Huskies Tag ASU's Bullpen

Normally when ASU hands the ball over to the ASU bullpen, the lead is in good hands. However, on Saturday night, that wasn't the case. Washington got to Mitchell Lambson and Jordan Swagerty for a combined six runs late to upset No. 1 ASU 9-4 at Packard Stadium.

"Bottom line is we got beat tonight. Washington played a better baseball game," ASU head coach Tim Esmay said. "They pitched better, they had more quality at bats, and they just played a better game."

UW (20-17, 5-6 Pac-10) got on the board right away in the first inning, scoring an unearned run off of ASU starter Merrill Kelly. Julien Pollard reached to start the game on an error by shortstop Drew Maggi and after he was bunted to second, Jacob Lamb singled him home to make it 1-0.

Wildness then got the best of Kelly as he hit three batters in the next three innings and two of them came around to score.

After getting two quick outs in the second, Kelly plunked Miles Kizer and David Bentrott and Pollard made him pay with a base hit that scored Kizer to make it 2-0 UW.

Kelly hit Troy Scott with one away and Kizer followed with a double into the left field corner that scored Scott.

It didn't take long for ASU (32-5, 10-4) to strike back and tie the game in the fourth inning, but they wasted a prime opportunity to take the lead.

Zack MacPhee led off the inning with his NCAA-leading 11th triple and Kole Calhoun followed with a home run and the lead was cut to 3-2.

Riccio Torrez made it back-to-back home runs with his second home run of the series to tie the game at 3-3.

Zach Wilson then singled and Johnny Ruettiger walked, giving the Sun Devils two runners on with nobody out, but ASU couldn't capitalize. Deven Marrero and Matt Newman struck out and Austin Barnes flew out to end the threat.

"You can look at the final and that is a biggie," Esmay said. "You get three runs and you have first and second with nobody out, you'd like to be able to square some balls up in that situation and put the hammer down, but the guy on the mound isn't willing to let you do that."

ASU would take the lead for the first time in the game in the fifth inning. MacPhee doubled with one out and moved up to third on a wild pitch. Riccio Torrez brought him home with a sacrifice fly to left and ASU led 4-3.

Kelly worked a scoreless fifth and sixth innings before giving way to Lambson for the seventh.

Lambson walked Pollard to start the inning and after a sacrifice bunt, Lamb doubled home Pollard to tie the game at 4-4.

Pierce Rankin grounded out for the second out of the inning, but Chase Anselment stroked his second home run of the season out to right to give UW a 6-4 lead.

"It was an off speed pitch that was up," Esmay said. "The kid did a good job of hunting the get-me-over breaking ball first pitch and did a good job of squaring it up."

The Huskies got to ASU closer Jordan Swagerty for three huge insurance runs in the ninth inning. It was the normal plan of attack for Esmay in the late innings, even though Kelly had thrown just over 80 pitches after six innings.

"That was the situation we have been doing all year. Go to Mitchell, go to Barrett, close with Swagerty. Just follow the pattern," Esmay said. "Every now and then the game of baseball finds the barrel. They did a good job of executing."

ASU put runners on in the seventh and eighth innings, but couldn't mount a comeback. All hopes of a comeback were squashed with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.

The rubber game of the series will be tomorrow afternoon at 12:30 PM at Packard Stadium with Jake Borup getting the ball for ASU.

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