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ASU Baseball: Bats, defense fall asleep late in “disappointing” loss to Hawai’i

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Marathon not a sprint

Arizona State (2-2) struggled to score in the final seven frames of Friday night’s 3-2 loss to Hawai’i (1-0). The team also had two errors and two wild pitches in the final three innings.

“I’m disappointed in how we gave that one away,” ASU head coach Tracy Smith said.

Offense starts hot early, slows down late

Situational hitting has been something the Sun Devils have been looking for early in the season. On Friday night, they found that out of the gates. Back-to-back doubles in the bottom of the first inning by Drew Swift and Sean McLain got ASU on the board.

In the second inning, Arizona State got the first two runners on again. After a sacrifice bunt by right fielder Kai Murphy, Joe Lampe picked up his third RBI of the year on a groundout.

Those would be the only two runs the Sun Devils scored. They finished the game hitting 1-9 with runners in scoring position and hit into two inning-ending double plays.

“We’re lacking maturity at the plate right now,” Smith said of his team’s offensive lapses. “We are missing signs… and maybe being a little bit too aggressive.”

Pitchers take care of business again

Coming into Friday night’s matchup, most would have assumed a pitcher’s duel was on the horizon.

Hawai’i sent their ace, Aaron Davenport, to the rubber in the Rainbow Warriors first game of their 2021 campaign.

Davenport was voted a preseason All-American by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association after posting a 4-0 record with a 2.15 ERA in the short 2020 season.

ASU’s Cooper Benson took the mound for his second start of the year after giving up one hit in the season opener. The southpaw’s night was cut short, however, when he was pulled after only pitching the first inning.

Smith did not give an update on Benson’s status postgame.

Redshirt freshman Christian Bodlovich took over from there and settled in rather quickly. Besides giving up a solo shot off the bat of Alex Baeza in the top of the fifth, Bodlovich was on his game. He only gave up two hits and the one run, while striking out four.

He ended the night giving up two hits and striking out four in four innings of work.

“I got to come in… throws strikes and let the defense work,” Bodlovich said of his early entrance. “Whenever we’re needed we got to do our job.”

After giving up two runs in the first two innings, Davenport settled in for the Rainbow Warriors. The sophomore’s night ended after seven innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and striking out seven.

“(Davenport) was landing his off-speed (pitches) in better spots the second time through (the order),” shortstop Drew Swift said of Davenport’s adjustments.

Although Davenport pitched for most of the game, reliever Austin Teixeira ended up getting the win for Hawai’i when he pitched the final two frames.

Late-inning lapses

In the top of the seventh with two outs, Hawai’i tied the game on a wild pitch by Graham Osman.

Fast-forward to the top of the ninth. Miscommunication by Osman and first baseman Nate Baez on a ground ball allowed the leadoff man on base. The next batter, Dallas Duarte, bunted to third baseman Hunter Haas.

Haas came up firing to first and got the out, but there was potential to get the lead runner. Osman was taken out and Ethan Long was put in. Three pitches in, and Long gave up a base hit.

“I think we could’ve gotten (the lead runner) out,” Smith said. He mentioned that he still needs to look back at the tape.

Long threw a wild pitch to second baseman Aaron Ujimori, allowing both runners to get in scoring position. On the next pitch, Ujimori hit a long fly ball that allowed the runner to tag from third and put the Rainbow Warriors in the driver’s seat.

The Sun Devils need to have a short memory of Friday, as they play a double-header against Hawai’i on Saturday with the first game starting at 2:05 p.m. local time.

“We have 18 innings of baseball tomorrow,” Smith said. “So our mindset when we walk out of this locker room tonight can’t be on something we can’t change.”