(Photo: Dominic Cotroneo/WCSN)
In the second game of a three-game series from Phoenix Municipal Stadium, the Arizona State Sun Devils and Long Beach State Dirtbags battled back and forth, with Arizona State emerging victorious and clinching the series by a score of 9-4.
For the second straight day ASU got off to an inauspicious start in the first inning with two walks issued by freshman starter Spencer Van Scoyoc coming around to score on a Brock Lundquist RBI double and an RBI groundout by Daniel Jackson.
The Sun Devils responded quickly however with three runs in the bottom of the second thanks to a sacrifice fly by designated hitter Hunter Bishop and a two-run home run by senior catcher Zach Cerbo, starting his second straight game.
Cerbo added to the Sun Devil lead his next time up in the fourth, scoring Carter Aldrete on an RBI single making the score 4-2.
Van Scoyoc settled down after a shaky first inning, eventually finishing his day with 4.2 innings, two earned runs, four walks and one strikeout.
The Cedar Rapids, Iowa native gave way to Reagan Todd, who was able to bridge the middle innings for head coach Tracy Smith, going 2.2 innings while allowing two hits and two earned runs.
Despite the Dirtbags pulling even at four in the seventh against Todd on a two-run double by Jackson, the Sun Devils answered right back in the bottom half on a Jackson Willeford RBI single.
ASU extended their lead in their last turn at-bat in the eighth, plating four runs on a Bishop RBI single, a balk by Dirtbag reliever Chris Rivera, an RBI single by Jeremy McCuin and a sacrifice fly by Taylor Lane.
Junior Jake Godfrey closed things out for ASU in the top of the ninth, as he set down LBSU in order to pull ASU back over .500.
Player of the Game: Zach Cerbo. Praised by Smith in recent days for his veteran leadership in the clubhouse, the senior jump-started ASU with his second-inning home run,
Unsung Hero: Reagan Todd. Coming off a blown save last weekend in Game 2 of the Loyola Marymount series, the redshirt sophomore did just enough to hold Long Beach State at bay after Van Scoyoc failed to make it out of the fifth inning.
You Knew It Was Over When: Arizona State tacked on four insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth, giving some much-needed breathing room for Jake Godfrey to close out Long Beach State.
Stat of the Day: Every Sun Devil starter recorded at least one hit, as they finished they day with 12.
Biggest Concern: Willeford was pulled from the game after his seventh-inning RBI single with an apparent leg injury. The redshirt senior missed the beginning of the season with a hamstring injury.
What’s Up Next?: Arizona State will wrap up the series with Long Beach State on Sunday afternoon, with first pitch scheduled for 1 PM.
Bobby Kraus is a baseball beat reporter for the Walter Cronkite Sports Network. You can follow him on Twitter @bobbykraus22