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ASU Baseball: Sun Devils win first series of season behind dominant pitching

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One hit wonder

Richard Martinez/House of Sparky

In Friday afternoon’s 3-1 win over Sacramento State (1-2), the Arizona State (2-1) pitching staff combined for the team’s first one-hitter since 2007.

Erik Tolman started on the mound for the Sun Devils, as they were looking for their first series win of the season. The redshirt sophomore was cruising through four innings until Logan Denholm had the longest at-bat of the game (eight pitches) and forced a walk.

Two batters later, left fielder Hunter Dorraugh doubled to the right-center gap. This brought around Denholm to score and was the only hit for the Hornets.

Tolman came out of the game after five innings of work. He recorded six strikeouts and gave up one run on the one hit by Dorraugh.

“(Tolman) had his off-speed stuff working today,” ASU manager Tracy Smith said. “Early in the season to get through five innings and give yourself a chance to win, (Tolman) did an excellent job of that.”

The Sun Devils actually scored the game’s first three runs, starting in the bottom of the second. After two hits from Sam Ferri and Hunter Haas, Joe Lampe hit a scorcher down the right field line to bring them both in and make it a 2-0 game.

Lampe ended the afternoon 2-3 with a double, a triple and two RBIs.

Allbry Major provided some insurance in the bottom of the third. After a lead-off double by Sean McLain, Major hit a line drive up the middle to bring him around and score. This gave Tolman an early 3-0 lead to work with.

“I still think we are going to score runs, albeit different than we did it last year,” Smith said in reference to the power bats in last year’s lineup. “I think it’s more going to be on execution on the bases, the good situational hitting…and like every team you’re going to have to stick in the timely hit.”

After finishing up his fifth inning of work, Tolman was relieved by Cam Dennie, who gave up the ninth inning grand slam on Friday night. Dennie threw an eight-pitch inning that included a strikeout to bounce back nicely.

“If you are going to pitch high-leverage innings, you got to have a short memory and be ready to take the baseball again,” Smith said. “There was no hesitation on our part and no hesitation on his part to get back out there and reframe that inning on Friday night.”

Graham Osman came into the game midway through the seventh inning for ASU, in relief of Boyd Vander Kooi. Osman would stay in for the final 2.1 innings and pick up his first career save.

“It was a big surprise,” Osman said of his first career save. “But a pleasant one.”

Osman closed the game out facing seven batters and striking out three of them. He threw 32 pitches and sealed the series win for Arizona State.

“Our mindset (as a pitching staff) stays the same,” Tolman said of the team’s effort. “As long as we go out and throw strikes, we are going to be competitive.”

With the Hornets in the rearview mirror, the ASU will now host Hawai’i for a three-game series starting Friday night at 6:35 p.m. local time.