Arizona State‘s baseball season ended over the weekend with a loss at the Fullerton Regional. It also closed out an unusually disappointing year for Arizona’s Pac-12 baseball and softball teams.
ASU baseball was the last of the four teams still alive in the post-season. And only one of them made it as far as the super regionals.
The University of Arizona baseball team didn’t even make it into the post-season after a sub-par 31-24 finish to the schedule. That makes it a third straight disappointing season and likely contributed to the decision by head coach Andy Lopez to retire after 33 years coaching, the last 14 directing the Wildcat program.
The Arizona State softball team made it only as far as the Baton Rouge Regional before LSU sent them home after spotting the Sun Devils the first game and then coming back to win the next two and move on to super regional play.
And the UofA softball team advanced to the super regionals, but were swept there by the same LSU team that ended ASU’s season, outscoring the Cats 18-5 in two games.
But the ASU baseball team’s exit from the post-season was especially frustrating. The Sun Devils, who were seeded second in the Fullerton Regional, lost the opening game to Cal State Fullerton on a bases-loaded walk after slugging it out with the Titans for 14 innings in a game that lasted past midnight on Saturday. The 3-2 loss put them in an elimination game with Pepperdine on Sunday.
The Devils got down to business in that game with Pepperdine, taking a 2-0 lead in the third. It was still anybody’s game as the teams were tied 4-4 going into the eighth inning.
But the roof caved in after that. With two outs in the top of the ninth, Pepperdine used a pair of singles and a walk to load the bases, setting the stage for second baseman Hutton Moyer to clear the bases with a double that carried deep to center to give the Waves the 7-4 lead they would hold for the win.
ASU even had a last chance in the bottom of the ninth when catcher Brian Serven walked to lead off the inning and Johnny Sewald singled to put two runners on base with one out. But two fly-outs later, the Devils were done.
Based on history, the odds were against ASU in this regional appearance. They have trouble winning when playing at the Fullerton Regional, now losing five out of the six times they’ve tried to get to the College World Series by starting at Cal State.
And they were up against a couple of teams that give them trouble. Cal State beat the Sun Devils twice in their last post-season meeting, also in the Fullerton Regional, and ASU has lost to Pepperdine in the post-season in each of its past two trips to the NCAA Tournament.
In the final analysis, 2015 turned into a bust year on the diamond for all four Pac-12 teams. All but UofA baseball (31-24) played well enough to get into the post-season, but that’s not the goal for teams with the kind of tradition enjoyed by Arizona’s Pac-12 representatives.
Every one of these teams has won at least one national title and are expected to make that their mission every season.
This year, by any standard, was a disappointment. Especially for the fans.