(Photo: Dom Cotroneo/WCSN)
Arizona State (5-3) overcame Zach Dixon’s rough start to knock off the New Mexico State Aggies (6-4) by a score of 12-5.
Dixon started for ASU on Tuesday night at Phoenix Municipal Stadium yet couldn’t find the strike zone — he walked five New Mexico State batters in 1 and 2/3 innings.
Fitz Stadler gave the Sun Devils some support as the offense came alive behind strong performances from Andrew Snow, Lyle Lin, Ryan Lillard and Zach Cerbo.
ASU combined to put nine of its runs on the board in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. From there, the bullpen shut down the Aggies to give ASU its fifth win of the season and first win to start a 12-game homestand.
Player of the Game: Andrew Snow went 4-for-4 from behind the plate including a double, three RBI’s and two runs scored. Snow also looked solid defensively, he made a diving stop to rob New Mexico State’s Mason Fishback of a single in the third inning with a nice throw to first base.
Unsung Hero: Fitz Stadler came in after Dixon’s uneasy start and was solid for the Sun Devils in 3.2 innings. He escaped the bases-loaded jam he inherited from Dixon and gave ASU a chance to comeback from the 1-0 deficit. Stadler gave up only one hit and his steady pitching allowed the Sun Devils to stay relaxed and wait for their opportunities behind the plate. He earned the win for the Sun Devils and his first win on the season.
You knew it was over when: Ryan Lillard hit a one-out ground ball to second base with the bases loaded that should have led to a routine double play, but New Mexico State’s first baseman Tristen Carranza couldn’t handle the throw from shortstop LJ Hatch and two Sun Devils scored, making the score 9-3.
Biggest Concern: Zach Dixon’s command was off from the first batter of the game. Dixon opened up the game with back-to-back walks and walked three more batters in the second inning including a walked-in run with the bases loaded. This is the second straight start where Dixon has had over three walks and hasn’t made it past the third inning.
Stat of the Day: On a night in which Gage Canning and Andrew Shaps struggled from behind the dish, Andrew Snow, Ryan Lillard and Zach Cerbo combined to bat 9-for-11 with seven RBI’s to lead the ASU offense to score 12 runs.
What’s Next?: Arizona State will continue its home stand as Loyola Marymount University heads to Tempe to take on the Sun Devils in a three-game series. The first game is on Friday, March 3 with first pitch set at 6:30 pm MST.
Rob Werner is a baseball beat reporter for the Walter Cronkite Sports Network. You can follow him on Twitter @robwerner28