(Photo: Gabrielle Mercer/WCSN)
Five different players picked up RBI’s and Seth Martinez held the No. 17 Cal Golden Bears at bay as Arizona State earned a 6-4 victory in what is a very important series for the team.
If the 19-12 Sun Devils were to drop the series, their slim playoff hopes would become even slimmer, but they now have to just win one of the next two games to win their second Pac-12 series of the season.
The biggest surprise of the game was that Golden Bears’ starter Ryan Mason, who entered the game with a 2.26 ERA, got torched for seven hits and five earned runs by the ASU’s bats, which came out strong from the start.
MVP: Seth Martinez
Many Sun Devils gave valiant performances on the night, but it was Martinez — often a bright spot in a sea of question marks in the pitching staff — who propelled them to victory. He gave another quality start, which has become the norm for him, and his 1.79 ERA rose ever-so-slightly to 1.88.
Martinez entered the game third in the Pac-12 in innings and fourth in strikeouts. He pitched seven innings and struck out five, while getting some sharp defensive plays behind him.
Unsung Hero: Tyler Williams
Williams had by far the best game of his young Sun Devil career, hitting two doubles and a triple while scoring and driving in a run. He provided a key spark at the bottom of the ASU order and it seems like the left field job is his to keep.
You knew it was over when: Arizona State tacked on four runs to their one-run lead in the third inning, completing the throttling of Mason. The big blow came on a two-run double by Ryan Lillard, but a home run by David Greer and an RBI single from Brian Serven added to the damage.
Biggest Concern from ASU: There were not a lot of problems for the Sun Devils in the game, but the late inning relief continues to be their Achilles’ heel. Eli Lingos was inserted in the eighth inning and promptly gave up two runs to cut the lead in half, forcing head coach Tracy Smith to put in Eder Erives, something he didn’t want to do, since he was projected to start on Saturday. Erives went on to get the final four outs for his fourth save of the season.
Stat of the Night: Four, the total amount of home runs hit by David Greer this season. His big fly in the third inning tied him for the team lead with Colby Woodmansee and Sebastian Zawada.
What’s Next: It’s two more games for these two in the series, with afternoon games on the ledger for both days. It is still unclear whom ASU will pitch tomorrow, but Cal will start Jeff Bain. First pitch is scheduled for 12:00.