By: Brian Kreps – Contributing Writer
May 6, 2016
TEMPE, Ariz. – Playing extra innings seems to really agree with the Arizona State Sun Devils. After all, they were 5-1 in extra inning games this season heading into Friday night’s series opener against the Oregon Ducks.
So, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the Sun Devils (27-15, 10-9 in Pac-12) rallied from a 4-1 deficit to send the game into extra innings before getting a sacrifice fly from junior Brian Serven in the bottom of the 12th to earn a 5-4 win over the Ducks (21-18, 9-10) at Phoenix Municipal Stadium in front of 2,484 fans.
The 12th inning began with a double to left by junior David Greer. Oregon would then intentionally walk junior Colby Woodmansee. Pinch hitting for junior Sebastian Zawada, junior Zach Cerbo laid down a
“I was surprised with a base open that they did pitch to me,” Serven said. “But, I think their thinking was (Andrew) Shaps is faster than I am, so if he hits a ground ball, its less likely chance of a double play.”
Game one featured a pitching duel between Oregon junior Cole Irvin and ASU junior Seth Martinez. Each pitcher matched one another through the first six innings, both allowing a solo home run in the sixth inning.
The Ducks broke the game open in the top of the seventh inning plating three to take a 4-1, only to have the Sun Devils match with three of their own in the bottom of the eighth.
In the 10th inning, Arizona State head coach Tracy Smith was ejected for arguing balls and strikes. In the 9th inning, he questioned a pitch to senior Jordan Abitoes and was issued a warning. In the 10th, he questioned a pitch to Woodmansee, which led to his ejection.
“It’s exciting. I wish he didn’t have to. I wish those calls went different ways for us. It kind of fires you up,” Serven said. “You know he’s behind you the whole way. He wants us to succeed. More than anything, and by him getting tossed, kind of shows that to us.”
In the top of the sixth inning Oregon got things started with a solo home run by sophomore A.J. Balta, his eighth of the season, to take a 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the inning, Arizona State freshman Gage Canning jumped on the first pitch he saw and launched it over the right field wall for his second home run of the season, tying the game 1-1.
The Ducks then erupted for three runs in the top of the seventh inning, taking a 4-1 lead. Sophomore Tim Susnaragot things started with a double, and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore Daniel Patzlaff. Freshman Carson Breshears walked and advanced to second on a fielder’s choice by freshman Travis Moniot, which also drove in Susnara. After a strikeout and then a walk to load the bases, Balta singled to drive in two more runs.
In the bottom of the eighth, Woodmansee slammed a two-run homer, his seventh of the season, cutting the deficit to 4-3. Zawada followed with a home run of his own, his sixth of the season, tying the game 4-4.
“He started losing the sharpness of the breaking ball. He was leaving it up more, and guys were putting better swings on it,” Serven said. “The last two batters he faced,they both saw the ball well in those two at bats”
Martinez pitched eight innings for Arizona State, allowing four runs on six hits with two walks and five strikeouts.
“Vintage Seth. He’s a gamer. Not always having his best stuff. Tonight, he just grinded through eight innings. I think that goes under the radar, as that was another good outing from him,” Serven said.
“He’s the one who kept us in that game. He worked in and out with his fastball. He threw his slider and change up when he needed to.”
Smith agreed with Serven’s assessment of Martinez’ performance.
“It’s big. He’s done what he’s done every single Friday forus and give us a chance to win,” Smith said. “I think he was a little frustrated with how we played defensively behind him. If he can hold it at three (runs), which he did, was perfect. ”
Junior Eder Erives (6-1) pitched the final four innings of the game, allowing no runs and striking out three to pick up the win.
“Eder always does well. He throws the fastball for strikes, breaking ball for strikes and when he needs to he will drop that change up in there too,” Serven said. “I think he just kept guys off balance. First time through, I don’t think he even threw a change up, later on, he started using it more.”
“That was good to see. All the guys. The pitching, making the big plays when you have to. That pitching staff they threw out there was phenomenal. To figure a way to get it done against those guys, I just love it,” Smith said. “Let’s find a way to win. Doesn’t matter who or how. We didn’t play the best defensively. We played an extra inning game tonight, because we misplayed two pop ups that should be caught at this level, but it doesn’t matter cause we found a way to win.”
Pac- 12 Standings through May 6th:
Utah: 11-7, 16-23
Washington: 11-8, 25-16 (0.5 GB)
Arizona: 12-10, 29-16 (1 GB)
Arizona State: 10-9, 27-15. (1.5 GB)
USC: 10-9, 21-22 (1.5 GB)
Oregon State: 10-9, 29-13 (1.5 GB)
Oregon: 9-10, 21-18 (2.5 GB)
UCLA: 10-11, 21-22 (2.5 GB)
California: 11-12, 25-17 (2.5 GB)
Stanford: 9-11, 22-19 (3 GB)
Washington State: 7-14, 14-25 (5.5 GB)
Game Two: ASU vs Oregon is tonight at Phoenix Municipal Stadium at 6:30 p.m. PDT. Can hear the game on NBC Sports Radio AM 1060. Pregame at 6:15. First pitch at 6:30.