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ASU Baseball: No. 13 Sun Devils blow five-run lead in the ninth

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A Tuesday disappointment

Richard Martinez/ House of Sparky

13th-ranked Arizona State (26-5) has played their worst baseball this season over the past week. On Tuesday, the Sun Devils tried to correct their flaws from the past week to gain momentum into their biggest weekend series of the year thus far against No. 4 Oregon State.

Needing a clean slate from the pitching staff in a midweek game against UNLV (20-15), the arms couldn’t close the deal. With a five-run lead into the ninth, four walks started the comeback rally for UNLV in their 10-9 win on a walk-off walk.

Chaz Montoya entered the ninth after a leadoff walk and then he walked another. Sam Romero replaced Montoya walked another and balked in a run. Another walk filled the bases again. Three straight singles trimmed ASU’s lead to one before the Sun Devils had even recorded an out.

Romero finally recorded an out, but followed his strikeout with a wild pitch that tied the game before a base on balls ended it.

Freshman lefty Erik Tolman only lasted three innings in his start, but he didn’t allow a run. Four walks raised his pitch count and with Tolman one, if not the most valuable piece in the bullpen, will be needed for the weekend he couldn’t be pushed too much.

Fellow freshmen Luke La Flam and Marc Lidd followed Tolman. The Rebels got their first run in La Flam’s one frame of work. Lidd tossed back-to-back hitless innings, but he got himself in trouble with a pair of wild pitches and a walk. Along with three UNLV hits, the Rebels got three runs in the seventh to cut ASU’s lead to one.

The Sun Devils answered back quickly in the eighth with the help of Rebel errors. Two errors and a pair of hits netted ASU four runs to push their lead back to five. RBIs from a Carter Aldrete single and Myles Denson triple highlighted the four-run eighth.

Spencer Torkelson continued his recent power burst at the plate with his ninth homer of the year - his third straight game with a blast - in the form of a solo shot in the fifth. Torkelson added an RBI-single earlier in the game.

Alika WIlliams and Drew Swift also drove in runs to start ASU’s lead in the beginning of the game.

Arizona State will start their series with the defending champs, the Oregon State Beavers on Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.