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ASU Baseball Falls in Extra Innings to UCLA

Saturday's game lasted four hours and ten minutes long and nine ASU pitchers were used in the 12-10 loss to No. 4 UCLA.

Photo: ASU Athletics

Rocky pitching doomed Arizona State as they lost the final game of the series 12-10 in the tenth inning against No. 4 UCLA.

Freshman first baseman Dalton DiNatale forced extra innings after he hit his two run home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, but the Sun Devils were unable to comeback.

"I was just trying to get a good pitch I could drive in the zone and to throw one right down the middle, I was just ready for it," DiNatale said. "Today has to be my best (baseball) moment."

Starters Adam McCreery and UCLA's Grant Watson both had shortened starts, but the 6-foot-8 lefty from ASU did not even record an out in the afternoon.

McCreery gave up two earned runs, walked two batters, hit one, threw a wild pitch and surrendered a single all before he was relieved in the first by Mark Lambson.

"Your starter on Sunday can't not even get out of the first inning. That just puts us all behind the eight ball and it puts us in a situation where now we are having to extend guys or go to guys earlier than we were anticipating," head coach Tim Esmay said.

Head coach Tim Esmay said in the press conference that he hopes to see freshman Brett Lilek pitch on Tuesday out of the bullpen against Wichita State so the Sun Devils can have more options as the Pac-12 play continues. Lilek could potentially replace McCreery as the Sunday starter but he needs to prove that he is healthy first. Remember, Lilek has not pitched since beating second ranked Arkansas in the Coca Cola Classic.

"You know the whole key is to get Lilek back and that's a bullet we haven't been able to use and that could change the whole dynamic of this thing and we need that," Esmay said.

The Bruins racked up six runs in the first two innings, but Arizona State had the lead by the fourth inning. The game had five ties and six lead changes before a two RBI single by third baseman Kevin Williams iced the game in the tenth inning.

Tim Esmay used a total of nine pitchers and they combined for a season high ten walks and four hit by pitches. The positive note is that the offense came to play before Easter.

"That's one of the best pitching staffs in the country. To get 19 hits off of them and to do what we did, it showed that we had some pretty good at bats," Esmay said.

Eight different Sun Devils had multi-hit days and right fielder Kasey Coffman led the way going three for six with two doubles and two runs scored. Second baseman James McDonald had timely hitting to record three more RBIs to tie him for the team lead with 17.

Eric Melbostad lost his first game of the season, as he was responsible for both runners on base when teammate Ryan Burr surrendered the game winning single up the middle with the infield playing in.

Sophomore David Berg improved to 3-0 on the season and tied his career high with four innings pitched to close out the game. Berg's only mistake was giving up the game tying homerun to DiNatale.

"David Berg. He's really good. He's there closer and he was fresh and they went to him early. That kid's had some success and he's not easy to hit, but we got him. And we still had a chance to win that ballgame," Esmay said.

Despite missing the series sweep, ASU proved that they could answer with its bats. The Sun Devils take on the Wichita State Shockers on Tuesday and Wednesday before returning to Tempe to host an ever-dangerous Oregon team.