LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Arizona State had the luxury of playing its first four games of the season at home. In their first road test of the season, the No. 18 Sun Devils were thrashed by Long Beach State, 11-0.
Head coach Tim Esmay wheeled out a starting lineup that consisted of eight right-handed batters to face Long Beach State (1-4) junior LHP Nick Sabo. That lineup included sophomore shortstop Jordan Aboites, a Long Beach native, and freshman catcher Brian Serven, brother of current Dirtbags infielder Jonathan Serven. The lefty Sabo (1-1, 0.66 ERA) was not taken by surprise, throwing eight scoreless innings and allowing six hits and two walks in a stellar eight-strikeout performance.
Sophomore starter Ryan Burr took the mound for the Sun Devils (2-3), looking for his first collegiate win in his second career start. The first two innings went well for the young right-hander, but disaster struck the next inning when Burr struggled to throw strikes.
In the top of the third, Burr walked the Dirtbags’ first three batters, putting catcher Eric Hutting on third base, second baseman Colton Vaughn on second and third baseman Zack Domingues on first. The next batter, shortstop Garrett Hampson, dribbled a ground ball halfway between Burr and home plate. An errant throw home by Burr brought Hutting and Vaughn home, putting the Dirtbags up 2-0. Burr struck out the next batter, but not before a wild pitch caused another run to come around for Long Beach State.
Dirtbags right fielder Richard Prigatano and first baseman Ino Patron followed with RBI singles, making the score 5-0 and chasing Burr from the game after 2.1 innings.
Burr finished with two hits, six runs (all earned), four walks and three strikeouts.Burr (0-1, 9.95 ERA) was relieved by senior RHP Zak Miller, who walked his first batter and then surrendered a two-RBI Johnny Bekakis double down the left field line. Miller got the final two outs of the inning, stopping the damage at 7-0.
With Miller still on the mound in the seventh inning, Prigatano singled to right field, scoring Hampson from second. The next batter, first baseman Ino Patron, took Miller over the right field fence to make the score 10-0. That was the end of Miller’s night, as he lasted four innings while giving up four hits, four runs (all earned) and three walks while striking out three. Miller’s relief, RHP Josh McAlister, walked in one more run which increased the lead to 11, which was all the scoring Long Beach State needed to win.
Arizona State could not manage more than two hits in any inning. The Sun Devils got their first two batters on base in the second and fourth innings, but were unable to score. They started the fifth and sixth innings with a hit and could not bring those runners home either.
The top offensive performers for Arizona State were right fielder Trever Allen and designated hitter RJ Ybarra, each of whom went 2-for-3.
The last time Arizona State lost three of its first five games was in 1985 with legendary coach Jim Brock at the helm.
The Sun Devils travel to UC Irvine tomorrow for the second game of three in California. Probable pitchers for that game are LHP Ryan Kellogg (0-0, 5.40) for the Sun Devils and RHP Andrew Morales (0-0, 0.00) for the Anteaters. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. MST.