Devils Blow Six Run Lead in Loss to Texas

The Sun Devils were sitting pretty. They were up six runs in the fourth with a Golden Spikes finalist on the mound, but as quick as ASU built their lead, they gave it right back. Texas erased the deficit in one inning against All-American Mike Leake and eventually scored ten unanswered runs in a 10-6 victory that sends ASU to the losers' bracket and gives them a long road to the championship.

Normally any kind of lead is safe with the ball in the hands of Leake, but on Tuesday, the Golden Spikes finalist had his worst outing of the season at the worst possible time.

"With Mike Leake on the mound and a six-run lead, we felt pretty good about ourselves," said ASU Head Coach Pat Murphy, "but that just shows you how great our game is, how beautiful college baseball is and how great this event is."

Leake wouldn't blame his struggles on too much rest and didn't have a reason why he wasn't his usual self on Tuesday.

"It wasn't too much rest, I couldn't really tell you what it was," said Leake, "There is too much going through my mind right now. I'll think about it, then put it behind me."

The Devils jumped all over Texas starter Chance Ruffin in the second inning. Red hot Kole Calhoun led off the inning with another home run, almost hit to the same spot that his game winning one was hit to on Sunday. After a strikeout, Matt Newman singled to center and went to third on a single by Raoul Torrez. A passed ball by UT catcher Cameron Rupp allowed Newman to score and make it 2-0 Devils. Jared McDonald, who just entered the game for an injured Riccio Torrez, sent a single to right that brought home Raoul Torrez to make it 3-0 after two.

Carlos Ramirez led off the third with a solid blast to left that put ASU up 4-0. Ruffin then walked Calhoun and Johnny Ruettiger reached on an error, before UT head coach Augie Garrido pulled the plug on Ruffin. Freshman Austin Dicharry took over and walked Matt Newman to load the bases with nobody out. Dicharry then got Raoul Torrez to strike out, but a sac fly by McDonald made it 5-0.

A throwing error by the catcher Rupp on a steal attempt by Newman allowed Ruettiger to score and give the Devils all the momentum in the world and a six run lead, but then the walls came crumbling down.

Kevin Keyes singled up the middle to start the top of the 4th that changed the College World Series for ASU. Leake then hit Brandon Loy with a pitch before Cameron Rupp made up for his earlier mistakes with a home run that just got over the glove of Newman and cut the lead in half at 6-3.

Preston Clark and Connor Rowe followed the home run with back to back singles, before Leake got Michael Torres to hit into a fielder's choice leaving runners at the corners with one away. Travis Tucker then reached on a bunt single that scored Clark and a throwing error by McDonald allowed the runners to move up to second and third. Brandon Belt then singled to bring home the two runners and suddenly Texas had tied the game at 6-6 and Mike Leake was on his way out of the game.

"Mike Leake is 16-1 against very good competition and hasn't had an outing like that in three years," said Murphy, "That's not typical of Mike."

"When Mike is walking people, and dropping a ball going to first, something isn't right. Not sure exactly what happened, but his stuff wasn't his normal sinking stuff. He wasn't getting the low strike - this ump had a higher zone - which changes things a little bit ...But they got some timely hits, and that's what happens."

ASU's Kole Calhoun thinks the boys in maroon might have got a little too laid back after getting such a big lead early.

"When we were up 6-0, we kind of laid back, we were thinking we would be cruising," said Calhoun, "We got Mike Leake on the mound, but we've road him a lot of times."

The game stayed tied at 6-6 mainly because the performances of a pair of freshman, ASU's Mitchell Lambson and Texas' Taylor Jungmann.

It was Rupp again that delivered the blow that broke the tie in the seventh inning. The sophomore catcher blasted his second home run of the game to lead off the seventh and gave the Longhorns the lead for good at 7-6.

Texas put the game away in the eighth against Lambson and Seth Blair. Travis Tucker led off with a walk and was bunted to second before Lambson was pulled for Blair. Blair then walked Kevin Lusson before Kevin Keyes doubled off the right centerfield wall to plate Tucker and make it 8-6. Brandon Loy eventually added a two run single that made it 10-6 and buried the Devils.

In his shortest outing of the season, Leake worked just 3.1 innings and allowed five earned runs on eight hits and struck out five. Lambson allowed two runs in 2.1 innings to pick up the loss. The freshman has now picked up a win and loss in the first two CWS games.

Taylor Jungmann was sensational for UT and allowed just two hits in his 5.2 innings of relief and struck out six on his way to his 9th victory.


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