Bullpen Lets Devils Down in Loss to Beavers

The Arizona State Sun Devil bullpen has time and time again saved Pat Murphy's bunch and led them to victory. On Friday night in front of a packed house of 3,960 at Packard Stadium, the Devils' bullpen let them down by allowing five ninth inning runs as the Beavers rallied past ASU 6-4.

Oregon St. got on the board first in the second inning against ASU starter Mike Leake. Jordan Lennerton launched a double over ASU right fielder Matt Newman's head that scored Beaver catcher Ryan Ortiz and gave them the early 1-0 advantage.

The game was a pitcher's duel throughout its majority as both Leake and OSU starter Mike Stutes were dominant. ASU pushed a run across in the third inning against Stutes, without a base hit. .

Raoul Torrez started things by getting hit by a pitch with one out and Ryan Sontag and Brett Wallace followed with walks to load the bases. Jason Kipnis sent a deep fly ball to the warning track in left field for a sacrifice fly that scored Torrez to even things at 1-1. .

Stutes and Leake continued to put up zeros and things remained 1-1 until the bottom half of the eighth inning. Stutes took a no-hitter into the eighth before Matt Newman broke up the no-no bid with a single and was sacrificed to second by Torrez. .

After Ryan Sontag flew out to center, Oregon St. Head Coach Pat Casey opted to intentionally walk Brett Wallace to face Jason Kipnis with two outs. Kipnis responded by sending a single to right to score pinch runner Mike Jones to give ASU a 2-1 lead late. The Devils would build upon that lead when Ike Davis followed with a single that scored Wallace. .

Petey Paramore followed by greeting new Beaver pitcher Kraig Sitton with a rocket to left for a double that plated Kipnis, but Ike Davis pulled up lame on the play and had to be held at third and later that run would prove costly. .

Normally the ninth inning was Jason Jarvis time for Murphy, but without his star closer this season, the ASU skipper has often turned to Ike Davis to shut the door. With Davis out of the game with an apparent leg injury, Murphy decided to give the ball to the reliable Tommy Rafferty. .

The normally dependable Rafferty started the ninth favorably with a strikeout to Ryan Ortiz before the walls caved in. Rafferty started the jam himself by walking Lennerton and Daniel Robertson brought the tying run to the plate with a single up the middle. Pinch hitter Lonnie Lechlet then lined a rocket that a diving Ryan Sontag just missed in left field that scored Lennerton and Robertson and cut the Devils lead to 4-3. .

With the tying run just 90 feet away, Murphy needed a strikeout so he turned to Reyes Dorado out of the bullpen. Dorado jumped ahead 1-2 on Beaver center fielder Chris Hopkins before the senior lined one past the drawn in infield to tie the game at 4-4. .

Dorado then walked Joey Wong before John Wallace gave the Beavers the lead for good. Wallace worked Dorado for a nine pitch at bat, fouling off five pitches after having two strikes and eventually lined a single back through the middle that plated Hopkins and put the Beavers up 5-4. Murphy then brought in Stephen Sauer to try and limit the damage and Sauer allowed a sac fly to Jason Ogata to make it 6-4 Beavers. The Devils got a rally going in the bottom half of the ninth inning against Oregon St. freshman sensation Kevin Rhoderick. Rhoderick had come into the game with six saves and had allowed just one run all season as the Beaver closer. Rhoderick started things by walking Marcel Champagnie and then pinch hitter Greg Bordes found centerfield for a single. Raoul Torrez then tried to sacrifice the runners into scoring position, but failed and eventually struck out. Ryan Sontag followed by taking a called third strike, one of seven looking strike outs by the Devils on Friday. .

That set up the defending Pac 10 Player of the Year Brett Wallace with the chance to tie or possibly win the game for ASU. After falling behind 1-2, Wallace ripped a ball that appeared to be fair down the first base line and into the corner and likely tying the game. First base umpire Tony Norris ruled the ball foul, much to the chagrin of ASU first base coach Tim Esmay. Wallace grounded out to second on the very next pitch and the Beavers escaped with a series opening win. .

Mike Leake pitched eight strong innings for the Devils, allowing just one run on five hits while striking out nine. Tommy Rafferty blew his first save of the season, allowing three earned runs in just 1/3 of an inning pitched. Reyes Dorado picked up his first loss of the season after not recording an out and surrendering two runs. Greg Peavey picked up his second win for the Beavers after striking out Rocky Laguna to end the eighth. .

The Devils and Beavers will play game two of the series tomorrow night at Packard Stadium. Josh Satow is likely to get the ball for the first pitch at 6PM.

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