ASU baseball avoids the sweep and takes down Stanford 9-6

The Sun Devils ride strong performances from Higgins and Cerbo to victory

Arizona State baseball closed out a tumultuous weekend with a 9-6 win over Stanford on Sunday. With the win, ASU improved to 20-24 (7-14 Pac-12), while Stanford had its 11-game winning streak come to an end and fell to 30-13 (13-8 Pac-12).

Sophomore pitcher Connor Higgins had an excellent day and carried the Sun Devils for a good portion of the game. He pitched a career high 7 2/3 innings with one earned run, while striking out four and allowing just one walk.

"I was hoping he would go deep," head coach Tracy Smith said. "He was rolling, had a couple quick innings in there. He's a big boy and (was) a starter in the past. He was still throwing the ball well, holding his velocity, mechanically sound, and he felt good and gave us what we needed today... a win."

Pitching for 7 2/3 innings is impressive for any starting pitcher, let alone a reliever like Higgins who has had limited experience at ASU pitching deep into ballgames.

"The most I've ever thrown here was I think five (innings) against UNLV. And my arm is starting to feel better this point in the year, finally getting in shape," Higgins said.

Unfortunately for ASU, the reason Higgins had the opportunity to pitch for so long is because freshman starting pitcher Spencer Van Scoyoc had major control issues and only lasted 1 1/3 innings.

After allowing one run in the first, Van Scoyoc unravelled in the second inning when he gave up three consecutive walks to load the bases with one out. The Cardinal would take advantage by tying the game at five. In total, Van Scoyoc gave up four walks along with a hit by pitch.

Van Scoyoc has had trouble controlling his walks this season, but Smith will continue to play him. 

"He'll figure it out, and we're going to keep working towards that. I'd like to get him out there as much as possible," Smith said. "I don't want to do it at the expense of a win just for development, so he's going to get what he deserves and earn that. I'd like to get him out there, I would." 

While Van Scoyoc had a game to forget, senior designated hitter Zach Cerbo had a tremendous game, going 3-4 with career-high four RBIs.

All of the runs he drove in came from two singles, the first coming in the Sun Devils' five-run first inning.

His second RBI knock gave ASU a 7-5 lead in the third inning.

"I was up in the right situations. I had runners in scoring position in almost all my at-bats," Cerbo said. "So it's one of those things where balls were falling and there just happened to be guys on base."

This win ended a three game losing streak for ASU, and it produced some positive energy after some unusual roster turnover clouded the team on Saturday.

"It feels really good. Yesterday was a tough day, but it feels good to get back up over the hump," Cerbo said.

The Sun Devils will travel to Tucson to face the University of Arizona on Tuesday at 6 p.m. Since this is a midweek game, the result will not count in Pac-12 standings.

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