April 8, 2009
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - The top-ranked Sun Devils started off fast in the second game of a #1 vs. #1 series at Arkansas, but fielding gaffes that led to a big inning proved to be their downfall, as the Razorbacks took down ASU for the second straight game, 8-7. The loss drops Arizona State to 23-7 on the year.
A Baum Stadium record 11,434 fans saw the two #1 teams play, breaking the previous record of 10,727. The total attendance for the two-game series was 19,776, breaking the previous record of 15,919 set earlier in the season against Nebraska.
The two teams combined to use 10 pitchers, allow 20 hits and issue 11 walks. Jason Franzblau took the loss for the Devils, dropping him to 1-2. He went two thirds of an inning, allowing four runs, three earned, on four hits.
For the second straight game the Sun Devils got on the board first, thanks to a solo homer to center by Jason Kipnis. It was his 10th of the year. ASU would push four across in the top of the second to grab an early 5-0 lead. Johnny Ruettiger got things going with a double down the line in left, then Abe Ruiz brought him around with a base hit up the middle. Raoul Torrez doubled off the wall in left center to score Ruiz and make it 3-0. McDonald was thrown out at the plate trying to score from second. After Arkansas walked the bases loaded, Kipnis singled through the right side to bring home two and make it 5-0 Devils.
The Razorbacks answered in the bottom of the second against Newman. After Newman got the first batter to ground out, Arkansas got three straight singles, the last of which scored a run to cut it to 5-1. Newman would induce a double play ball to the next batter to end the threat. Arizona State would get that run back in the top of the third on an RBI fielder's choice by Jared McDonald.
The Hogs would strike again in the bottom of the fourth, pushing four across to cut the lead to 6-5. The big inning was set up by an error by Abe Ruiz at first base when he couldn't handle a throw by shortstop Jared McDonald that would have made it two outs and no one on. Instead the Razorbacks used the momentum shift to push four across, including three unearned runs with the aid of a Zack MacPhee error at second. Three of the runs were charged to Newman, who was lifted for Jason Franzblau after going 3.2 innings. He allowed four runs, two earned, on five hits.
The Devils were able to get one back in the top of the fifth on an RBI single by Ruettiger that scored Carlos Ramirez, but Arkansas answered right back in the bottom of the inning to take the lead off Franzblau. Two walks and a single, sandwiched between a pop out, produced a run to make it 7-6 and chase Franzblau. Jordan Swagerty would take over with men on first and second and one out. He would get the first batter on a ground out that moved the runners up then allow a single that scored two more before the batter was thrown out at second.
The Sun Devils threatened in the eighth, putting two men on with one out, but the Razorbacks were able to pitch out of it to hold the lead. Arkansas would threaten to add insurance in the bottom of the eighth, putting two on with two out against Swagerty, but Josh Spence would come in and end the threat with a tapper back to the mound. Swagerty pitched 3.1 innings, allowing two hits and striking out two.
Arizona State made a last gasp in the ninth, getting a man to second with one away, but for the second straight night Stephen Richards came in and slammed the door, earning a save for the second consecutive night, his sixth on the year.
The Sun Devils return home Friday night for the opener of a three-game Pac-10 series with Washington State. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. from Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark.