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ASU baseball's bats go quiet in series loss at Oregon to open Pac-12 play

The Sun Devils dropped the final two games of the series, scoring just four combined runs in the losses

20210313 Baseball v Cal Full 0003

ASU redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Tyler Thornton (29) pitches against Cal State Fullerton at Phoenix Municipal Stadium in Phoenix on Saturday, March 13, 2021. ASU won 6-4. 

With a 5-3 loss Sunday afternoon, ASU baseball dropped its first Pac-12 and road series of the season two games to one in Eugene, Oregon against No. 16 Oregon. The Ducks outscored the Sun Devils 12-4 over the final two games, both victories for UO. 

ASU's offense had scored 20 runs in its three games prior, but Oregon struck out more batters than allowed hits between its two victories. 

After winning nine consecutive games, ASU has now dropped three of four. 

ASU's Friday win did not start off well, as the Sun Devils fell behind 3-0 in the first inning. But, freshman pitcher Jared Glenn came in during the second inning and shut Oregon down for 7.1 frames. He had yet to throw more than 3.2 innings in any game this year, and his performance was much needed to preserve the rest of the bullpen.

The offense picked him up in the third inning with three runs to take a 4-3 lead, one ASU never surrendered. The top five batters in the order accounted for 10 of ASU's 11 hits, with redshirt junior Drew Swift leading with three. Freshman Ethan Long hit his first collegiate home run in the eighth inning to give Glenn a buffer. The Sun Devils won 6-3. 

On Saturday ASU starting pitcher redshirt sophomore Tyler Thornton kept the Sun Devils competitive through five two-run innings. In the sixth, he allowed his second two-run blast of the game, though, which put the Ducks up 4-0. 

The bullpen did not have better luck, and ASU fell behind 7-0 through eight innings. The Sun Devils managed just four hits through the first seven frames and squandered a first-and-third with no outs chance in the second. They created an opportunity to claw back in the ninth with the bases loaded and no outs, but only managed to score one run. Oregon took the 7-1 victory. 

The Sun Devil offense did not improve much on Sunday. After a two-run first inning, ASU was held to one run and five hits for the remainder of the game. It finished 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position, even worse than Saturday's output of 2-for-9. 

Redshirt junior Justin Fall started on the mound but was not as sharp as his previous outing last Sunday with three earned runs in five innings. Still, he exited the game with ASU only trailing 3-2 with a runner on base, who eventually scored. ASU never fell behind by more than two runs. 

Excluding the final three innings on Saturday, the Sun Devil pitching staff kept games close against a ranked Oregon team. However, ASU scored fewer runs this series than it had in any three-game slate since facing Sacramento State on opening weekend. 

Swift and Long were ASU's offensive standouts this weekend. Swift finished the series 5-for-12 with a couple of walks and runs scored. Long was 5-for-9 and drove in half of ASU's runs with five RBI. Meanwhile, the Sun Devil outfielders combined for three hits all series in 31 at-bats. 

ASU's first home series of conference play begins March 26 against Washington State.

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