In another last at bat finale for Long Beach State, the Dirtbags (4-9) were forced to swallow the bitter pill of a heartbreaking defeat. For the fifth consecutive game, the Dirtbags saw their opponent score the go-ahead run in its final at bat. This time it was Arizona State that took a 3-2 win in 12 innings Friday night at Blair Field.
The Sun Devils’ (9-3) Andrew Aplin lined a single to right field off reliever Eddie Magallon bringing James McDonald around to score from second base as Juan Avila’s throw was up the first base line.
It was a disappointing finish to a game Long Beach clawed its way back into against one of the top pitchers in the country.
After starter Shawn Stuart allowed single runs in the first and second innings, the Dirtbags were able to get to Arizona State ace Brady Rodgers for two earned runs — two more than Rodgers had previously allowed this season.
Ino Patron doubled to lead off the second inning and came around to score the first earned run against Rodgers this season when Jeff McNeil grounded out to scored base. McNeil scored the tying run in the fifth inning when Sun Devils right fielder Trever Allen couldn’t make a sliding catch on a low-liner.
Stuart shook off the early runs and went pitch for pitch with Rodgers. Both starting pitchers were excellent, throwing nine innings and allowing only two runs. Stuart allowed six hits and a walk while striking out five. Rodgers had seven Ks and gave up five hits and three base on balls.
Jake Barrett pitched the final three innings in relief for Arizona State without allowing a hit to pick up the win. Magallon took the loss.
The Sun Devils got multi-hit performances from Aplin, Allen, Abe Ruiz and Max Rossiter while McNeil was the only Dirtbag with more than one hit. Arizona State’s star middle infield combo of Deven Marrero and Joey DeMichele were held hitless for the first time this year.
The two teams return to Blair Field tomorrow at a new time as the game was moved up to avoid a conflict with the Big West conference basketball tournament’s championship game, which features the Long Beach State men. The game will now start at 2 p.m. PST.
Check out the full photo gallery from the Long Beach State/Arizona State Friday night matchup below: