(Photo: Kimmy Davis/WCSN)
A strong overall performance from Arizona State led to a decisive 9-3 victory over Long Beach State, giving it the rubber game of the series. ASU gets its third series victory and improves to 9-5 on the season.
Many players stood out today for the Sun Devils. Brett Lilek pitched a decent game and earned the victory. Darin Gillies was phenomenal in relief. But it was the backup third baseman, David Greer, who stole the show at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
Greer, who got the start this series due to starting third baseman Dalton DiNatale being out with an injured thumb, had quite a day at the plate, accounting for two hits and three runs batted in.
“Dave has been nice, a little spark,” Head Coach Tracy Smith said. “He stuck in, I thought, some very important hits for us today. He battles, he competes, and we keep saying that’s what we ask for. I thought his AB’s this weekend were solid.”
As for Lilek, it never seemed as if ASU was in complete control of the game when he was on the mound tonight
“I’m happy (Lilek) did his job, but I’ll say it, I’m expecting more out of him,” Smith said. “We’re going to need more out of him. But it’s a good thing to build on, he got a win, pitched us into the fifth inning. But I want to see one of the better pitchers in the country step up now and show and act like one of the better pitchers in the country.”
Ironically, Greer got ASU’s offense started in the second when he drove a single through the middle to bring in Trever Allen from third.
Johnny Sewald joined the party when he hit a single to right field, scoring Brian Serven and giving the Sun Devils a 2-0 lead after two innings.
Jake Peevyhouse got a stroke of luck in the third, hitting a high fly ball to deep left field that LBSU outfielder Alex Bishop misjudged and let fall to the grass, resulting in a triple for Peevyhouse. Colby Woodmansee would groundout to drive him home to put ASU’s third run on the board.
But the Dirtbags clawed back in the fourth, as Alex Bishop ripped a single to left field scoring Zack Rivera and Luke Rasmussen to shrink the Sun Devil lead, 3-2.
But ASU answered in the bottom of the fourth, after a Greer ground ball single snuck through the LBSU infield to score Zach Cerbo and give ASU a 4-2 advantage.
Lilek’s outing ended in the sixth after a he allowed a double to left from Rivera. Lilek pitched a decent game, allowing just four hits, two earned runs and striking out five.
Darin Gillies got the nod in relief and quickly locked down the Dirtbags. He pitched three solid innings, striking out four and not allowing a single hit.
Brian Serven put the fifth ASU run on the board in the sixth inning with a high flying single home run to left field.
Smith had high praise for Serven.
“He’s locked in right now, and to his credit he’s really put some work in and made some adjustments in his swing, and it’s paying off,” Smith said.
LBSU relievers Sean Trimble and Trey Ferketic didn’t fare well in the eighth, walking a total of three ASU batters, hitting another two with pitches, and allowing a total of two runs.
In the bottom of the eighth ASU would show Vaughn Berberet, the third of the LBSU relievers, that it was not finished. A Jordan Aboites RBI single and a Sewald groundout tacked on two more runs, leaving the score 9-2 ASU after eight.
Despite giving up a run to the Dirtbags, sophomore Eder Erives closed out the game to give the Sun Devils the 9-3 victory.
The Sun Devils will take on the UNLV Rebels at Phoenix Municipal Stadium on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. MST.