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ASU Baseball: Eighth inning rally propels Sun Devils over Utes

Battled ‘til the end

Zac BonDurant

After putting up 19 runs in Friday night’s convincing route of Utah (25-19-1, 10-13 Pac-12), the Arizona State Sun Devils (22-25, 11-12) waited until there were two outs in the eighth to retake the lead in their 6-3 victory on Saturday.

Cam Magee struck out swinging with Will Rogers on second base, giving the Utes their second out of the inning. Joe Lampe forced an intentional walk and Utah brought in right-handed reliever Zac McCleve to face Sean McLain.

On the second pitch of the at-bat, McLain fought off an inside heater for a base hit to right. Rogers came around to score as the go-ahead run. This was the first of three-straight RBI singles (McLain, Ryan Campos and Nate Baez) that provided some insurance for ASU.

Despite the game being tied, the Sun Devils were riding momentum into the bottom half of the eighth after right fielder Kai Murphy gunned down Alex Baeza at the plate for the final out in the top half of the frame.

Until the Sun Devils broke it open, there was no scoring for either team after the second inning. ASU scored on an RBI double from Campos and two groundouts from Conor Davis and Magee.

All of Utah’s three runs were scored on back-to-back triples in the second inning. That was the only blemish on Kyle Luckham’s otherwise solid outing.

Luckham stranded eight runners on the night and retired the final eight batters he faced. In 110 pitches, he threw seven innings and struck out six.

Blake Pivaroff and Brock Peery closed the door on the Utes in the final two frames. Peery picked up his seventh save of the season, which ties him for second in the conference.

The Saturday night win bumps Arizona State up into sole possession of sixth place in the Pac-12 standings. This is relevant as the top eight teams will qualify for the Pac-12 Tournament at the end of the month (which will be held in Scottsdale).

ASU will go for the sweep on Sunday afternoon at 12:30 p.m. local time