Northern Colorado Shocks Devils

The Arizona State Sun Devils are human after all. The maroon and gold wasted opportunity after opportunity on their way to a stunning 6-3 loss at the hands of the Northern Colorado Bears. The upstart Bears proved that in the world of baseball, anything can happen when you step between the lines and that held true in front of 3,558 at Packard Stadium Friday night.

The Devils (19-1) took the lead in the bottom half of the first inning. Raoul Torrez, who was in the leadoff spot for the first time all season, led off the game with an infield single and came around to score on a double by Jason Kipnis, who would later score on a balk by UNC pitcher Chris Reap.

After his mistake allowed the second ASU run to score, Reap took over the game and keeping Sun Devil batters off balance all night. Reap scattered six ASU hits over six strong innings, allowing just three runs to pick up his second victory of the year.

Northern Colorado (6-14) would give Reap all the offense he would need in the third inning off of ASU starting pitcher Seth Blair. Erik Hegstad led off with a double and after Blair got T.J Berge to ground out, he hit Adam Symons and Cory Morales with back to back pitches to load the bases. Andy Mees made Blair pay by lining a single up the middle tying the game at 2-2.

A controversial call by home plate umpire Scott Higgins extended the inning and eventually led to two Bear runs. Chad Murray sent a ground ball along the third base line which Brett Wallace picked up and stepped on third for what appeared to be the third out and get Blair out of the inning and keep the game tied. Murray ruled the ball foul and allowed Murray used his second life to line a single into left to put the Bears up for good at 3-2. Erik Whinery would follow with a single and UNC held a 4-2 lead.

Kiel Roling would launch a solo home run onto Rio Salado in the fourth to creep the Devils closer at 4-3, but that would be the last run they would push across the plate.

UNC's Kevin Sandberg would push the Bears lead up to 6-3 with RBI doubles in the 5th and the 7th inning.

The Devils seemed to start a rally in the seventh when Reap exited the game in favor of Sean Peery. Peery walked Kipnis and Ike Davis with one out before allowing an infield single to Brett Wallace. Petey Paramore killed the potential rally by hitting into an inning ending 4-6-3 double play. Paramore exhibited the team's frustration on the night by slamming his helmet down the first base line.

ASU would load the bases again in the 8th inning with two outs for Kipnis. Kipnis hit a little dribbler down the third base line that Bears' third baseman Adam Symons picked with a bare hand and made a strong flow while falling away to beat Kipnis by a half step.

The Devils had another bases loaded opportunity in the ninth, this time with nobody out. Ike Davis led off the ninth with a single and Wallace and Paramore followed with walks. Rocky Laguna, who entered the game in the sixth inning, hit a ground ball to UNC first baseman Chad Murray who made a beautiful pick, stepped on the bag for one out and threw home to get Davis on a tag for a double play. Pinch hitter Mike Leake would end the game by taking a called third strike.

Torrez, Kipnis, Davis and Roling all had multiple hits for ASU, who's chances at breaking the school record of 21 straight wins to start the season were ended Friday night.

The Devils will look to respond tomorrow afternoon when they play a doubleheader against Florida International (9-13) starting at 4PM.

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