For a team that came into the week not knowing who would start on the mound in games three and four of its opening series, Arizona State did alright for itself this weekend.
After three stellar performances on Friday and Saturday, left-hander Reagan Todd came out on Sunday and threw five scoreless innings for the Sun Devils. Todd (1-0) got more than enough support from an offense that was led by sophomore Andrew Snow, who drove in two runs and scored one more in a 5-1 victory.
The win clinched a perfect weekend for the maroon and gold, who now sit at 4-0 on the young season.
"That's what we like," said manager Tracy Smith when asked about Snow. "We want to make sure a team has to work one through nine (in the batting order). Once you get past the five hole, we still have some guys that can hurt you."
It was Snow that broke the series finale open in the bottom of the fourth inning, slicing a double down the left field line to score two runs and make the score 3-0.
The hit followed a Gage Canning RBI single earlier in the frame that broke a scoreless tie between Arizona State and Xavier.
An odd scenario in the next inning eventually led to the team's fourth run of the afternoon.
JC transfer Daniel Williams led off the inning with a blast to the gap in left center field, and while the ball didn't have enough on it to leave the yard, it did bounce once before the Musketeer center fielder inadvertently batted the ball over the fence. The crew of umpires ruled the play as a ground rule double after some initial confusion, taking away a chance at a triple or inside the park home run for Williams.
"I came out because I wanted a little education on that," Smith said. "The rule is, if it's an intentional flip of the ball out of play, it is two bases from where the umpires think the runner is."
Since it was determined that the outfielder did not intentionally hit the ball across the wall, Williams was forced to stay at second. The call ended up being a moot point, however, as junior Colby Woodmansee drove Williams in with a two-out double of his own to make the score 4-0.
With the visitors from Cincinnati being unable to get anything going offensively, a four-run cushion felt like it was more than enough for the Sun Devils. Xavier was able to get a leadoff double to open the sixth inning, and with Todd already past the 70 pitch mark, Smith decided to make a call to the bullpen. The southpaw exited the game having only allowed three hits in five scoreless frames - a tremendous outing for someone who didn't know he would be getting the ball until just 20 hours before the game.
"I had a lot of adrenaline going," said Todd after the win. "The one thing that's great about Skip is it doesn't matter who you are - whether you have scholarship money or not - he lets you pitch if he thinks you are the one that's going to do the best for him."
The two guys that followed Todd on the mound didn't do too badly either.
Tucker Baca and Eder Erives combined for 3.2 innings of work after Todd left the game, the pair combining for four strikeouts and just one run. With the score 4-1, the Musketeers did manage to get the tying run aboard in the top of the eighth inning, but Erives worked himself out of the jam with a strikeout to end the threat.
Arizona State added one last insurance run in the home half of the eighth, using a Jordan Aboites single to score Snow from second with two outs. That gave the Sun Devils a 5-1 advantage, and the game came to an end shortly thereafter as Xavier went down in order in the ninth.
Smith's club approved to 4-0 with the win, completing the rare four-game sweep to open the season. They will return to action on Tuesday night when Nevada comes to town for a single midweek game. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.