ASU baseball infielder Marc Lidd did throw three hitless innings, but they weren’t enough in the back end of a 14-9 beatdown at the hands of Long Beach State.
Fatigue is to be expected after a five-hour marathon of a game that Arizona State played this past Sunday against Arizona. A blowout loss to a previously 3-23 team, though, is a poor look for a top-10 team, no matter the circumstances.
“It doesn’t matter who you play,” ASU head coach Tracy Smith said. “If you don’t play well and take care of business, you’re going to lose.”
It didn’t take long for the night to get ugly. Freshman Dom Cacchione started his first collegiate game and promptly walked his first two hitters. He was then pulled, getting just one out and allowing four earned runs.
The second inning was somehow worse as five Long Beach State ‘Dirtbags’ scored. A dropped ball by star outfielder Hunter Bishop with two outs did not aid ASU’s cause.
“When they put up four in the first, we knew that our hitting is really good and we were going to come back,” sophomore Trevor Hauver said. “Then, they put up that other big spot and I feel like we all checked out, which we shouldn’t have.”
Hauver led the offense in a late comeback attempt. The Devils were down by 10 heading into the bottom of the eighth, but the sophomore drove in ASU’s first run since the third frame. His teammates would knock in four more that inning to cut the deficit to five.
The Sun Devils then managed to get two base runners on in the bottom if the ninth. Hauver hit a double to finish the day 5-of-6, but his team failed to get the tying run on deck.
With the taxing of ASU’s usual bullpen arms on Sunday, Smith knew he had to deal with the arm fatigue, which is why Cacchione (who didn’t throw last weekend) got the start. The hope was to be able to put some of the more tested relievers in the game in the later innings, but it quickly became evident that there was no point.
“Our plan was to be winning or at least close through five innings and evaluate from there,” Smith said. “You’d expect that we’d be able to accomplish that.”
Instead, after Cacchione, Smith went with less experienced arms in Colby Davis (1.2 IP, 2 BB, 2 ER), Luke La Flam (2.2 IP, 5 BB, 2 ER) and freshman Blake Burzell (1.1 IP, 2 BB, 3 ER) before calling on Marc Lidd, who had the best statline of the night.
Seven Long Beach State runs came from players who were walked. In total, ASU allowed 12 free bases.
“Tonight was a wonderful opportunity for some guys to make some headway,” Smith said. “They didn’t take advantage of it.”
Lidd impressed Smith enough to “certainly” earn more innings in the future.
ASU fell to 25-2. Luckily, NC State also lost tonight, meaning Arizona State still has the best record in Division 1.
With a full week’s rest coming for ASU’s main relievers before the next series, the Sun Devils should leave such a messy game behind and be in good shape to handle the struggling USC Trojans.
All quotes in this article were obtained firsthand by Devils in Detail unless otherwise noted.