After leading for the majority of the game, the Oregon bullpen surrendered five runs in the eighth inning to allow the Arizona State Sun Devils to complete the 7-4 comeback against the Ducks on Friday in Tempe, Arizona.
The loss drops the Ducks to 12-4 this season and Arizona State climbs back to .500 with a 9-9 record.
Oregon starter Matt Mercer surrendered a pair of runs in the first inning but settled in to hold the Sun Devils scoreless throughout the rest of his outing. He held the Sun Devils scoreless until he was replaced to start the seventh inning.
Parker Kelly entered the game and shut down Arizona State with a pair of strikeouts to protect a two-run lead. The game-changing eighth inning began with Kelly hitting a batter and surrendering a base hit, and Oregon turned the game over to closer Kenyon Yovan with two outs. He gave up back-to-back walks that pulled the Sun Devils within a run. In the next at-bat, Gage Canning ripped a bases-clearing triple to give Arizona State the lead. Lyle Lin added the seventh run of the game for the Sun Devils when he singled to bring in Canning.
Oregon scored three runs to take the lead in the top of the third inning. Kyle Kasser and Jonny DeLuca started with back-to-back singles to open the inning. Then, Spencer Steer hit a single to give the Ducks its first run of the game. Gabe Matthews followed it up with a two RBI-double to give Oregon the 3-2 lead. The Ducks added a run in the fourth inning on a sacrifice fly.
Oregon attempted a comeback in the top of the ninth inning, down three runs. Ray Soderman was hit by a pitch and Ryne Nelson drew a walk to bring up the tying run to the plate with one out. However, Evan Williams flew out and Kasser grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the game.
Game two of the three-game series between the Ducks and Sun Devils is Saturday at 6:30 p.m. in Tempe, Arizona.
Follow Zak Laster on Twitter: @zlast3445