Baseball is often called a game of inches. And that notion was proven true in the final play of Saturday afternoon’s game between Oregon and Arizona State.
With the Ducks trailing 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning, Taylor Travess was at the plate with the bases loaded and two outs — the chance to be the hero. That all quickly changed when Matthew Dyer — who represented the game tying run on third base — bolted towards home plate following a wild pitch from the Sun Devils’ Sam Ferri.
“NOT TODAY” – @ZCerbo, definitely.
The senior catcher lays out for the huge out at the plate and the DEVILS WIN!https://t.co/SIij0cvRmx
— Sun Devil Baseball (@ASU_Baseball) April 30, 2017
Oregon football played its spring football game on Saturday at nearby Autzen Stadium, but it was at PK Park where the most meaningful collision of the day occurred. Dyer and Zach Cerbo -—the Sun Devils’ catcher who quickly recovered the wild pitch from Ferri — each dove head first into home plate. Cerbo got there first, applied the tag on a lunging Dyer, and ended the game to give Arizona State (19-21, 6-11) the 4-3 win in the second game of an already entertaining series.
Had Dyer been safe, it would have completed a gritty late-inning comeback for the Ducks (24-14, 7-10), who trailed 4-1 entering the bottom half of the seventh inning.
With one out in the bottom of the seventh, Gabe Matthews brought home Kyle Kasser with an RBI ground out to cut the deficit to two. Daniel Patzlaff brought it to within one when he singled home Tim Susnara in the bottom of the eighth.
ASU’s Taylor Lane was the difference maker in the game. Hitting the seventh spot in the lineup, Lane smashed two solo home runs in the third and seventh innings, the first to put his team up 1-0 and the second to increase the lead to 4-1.
Matt Mercer finished with the loss, but kept his team in the game when he exited in the sixth inning. The sophomore threw 5 1/3 innings, allowing five hits, walking one and finishing with five strikeouts.
With David Peterson striking out 20 in a complete game shutout on Friday night and an intense ending at the plate this afternoon, ASU-Oregon hasn’t had its lack of fireworks so far. Oregon can still win the series on Sunday at 12 p.m.
Follow Cole Kundich on Twitter @ckundich