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ASU Baseball: Spencer Torkelson hits home run No. 23 in Sun Devils’ series-opening loss to Arizona

ASU was up a run going into the 7th, then whoosh

Andrew Palla/House of Sparky

On Thursday, the Arizona State Sun Devils (21-29) traveled down south to Tucson to take on the Arizona Wildcats (31-20. The change of scenery, however, did not see their defensive mishaps come to a halt.

Up 4-3 in the bottom of the seventh, Tracy Smith called on freshman Boyd Vander Kooi to get the Devils out of a one-out jam with Wildcat runners on the corners. Vander Kooi, a starter to begin the year, has been coming out of the bullpen and playing select innings at first base since getting back from an injury a few weeks ago.

The first batter he faced — shortstop Cameron Cannon — laid down a bunt. The freshman pitcher grabbed it and threw to first, but his low throw darted under the glove of freshman first baseman Spencer Torkelson.

The runner from home scored, and the Wildcats once agin had the opportunity to do damage with two men on and only one out.

They capitalized. . . with some help from ASU.

Six pitches later, Arizona catcher Cesar Salazar flied out to right fielder Carter Aldrete. Aldrete fired home in plenty of time but ASU catcher Lyle Lin couldn’t hang on to the ball as Alfonso Rivas barreled home.

Arizona would add their third run of the inning two batters later en route to a 6-4 victory Thursday night at Hi Corbett Field.

ASU starter Alec Marsh lasted just 3 13 innings, giving up a trio of earned runs and seven hits a 74-pitch effort, but the Devils had a lead early.

In the fourth, Aldrete lined a one-out bases-loaded 2-RBI single up the middle to give ASU a 2-0 lead. It didn’t last long, though, after the Wildcats grabbed the momentum with a three-run effort in the bottom of the fourth.

Very quickly, however, Spencer Torkelson grabbed it back. In the fifth, the freshman hit, perhaps, the furthest home run he has clobbered this season and one of his rare non-solo shots to put ASU up 4-3.

The blast was Torkelson’s NCAA-leading 23rd home run of the season and puts him just behind the NCAA freshman single-season record of 26 and the Arizona State record of 27.