OSU baseball: Cowboys upset No. 8 Arizona State 2-1
Arizona State pitchers struck out more batters Tuesday night than in any game since 1998. But once again, the Sun Devils lost for lack of a big hit.
No. 8 ASU left 11 on base, going 2-of-10 with runners in scoring position, in a 2-1 loss to No. 24 Oklahoma State at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
The offensive struggle was a continuation of the first week of the season when the pitching also excelled. The Sun Devils fell to 2-3 with two of the losses to nationally-ranked opponents.
"It's disappointing when you lose, and it's almost a double whammy when your pitchers are throwing that well," ASU coach Tracy Smith said. "Sometimes that puts even more pressure because guys want to pick their teammates up.
"I guess I'd be more concerned if I had a bunch of inexperienced guys on the offensive side. But I've seen these guys do it and do it a lot and do it at this level. You go through things like this, and it just takes that one hit to get everybody going."
ASU couldn't come up with that knock in the second with the bases loaded and no outs or the ninth with the bases loaded and two outs or mostly anywhere in between.
The Sun Devils' only run came in the sixth on an Alika Williams sac fly after hits inning-opening hits by Spencer Torkelson and Trevor Hauver.
Hauver flew out to shortstop to end the game after Torkelson was intentionally walked for the fifth time in five games.
"We've got the guy (Hauver)," to hit behind Torkelson, Smith said. "It's just a little bit of a slow start. But we're five friggin' baseball games into it so there is no panic in that locker room, there's no panic in the coaching staff."
Torkelson is hitting .308 but Hauver, Alika Williams, Gage Workman and Drew Swift are at .167 or lower. And the Sun Devils are without Hunter Bishop, who last season as much a threat as Torkelson in the middle of the lineup.
"We're working hard, I don't think anything needs to change," Swift said. "It's just going to come. We don't need to do anything, we don't need to press, we'll be alright."
Erik Tolman struck out 12 in six innings, the most by an ASU pitcher since Ryan Kellogg in 2014. Cam Dennie and RJ Dabovich also fanned three each for 18 total, the best combined strikeout total in 22 years.
"I went out there and felt really good," said Tolman, who threw 118 pitches. "I was expecting to go long. Over winter break, they told me to throw more bullpens and be more before I come back."
Tolman, a two-way player, also went 1-of-4 in the designated hitter slot.
Cade Cabbiness drove in both Oklahoma State runs, one with a single in the second and another on a massive home run to right in the fourth.
The Cowboys improved to 2-2 after losing a season-opening series at Grand Canyon.