Bullpen, Defense Falter in Loss to Arkansas

For the first time all season, the Arizona State bullpen faltered enough to cost the Sun Devils a victory. In front of 8,342 at Baum Stadium, ASU surrendered five runs in the bottom of the 7th and Arkansas held on for a 7-3 victory in a battle of #1 teams.

The Devils (23-6) and the Razorbacks both are currently ranked as the top team in different college baseball polls that came out on Monday, setting up a big mid-week matchup in Arkansas.

Seth Blair got the start for the Sun Devils and pitched well for the second consecutive start. The sophomore was cruising along, before running into trouble in the seventh.

The Devils got on the board first using an unconventional way. With runners at the corners and two outs in the third, Zack MacPhee broke for the plate on a 1-1 pitch to Raoul Torrez and stole home to make it 1-0 Devils.

ASU added another run in the 4th. Jason Kipnis singled to lead off the inning, but after a fly out, Kipnis was caught stealing for the second out of the inning. Carlos Ramirez walked with two away and advanced to second on an infield single by Riccio Torrez. Kole Calhoun made it 2-0 with an RBI single up the middle scoring Ramirez.

Arkansas (23-6) cut into the lead against Blair in the bottom of the fourth. Andy Wilkins doubled to right center to lead off the inning and scored when the next batter, Jacob House, singled back up the middle to cut the Devils' lead to 2-1.

Carlos Ramirez's 11th home run of the season in the sixth increased ASU's lead to 3-1, but after that it was all Razorbacks.

Blair got Tim Carver to line out to start the 7th, but then walked Chase Leavitt to start the Hogs' rally. Pinch hitter Tom Hauskey singled to right sending Leavitt to third and ending Blair's day. Pat Murphy replaced him with lefty Kole Calhoun and the junior didn't record an out.

Ben Tschepikow greeted Calhoun with a bloop RBI single to center to cut the lead to 3-2 and then Calhoun hit Wilkins to load the bases with just one out. House then hit one on the ground that might have been an inning ending double play, but shortstop Drew Maggi booted the ball allowing the tying run to cross the plate and extended the inning.

Calhoun then gave way to Jason Franzblau and Andrew Darr gave the Razorbacks the lead with a single to left. Pinch hitter Scott Lyons made it 6-3 with a single to right to score two more. In all the Razorbacks plated five runs in the inning to take control of the game.

The Hogs added an insurance run off of seldom used ASU reliever Jeeter Ishida in the eighth. Ben Tschepikow drove in the 7th run of the day for Arkansas with an RBI double to right.

Blair worked 6 1/3 innings and allowed three earned runs on just three hits. The sophomore struck out seven and walked five in the no decision. Kole Calhoun (0-1) didn't record an out and allowed three runs, only one of them earned to pick up the loss.

Jason Franzblau, Jeeter Ishida and Kyle Brule each worked 2/3 of an inning, with Ishida allowing a run.

Arkansas' starter Brett Eibner allowed two earned runs in his five innings of work, also getting stuck with a no decision. Sam Murphy picked up his first win of the season, allowing a run in 2 1/3 innings of work. Stephen Richards closed out the final 1 2/3 for the Hogs for his fifth save.

Not one player had multiple hits for ASU, who traveled from Seattle to Tempe on Sunday evening and then to Fayetteville on Monday.

The Devils will try to earn a split in the series tomorrow at Baum Stadium. First pitch is at 4:35 Arizona time on Wednesday.

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