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ASU Baseball: Bats go cold in game two at Mississippi State for Sun Devils’ first loss of 2023, falling 5-1

One inning can make or break the game

Zac BonDurant

Arizona State (5-1) had its first hiccup of the new season, dropping game two against Mississippi State (4-3) in Starkville Saturday night, 5-1. The Sun Devils had an early 1-0 lead, but surrendered five unanswered runs the rest of the way for its first loss of 2023.

The packed crowd at Dudy Noble Field of 14,300+ people who didn’t get a chance to see the Sun Devils put the hurt on Mississippi State Friday night were in for a treat on Saturday.

Kristian Curtis (1-1) took the hill for his second start of the season looking to continue ASU’s five-game scoreless streak by starting pitchers to begin the year.

Things started well in Starkville for ASU, as Curtis was given an early lead on a Luke Hill (1-for-4, RBI) single that scored Ethan Long (1-for-3, HBP, R) in the second inning. Curtis responded with a 1-2-3 bottom half of the frame to shut down MSU.

The Bulldogs, however, became the first team to break through against an ASU starting pitcher in 2023 in the third inning on an RBI single by Colton Ledbetter, tying the game at 1-1. The Sun Devils would go down in order to begin the fourth, and MSU took full advantage immediately after.

The fourth inning was the worst we’ve seen so far from a pitching perspective as Curtis walked the first two batters of the inning, and then another two batters later to load the bases. With one out, the Bulldogs put the outcome of the game in its favor with back-to-back RBI singles by Lane Forsythe and Amani Larry that plated three runs.

Curtis was pulled from the game for Christian Bodlovich with two outs in the third and a runner in scoring position. Bodlovich, who’s been ASU’s best pitcher coming in with runners on, allowed a base hit and a run to score, increasing the deficit to 5-1..

The bats went silent from there for both sides, so the score would remain through the final out of the game. Despite the loss, the bullpen combination of Matt Tieding, Dylan Gardner and Austin Humphries pitched shutout baseball the rest of the way, with Tieding going three innings and not allowing a baserunner.

The rubber game will be played at 12:00pm MST on Sunday with Timmy Manning on the mound for the Sun Devils as they look to keep pushing forward after a tough loss.