Jake Thompson to strand all three runners on the bases and keep the score 2-1.

Junior right-handed pitcher RJ Dabovich came into the game with two outs in the top of the eighth and recorded one strikeout to send the game into the second half of the eight. He added two more strikeouts in the top of the ninth to record the team's 18th strikeout in the game, the most in one game since 2001.

"(The pitching staff) has had good execution," Dabovich said. "We worked hard all off-season. We've faced the best lineup arguably in the country several times. We just bred confidence with the preparation and prepared week in and week out."

Hauver flew out to left field at the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded to end the game, resulting in ASU receiving its third loss of the season. 

ASU will host Boston College (3-1) for a three-game series, starting on Feb. 21 at 6:30 p.m. MST at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.

Reach the reporter at and follow @averyklatsky on Twitter. 

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