ASU baseball lost their fifth ballgame in six games Sunday, this one a 4-3 heartbreaker against #3 Oregon State.
Despite terrific performances from Sam Romero, Erik Tolman and Spencer Torkelson, the Sun Devils struggled to figure out Oregon State pitching and dropped the rubber match to the Beavers 4-3 at Phoenix Municipal Stadium Sunday.
Romero, who struggled in Tuesday’s game against UNLV, recovered nicely to pitch 4.2 innings while giving up three runs, who all scored after being inherited by Blake Burzell and Marc Lidd.
“I thought he battled. I thought he competed really well for us,” head coach Tracy Smith said. “He had to work around some jams and make some quality tough pitches, some high-pressure pitches and did a really good job at that. I thought he did what he was supposed to do and that was give us a chance to win.”
Torkelson went 2-for-4 at the plate with a home run, a double and a walk, but with two on and two out in the bottom of the ninth, Oregon State’s Mitchell Verburg struck out the sophomore swinging to end the game.
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“You live for that moment. You want to be in that situation to win it or tie it up,” Torkelson said.
“There’s nobody on the planet that I would’ve rather had in the batter’s box in that situation and, you know what, it didn’t happen today… I hope that situation comes up again because he will succeed,” Smith added.
Despite the series loss, the Sun Devils played three close games against the defending national champions and lost two games by a combined three runs. With the NCAA tournament looming, Smith and his squad will make adjustments accordingly.
“I liked our effort. I liked how hard we played. What I didn’t like was the execution, or the lack thereof,” Smith said. “I thought we were sloppy at times… [We got] crossed up on signals and when you take teams that are that evenly matched, it’s going to be one thing like that.”
With series against UCLA and Stanford coming up for the Sun Devils, this weekend allowed them to see great pitching prior to facing the top two teams in the Pac-12.
“I think our guys fully understand what’s ahead of them. They’re not happy right now, but we have by no means lost any confidence in what we’re doing so we just need to clean up a couple things,” Smith said.
Arizona State will be back at Phoenix Municipal Stadium on Tuesday as they take on Seattle University.
All quotes in this article were obtained firsthand by Devils in Detail unless otherwise noted.