(Photo: Blaine McCormick/WCSN)
Following a night in which there were 11 total runs after three innings, Saturday night at Phoenix Municipal Stadium carried a very different tale.
One thing was very clear, it was a pitching a duel on Saturday night.
The Sun Devils (18-19, 5-10 Pac-12) rallied back from a 2-0 deficit to get the win over the CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners (19-15, 6-6 WAC) by a final score of 4-2.
“You just have to find a way to win,” ASU head coach Tracy Smith said following the series-clinching win. “There were three total innings of scoring between the two teams, we were fortunate to get some two-out hits.”
With a win in game two, ASU clinched its second consecutive series victory for the first time all season.
Lingos gave ASU what they needed on the mound on Saturday night.
After 109 pitches and just two earned runs Smith said after Lingos “did his job.”
“He settled in very nicely and let us hang around until we finally cracked it there in the fifth,” Smith said after Lingos recorded his team-best fifth win going seven and two-thirds for the Sun Devils in game two.
Specifically, Smith said that Lingos had good control of his off-speed pitches tonight, being able to throw them effectively low in the strike zone.
Smith decided to keep to send Lingos back out after seven strong innings and said the decision wasn’t difficult because he looked comfortable saying, “He was flipping the slower breaking-ball which is not a real-stress pitch.”
Lingos echoed along the same message as his head coach.
“I had good command of my curve ball which helped a lot, getting it over early,” Lingos said.” That was probably the biggest factor was being able to get ahead with it and change speeds with it to throw off their timing.”
It was the hero on Friday night, who delivered the big hit which allowed the Sun Devils to prevail over the Roadrunners.
Gage Canning hit a two-run go-ahead home run with a tie 2-2 ballgame and that proved to be the difference in the tight game, against a solid CSUB team.
“He’d come in the last two called strikes,” Canning said while describing the at-bat. “I figured he was probably going to come in next pitch. I was expecting fastball and just hit it.”
Canning did more than hit it, he crushed it over the left-field wall for his third home run of the season.
Canning went 3-for-4 with two RBI’s on the evening. The sophomore right-fielder also extended his hit-streak to 11 games, a season-high for the Sun Devils.
Smith explained Canning’s consecutive big offensive night with a grin on his face. “Gage, again getting it done.”
Canning has gone 7-for-9 in the two games of the series so far with two triples and a home run.
The right-fielder now leads the team in batting average at .349 and slugging percentage at .564.
The win tonight wasn’t just an important win for ASU because it allowed the team to clinch the series-victory. The win tonight allowed the Sun Devils to pull one game under .500 ahead of tomorrow’s series finale.
In game two, it was clear early on that the game wouldn’t be the offensive explosion that the Sun Devils are so used to competing in.
With Bakersfield’s starting pitcher Andrew Hansen pitching well right out-of-the-gate, would need a good outing out of Lingos and to stay in the game long enough to come from behind.
Lingos provided ASU with the quality start and the Sun Devils knew they would produce enough runs to carry their starting pitcher.
“When it’s two runs, we’re confident in our lineup that we’re definitely going to be able to score more than two runs,” Canning said.
ASU won the pitching duel on Friday night and this proved to be such an important win, not just because ASU was able to clinch back-to-back series victories for the first time this year, they also pulled just one game below .500 ahead of tomorrow’s series finale.