Junior right-handed pitcher Connor Higgins faced Cal State Fullerton’s shortstop Sahid Valenzuela in the game’s most crucial moment. With the game tied at one in the eighth, Higgins attempted to get the final out of the inning in a bases loaded jam. It had looked like he did, as Valenzuela hit a tapper that was fielded cleanly by sophomore catcher Lyle Lin.
But as Lin reached back to throw to first he lost his footing, falling to the ground and the Sun Devils watched the Titans’ game-winning run cross the plate. And for the second straight night, Arizona State (13-16) fell to Cal State Fullerton (12-15) in the team’s 2-1 loss on Wednesday.
This was Arizona State’s fourth straight loss by one-run. Although, Sun Devils’ head coach Tracy Smith still saw the positives from his young team.
“I always try to remind everybody, other teams give scholarships and they’re trying to win too. Tonight it was a tough loss because it’s two to one,” Smith said. “I don’t necessarily think we gave it to them. Although, the play maybe he keeps his feet, he throws him out we’re still playing. Who knows?
“I don’t think we gave it to them like last night. You’re looking with a young team are you failing forward. If you fail, are you learning from your mistakes?
One of those young guys was f reshman right-handed pitcher Brady Corrigan. Over a career-high six innings, Corrigan allowed one run that was unearned, two hits and struck out four.
The only blemish for Corrigan came in the second inning. Titans’ first baseman Jake Pavletich leadoff the inning grounding a ball to freshman third baseman Gage Workman. Workman then threw the ball wide of freshman first baseman Spencer Torkelson.
Pavletich reached second base on the error. A groundout and a sacrifice-fly later, Cal State Fullerton had a 1-0 lead without a hit against Corrigan in the inning.
The Titans’ lead didn’t last long. Junior center fielder Gage Canning did Gage Canning things starting the bottom of the third inning with a bang. Canning sent his third home run of the season over the fence, hitting the College World Series sign in right-center field at Phoenix Municipal Stadium to tie the game at one.
The game remained tied until the Titans platted the game-winning run in the eighth. Higgins and sophomore left-handed pitcher Chaz Montoya got themselves into the eight inning jam allowing a single, an intentional walk and a walk to fill the bases before the Valenzuela’s hit to win the game.
Corrigan may have put himself in a position to become a weekend starter, but that is still to be seen as the Sun Devils’ rotation is still a question mark. Smith also said senior left-handed pitcher Eli Lingos will remain the Sunday starter going into the team’s series with USC this weekend.
The Friday and Saturday starters, though, are still up in the air for the Sun Devils due to injuries and poor performances.