Every starter in the Sun Devils’ lineup got a hit on Saturday. For the first time all season, the Sun Devils won a game where they didn’t score first. And most importantly ASU won the series.
Arizona State (16-22, 8-9 Pac-12) piled on plenty of runs against Utah (9-27, 4-10) in its 15-7 win.
Heading into the bottom of the fourth inning, the Sun Devils found themselves down 6-4. They had already blown a three-run lead, andstarting pitcher junior Sam Romero was no longer in the game. Things changed quickly, though.
“For the first time all year we actually saw some guys get after each other in the dugout, which we’ve been waiting for,” ASU head coach Tracy Smith said. “Hold each other accountable in a good way. They’re friends, but it was good to see guys say things to each other or act accordingly to each other because that was not acceptable play.
“And rather it always be coming from the coaching staff. You know you start growing up, you know start turning the corner when players hold each other accountable. I wouldn’t say it’s frustration at that point. I would say that it’s actually maturity in my eyes. Finally.”
Freshman shortstop Drew Swift, who committed an error to allow a run to score the frame before, started the fourth with a single. After a walk, sophomore right fielder Carter Aldrete started the onslaught with a two-run double to tie the game. Freshman third baseman Gage Workman then tripled to give the Sun Devils back the lead, and they never looked back.
Arizona State added four more in the fifth behind back-to-back homers from the nation’s leader, freshman first baseman Spencer Torkelson, and then junior center fielder Gage Canning. They added three more in the sixth to extend the lead to 14-6.
Everyone had a part in the offensive explosion, but the freshman trio at the bottom of the lineup helped kickstart the runs. Left fielder Hunter Jump, second baseman Alika Williams and Swift went a combined eight for 12 with six RBIs and four runs scored. Jump and Williams were responsible for getting the Sun Devils first four runs back in the second.
“That’s my role, to get it to the top of the lineup. Skip having us in the back of the lineup is big. It’s just good to have hitters that can hit in front of Torkelson and Canning,” Swift said about the trio before expanding on the entire lineup’s success. “At times we’ve all been hitting well. I think tonight was one of the first times we all finally came together swinging well. Which is good to see because everything started clicking.”
While Romero only lasted 2 2⁄3 innings, sophomore left-handed reliever Chaz Montoya matched a season-high 3 2⁄3 innings. Montoya allowed two runs (one earned) and helped stop the bleeding in what could’ve been a bigger third inning for Utah. The Utes had scored four runs all against Romero before Montoya helped give the Sun Devil bats a chance to get back into the game.
“Having that confidence I had at the beginning of the year. I feel like I went back to that a little bit tonight. Pretty much trying to go back to my old self and just be confident,” Montoya said. “And I know things really haven’t gone my way last few outings, but I think I had it today. It felt good and it showed.”
Senior left-handed pitcher Eli Lingos will look to bounce back after his two worst starts of the season against USC and Stanford. A win and a sweep against the Utes will get the Sun Devils back to .500 in conference play.