Late Homers Push Devils Past Winthrop

The Winthrop Eagles showed why they are a great offensive ballclub on Saturday night, but they also showed their biggest weakness, their pitching. The Eagles rallied from five down to catch ASU in the middle innings, but late home runs by Jason Kipnis and Matt Newman put ASU in front for good and the bullpen held on for a 10-9 victory at Packard Stadium.

Arizona State (37-11) jumped on Winthrop early for the second straight night, putting four runs on the board in the first inning against Eagle starter Robert Lake. Drew Maggi again was the igniter, leading off the inning with a walk, stole second and moved up to third when the throw from catcher John Murrian went into centerfield. Jason Kipnis made it 1-0 with an RBI double and came into score on a two-run home run over the green monster by Carlos Ramirez. Kole Calhoun made it back to back, with his seventh long ball of the year and ASU led 4-0.

The Eagles (30-20) got three of those back off of ASU starter Jordan Swagerty in the second on one swing of the bat. Swagerty quickly got the first two outs of the inning, but Bryn Henderson's double kept the inning alive. A walk to John Murrian kept the inning alive for Aaron Bonomi who belted his second home run of the series to cut the lead to 4-3.

Lake couldn't hold it at a one run deficit in the bottom of the second as ASU plated four more against him. Jared McDonald singled back up the middle with one away and Drew Maggi followed with a single and both runners moved up a base on an error by the right fielder Sean Sullivan. Jason Kipnis was then intentionally walked to load the bases, but Ramirez unloaded them with a bases clearing double to left center for his fifth RBIs in the first two innings. Abe Ruiz would add an RBI double off of Winthrop ace Matteo D'Angelo, who relieved Lake, to make it 8-3 Devils.

Winthrop began to chip away at the lead against Swagerty in the third, getting two runs back. Eddie Rohan singled to left to lead off the inning and Eddie Tisdale followed with a hit of his own. Matt Thielepape made it 8-4 with a single into right, the third straight hit for Winthrop. Sean Sullivan then popped up a bunt for the first out, but Swagerty then walked Henderson to load the bases. John Murrian cut the lead to 8-5 with a sacrifice fly, but Swagerty got out of the inning with no further damage.

Murrian's two-out infield single in the 5th moved Sean Sullivan, who reached on a double, to third and Drew Maggi's throw was wild allowing Sullivan to score and make it 8-6.

Seth Blair took over for Swagerty in the 6th and the Eagles tied the game against the sophomore. Cam Walters started the inning with a single to left and Kevin Nolan followed with a hit back up the middle to put two on with nobody out. Blair then got Eddie Rohan to strike out for the first out, but Eddie Tisdale singled back up the middle to score Walters and the next batter Thielpape tied the game with a single to left plating Nolan.

The Eagles then loaded the bases with one out with the game tied, but Blair worked out of the inning by striking out Bryn Henderson and Jared McDonald then made an excellent play on a groundball hit by Murrian to get out of the jam.

With the game tied and two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Jason Kipnis stepped to the plate and crushed his 14th home run of the season onto Rural Road to put the Devils ahead 9-8.

The shot that would prove to be the game winner came off the bat of Matt Newman just an inning later. The sophomore right fielder hit his sixth of the season off of Greg Hough to put the Devils out in front 10-8.

That would prove big because Eddie Tisdale crushed his eighth home run of the season off of Blair in the 8th. Winthrop would put the tying run in scoring position against Blair in the ninth thanks to a single by Bonomi and an error by Andy Workman in left that allowed Bonomi to get to second. Blair left the tying run at second by getting Cam Walters to ground out to end the game.

Seth Blair picked up his sixth win of the season in his second appearance out of the bullpen this week and for the season. Blair allowed three runs in four innings, while striking out five. Starter Jordan Swagerty worked five innings and was tagged for six earned runs by a very potent Winthrop offense.

Jason Kipnis and Carlos Ramirez led the way offensively for ASU, with Kipnis following his four hit Friday with three more hits and ended a single away from the cycle. Carlos Ramirez had two hits and drove in five for the Devils. Abe Ruiz and Kole Calhoun each added a pair of hits as well.

The Devils will go for the sweep of Winthrop tomorrow afternoon with a 1PM start at Packard Stadium. ASU's starter is unknown, but it is likely that either Matt Newman or Winthrop transfer Jason Franzblau will get the ball.

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