It's not too often a team concedes a five-run lead in the ninth inning only to hear its head coach subtly describe the unraveling act as "just weird."
"Baseball's a funny, funny game," Arizona State Sun Devils coach Tracy Smith said. "We got the win, we'll take comfort in that."
Such was the tone of Smith following his team's extra-inning 6-5 win over the UC Davis Aggies on Friday night at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
The Sun Devils (11-3) extended their winning streak to six straight victories by defeating the Aggies (4-8) in epic fashion, recapturing the win after caving in while holding a five-run lead in the ninth inning.
Catcher Brian Serven (2-for-5, game-winning RBI, R) hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the 11th inning, giving ASU its second such win of the young season, with the first having occurred just a week ago.
"To have that thing in hand, then let it get away like that, but yet still find a way to win on the back of your good players is a positive for me," Smith said.
ASU found a way to squander what was a sterling performance from starting pitcher Eli Lingos. He threw six scoreless innings, en route to drawing a no-decision on the night.
The left-hander has allowed just one run over his last 13.2 innings pitched.
Lingos came away allowing just four hits and one walk in his outing, while striking out five batters and allowing no runs on 79 pitches. He was relieved by freshman right-hander Chris Isbell while ASU still maintained a five-run advantage.
The Sun Devils were cruising to an easy win, until they reached the ninth inning.
Freshman reliever Connor Higgins pitched a perfect eighth inning, then was replaced by freshman right-hander Gio Lopez to start the top of the ninth, with a chance to finish the game in what was his team debut.
The Sun Devils still held a 5-0 advantage when Lopez surrendered a single and walk to begin the frame. After a meeting on the mound, Lopez was pulled in favor of senior Eric Melbostad.
After doubling in the bottom of the second, Canning stepped up to bat in the third with the bases loaded and two outs.
He answered the call, belting a pitch to the wall in right-center before legging out a triple which cleared the bases, giving ASU a 4-0 lead. He would later bunt a single with two men on in the fifth, claiming the only other Sun Devil hit with runners in scoring position during regulation.
"I was just thinking to get us some runs," Canning said.
Arizona State will look to continue its winning streak on Saturday when Seth Martinez (3-0, 0.90 ERA) takes the mound in the second of three against UC Davis at 6:30 p.m. (MST) at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.