But like three previous conference series this season, ASU failed to maintain its focus and momentum in the closing game. The Sun Devils fell hard to the Ducks, 16-3, at Packard Stadium on Sunday.
No. 23 Arizona State had a 4-1 week, taking two on the road from Wichita State and winning two at home against Oregon. Despite the positive overall results, ASU coach Tim Esmay must find a way to address his team’s inconsistency.
“The whole upsetting thing about is the first two days we played pretty well,” Esmay said. “Today just leaves a sour taste in your mouth. Obviously, Sunday is going to get in the way of us winning the Pac-12 or not, that’s the bottom line. Sunday is a tough day to chase because it’s a mental grind. You’re asking your offense to be down by five, six, seven, eight and keep coming back. That’s something I hope we can take care of here.”
Esmay had little reason to feel good about Sunday’s outcome. Oregon (23-8, 9-3 Pac-12) took a 6-1 lead in the third inning, led 8-3 after seven, and added eight runs in the eighth to finish off the Sun Devils. ASU (19-9-1, 6-6) had not lost this badly since 2005.
Arizona State defeated the Ducks 6-5 in 11 innings on Friday. It then held on for a 14-9 victory Saturday night thanks to the strong arm of freshman ace Ryan Kellogg and clutching hitting by freshman slugger R.J. Ybarra. Kellogg improved to 7-0 despite giving up six earned runs in 7 1/3 innings.
ASU’s next five games are on the road, starting Wednesday at UNLV.