PHOENIX — Following a seven-game stretch of conference play that saw them escape with only one victory, the Arizona State Sun Devils returned to Phoenix Muni on Tuesday aiming to get the bitter taste of defeat out of their mouths.
Taking on UNLV - a team the Sun Devils beat 5-4 as recently as March 28th - Arizona State’s bats lit up early and starter Eli Lingos supplied 5 1⁄3 innings of two-run ball as ASU beat the Rebels for the second time this season, 5-3.
The Sun Devils opened their account with a Lyle Lin sacrifice fly in the first inning, scoring leadoff batter Gage Canning from third. But it was the second inning in which Arizona State built a comfortable lead, scoring with both sheer power and savvy base-running.
Tyler Williams corked his fifth homer of the season to open the second, blasting a ball well over the left field fence to double ASU’s lead. Arizona State followed that by manufacturing two more runs off of UNLV starter Paul Richy, scoring Zach Cerbo on a wild pitch while Hunter Bishop touched home plate on a Canning sac fly.
Given a four-run lead, Lingos turned in a much-needed quality start, keeping the Rebels at bay until the fifth inning, when back-to-back RBI base hits forced him out of the game. Right-hander Eder Erives entered and breezed his way through the latter innings, allowing only one run on a fielding error in the sixth inning while compiling 3 2⁄3 innings of solid relief for the Sun Devils.
With the win, ASU improves its record to 13-18 and will aim to improve upon its 2-10 conference record when the Washington State Cougars come to town for a three-game set this weekend. The Cougars are 15-14 with a 2-7 conference record, having taken wins from USC and No. 8 Arizona in Pac-12 play.