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ASU Baseball: Canning, Higgins help ASU get key win over Washington State

(Photo: Blaine McCormick/WCSN)

The Arizona State Sun Devils did something that haven’t done very often in 2017: score the first run of the game.

ASU took down Washington State 6-5 thanks in large part to some early scoring.

Gage Canning, ASU’s leadoff hitter, went 2-for-4 with four RBI’s, extending his hitting streak to six games. Canning crushed a three-run home run in the second inning for his second home run in the past three games.

Canning leads the team with 15 extra-base hits on the season.

Freshman left-handed pitcher Chaz Montoya wasn’t at his best for ASU but did well getting out of jams and only allowing three runs in five innings. Montoya allowed multiple WSU baserunners in four of his five innings but got recorded the win on the evening.

Alec Marsh relieved Montoya in the sixth inning and struggled as he loaded the bases, then was held responsible for two runs as Conor Higgins came in allowed a two-run single courtesy of WSU’s third baseman Shane Matheny.

Higgins settled down for the Sun Devils, going 3 and 1/3 innings, only allowing two hits, and striking out four Cougars. The left-hander was dealing as his fastball topped out at 95 mph, helping him earn his second save of the season.

For ASU, it’s only their third win in conference play and the Sun Devils will look to build on the win as they will try to win their first Pac-12 series of the season.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Gage Canning. The leadoff hitter for the Sun Devils led off things in a positive way at the plate with a single in the first inning, and later came into score the first run of the game.

UNSUNG HERO: Chaz Montoya. The starting pitcher for the Sun Devils did what a good starter does; he worked through jams and gave his offense a chance to put up some runs. The freshman handled himself well against a lineup that had six hitters in the lineup batting over .300. Montoya went five innings allowing seven hits, three runs while walking four Cougars.

STAT OF THE NIGHT: Nine. That’s how many outs WSU starter A.J. Block could record before being pulled by head coach Marty Lees after allowing a double and an error to begin the bottom of the third inning. The Sun Devils put up six runs on six hits against the left-handed starting pitcher who came into the game with a 2.65 ERA.

BIGGEST CONCERN: While Chaz Montoya did well in getting out of jams and not allowing a run until the fourth inning, the southpaw starter walked four Washington State batters. Walks have been the achilles heel for the Sun Devils this season and tonight, they allowed for the Washington State offense to get back in the game.

WHAT’S UP NEXT?: ASU still has two more games against the Cougars coming on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon. The starters for WSU will be Ryan Walker and Cody Anderson respectively while ASU starters for Saturday and Sunday have not been named yet.

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Rob Werner
Rob Werner is an ASU Baseball beat writer for the Walter Cronkite Sports Network.

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