(Photo: Nick Badders/WCSN)
Two-out hitting was the story tonight at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
Arizona State (17-19, 5-10 Pac-12) went 8-for-16 with eight RBI’s with two outs as they cruised to a 12-6 victory over the CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners (19-14, 6-6 WAC).
ASU cranked 18 total hits on the night in 41 at-bats as the bats were working well against the Roadrunners.
Freshman Carter Aldrete had three two-out RBI’s in first three innings and credited his new compact swing that head coach Tracy Smith has been trying to instill in the freshman.
“It gives myself a chance to see the ball,” Aldrete said. “Before I was dead red on a fastball, now if it’s not a fastball I can still react to offspeed.”
Of the big hitters of the night, Gage Canning stood out.
Canning was named Pac-12 Player of the Week for his performance in the Sun Devils’ four games a week ago.
Tonight, Canning may have started to build his case for the same award as he went 4-for-5 with two triples and a run.
“He’s giving a good at-bat and if they leave it up he’s able to do something with it,” ASU head coach Tracy Smith said about Canning’s approach at the plate.
“What I love about him is the consistency in his game. He’s already one of the best outfielders in the conference, to see him get it going offensively, he’s maturing and it’s fun to see, so good for him.”
With Canning’s two triples on the night, he now leads all of college baseball with seven triples in the 2017 season.
Canning and Aldrete, along with the solid offense of ASU had tallied eight hits by the end of the third inning and knocked Max Carter, the CSU Bakersfield starting pitcher, out of the game after just three frames.
Carter came into the game with a 2.34 ERA and a 6-1 record to boast, but the senior right-hander gave up eight hits and six runs before being pulled.
On the other side of the mound, ASU starting pitcher Chaz Montoya didn’t have his best stuff tonight as he allowed six runs on 11 hits while getting through six innings.
It wasn’t a normal circumstance that explained why the freshman southpaw had a tough time pitching on Friday night.
“After I took him out, I hear somebody yacking down in the dugout and I turn and look and it’s Chaz down at the end of the dugout,” Smith said following the game one win. “He didn’t say anything to anybody but he had been really sick and throwing up the whole day. It kind of registered with me at that point, no wonder he looked a little lackadaisical tonight. The bad part, he gives up 11 hits in six innings. The good part, he took the baseball when he was sick, didn’t tell anybody and I admire that he wanted to be there for his teammates.”
Montoya’s performance was good enough to earn his fourth win of the season and his teammates appreciated the heart that he showed on the mound.
“It shows his toughness,” ASU second baseman Taylor Lane said. “He’s a competitor and he wants to go out and compete no matter how he’s feeling and it was cool to see.
Montoya (4-2) pitched six strong innings following ASU’s Tuesday loss to UNLV in which no pitcher lasted longer than two innings.
Chaz Montoya battled for the team and the offense took it from there. Smith wrapped up the post-game press conference talking about how crucial the two-out hits were.
“That’s big, that’s one of the other things we talked about,” Smith said. “If you look at the end of the night, whoever has the most two-out RBI’s usually wins.”
The team with the most two-out RBI’s did win tonight as the Sun Devils had eight to the Roadrunners lone one.