ASU rallies but comes up short in loss to UCLA

Box score

TEMPE, Ariz. — Freshman Dalton DiNatale sent the game to extra innings with a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth, but the 24th-ranked Arizona State baseball team fell to No. 4 UCLA 12-10 in 10 innings in the series finale on Saturday at Packard Stadium.

The Sun Devils (15-8-1, 4-5) tied a season high with 19 hits, including six extra-base knocks, as eight players recorded multiple hits in the game. Second baseman James McDonald led the way with three RBI, and right fielder Kasey Coffman went 3 for 6 with two runs scored.

ASU took the lead in the fourth and fifth innings but could not hold on, allowing two runs in the seventh, one in the eighth and two in the 10th.

Shortstop Drew Stankiewicz singled with one out in the ninth inning to bring the tying run to the plate, and following a flyout by designated hitter Nate Causey, DiNatale hit a two-run homer to push the game into the 10th inning in dramatic fashion.

DiNatale’s home run broke up a streak of 19 consecutive scoreless innings by UCLA right-handed reliever David Berg (3-0), who earned the win after allowing two runs on five hits over the final four innings.

The Bruins (18-6, 6-3) began the 10th with a single and a hit batter by right-hander Eric Melbostad, and used a two-run single off right-hander Ryan Burr to take the final lead, 12-10.

Melbostad (0-1) took his first career loss after surrendering two runs on a hit in 2/3 innings.

UCLA jumped out to a two-run lead in the first inning after starting left-hander Adam McCreery walked two, hit a batter and allowed a single against the first four batters he faced, but the Devils responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame to tie the score at 2-2.

UCLA third baseman Kevin Kramer appeared to make the final out in the second inning, but a balk by right-hander Mark Lambson brought him back to the plate and he hit three-run homer on the next pitch to cap off a four-run inning and push the Bruins to a 6-2 advantage.

The Devils strung together seven straight hits to start the third inning and again tied the score at 6-6.

Third baseman Michael Benjamin gave ASU its first lead of the game in the bottom of the fourth when he tripled and scored two batters later on a sacrifice fly by catcher Max Rossiter.

The teams traded runs in the fifth inning before the Bruins took a three-run advantage into the ninth inning.

McCreery gave up two runs on a hit and a pair of walks as the Devils used eight different pitchers over the course of the game. Right-hander Billy Young did not allow an earned run and struck out three in three innings.

UCLA starting left-hander Grant Watson conceded six runs on nine hits in 2 1/3 innings.

ASU next travels to Kansas to take on Wichita State for a pair of midweek nonconference tilts on April 2 and 3 before returning to Tempe to host No. 11 Oregon for a three-game series April 5-7 at Packard Stadium.