On an unusually chilly April night in Phoenix, Arizona State southpaw Eli Lingos propelled the Sun Devils to a 7-2 victory over the New Mexico Lobos. Here is what you need to know about Saturday's game.
WP - Eli Lingos (7 IP, 6 H, 4 K, 1 BB, 1 ER)
LP - Tyler Stevens (5 IP, 9 H, 6 K, 2 BB, 5 ER)
ASU - Ryan Lillard RBI single to score Andrew Snow (1-0 ASU)
ASU - ASU double steal, David Greer scores and Lillard advances to second (2-0 ASU)
ASU - Andrew Snow RBI single to score Andrew Shaps (3-0 ASU)
ASU - Colby Woodmansee 2-RBI single to score Gage Canning and Daniel Williams (5-0 ASU)
UNM - Dalton Bowers RBI single to score Jared Mang (5-1 ASU)
ASU - Andrew Shaps RBI singe to score Colby Woodmansee (6-1 ASU)
UNM - Chris DeVito solo home run (6-2 ASU)
ASU - Jordan Aboites RBI single to score Gage Canning (7-2 ASU)
UNM - Jared Holly and Andrew Pratt score on fielding error by Daniel Willias (7-4 ASU)
Player of the Game - Eli Lingos
The sophomore southpaw was excellent once again for the Sun Devils as Lingos went seven strong innings. Relying primarily on his fastball and changeup, Lingos kept a good New Mexico lineup off balance all night while working ahead and mixing in a curve ball in the later innings.
"Seven innings and one walk, I like that," said Tracy Smith. "I think he made some quality pitches when he needed to and pitched himself out of some jams. He didn't beat himself, he competed in the strike zone. To me, he was the key to our win tonight."
Lingos threw 112 pitches Saturday night and 76 of them were strikes. He didn't allow a run until an RBI single with one out in the seventh by New Mexico shortstop Dalton Bowers.
Lingos, with runners on the corners, responded by striking out New Mexico leadoff hitter Luis Gonzales and getting third baseman Jared Holley to foul out to end the frame.
"With each start you just get a better feel for it," Lingos said about his confidence. "My changeup has been my go-to (pitch). The last couple of outings it has been on which has really helped me, especially early in the game."
ASU: Andrew Shaps - 3-3, R, RBI, BB
ASU: Gage Canning - 3-3, 2 R
ASU: Colby Woodmansee - 2-4, R, 2 RBI
UNM: Chris DeVito - 2-5, HR, RBI, R,
Up and Down Defense
The box score will show the Sun Devils committed two errors, however the ASU defense aided Lingos on several occasions Saturday night. Daniel Williams made a running catch into the left field wall to end the second inning and Jeremy McCuin made two really nice plays ranging to his right and throwing across the diamond to take hits away from the Lobos.
However, with two outs in the ninth inning with runners on second and third, Williams misplayed a ball in shallow left field to extend the game and bring home two unearned runs for the Lobos.
"Tonight, we make a silly error in the ninth inning and had that been a close game, maybe we aren't sitting here with all smiles," Smith said. "We need to clean that stuff up. Those silly errors we have to eliminate."
The Sun Devils have now won three straight series for the first time all season and with two wins over New Mexico have put themselves back into the conversation for a regional birth. Coming into play Saturday night, ASU's RPI sat at No. 77, up about 40 spots from where it was a month ago.
"We are just focusing on our pitching and defense and our hitting is coming through," Lingos said. "As long as we are throwing strikes our hitting will do what it does."
Andrew Shaps said he feels the turning point came when the team took a series against then No. 17 California.
"It's defense and pitching," center fielder Shaps said. "Every time we limit our errors we seem to do a lot better."
Second baseman Andrew Snow left Saturday's game after fouling a pitch off his upper leg during the sixth inning. He was replaced by Jordan Aboites and although Smith didn't seem like he expects Snow to be out long term, don't be surprised if he isn't in the lineup Sunday.
Shaps gave the media an update on his injured arm in the post game press conference. The sophomore was set to be ASU's closer this season before an arm injury limited him to center field. He said the injury hinders him at certain times in the field but is not a problem when he is hitting.
Shaps said he expects to fully rehab the injury during the summer months.
ASU will look to sweep the Lobos tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Freshman Zach Dixon will take the mound for Arizona State.