In the second mid-week meeting between No. 8 Arizona State (25-12-1) and UNLV (27-13), the Sun Devils defeated the Rebels 5-2.
Great pitching was the story of Wednesday night’s win, as ASU got a stellar pitching performance from starter Zak Miller. The junior earned the win after throwing 5.2 innings and finishing the night with seven hits, two runs (both earned), two walks and seven strikeouts, tying his career high.
“It was one of those days where I think everything was just going my way,” Miller said about how he felt he performed. “You start to get more comfortable, you start to know how your body feels, you start to get in a rhythm and tonight was a big breakthrough night for me.”
Darin Gillies entered in relief for his 14th appearance this season and blanked the Rebels for 2.1 innings. Gillies allowed just one hit and lowered his ERA from 6.86 to 6.17.
Closer Ryan Burr finished the game for the Devils and picked up his eighth save of the season, capping off an easy night for the bullpen.
Offensively, the Sun Devils faired alright, only scoring in the first four frames. Trever Allen lead the way going 3-for-4, highlighted by a ground-rule double in the third that plated two runs. Max Rossiter and Michael Benjamin both recorded RBI doubles, and Kasey Coffman’s lone hit, an RBI single in the second, sparked the scoring for the Sun Devils.
“We’ve been getting some solid early-inning production in most of the games we’ve played, and it makes it a lot easier, especially on the pitching,” Allen said after the game.
Once UNLV starter Mark Shannon exited the game in the fourth, the UNLV bullpen halted the Arizona State offensive and held the team to just three hits the rest of the game.
From this point on, Arizona State has only two non-conference games, one on May 15 versus Texas Tech and one six days later against BYU. Other than that, the team hosts two Pac-12 series and travels for three more to close out the season.
“In years past, a 9-6 or 8-7 team in this conference usually seems to be the team to push it at the end because that team is good enough to win the conference,” ASU head coach Esmay said. “Those teams are dangerous because they do know how to win, and I’m hoping we’re that team.”
The Sun Devils hit the road this weekend for a three-game series against Utah (16-20, 5-13 in conference), followed by another mid-week matchup at rival Arizona (25-14, 9-9) on Tuesday.