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ASU Baseball: Bullpen, situational hitting key in Sun Devils’ 6-4 victory over Seattle U

Arizona State scored four runs in the seventh inning to tally its seventh away victory this season.

Photo taken by Nick Ramirez

BELLEVUE, Wash. — The Arizona State Sun Devils (23-26, 8-16 Pac-12) rode a strong outing from freshman starter Chaz Montoya and a late rally in the seventh inning to notch a come-from-behind 5-4 victory over the Seattle University Redhawks (18-31-1, 7-14 WAC) at Bannerwood Park in Seattle on Tuesday night.

It’s no secret ASU has struggled on the road this season going 6-13 in such contests, but on Tuesday night, the Sun Devils were able to achieve a .500 mark on the current road trip — largely in thanks to a solid bullpen performance and yet another late rally.

ASU starter freshman Chaz Montoya allowed just five hits, one earned run and two walks across five innings as he added five strikeouts in his sixth start of the season.

Montoya struckout two batters in the bottom half of the first, but the Redhawks were still able to push a run across. SU left-fielder Aaron Stroosma lined a single into right field and came around to score when centerfielder Dalton Hurd singled back up the middle to give Seattle an early 1-0 lead.

The Sun Devils would answer in the successive frame. ASU catcher Zach Cerbo drilled his third home run of the season to left field evening the score at 1-1.

The Redhawks fired back in the fourth, capitalizing on an Arizona State error and utilizing situational hitting to grab a 3-1 lead.

SU designated hitter Chase Wells singled through the middle to lead off the top of the fourth. He was pushed to second when shortstop Jake Taylor singled two batters later and came around to score after a sharp ground ball to third was bobbled by Jeremy McCuin giving Seattle a 2-1 lead. SU right fielder Jeffery Morgan then launched a sacrifice fly to center, extending the SU lead to 3-1.

After allowing a Cerbo home run in the second, Seattle’s starting pitcher Nathan Bonck dominated the Sun Devils through the next four frames. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound right hander allowed just four hits, one walk and one earned run while striking out two.

Right hander Alden Huschle came in for the Redhawks in the seventh and the Sun Devil offense came alive.

ASU designated hitter Taylor Lane drew a leadoff walk, Carter Aldrete laced a single to right field and Myles Denson reached first on a walk to load the bases. Then, McCuin slapped a two RBI single to right center field that scored Lane and Aldrete that pulled the Sun Devils within one, 4-3.

With the bases still loaded and no one out, a breaking ball from Huschle careened into the backstop, allowing Myles Denson to score and tie the game at 4-4. With the bases loaded and two outs, ASU manager Tracy Smith put the game in motion as right fielder Hunter Bishop bunted down the left field line scoring Canning from third and giving ASU a 5-4 lead.

In a season where the bullpen has been a significant source of the Sun Devils struggles, ASU relievers tossed three scoreless innings in high-leverage situations to secure the midweek victory.

Left hander Garvin Alston allowed a hit and a walk in the seventh inning, but escaped a one out jam with runners at first and third to maintain the one-run ASU lead.

ASU relievers James Ryan and Connor Higgins also combined for a scoreless eighth inning as they once again escaped a jam with the game on the line.

Higgins returned to the mound for the ninth inning as he retired all three batters he faced to secure the 6-4 ASU victory and tally his second save of the season.

ASU reliever Grant Schneider was credited with the victory. It was his first of the season.