In their first road series of the season, the Sun Devils reaped the benefits of a fresh environment and broke out of a five-game skid on Friday afternoon in loud fashion, hammering the San Diego State Aztecs 13-5.
Entering the eighth, ASU (4-6) sat on a 4-1 advantage over SDSU (3-7), a score which would make most Devils faithful uncomfortable considering the performance of the bullpen thus far. However, the Arizona State offense didn’t leave it up to their arms today as the Sun Devils' offense exploded in the final two frames.
The likely cast of characters fueled what would be a nine-run eruption as sophomore stars Sean McLain and Ethan Long both collected hits to drive in three runs while senior leader Conor Davis continued his hot start to the season as he slashed three hits to drive in four runs throughout the game. Three of those RBIs came on a ninth-inning three-run blast that capped off the rout.
For a team that has been snakebitten by pitching thus far, junior Adam Tulloch was a much-needed sigh of relief on the mound. The left-hander grabbed his first win of the season with seven strong innings allowing just one run on five hits with eight punchouts. This follows his shaky mid-week relied appearance Tuesday against Oklahoma State.
However, once Tulloch ran out of gas at 106 pitches, Willie Bloomquist once again delt with a shaky bullpen, even with the sizeable win. Reliever Andrew Lucas took the ball in the ninth and was shelled for four earned runs on three hits, with two of those runs scoring on a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch and a wild ball to the backstop.
Even with another disappointing outing from what was supposed to be one of the club's better arms, the Sun Devils have to be pleased with the victory considering the recent sweeps they took at Phoenix Municipal at the hands of BYU and #4 Oklahoma State. In all but one of those matchups, ASU led at some point in the game but still dropped them all with most of the responsibility going on a lackluster arm barn. Luckily, the big day from the bats eliminated that possibility before it could materialize.
The Sun Devils in total slashed 19 hits on the day and could’ve made a 13-5 shelling even more devastating had they not stranded 10 base runners. A pair of freshmen though, cashed in on their opportunities as DH Ivan Brethowr went 3-4 and left the yard twice to account for three of the team's runs while backstop Will Rogers grabbed three hits from himself including a solo shot to open the scoring in the second inning.
With the win, Arizona State moves to 4-6 on the year and can clinch their second series victory of the campaign with a win tomorrow at Tony Gwynn Field at 7 PM MST.