Sun Devils Drop CWS Opener to Clemson

If ASU is going to take home the national championship, it is going to have to do it the hard way. But nothing has come easy to the 2010 Sun Devils, so why should this be any different?

The Sun Devils are now one loss away from elimination, thanks to a rare poor outing from Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year Seth Blair and a lack of clutch hits.

Blair lasted just 4 1/3 innings and allowed five runs to a red hot Clemson offense who tagged the junior with his first loss of the season, a 6-3 decision at Rosenblatt Stadium.

The Tigers put the pressure on right away in the first, but a little bit of luck helped Blair escape with no damage. Clemson loaded the bases with one away, but a line drive right at shortstop Deven Marrero resulted in a double play and got ASU out of the inning unscathed.

However, the luck didn't continue on into the second inning. Richie Shaffer sent a one-out single to left and Blair then walked Wilson Boyd and balked the runners up to second and third.

Spence Kieboom made it 1-0 with an infield single and another run scored later in the inning on a fielders' choice and a throwing error by Marrero.

ASU got one of those runs back in the third inning. Raoul Torrez lined a double to left, moved up to third on a wild pitch and then scored on a close play at the plate after a sacrifice fly from Austin Barnes.

Blair allowed the first two runners of the fifth to reach on a walk and a hit and after a fly out, John Hinson made it 3-1 with an RBI single to right.

That ended Blair's day, as he was pulled in favor of Brady Rodgers. The freshman was rudely greeted by back-to-back RBI singles from Shaffer and Boyd to put the Tigers out front 5-1.

Another balk from an ASU pitcher set up another Clemson run in the sixth. Rodgers balked Chris Epps to second to second and he later scored on a base hit from Jeff Schaus.

ASU had its chances to come back in the sixth and seventh innings, but couldn't capitalize on scoring chances. Barnes led off the sixth with a base hit, but was erased one batter later on a double play hit into by Drew Maggi.

That proved costly, because the next three Sun Devils reached, including an RBI single from Riccio Torrez.

ASU had an even better chance to get back in the game in the seventh, loading the bases with nobody out and chasing Tigers' starter Casey Harman from the game.

Alex Frederick came into the game and got Barnes to pop out for the first out. Maggi did bring a run home with an RBI groundout, but one run was all the Sun Devils could muster after loading the bases with nobody out.

Jimmy Patterson and Mitchell Lambson kept Clemson at bay to keep the game at 6-3, but the ASU offense didn't threaten in the eighth or ninth innings.

ASU now falls into the loser's bracket of the College World Series and will try to avoid going 0-2 at the CWS for just the third time in school history. To avoid elimination, ASU must defeat South Carolina tomorrow afternoon at 1:30 pm PT.

The Sun Devils will turn to junior Merrill Kelly (10-2, 3.57 ERA) tomorrow, while the Gamecocks will send junior Sam Dyson (5-5, 4.35) to the hill.

Sun Devil Source Top Stories