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ASU Baseball: Devils take pivotal series over UCLA

Nick McLain’s eighth-inning home run enough to top Bruins

David Venezia/ASU Athletics

TEMPE, Ariz. — A go-ahead eighth-inning blast from Nick McLain lifted the Sun Devils to a 2-1 win and a series victory over the UCLA Bruins. The win secured the number five seed in the Pac-12 tournament and keeps ASU in the mix for an NCAA tournament berth.

UCLA struck first in the second inning on a solo home run from JonJon Vaughns. Ryan Campos tied it with a solo shot of his own in the fourth.

It was a bullpen day for both teams on the bump, and neither pen disappointed. Both teams combined for just 13 baserunners throughout the game.

Khristian Curtis, Jonah Giblin, Nolan Lebamoff, and Blake Pivaroff combined to allow five hits over the first seven innings, with Curtis giving up the lone run.

Michael Barnett, Ben Jacobs, and Finn McIlroy combined to allow just one hit over the first seven innings, with Jacobs giving up the home run to Campos.

After Stevenson pitched a scoreless eighth, McLain drilled the go-ahead home run to left in the bottom half.

Stevenson pitched a perfect ninth inning to seal the game and the series for the Devils.

The win was the 3,000th in the program’s storied history, making them the seventh program in Division I history to hit that mark.

USC’s win over Arizona essentially finalized the Pac-12 tournament field. With Arizona State’s win over UCLA, the Devils will enter as the No. 5 seed in pool, which comprises No. 8 Arizona and No. 2 Oregon State.

The Devils were a combined 5-2 again both programs, including ASU’s sweep of the Wildcats.

In doing so, ASU also avoided the pool with Stanford.

Prior to the series, ASU was D1Baseball’s second-to-last team in the tournament.

The Pac-12 tournament begins on Tuesday, May 23. The top nine seeds will play in three-team pools, A through C.

Each pool will play a round-robin, with the three pool winners and one wild card team advancing to the single-elimination semifinals, scheduled for Friday at 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.

The championship game follows on Saturday at 7 p.m.

Any tiebreaker will be awarded to the highest-seeded team.

As the five seed, the Devils will face off against eighth-seed Arizona on May 23 and second-seed Oregon State on Thursday, May 25. Both games are set for 10 a.m.