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Long ball dooms ASU baseball in loss to New Mexico

The bullpen surrendered six runs en route to the team's ninth loss of the season


ASU freshman pitcher Wyatt Halvorson (36) pitches against Santa Clara at Phoenix Municipal Stadium on Friday, Feb.16, 2024 in Phoenix. ASU won 11-6.

After a wild first inning where ASU baseball (7-9) jumped out front without recording a hit, the Sun Devils struggled to keep up the momentum, losing 6-4 to New Mexico (11-6) on Tuesday night.

New Mexico starter Andrew Neil allowed three walks, two wild pitches and hit one batter before being removed after 0.2 innings, propelling ASU to an early 3-0 lead.

ASU freshman pitcher Wyatt Halvorson was excellent in his first collegiate start, punching out six Lobos and only allowing one hit in three innings of work. However, ASU head coach Willie Bloomquist called to the bullpen in the fourth inning, removing Halvorson after 51 pitches. 

"Wyatt threw the ball great, came out and impressed and did very well," Bloomquist said. "I was happy for him… I think it was a little foolish to go much more than 50 pitches with him not having done that before. I'm not going to jeopardize a kid's arm health."

The move backfired. Upon freshman pitcher Cole Carlon's entrance, the Lobos tied the game after a two-run home run, a walk and a wild pitch by Carlon allowed New Mexico to tack on a third run, tying the game.

Sophomore Sean Fitzpatrick relieved Carlon and gave up a three-run home run to New Mexico's Devon Dixon, giving the Lobos a lead that the Sun Devils couldn't overcome. In three innings of work between Carlon and Fitzpatrick, the lefties allowed six runs off of five hits.

Unlike previous games where the Sun Devils have torched the ball, the bats suddenly vanished on Tuesday. ASU mustered only five hits and left 10 runs on base.

"That's an embarrassing performance on our part," Bloomquist said. "Just guys not sticking to what we preach and what our offensive mindset should be. We're representing this program very poorly and to me, that falls on my shoulders."

The Sun Devils travel down south to Tucson to face Arizona this weekend, taking on the Wildcats for a three-game set beginning on Friday. It's still early in the season, and Bloomquist is urging his players who he "loves to death" to play with more edge and hold each other accountable.

"We need a little bit more willingness to call each other out. We need a little bit more toughness and meanness," Bloomquist said. "When it comes to playing competitive, winning baseball, you have to have a little bit of that friction in a clubhouse for you to be any good in my opinion... and I think they're a little bit tentative to do that with each other."

"So when we start getting that I think the tides will turn very quickly. But if we don't, we're going to be vanilla tapioca pudding. That's not good enough around here," Bloomquist said.

Edited by Shane Brennan and Angelina Steel.

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Aaron SchmidtSports Reporter

Aaron Schmidt is a sports reporter who covers ASU Baseball and ASU Women’s Golf for The State Press. He previously covered Higley High School football for AZPreps365.

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