(Photo: Rob Werner/WCSN)
The stage was set for greatness on a night in which Arizona State honored Barry Bonds, the all-time home run leader in the MLB.
ASU (11-12, 1-5 Pac-12) came back from a 4-0 deficit after second inning, to beat the UNLV (10-17, 5-7 Mountain West). Runnin’ Rebels 5-4. The tying and go-ahead runs came by way of a two-run home run by designated hitter, Tyler Williams.
Barry Bonds wore the number 25 during his 15-year tenure with the San Francisco Giants and on Tuesday night, Tyler Williams, wearing 25 for ASU appeared to be inspired by Bonds presence.
“Knowing that Barry Bonds is there, you just want to show him a little something,” Williams said.
However, with the home run king present, Zach Dixon couldn’t get the Sun Devils started the way they had hoped.
Dixon didn’t make his case to be the clear midweek starter as couldn’t keep the Runnin’ Rebels off the base paths from the get-go. Dixon lasted just 1 and 2/3 innings giving up four runs on five hits.
With Dixon not performing well, Alec Marsh provided a spark out of the bullpen.
Marsh was a reliever that head coach Tracy Smith said he wanted to get into the game and the right-hander really picked things for ASU following Dixon’s outing. Marsh provided 2 and 2/3 innings of work and allowed for ASU’s offense to have a chance to put some runs on the board.
“We didn’t get off to a good start and for Alec to come in there and turn it around a little bit for us was big,” Smith said.
The Sun Devils scored two runs right after Marsh relieved Dixon in the second inning as Gage Canning knocked in Zach Cerbo and Taylor Lane to put ASU on the board. The Sun Devils scored another run in the fifth by way of a Cerbo sacrifice-fly that knocked in Carter Aldrete and then it was Williams with the big hit on the night.
Following an Aldrete double to lead off the inning, Williams hit the first pitch he saw off UNLV pitcher Blaze Bohall up-and-over the left-field wall to give ASU its first lead of the day.
Williams said Bohall was floating in first-pitch fastballs to the past couple of batters and he was looking fastball all the way.
While Williams helped ASU get the lead, Connor Higgins (1-1) finished the win off for the Sun Devils as he only allowed one walk and no hits in his 4 and 2/3 innings.
Smith said that Higgins was one of the biggest reasons that the Sun Devils were able to hold the Runnin’ Rebels to zero runs after the second inning.
“Connor Higgins was one of the keys, if not the key to the game because he comes in a crucial situation and keeps us right there and then goes on to settle in.”
Rob Werner is an ASU Baseball beat writer for the Walter Cronkite Sports Network. You can follow him and view his work @robwerner28.