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Sun Devils win 11-2, sweep Dirtbags

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Coming off a great weekend in Surprise, the No. 19 Arizona State Sun Devils continue to roll as they completed a sweep of the Long Beach State Dirtbags 11-2 on Sunday.

The Sun Devils had a doubleheader Saturday after Friday’s opener was postponed due to weather, but that did not seem to hinder ASU. The Sun Devils struggled getting on the board through the first three innings on Sunday until their bats exploded with a nine-run fourth inning.

Third basemen Michael Benjamin started the ASU hit parade with a stand-up two run double to left center that scored Trever Allen and James McDonald, who both reached on errors. Benjamin is now on a career-high 12 game-hitting streak and does not look like he will cool off soon. Dalton DiNatale got his first career RBI as a Sun Devil in the Arizona State scoring onslaught.

Arizona State (10-2-1) managed to notch up a few more runs before the game was over as second basemen James McDonald had two-run home run in the sixth. That turned out to be the end of ASU’s scoring and set the Sun Devils’ score at 11.

Sophomore Adam McCreery started the game for the Sun Devils but did not last long. The tall lefty only lasted 4 1/3 innings and had two strikeouts. McCreery struggled with his control the entire afternoon, giving up three walks and tossing two wild pitches. It only got worse after the Sun Devils put up those nine runs in the fourth.  McCreery ended up giving up a pair of homers for the only Long Beach State runs of the weekend.

Head Coach Tim Esmay hinted that the long wait in the fourth inning might have affected McCreery.

“It looked like his pace had changed a little bit,” said Esmay.  “I don’t care who you are as a pitcher, that’s a tough thing to do to sit there and then get it rolling again.”

The Sun Devils’ pitching staff had a fantastic weekend. The staff held Long Beach (6-10) scoreless in the first two games and Sunday’s game was barely different. Despite the two run home run given up by McCreery, ASU held the Dirtbags scoreless in 26 out of the 27 innings and the bullpen did not let a single run score.

On Sunday, senior Alex Blackford only allowed one baserunner in 1 1/3 innings pitched. Lefty Matt Dunbar threw a perfect seventh inning and freshmen Ryan Burr struck out four Long Beach batters in the last two innings of the game.

ASU is now on an eight-game winning streak since their last loss to Tennessee in Knoxville. The Sun Devils will play the New Mexico Lobos this Wednesday at Packard before they enter Pac-12 conference play.

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