Morris Pitches K-State Past Devils

The stakes were stacked against AJ Morris on Tuesday night. The junior was pitching in a Major League spring training park against one of the top pitchers in the nation, but that didn't matter one bit. Morris shut the Devils down over 8 1/3 innings and led Kansas State to a 6-2 victory on Tuesday at Surprise Stadium.

The Wildcats got to ASU ace Mike Leake early thanks to a miscue by Drew Maggi. Carter Jurica reached on an error by the freshman shortstop and Nick Martini and Justin Bolxom followed with singles to load the bases with one out in the first.

Justin King started his big day with a sacrifice fly and cashed in on the error to make it 1-0. Leake worked out of the inning without any further damage.

Carlos Ramirez tied the game in the 2nd with a home run to deep center, but that was the only run ASU (11-2) would get off of Morris until it was too late.

K-State (11-2) gave their ace the lead back in the fourth with back to back doubles. Bolxom led off the inning with a double and King connected with a double to center for his second RBI and the Wildcats led 2-1. Once again, Leake worked out of the jam with no further damage.

Both starting pitchers settled down and ASU couldn't get a run off of Morris. The Devils stranded runners in scoring position in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings and couldn't pick up the big hit to even the score.

Leake exited the game after the seventh inning and Mitchell Lambson had his first rough outing of the season. The freshman allowed four runs in the top of the 8th to put the game out of reach for the Devils.

Carter Jurica led off with a double and came around to score on an RBI single by Martini. After a walk to Bolxom, Jason King capped his big day and a Wildcat victory with a three run home run to left field and Kansas State led 6-1.

ASU chased AJ Morris after it was too late. Morris gave up a one out single in the ninth to Kole Calhoun and hit Riccio Torrez with a pitch before he was pulled. Jason Kipnis singled with two outs to score Calhoun, but Zach Wilson popped out to end the game.

Morris went 8 1/3 innings and allowed two earned runs on five hits and five walks. The Devils let him off the hook by leaving nine runners on base. The junior righty improved to 4-0 on the season and now has a healthy 0.68 ERA on the season.

Jason King hit his fifth home run of the season and went 3-3 with five runs driven in to pace K-State offensively. Calhoun was the only Sun Devil with multiple hits going 2-4.

Mike Leake picked up his first loss of the season and it certainly wasn't a deserving one. Leake went just one earned run in 7 innings and struck out three. Mitchell Lambson allowed four earned runs in his one inning of work on four hits. Kyle Brule worked a scoreless ninth and struck out one.

ASU and Kansas State will conclude their quick two game series tomorrow evening at Surprise Stadium. The game will start about an hour after the spring training game between Texas and Seattle concludes.

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