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ASU Baseball: Sun Devil offense stymied in 1-0 defeat

Runs were at a premium Friday night as the Sun Devils fell the Cougars 1-0.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday night, ASU lefty Ryan Kellogg dominated the Washington State Cougars to the tune of a complete game shutout, striking out 11 batters along the way.

On Friday night, it was Washington State's turn to have a lefty dominate, as senior Joe Pistorese stymied Arizona State hitters for nine innings, allowing just five hits and striking out six. Pistorese did not allow a run and thanks to a run in the top of the 10th inning, picked up the victory in Washington State's 1-0 victory over ASU.

"He's very mature, he does a good job in the running game, fielding his position and all of that stuff," said head coach Tracy Smith about Pistorese. "We swung at some bad pitches. It's one of those (games) where you look at the statistics and it doesn't make sense, but that's why (baseball) isn't statistics."

What Smith means (most likely) is the fact that Washington State won the game despite having just two hits. Only one of those hits left the infield and you could count the number of balls the Cougars squared up on one hand.

"That guy (Pistorese) made the big pitches when he needed to," said Smith. "We did too, for the most part but they scored the winning run on a walk and we wild pitched him over, you just can't do those things in extra innings."

The domination by Pistorese overshadowed an outstanding performance from ASU starter Brett Lilek. The southpaw threw seven shutout innings, allowing just one hit and striking out a career-high 11 batters.

"I was just keeping the hitters off balance and mixing in my offspeed pitches," said Lilek. "I think once you get ahead as a pitcher it is a big confidence boost."

The game was delayed over an hour and 50 minutes because of rain. Once the tarp was finally removed and the field cleared for play, the lefties began their duel.

Lilek retired the first eight batters he faced and gave up his first hit in the fourth inning on an infield single to Washington State DH Ben Roberts, who was erased on a pickoff move a during the next at-bat.

Lilek did walk the bases loaded with two outs in the 3rd inning, however he struck out Cougar first baseman Ian Sagdal to get out of the jam. Sagdal, Washington State's leading hitter, struck out four times.

For Lilek, he has gone 16 innings without allowing an earned run over his past two starts, striking out 18 batters and allowing just four hits in his last two outings.

"Throwing so well last Sunday was a big confidence boost," said Lilek. "Having the ability to challenge hitters and put them away late."

The Sun Devils had opportunities to give Lilek a lead. With runners on first and third in the fourth inning, David Greer bounced out to shortstop to end the frame. With the bases loaded in the sixth inning, Greer struck out swinging and with runners on first and second and only one out in the seventh, Andre Snow grounded into a double play.

The Sun Devils were just 1-6 on the night with runners in scoring position.

The game remained scoreless after nine innings. With Gillies on in relief, Washington State catcher P.J. Jones drew a one-out walk in the 10th. After a wild pitch advanced him the second base, he scored on a pitch-hit single by Wes Leow.

The Sun Devils once again had a chance to scratch a run across in the bottom of the 10th. With two outs, Johnny Sewald poked a single to left field. Jake Peevyhouse then walked to bring Colby Woodmansee up with runners on first and second. The ASU shortstop grounded out to end the game.

"I'm not going to lie, it's a little frustrating," said Lilek about his lack of run support. "As a pitcher, you are going to face good pitchers. That guy mixed well, kept our hitters off balance, very good job by him."

The Sun Devils will try to win the series Saturday night at 7 p.m. It's Senior Night at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, with four ASU seniors being honored before the game.