Bears Edge Devils, Snap Winning Streak

It is often said that all good things must come to an end – even winning streaks. The Sun Devils fell victim to shoddy defense and a white-hot pitcher as the California Golden Bears were able to knock off ASU 4-2, putting an end to the season high 12-game win streak.

The return to Pac-10 play after a four game hiatus was not kind for ASU, especially in the field where three errors were committed, leading to two of the four Golden Bear runs.

Josh Satow took the mound for ASU while staff ace, Tyson Ross threw for the Bears and for much of the game, the teams were locked up in a pitchers duel, neither side willing to give an inch. Satow and the Devils blinked first when the first two hitters to step in against Satow each reached base on a leadoff single and a double immediately proceeding. The junior Satow then went to work – fighting to keep ASU in the game and more importantly, in the hunt for the outright Pac-10 title.

He immediately struck out the three-hole hitter, second baseman Josh Satin and induced a one-out RBI groundout followed by the third out of the inning on another groundout. What had started out as a disastrous looking inning for the devils yielded only one run.

A 1-0 deficit might not seem like much when the trailing team averages nearly 10 runs per game, but with Ross on the mound – carrying a sub-2.00 ERA coming into the game – this was no ordinary deficit. Sophomore Ike Davis brought the Devils immediately back into the game, leading off the next half-inning with a solo homerun over the right field fence but Davis, who had three hits on the day, could not carry the load for the offense as they were held to their lowest scoring total since February 16th when the team lost to Missouri 3-2 in the Coca-Cola Classic.

Things were looking just fine for ASU through the first four innings. The team was tied with Cal 2-2, Ross was tiring and the offense seemed to be breaking out its half-game funk. Only a half-inning later, however, the game took on a drastically different looking hue. The bottom of the fifth inning came, bringing the shoddy defense along with it and washing away the hopes of a road victory for the Devils.

The inning started off pedestrian enough, the leadoff hitter, Brett Jackson tallied the second of his two hits on the afternoon. A double play groundball soon followed but was combined with an error on shortstop Andrew Romine, allowing both runners to reach base – setting up what would be the only runs needed for the California victory. Another single by Satin plated the first run of the frame and, after a strike out, Mike Van Winden stepped the plate and grounded out to first baseman Brett Wallace to score the fourth run of the game for the Golden Bears and all but seal the victory.

Closer Matt Goergen gave up a ninth inning single to Joe Persichina but induced a fly ball to left on Tim Smith to put an end to many good things for the Devils including a 12-game win streak, a three series swept streak, and perhaps more importantly – their 8-game Pac-10 win streak.

Another early afternoon game against the Cal Golden Bears awaits the Devils as they look to get back on the winning track in Berkeley at 1 p.m.

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