The bats stayed hot for Arizona State (31-16, 15-10 Pac-12) as a five-run sixth inning propelled them to a 6-2 victory over USC (22-24, 10-15) on Friday night.
ASU claimed a 1-0 lead in the top of the third off an RBI single from Sean McLain, but it was short-lived when the Trojans scored on a sacrifice fly in the third and had back-to-back hits in the fifth to take a 2-1 advantage.
The sixth inning surge started with a rally of singles, including an RBI from Jack Moss. Then with two runners on, freshman catcher Nate Baez crushed a homer to give ASU the lead back.
Joe Lampe later hit a solo shot of his own to give the Sun Devils some more insurance.
NATE. THE. GREAT.— Sun Devil Baseball (@ASU_Baseball) May 22, 2021
While the bats have been the headline for Arizona State the last few weeks, the pitching has been putting the team in positions to win. That held true on Friday night once more when Tyler Thornton threw 5.2 innings, only giving up two runs on five hits with four strikeouts.
Tonight’s Rawlings Player of the Game is ASU’s Tyler Thornton.— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) May 22, 2021
: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K@ASU_Baseball | #ForksUp | @RawlingsSports pic.twitter.com/6rI4VQSZT1
Out of the bullpen, the duo of Graham Osman and Will Levine shut the door on the Trojans and left a combined 11 USC baserunners on.
“Everything is just coming together at the right time,” Baez said in a postgame interview on the Pac-12 Network. “We’re getting hot towards the end (of the season), when it really matters.”
With this win, the No. 25-ranked Sun Devils have jumped into third place in the Pac-12 standings. ASU will look to claim its fifth-straight series win on Saturday at 3 p.m. local time in Los Angeles.