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ASU Baseball: Sun Devils eliminated as Moyer mashes Pepperdine into regional final

A five RBI day for Pepperdine's Hutton Moyer eliminated Arizona State out of the NCAA Regionals once again.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

For a team that has thrived in high tension situations all year long, no one thought twice when Pepperdine managed to load the bases with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Arizona State had its go-to reliever on the mound, and he was surely going to dial up one last strikeout to preserve the tie at four runs and give his offense a chance to stave off elimination in the ninth.

Hutton Moyer had other plans.

The two-hole hitter belted a pitch up in the zone to the deepest part of the park in straightaway center field, and even the speedy Johnny Sewald was not able to get back in time to make a game-saving catch. By the time the ball was relayed back to the infield, all three Waves had scored and Moyer was standing alone on second.

Nothing lasts, nothing endures.

No one was sure how the Sun Devils would respond to Saturday's heartbreaking loss in 14 innings, but the club came out rejuvenated and ready to bounce back. With the game knotted in a scoreless tie after two, R.J. Ybarra led off the top of the third with a long double to left field. He would come around to score on a sacrifice fly from Andrew Snow, and the maroon and gold then added one more run on an RBI single off the bat of Jake Peevyhouse.

Pepperdine finally broke though against starting pitcher Jordan Aboites in the fourth. The junior right-hander had cruised through his first three frames, but a hit batsmen to start his next inning seemed to rattle him. The Waves were able to string together three consecutive one out hits after getting their leadoff man aboard, and that was good enough to tie the contest at 2-2.

His troubles continued in the fifth as the leadoff man was able to reach safely once again. Moyer came to the plate after a sacrifice bunt moved the runner into scoring position, and he got his big day started with a blast over the wall in right field to put the maroon and gold in a two run hole.

Just as things were starting to look bleak for the No. 2 seed, however, Peevyhouse halved the deficit with a leadoff homer in the top of the sixth. The tying run would ended up being stranded at first later in the inning, but the bomb was enough to take Arizona State off life support.

From that point on, the elimination contest was filled with high drama. The Sun Devils pulled even in their half of the seventh on a shallow sacrifice fly from Snow, but the Pepperdine bullpen induced a strikeout and a Colby Woodmansee fly ball to strand the go-ahead run 90 feet from home.

Both offenses remained quiet until the eighth, when the lowest seed in the regional dug deep to pull out the game's winning run. Reliever Darin Gillies issued a two out walk to Chris Fornaci to load the bases full of Waves, and it wasn't much longer after that when Moyer cleared them with his shot to deep center field.

Arizona State put together a valiant attempt at a rally in their half of the ninth, managing to bring the tying run to the plate with only one out. Pepperdine's closer would have none of it though, getting routine flyouts from Peevyhouse and Woodmansee to end Arizona State's season.

The Sun Devils finished their 2015 campaign with a record of 35-23, eventually falling three more victories short from their first Super Regional berth since 2011. The Waves move on to the Fullerton Regional final, where they will need two wins against host Cal State Fullerton in order to advance.