Arizona State's struggles in midweek games continued on Tuesday at New Mexico as the Lobos outplayed, and outhit, the Sun Devils in route to a 9-6 victory. The loss marked the maroon and gold's third in their last four midweek outings.
They ran into multiple difficulties during the quick road trip to Albuquerque, starting with the game being moved up three hours to avoid inclement weather that was moving into the area.
The early start did not seem to bother the visiting team's offense, however. ASU plated the game's first run in the opening inning off an RBI groundout from Colby Woodmansee, scoring the speedy Johnny Sewald from third despite the ball only making it to the pitcher.
A rough day on the mound for Arizona State would begin in the bottom half of the frame. New Mexico answered back in a big way, scoring three runs against starting pitcher Ryan Hignst (3-3). The freshman right-hander would be pulled before even recording an out in the second, but not before being charged with the fourth Lobo run of the afternoon.
Reliever Tucker Baca seemed to be settling in nicely when Mother Nature decided to get involved. The contest was delayed for 45 minutes in the bottom of the fourth due to lightning, and right-hander Eder Erives took over when play resumed. He promptly allowed an RBI single, one that gave the home team a 5-1 advantage.
Lightning and runs batted in would be the least of Erives' problems by the time his day was done. With two outs in the bottom of the fifth, he got a fly ball to Jake Peevhouse in left field that should have ended a 1-2-3 inning. The ball was dropped, however, and the next batter would end up lining a ball off of Erives' face.
The pitcher would leave the field conscious on a cart, and would end up being diagnosed with broken bones in his cheek and nose. It is unknown how much time he will miss.
The Sun Devils bounced back from all of the hardships in the seventh, pulling to within three on an RBI groundout from Andrew Snow. Once again though, the run was answered in the bottom half of the inning. New Mexico used a pair of hard hit singles and a nice sacrifice bunt to manufacture its seventh run of the day, effectively putting the dagger into the outcome.
The Lobos added two more runs in the next inning to go up 9-3, meaning the maroon and gold's three run outburst in the top of the ninth would be all for naught. Junior Victor Sanchez (1-2) ended up being credited for the win. He went four innings without giving up an earned run.
Arizona State dropped to 30-18 with the loss, and its chances of hosting a regional in three weeks at Phoenix Municipal Stadium continue to dwindle. Next up, is a three game series at home against Washington State, a set that needs to be swept to offset an RPI-killing loss suffered against New Mexico.
The series with the Cougars will begin on Thursday night with a 7:00 PM first pitch. Those that can't make the game can watch on the Pac-12 Networks.