Eli Lingos jogged off the mound, ducking his head while much of 2,724 at Phoenix Municipal Stadium gazed at the senior left-handed pitcher, cheering with a standing ovation after his 7 2⁄3 inning, one-run start that propelled the Sun Devils (11-9, 3-0 Pac-12) to a 6-1 win over Oregon (12-7, 0-3) on Sunday afternoon.
The story of the game — and of the series — though, was the Sun Devils’ offensive explosion that let loose 31 runs over Oregon’s nine in the weekend series.
ASU had swept one Pac-12 team in 10 attempts last season. This year, the Sun Devils are 1-for-1. This is ASU’s first sweep over the Ducks since 2011.
Another nugget: Oregon had entered the weekend with an RPI ranked No. 7. Arizona State? 105th.
“This is us,” manager Tracy Smith said. “By the time we hit conference, we wanted a little better idea of who we are. This isn’t a fluke.”
The Sun Devils took a 1-0 lead in the first, and never let it slip, scoring five more runs all in innings three through five. ASU shutout the Ducks in every inning, but a one-run fourth.
Sophomore Carter Aldrete notched a two-RBI performance, as he punched through RBI singles in the first and third innings.
In Arizona State’s 13-hit performance, sophomore catcher Lyle Lin hit 3-for-5, freshman third baseman Gage Workman collected a pair of doubles, and freshman second baseman Alika Williams and junior center fielder Gage Canning also had multi-hit games.
At the series’ end, Canning went 11-for-13 with a double, two triples and two home runs. He tallied seven RBI and eight runs. He’s batting .506.
“Watching Gage, the guy is on another planet right now,” Aldrete said.
“I’m not going to say he’s going to hit 500 on the year. I would love it,” Smith said. “We started five freshman again today... Those guys getting to be able to watch that guy every single day in there (the clubhouse) and out on the field, absolutely gives our guys confidence.”
Lingos got through the Ducks’ order with little trouble. His 7 2⁄3 innings of work tied his career-high longest start. In 98 pitches, he allowed just five hits. Lingos also picked off two runners at first base.
Aside from a one-run fourth inning, his only inning of trouble was a two-error first inning where he retired three batters in a row after two Ducks got abroad.
Freshman right-hander Zane Strand and junior lefty Connor Higgins finished the game on 2 1⁄3 scoreless innings.
“That’s an Eli Lingos start right there,” Smith said. “If you ask those pitchers too, though, they’re better because they trust those guys making the plays behind them.”
The Sun Devils did have three errors compared to the Ducks’ one on Sunday, however, none of them proved costly.
At 3-0, tied with Washington, Oregon State and UCLA for first place in the conference, ASU stays home for a Tuesday tilt against UNLV (18-3) who possesses a ninth-ranked RPI.
Smith said sophomore right-hander Alec Marsh (2-1, 1.58 ERA) will start against the Runnin’ Rebels prior to a road series at UCLA.