Baseball's late rally beats USC
A three-run eighth inning rally gave the Sun Devils a 7-4 win over USC on Saturday at Dedeaux Field. After seeing an early four-run lead disappear, Alex Blackford and Mitchell Lambson kept the Trojans off the scoreboard, allowing the offense to come through late. The win improves Arizona State to 36-12, 14-6 in Pac-10 play.
For the second straight game the Devils plated a run in the first inning. Zach Wilson's sacrifice fly to center scored Zack MacPhee to give ASU an early 1-0 lead. Andrew Aplin's triple down the right field line in the second inning made it 2-0 when it brought home Austin Barnes. Riccio Torrez would make it 4-0 in the fourth with a two-out single up the middle that scored Aplin and Johnny Ruettiger.
The Trojans would use the long ball to get back into it in the fourth inning off Kramer Champlin. Brandon Garcia hit a two-run homer over the scoreboard in right center field to make it 4-2, then one batter later Alex Glenn homered to right to cut the Sun Devil lead to 4-3. USC evened things up in the fifth inning, scoring a run on a double play to tie the game at 4-4.
Arizona State broke the tie in the eighth inning, plating three runs to take a 7-4 lead. Matt Newman led off the inning with a ground rule double to right center then moved to third on a sac bunt by Deven Marrero. Barnes brought him home with a single to center then came around to score himself on an Andrew Aplin double. Aplin, who went to third on the throw home, scored on a Ruettiger sac fly to center.
While the offense gave the Devils the lead back in the eighth, it was the bullpen work of Alex Blackford and Mitchell Lambson that allowed ASU to be in a position to win the game. Blackford threw 1.2 innings of shutout ball, while Lambson pitched the final 2.2 innings to earn the win and improve to 4-3 on the season. The defense was also a key factor in keeping USC off the scoreboard, as Johnny Ruettiger made an amazing catch in left field and Matt Newman threw out a runner at home with the help of a standout tag by catcher Austin Barnes.
Kramer Champlin got the start but did not factor into the decision. He went 4.2 innings, allowing four runs on nine hits. He struck out four, walked one and hit two. USC starter Austin Wood also got a no decision, going seven innings and allowing four runs on five hits.
The Sun Devils and Trojans will close out the series on Sunday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. from Dedeaux Field in Los Angeles.