PHOENIX - Just when you thought it was a hot-streak exclusive to opening weekend, catcher Ryan Campos and first baseman Ethan Long launched back-to-back home runs in Arizona State’s (4-0) 6-3 midweek-win over UNLV (3-1).
The homers set up the Sun Devils with a comfortable, early 2-0 lead, but the spotlight continues to shine on pitching coach Sam Peraza’s starting rotation. Through four games, no ASU starting pitcher allowed a run, though their innings were limited. On Tuesday, 6-foot-6-inch righty Josh Hansell pitched to the tune of three shutout innings, striking out three, and allowing just one hit.
Last season for ASU, Hansell allowed 11 earned runs in 4.1 innings-pitched.
“Our pitching staff has worked extremely hard,” head coach Willie Bloomquist said. “The biggest thing is that we are not giving up free bases, which is outstanding. We only had two walks today, so that wins a lot of games when you do not give up free runners all the time. We will continue, hopefully, to attack the strike zone and force some teams to swing the bats to beat us.”
Offensively, Colorado Christian-transfer Wyatt Crenshaw, who is hitting .571 through four games, is the biggest surprise to start the season. Against UNLV, he doubled and homered, driving in two runs on the night. He finished the game 2-for-4.
Freshman shortstop Luke Hill batted a perfect 3-for-3 on Tuesday. Hill drove in a run on an RBI-single in the fourth inning, and he also doubled. He is 7-for-11 on the season.
“I’m taking it with ease,” Hill said. “There’s no real pressure, to be honest with you. After the first pitch of the Friday night game against San Diego, everything flushed out of the system. I’m as confident as can be, but that doesn’t mean it’s gonna be like that for that rest of the year. My head’s on straight and I’m ready to go. It’s pretty cool.”
Up 4-0 in the seventh inning, junior-righty Blake Pivaroff entered in-relief. Pivaroff allowed two earned runs, and UNLV was back with a pair with the score 4-2. In two short appearances, Pivaroff has allowed five earned runs this season.
The Sun Devils returned the favor to UNLV, scoring a pair of their own on Crenshaw’s double and a sac-fly-RBI from Will Rogers (1-for-3).
Valparaiso-transfer Nolan Lebamoff allowed another run in the eighth inning, but veteran-closer Brock Peery shut the door with a two-out save.