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ASU baseball allows 17 hits and five home runs in loss to Nebraska

The loss snapped a six-game winning streak for the Sun Devils


ASU junior infielder Gage Workman (14) runs for home in a game against Nebraska on Sunday, March 1, 2020, at Phoenix Municipal Stadium in Phoenix, Arizona.

ASU baseball struggled on the mound Sunday afternoon, allowing 17 hits including five home runs in an 18-10 loss to Nebraska at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.

The Sun Devils offense notched 13 hits on the day led by junior first baseman Spencer Torkelson, who finished 3-5 with four RBIs and hit his fifth home run of the season.

Junior left fielder Trevor Hauver and junior second baseman Drew Swift also homered for ASU, with Swift collecting the first of his collegiate career.

“I haven’t really changed much,” Swift said. “Just gaining confidence as I go and staying with the same approach is paying off.”

On the mound for ASU was junior left-handed pitcher Justin Fall, who had yet to record a win through two starts.

Fall was sharp to start off, striking out a pair in a scoreless top of the first inning.

The Sun Devils then tacked on their first run of the day in the bottom of the inning courtesy of a solo home run to right by Hauver — his fourth of the season.

ASU entered overdrive the following inning, producing four runs in the bottom of the second including RBI hits by Torkelson and junior shortstop Alika Williams.

With a 5-0 lead, Fall ran into trouble in the top of the third. The Cornhuskers loaded the bases with one out and notched two runs on a walk and a hit-by-pitch.

It was then that freshman designated hitter Leighton Banjoff stepped up to the plate and launched a towering grand slam to deep left field — the first home run of his collegiate career — to put Nebraska ahead by a run.

“The ball was flying a bit today and they got under some balls,” Torkelson said. “That’s just baseball.”

Fall was replaced in the top of the fourth by freshman right-handed pitcher Bryce Barnett and Nebraska scored an additional two runs, extending its lead to 8-5.

The slugfest continued when ASU came back to the plate, as Torkelson drilled a three-run blast to right-center to tie the game.

“I just try to put my best swing on any pitch,” Torkelson said. “I stuck with my same approach and looked for a good pitch to drive.”

The knotted score did not last long, though, as Nebraska stormed back with a seven-run fifth inning that included three home runs and two RBI doubles.

The Sun Devils offense failed to produce runs in the fifth and sixth innings but was able to lessen the deficit in the bottom of the seventh when Swift connected on a two-run home run to left field.

“I honestly just felt good the whole weekend,” Swift said. “I tried to hit a line drive but got some good launch angle on it … I got it right when I hit it.”

That would be all the additional offense ASU could muster, as the team failed to score in the final two innings and saw its winning streak end at a season-high six games.

The Sun Devils had not allowed more than five runs in a game before Sunday's loss, which was the longest such streak to start a season since 2009.

“We were successful up to this point and they got the better of us today,” head coach Tracy Smith said. “It is nothing major — we have got some good arms that are going to be just fine.”

The Sun Devils will have a day off before traveling to Fullerton, California to face Cal State Fullerton in a two-game series beginning March 3 at 7:05 p.m. MST.

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