Bracket Critical: Arizona State Stops Long Beach State 6-4

RJ Ybarra courtesy Sun Devil Athletics

RJ Ybarra courtesy Sun Devil Athletics

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Colby Woodmansee (So., SS), RJ Ybarra (Jr., DH) and Trever Allen (Sr., RF) hit three straight doubles in the fifth, giving the No. 16 Arizona State Sun Devils a 6-4 lead that Darin Gillies (Sr., RHP) and Ryan Burr (Jr., RHP) would hold tight in four innings of work as the Sun Devils dropped the Long Beach State Dirtbags to open their bracket critical series at Phoenix Municipal Stadium on Friday night 6-4.

Arizona State starter righty Seth Martinez (1-0) made good on his first career Friday night outing, grabbing his first win of the year. The sophomore allowed four runs in five innings but struck out seven Dirtbags in the process. Preseason All-American fireballer Ryan Burr (Jr., RHP) struck out two in closing out the game for his fifth save of the season.

Just One

Sun Devils’ pitchers shut out Long Beach State in 8-of-9 frames on Friday night with the only damage coming against Martinez when he got into a fourth inning jam. Dirtbags sophomore shortstop Garrett Hampson led off the inning with a bunt single and found himself at third, with the bases loaded, after a Zack Domingues (RJr., 2B) single and a Brock Lundquist (Fr., DH) walk with one out.

The right-hander induced an infield fly off the bat of Nolan Meadows (Sr., LF) and then looked to get ahead of Long Beach State’s catcher Chris Hutting (Jr.). Unfortunate for the Sun Devils, Hutting loved the first pitch he saw and drove it over the fence in left for a grand slam, his first homer on the year, to put the Dirtbags on top 4-3.

Rapid Response

Trailing 4-3 after Huttings’ slam Arizona State swiftly responded in the home half of the frame as sophomore catcher Brian Serven led things off by smacking a double to the gap in left and then scored on a groundout by David Greer (So., 3B) after advancing to third on a groundout by Chris Beall (Jr., 1B). The Sun Devils were effective all night at moving baserunners advancing 10 on 17 opportunities on the night.

Call It Clutch

While the Dirtbags managed one hit with runners in scoring position in the game, the Hutting slam, Arizona State hitters got four hits and drew a walk in the same situations, leading to five of their six runs. All six of their runs came from either reaching base safely or moving runners once they were in scoring position.

Woodmansee drove an RBI triple to left in the first inning and then scored on an Ybarra groundout to grab the early 2-0 lead for the Sun Devils. Senior left fielder Jake Peeveyhouse drove an RBI single to center after Johnny Sewald (Jr., CF) opened the inning with a single to right and then stole second.

Ybarra and Allen knocked in a pair of runs, to go-ahead in the game, with back-to-back doubles in the fifth.

Pen Is Mightier

Both bullpens were dominant on Friday night as neither surrendered a single run. Arizona State’s Darin Gillies (Sr., RHP) allowed only two hits over three innings of work while fanning four Dirtbags in his first relief appearance on the year. Burr followed up with a scoreless ninth allowing a walk while striking out two.

However, the Long Beach State pen was even more impressive holding the Sun Devils without a hit over the final 3.2 innings of the game. Austin McGeorge came on in relief of starter Kyle Friedrichs after he surrendered three straight, one-out doubles to fall behind 6-4. McGeorge sandwiched a walk in between a pair of groundouts to get out of the jam in route to 1.2 scoreless. Logan Lombana (Jr., RHP) and Darren McCaughan (Fr., RHP) each added a scoreless frame to keep the Dirtbags in the game.

Leading Off

While the lead-off hitters performed well for each team, with Hampson going 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored for LBSU and Sewald went 2-for-3 with a double and two runs scored, getting the lead-off man on to start the inning was a key factor.

The Dirtbags got the lead-off man on three times (all Hampson), they managed to score him just once. The Sun Devils’ lead-off man got on in half of their at bats and scored every time with Sewald doing it twice and Serven and Peeveyhouse each reaching base once from the lead-off spot.

Tidbits

  • Friedrichs took his first loss of the year, allowing six earned runs on 13 hits over 4.1 innings pitched.
  • Woodmansee and Ybarra each had two-hit nights while Woodmansee scored twice with an RBI and Ybarra scored once and drove in two runs.
  • Long Beach State averages 5.2 hits allowed per nine innings and the Sun Devils piled up 13 in five innings on Friday night.

The two squads face each other in game two at 8:30pm est as Dirtbags’ junior righty Tanner Brown (2-0, 1.45) faces Sun Devils’ junior southpaw Ryan Kellogg (3-0, 4.35) on the bump.

About the Author

Mark West
Mark West grew up playing and loving baseball. In college, he found an interest in writing and reporting on sports. He graduated from Arkansas State University in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science in Radio and Television Broadcasting with a News emphasis and a minor in Political Science. Mark can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @MarkWestCBC Mark began writing a few years ago informally about politics and sports on various blogs, but has focused primarily on baseball writing for the last two years. He loves Arkansas State Red Wolves baseball and writes about the games and the players for the Red Wolves and the Sun Belt Conference. Mark is a member of the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, giving him official votes in the Dick Howser Trophy, Regional Players of the Year, and NCBWA All-America voting. Follow on Twitter @MarkWestCBC