In his last at-bat on Friday night, Ethan Long ended the game on a home run. What did he do in his first two at-bats on Saturday? He powered two more home runs for the Sun Devils, en route to Arizona State (30-15, 14-9 Pac-12) beating Oregon State (31-17, 13-10) 11-6.
Long opened the game’s scoring, blasting a two-run opposite field home run in the first inning. In his second chance against Oregon State starter Cooper Hjerpe, it was the same result. This time, he pulled a two-run shot over the left field wall.
Before Saturday’s contest, Hjerpe had surrendered just one home run in 59 innings. Long now has 15 big flies in the last 15 games.
“He’s pretty dialed in right now clearly,” Arizona State coach Tracy Smith said. “The impressive part is the timing of the home runs. They’re not meaningless. Their kid (Cooper Hjerpe) made our first two guys look a little overmatched, then (Sean) McLain fought it off and Ethan’s home run showed the entire dugout we can do this.”
Long wasn’t the only Sun Devil to clear the fence. Joe Lampe hit his second home run of the season in the second inning, bringing in Kade Higgins. Hunter Haas then extended the lead to seven, hitting a solo home run off of Hjerpe.
Nate Baez also hit a home run in the seventh, scoring Long for the third time. The Sun Devils also added two runs in the fourth inning on a Drew Swift RBI-single and a passed ball.
Higgins also had a good night at the plate, hitting a double and a triple.
“The energy started as soon as we got to the field,” Baez said. “When you see your teammates do good, it pushes you to do better.”
On the mound, Justin Fall gave ASU another quality start. He scattered nine hits, but yielded just two runs in 7.1 innings.
Fall finished with only one strikeout, instead inducing 11 groundouts, including three double play balls. Oregon State went 2-for-15 with runners on base on Saturday.
“I can get strikeouts, but I pitched to contact tonight to keep my pitch count low,” Fall said. “I have a good defense behind me and let those guys go to work.”
Matthew Gretler and Wade Meckler hit back-to-back homers for the Beavers in the ninth inning, but it was far from enough to even think about a comeback.
Arizona State will go for the sweep on Sunday. First pitch is slated for 12:30 p.m. local time.