ASU baseball falls behind early, loses at UC Irvine

IRVINE, Calif. — The 18th-ranked ASU baseball team was unable to come back from an early three-run deficit and fell to UC Irvine 5-2 on Saturday at Anteater Ballpark in Irvine, Calif.

The Anteaters (3-3) jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning behind five singles, including three straight in the middle of the order, and never relinquished their lead.

ASU starting left-hander Ryan Kellogg (0-1) tossed four consecutive scoreless innings after the first frame, but took his first loss of the season and just the second loss of his career as he conceded four runs on 10 hits and struck out a pair in six innings. He did not walk a batter for the seventh time in 17 career starts.

The Sun Devils (2-4) notched a pair of runs in the top of the sixth on an RBI double by center fielder Johnny Sewald and a sacrifice fly by Dalton DiNatale to pull within a run, 3-2, but UCI countered with two runs in the following two innings to stretch its lead back to three, 5-2. 

Right-hander Eric Melbostad took over in the seventh and allowed one run on one hit and a pair of walks.

Designated hitter Nate Causey led off the top of the ninth with a double off the wall in right-center field, but three consecutive outs ended the Devils’ chances of a late rally.

UCI starting right-hander Andrew Morales (1-0) earned his first win of the season after giving up two unearned runs on four hits and two walks in seven innings. Right-hander Sam Moore (3) closed out the final two frames to pick up the save.