For the second straight day against Cal State Bakersfield, Arizona State jumped out to an early three run lead on the Roadrunners. And for the second straight day, the visitors battled all the way back to tie the Sun Devils in the later innings.
This time, however, there would be no late game heroics from the maroon and gold. Instead it was Bakersfield that made the winning plays late, scoring three runs in the top of the ninth to break a 4-4 tie.
Arizona State got on the board early with a run in both the first and second frames. Jake Peevyhouse reached safely on a one out single in the bottom of the first, then moved up 180 feet on a pair of wild pitches uncorked by Roadrunner starter James Barragan. R.J. Ybarra then brought him home on a hard hit ball to the hot corner that was misplayed by the third baseman.
Dalton DiNatale led off the second with a solo home run over the fence in right field, his second long ball in as many days. Barragan was able to settle down after that though, with the only other run he allowed coming in the fourth.
Bakersfield got started on the comeback trail in the sixth, opening the inning with a base hit from Joey Sanchez. That brought leadoff man Jordie Hein to the plate, who promptly jacked Darin Gillies' pitch deep over the wall in right field. That pulled the Roadrunners to within one run, but they were not done. The next batter chased Gillies out of the game with a double to the gap in left center, and he would score the tying run on a wild pitch followed by a sacrifice fly.
It looked as if the home team would strike back in their half of the inning when Trever Allen led off with a two strike single to left field. The next batter missed a hit and run sign, however, allowing Allen to be thrown out easily at second.
Both teams went to the seventh still tied at three, but it wouldn't be that way for long. Bakersfield mounted a huge two out rally, spearheaded by a Sanchez single that would end up advancing him all the way into scoring position on a throwing error by Woodmansee. Sanchez would eventually score on a Mylz Jones single to left.
Arizona State showed some grit in the bottom of the eighth after a DiNatale groundout. Back-to-back doubles by Allen and freshman pinch hitter Ryan Lillard pulled the Sun Devils even at four, but reliever Max Carter was able to get out of the jam with a groundout and flyout to deep center field.
The inability to retake the lead would cost them dearly in the ninth. With one out and runners on first and second, head coach Tracy Smith called upon right-hander Hever Bueno. Bueno got a groundout for the second out, but the play allowed Sanchez to move up to third. He would then score on a very untimely wild pitch, giving the Roadrunners their go-ahead run. That was all they would end up needing, but a couple more mistakes by the reliever allowed two more runs before the inning finally ended.
Arizona State got its first two batters aboard in the bottom half of the ninth, but a flyout by Ybarra and 4-6-3 double play ball ended the game and gave Bakersfield the 7-4 win. The Sun Devils dropped to 5-4 with the loss while the Roadrunners improved to 5-6. Smith's club will be right back at it later today at 6:30 PM, taking on Purdue in the nightcap of Friday's doubleheader.