PHOENIX -- Michigan State baseball was edged, 8-5 in 11 innings by No. 24 Arizona State after a three-run walk-off home run in the bottom of the 11th inning by Arizona State's Spencer Torkelson Saturday night at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
MSU's go-ahead attempt in the top of the 10th inning was denied with a play at the plate, as junior outfielder Danny Gleaves was tagged out by a hair trying to slide into home after a sacrifice fly attempt off the bat of senior shortstop Marty Bechina, keeping the score tied at 5-5.
"It was a tough ballgame to lose. I thought we played well and thought we did a lot of good things tonight," MSU head coach Jake Boss Jr. said. "But give them credit, they made plays when they needed to. They threw us out at the plate with two outs late in the game and they made a play on a line drive up the middle with a drawn-in infield that saved two runs for them, and that's what good teams do. We made a few mistakes early in the game that led to a couple of unearned runs and at the end of the day, that's the difference. Certainly a lot of positives that we can take away from today, and a lot that we can learn from and build on and grow from."
Saturday's 11-inning contest was the first extra-inning game this season for MSU, and the longest game since a 12-inning outing in a 5-4 win vs. Valparaiso on April 13, 2018. It was the Spartans' first game that ended in 11 innings since April 29, 2016 at Michigan, losing, 4-3.
Junior right hander Mike Mokma went 6.1 innings, retiring the first seven Sun Devils he faced, including a strikeout to lead off each of the first three frames. Mokma ended with firing six strikeouts for his second-straight outing with six Ks, as well as posting five or more punchouts in all three of his outings this season. Junior lefty reliever Mitchell Tyranski registered five strikeouts in 4.1 innings of relief, with four strikeouts coming consecutively, striking out the side in the ninth.
"I thought Mike threw great tonight, he was really, really good," Boss said. "He commanded the ball down in the zone and really made a lot of qualities pitches. I thought Mitchell Tyranski threw well tonight too, so it's very encouraging about the outings from of those two guys tonight."
Bechina belted a two-run home run in the top of the first and added a sac fly to center in the eighth, ending 1-for-4 with three RBI. Freshman infielder Reese Trahey was 0-for-1 but drew three walks and all three times on base. Senior outfielder Dan Chmielewski was 2-for-4, while freshman outfielder Zaid Walker was 1-for-4 with an RBI. Gleaves and senior catcher Nic Lacayo were both 1-for-5, with Gleaves adding a run scored.
The Spartan defense got some spectacular plays all around, including several stops by Bechina at short, along with some leather-flashing catches by Chmielewski, Trahey and junior first baseman Andrew Morrow, along with a bare-handed scoop and bullet throw by sophomore third baseman Zach Iverson.
The Spartans got on the board early as Trahey drew a one-out walk and two batters later, Bechina followed with a blast to left field, just missing hitting a palm tree just beyond the wall. It was Bechina's second home run of the season, both of the two-run variety and was his 17th career home run overall, and his fourth two-run blast.
Mokma retired the first seven Sun Devils he faced, chalking up three K's in first 2.1 innings, before yielding back-to-back singles in the second to Myles Denson and Sam Ferri. A two-out single by Torkelson drove in both Denson and Ferri to level the score at 2-all.
The Sun Devils threatened in the fourth with a one-out double by Carter Aldrete following a routine groundout to Bechina at short. After a Mokma strikeout, Alika Williams smacked a shot to deep in the hole at short, but Bechina back-handed and fired a frozen rope to junior first baseman Andrew Morrow to beat Williams by a step and end the inning.
ASU plated a run with only one out in the fifth to take a 3-2 lead, capitalizing on an MSU error, before the frame ended with a pair of nice defensive plays by the corner infield on a stop down the line at first by Morrow, then Iverson's bare-handed scoop and throw from third, with Morrow applying the tag to nab the ASU runner.
The Spartans took advantage of a Sun Devil error for one run on a sac bunt by Chmielewski to plate Gleaves, who reached on a single. Two batters later, Walker had an RBI groundout to plate Trahey and give MSU a 4-3 lead.
ASU chased Mokma in the bottom of the seventh after a one-out single, and later scored on a bases-loaded walk and sac fly to go ahead, 5-4.
The Spartan deficit didn't last long, as Bechina plated Trahey with a sac fly after Trahey sparked the rally with a one-out walk and moved to third on a Chmielewski single.
Tyranski retired the Sun Devils in 1-2-3 order in the eighth and ninth frames, getting a snazzy sliding catch from Chmielewski in right for the first out of the eighth, then a groundout for the second out and chalked up a K to end the inning. The junior southpaw then struck out the side in the ninth to send the game into extras.
The Spartans loaded the bases with one out in the 10th, with Gleaves on third after a fielder's choice, then moved to second after a Trahey walk and third on a wild pitch. After an infield single by Chmielewski, Bechina followed with a fly out to right for a potential sac fly, but ASU right fielder Denson caught the fly and fired to catcher Ferri at the plate to nab Gleaves by the narrowest of margins.
Tyranski retired the Sun Devils in order in the home half of the 10th, and got the first two batters out in the 11th, before singles by Ferri and Hauver set up Torkelson's game-winning HR.
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