(Photo: Dominic Cotroneo/WCSN)
The Arizona State Sun Devils earned their largest margin of victory against UCLA since 2010, walloping the Bruins by a score of 12-4 at Jackie Robinson Stadium in Los Angeles.
It was an offensive display for the Sun Devils (32-18, 14-11), who find themselves just 1.5 games back of Utah atop the conference standings. ASU had seven extra-base hits, including six doubles and a home run. The Sun Devils also received a strong starting pitching effort from Seth Martinez, who gave up three runs in eight innings, striking out eight.
The Bruins kept the game close until the seventh inning, but ASU added six runs to their 4-3 lead to put the game securely in their hands and never trailed on their way to victory.
MVP: There are numerous deserving candidates for this title, but Gage Canning had the strongest day of any Sun Devil. The freshman, who hit in the leadoff spot again, did it all for ASU. He ripped four hits (a career high) with two doubles while driving in three runs and scoring two more. His three-run double in the seventh inning opened the floodgates for ASU. After a slow start to the season, his batting average now stands at .294.
Unsung Hero: With apologies to Brian Serven, Andrew Shaps made the second biggest contribution in the lineup, but his game was masked by Canning’s night to remember. Shaps had two hits, both doubles, and drove in three runs, meaning him and Canning were responsible for half of the Sun Devils runs batted in. A concern arose when his injured hamstring reared its ugly head halfway through the game. Shaps exited after his second double.
You knew it was over when: The top of the seventh inning concluded. On top of Canning’s three-run double, the Sun Devils also got an RBI single from Colby Woodmansee and a two-run double from Shaps to open up a commanding 10-3 lead.
Biggest Concern: There isn’t much to be concerned about after a 12-4 win, but Martinez’s five walks were far from ideal. In total, he allowed 12 base runners in his eight innings pitched, and it was far from his sharpest outing of the season. Also, keeping an eye on Shaps’ health as he has played hurt the entire season.
Stat of the Night: The 12 runs scored by the Sun Devils offense was the third time this season they have put up double-digit runs in a game.
What’s Next?: These teams will square off in game two of the series, which will begin at 7:00. ASU will have a chance to move within a half game of first place in the Pac-12.