Unearned Runs Burn ASU in Loss to WSU

Arizona State has become masters of taking advantage of an opponents' error by piling on unearned runs, but on Friday night, Washington State gave the Sun Devils a taste of its own medicine.

Zack MacPhee made a costly throwing error in the first inning that extended the frame and allowed the Cougars to tack on three unearned runs.

The extra out allowed to WSU in the first inning would loom large as the game remained close and was tied entering the bottom of the ninth before pinch hitter Patrick Claussen sent a single past the drawn in ASU infield to send the Cougars to a 6-5 walk off win at Bailey-Brayton Field.

At first, it was ASU (27-2, 5-2 Pac-10) doing the usual and capitalizing on a pair of errors by WSU to jump to an early 2-0 lead.

Drew Maggi reached to open the game on an error by shortstop Shea Vucinich and moved up to second on an errant pickoff throw by Cougars starter Chad Arnold.

MacPhee made the errors hurt by driving in Maggi with a base hit into left field. He then stole second and scored himself on a hit by Riccio Torrez.

WSU (16-10, 2-2) responded right away against ASU starter Seth Blair. Gary Kuykendall was the first to face the junior and he doubled to right centerfield. Blair then hit Brett Jacobs with a pitch to put two on with nobody out.

Kuykendall moved up to third on a fly out by Derek Jones and scored on a sacrifice fly by Matt Fanelli to cut the ASU lead to 2-1.

With two outs, Blair appeared to get out of inning by getting Vucinich to hit a groundball to MacPhee, but the sophomore threw it away, allowing Jacobs to score and even the game at 2-2.

Instead of the inning being over, WSU got an extra out and took advantage. Michael Weber doubled to left center scoring Vucinich and Matt Argyropoulos singled home Weber and just like that it was 4-2 in favor of WSU.

Arnold kept the Sun Devils' bats quiet until the fifth inning when they awoke to take back the lead. Back-to-back doubles by Austin Barnes and Raoul Torrez made it a 4-3 game.

MacPhee then delivered his fourth home run of the season, a two-run blast to right, and ASU regained a 5-4 lead.

Blair settled in and didn't allow another run until the seventh inning. After getting the first out of the seventh, Blair allowed a base hit to Cody Bartlett and that ended his day.

Mitchell Lambson came in from the bullpen and Kuykendall greeted him with a triple to right that evened the score at 5-5.

Lambson eventually worked out of the inning without any further damage and the game stayed tied all the way until the ninth.

Argyropoulos led off the ninth against Lambson with a double down the right field line and moved up to third on a sacrifice bunt from Jay Ponciano.

ASU coach Tim Esmay then turned the ball over to closer Jordan Swagerty and WSU coach Donnie Marbut counted with the left handed Claussen off the bench.

Esmay elected not to walk the bases loaded and set up the double play, instead he let Swagerty go right after Claussen.

The sophomore took the first offering from Swagerty right back up the middle to bring home the winning run.

Lambson took the loss and fell for the first time this season, allowing one run in two innings of work. Blair worked 6 1/3 innings and allowed five runs, but only two were earned.

MacPhee finished 2-3 at the plate with two runs scored and three RBI's. Johnny Ruettiger also finished 2-3.

The Sun Devils will look to bounce back in game two of the series on Saturday at 2PM in Pullman. Junior Merrill Kelly is the likely starter for ASU.

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