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ASU-UNLV game preview

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The recently red-hot Arizona State Sun Devils (10-2-1) climbed the national rankings to 14th after a spectacular weekend sweep of Long Beach State, in which the Sun Devils held the Dirtbags scoreless in 26 of 27 innings.  They look to keep up the momentum Wednesday against the University of New Mexico Lobos (6-8).

The matchup features pitchers Zak Miller (0-0, 0.00 ERA) for ASU and Jonathan Cuellar for UNM.  This is only Miller’s first start and second appearance this season.  Against Bethune-Cookman on Feb. 16, Miller pitched the 8th inning in a 15-7 win, surrendering one hit and allowing one unearned run.  Cuellar (1-0, 6.00) has thrown six innings in four appearances and earned his one win against UC Riverside Saturday, in which he allowed three runs in one inning of relief.

Arizona State is 7-0-1 in their last eight games with their last loss coming on Feb. 23 at Tennessee.  They began a seven-game home stand Saturday with two victories (4-0 and 6-0) in a doubleheader on Saturday against Long Beach State, followed by an 11-2 pounding of the Dirtbags on Sunday.  After New Mexico, they begin conference play on Friday with a three-game series against Washington State.

Sun Devils ace Trevor Williams (3-0, 0.90) was named PAC-12 Player Of The Week after recording his third win and second consecutive complete game in Saturday’s 4-0 early game.  He threw 120 pitches, including 82 for strikes, and recorded five strikeouts while allowing just three Dirtbag hits and one walk in his fourth career complete game.  It was Williams’ third career nine-inning shutout.

Second baseman James McDonald powered the Arizona State offense, hitting .417 (5-for-12) including two home runs and four RBIs.  McDonald is 10-for-23 (.435) this season with runners on base, which accounts for 66 percent of his hits thus far, and leads the team with 13 RBI and 30 total bases.  Third baseman Michael Benjamin is riding a career-high and team-high 12-game hit streak while batting .349.

The Sun Devils will have to watch out for Lobos third baseman DJ Peterson, who had an explosive weekend against UC Riverside.  He has reached base safely in his last 12 plate appearances, with four home runs and five walks.  Nationally, Peterson is first in slugging percentage (1.138), total bases (66) and home runs (8), second in batting average (.500) and runs per game (1.71) and fourth in on-base percentage (.597) and runs (24).

First pitch at Packard Stadium is set for approximately 6:30 PM PT.

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