ASU Baseball: Bullpen collapses in loss at UNLV

ASU baseball suffered their fourth loss in the last five games, blowing a five-run, ninth inning lead versus UNLV as the Rebels won it 10-9.

Arizona State’s bullpen allowed six runs in the bottom of the ninth to drop its midweek game at UNLV. With the loss, ASU has now dropped four of its last five games.

Head coach Tracy Smith started freshman Erik Tolman in Nevada. Tolman didn’t allow a run in his three frames, but he did walk four hitters and threw 65 pitches, which meant the bullpen would have a lot of innings to make up.

Most of the game was pitched by Marc Lidd, who was a standout in ASU’s last midweek game against Long Beach State.

Perhaps he was left in too long. He tossed innings 5-8, and was left in for the ninth with the Devils up 9-4.

There, he walked the first two Rebel hitters and was pulled for junior Chaz Montoya. He faced just one batter, whom he walked to load the bases.

Smith came out with the hook, and Sam Romero was in charge of finishing the game. The senior allowed each of his inherited runners to score along with three of his own. Based on the inning, the walk-off walk he allowed was fitting.

The pen was perhaps taxed since no starter went beyond 5.1 innings pitched during ASU’s weekend series at USC. Still, a collapse of that magnitude is alarming, especially considering how many walks it allowed. In total, the Sun Devils walked 12 batters, six in the ninth inning.

Next: ASU Baseball: No. 7 Sun Devils drop first home game of the year

Next week ASU faces No. 4 Oregon State at home, a team that the Devils cannot allow free bases to, considering the capabilities of the Beaver offense led by the potential top pick in the 2019 MLB Draft Adley Rutschman.

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