(Photo: Dominic Cotroneo/WCSN)
Arizona State (16-10, 3-6 Pac-12) clinched its first Pac-12 series win of the season by taking the third and final game of their road matchup with the Washington State Cougars (9-16, 2-7 Pac-12) by the score of 18-3.
After dropping the middle game of the series on Friday night 9-3 head coach Tracy Smith gave Eder Erives the start, and the junior did not disappoint.
Erives scattered five hits and gave up only two runs in seven strong innings, while striking out 11. It was his first start of the season after making his first 10 appearances out of the bullpen.
The Sun Devil offense will certainly head back to Phoenix feeling good about themselves, as they pounded Cougar pitching for 31 runs in the three games after scoring just 20 through the first six games of their conference slate.
Second baseman Andrew Snow was a catalyst in the leadoff spot for the Devils in this game, going 2-4 with a double and four RBIs. Center fielder Andrew Shaps and right fielder Gage Canning each contributed three more RBIs, in a game where the Devils plated multiple runs in four separate innings. They scored five in the first, seven in the fifth, two in the eighth and three in the ninth.
The Devils will head back home and try to climb further back into the race in the Pac-12 when they welcome Washington to Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
Player of the Game: Eder Erives. In his first start of the season, he performed well enough to put his team in a position to win regardless of the offensive support. Erives continues to fill the role of Swiss Army Knife for Smith, as he has flourished in whatever role is asked of him, whether it be in the closer role, long relief, or starting.
Unsung Hero: Tyler Williams. The freshman continues to find his way offensively, going 2-4 with an RBI and three runs in this contest. ASU will have solved its quest for a regular starting left fielder if Williams continues to have nights like this one.
You Knew It Was Over When: The Sun Devils batted around in the first inning. Getting four hits and five runs before Erives even took the mound all but doomed the Cougars, who managed only seven hits all afternoon against Erives, Jordan Aboites and Chris Higgins.
Stat of the Day: 15 walks for ASU. The team total was 28 in 25 games coming into Saturday.
Biggest Concern for ASU: While taking two out of three over the weekend will brighten the mood of the team, they still sit near the bottom of the Pac-12 standings after three weeks of conference play. Taking at least two of three against Washington next weekend will be a crucial step if they want to work their way back into the conversation of the top teams in the conference.
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