Cats Come Up Short at No. 18 Arizona State

TEMPE, Ariz. Arizona State scored six of its nine total runs with two outs and took advantage of three Kansas State errors as the 18th-ranked Sun Devils held off the Wildcats, 9-6, Tuesday night at Packard Stadium. With the loss, Kansas State dropped to 14-3 on the season, while Arizona State improved to 14-7.


K-State scored two runs to tie the game in the third inning and four more in the final three innings, but Arizona State’s six runs through the middle three innings doomed the Cats on Tuesday. K-State rallied in the ninth, as Eli Rumler’s single down the line scored Byron Wiley, who had walked and moved to third on Justin Bloxom’s second hit of the night, to draw the Cats to within three at 9-6. But, with the tying run at the plate, Nate Tenbrink struck out looking to end the game.


The Wildcats threatened in the top of the first as Derek Bunker was hit by a pitch, Adam Muenster singled and Wiley walked. But, with one out, Bloxom grounded into an inning-ending double play to end the threat. The Sun Devils then struck in the bottom of the first as two walks led to two runs and Ike Davis lifted a two-out double over Wiley’s head in center to plate both runners.


K-State battled back and tied the game in the third with two, two-out runs of its own as Wiley dropped a single into left to plate Daniel Dellasega and Muenster. Dellasega led off with a walk and Muenster single to right with one out before Wiley came through with a clutch two-out hit.


Arizona State regained the lead in the bottom half of the third as a passed ball led to an unearned run after a leadoff double and a sacrifice bunt. But, after the passed ball, starter Justin Murray settled in and struck out consecutive batters to end the inning and keep the score at 3-2. The Sun Devils added two more in the fourth as Murray walked the leadoff batter but managed to get the next two outs without giving up a run. Then, Brett Wallace, who had struck out twice in his previous two at-bats, homered down the left field line to up the margin to 5-2.


Murray (1-2) went 3.2 innings in the loss and surrendered five runs, four earned, with five strikeouts and five walks. Arizona State’s Josh Satow (5-1) picked up the win after giving up seven hits and four runs in 6.2 innings.


ASU added two more unearned runs off reliever Tyler Ruch in the fifth to go ahead, 7-2. An errant throw from first baseman Drew Biery on a bunt attempt loaded the bases with nobody out, while a double play followed to make all runs unearned for the inning. Then, three straight two-out hits led to two more runs in the sixth as the Sun Devils upped their lead to 9-2. Ruch was solid in relief, after giving up two earned runs on five hits with three strikeouts in 3.2 innings.


The Wildcats got back in the run column in the seventh as Dellasega drew a one-out walk and Bunker and Drew Biery each singled to load the bases. Then, with two outs, Wiley reached on a throwing error by the ASU shortstop which allowed two runners to score and draw the Cats to within 9-4. Bloxom then grounded out, stranding two runners in scoring position.


A wild pitch plated the Cats’ fifth run of the game in the eighth as Tenbrink walked, Brett Scott was hit by a pitch and a fly out moved Tenbrink to third. Tenbrink then raced home when a Joey Parigi breaking ball went to the backstop.


Muenster, Bloxom and Rumler led the Wildcats’ nine-hit attack with two hits each.


Kansas State and Arizona State continue play Wednesday with a 9 p.m. CT game at Packard Stadium.