ASU upends Utah 13-8 to clinch a series sweep

The Sun Devil offense puts up 35 runs in the three games, the most in a series since 2013.

Red hot bats turned to white hot as ASU (17-22, 9-9 Pac-12) cruised to a 13-8 victory over Utah Sunday at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. It is ASU’s second sweep of the season, both coming in Pac-12 Conference play.

“I think our guys were pretty locked in at the plate this weekend,” ASU head coach Tracy Smith said. “I feel good about what we did offensively.” 

The Sun Devil offense was omnipresent throughout Sunday’s matchup as the scoring began in the bottom of the first inning. With one out and the bases loaded, senior infielder Taylor Lane singled to left field, scoring junior outfielder Gage Canning and freshman infielder Spencer Torkelson

Two batters later, freshman outfielder Hunter Jump tripled down the right field line, scoring Lane and sophomore outfielder Carter Aldrete to make it 4-0 Sun Devils. ASU never looked back as the team would put up nine more runs before the final out was recorded. 

The bullpen, however, struggled to hold down a nine-run lead, as the Utes scored a combined six runs in the seventh and eighth innings, cutting ASU’s edge at one point to 12-8. 

“It’s just a shame that we have not been able to shut things down out of the pen like that,” Smith said. “The takeaway for me is, if we’re going to compete down the stretch with this thing, guys need to step up out of the bullpen and pitch with a little bit more intensity … because that should not get to that point.” 

ASU's senior starting pitcher Eli Lingos won his sixth game of the year, while Utah’s Brett Brocoff took his sixth loss of the season. Junior pitcher Sam Romero earned his second save of the year. 

With the sweep, ASU extends its winning streak to three games. 

Offensive Showcase

The Sun Devils brought out the tape measurer in the middle innings.

In the bottom of the fourth, Canning launched an 0-2 pitch past the right field wall for his second home run in as many days. It was a two-run shot and extended ASU’s advantage to 8-0. 

The next bottom frame featured Torkelson smashing his 20th dinger of the 2018 season way beyond the left field wall. It was his second in as many nights and resulted in three runs crossing home plate for a 11-2 edge. 

“You’ve got a hitter like that, you want him to the plate as much as possible,” Smith said. “He makes the other dugout make adjustments of what they’re trying to do.” 

In the three-game series, ASU scored 35 runs, the most scored since the 2013 season. ASU also outhit Utah 44-24 over the three-game stretch. 

Hunter Jumps into the Action (Part II)

Jump started on Saturday, going 3-4 with two RBIs on the evening. He started for a second straight game Sunday, collecting three hits and four RBIs. 

“I just have to stay positive,” Jump said. “I know my teammates will really back me up, and if I get my chance, I’ll just do the best I can.”

Jump’s batting average is now up to .371 on the season after hitting 6-8 in the Utah series. 

“Hunter Jump has seized his opportunity and produced for us this weekend,” Smith said. “I thought he gave us a spark this weekend. I’m going to leave Hunt(er) Jump out on the field for right now and we'll see how that develops.”

Dominant Lingos

While the offense continued to dominate Utah pitching, Lingos was back in prime form Sunday afternoon. The senior lefty tossed six innings, surrendering only five hits and two runs (both earned). 

“I didn’t really try to change anything from the last couple (starts) because I still felt good,” Lingos said. “I just made sure to attack hitters and let my defense work today.”

Lingos also struck out five batters, and 59 of his 81 pitches were registered as strikes.

"You don't worry about him giving it to the opposition," Smith said. "It was another typical Eli Lingos performance, and that is meant in a very complimentary way."

What’s Next for ASU

The Sun Devils remain in Tempe and face the New Mexico State Aggies in a non-conference matchup Wednesday. First pitch from Phoenix Municipal Stadium is set for 6:30 p.m. PST. 


Reach the reporter at michael.baron@asu.edu or follow @Michael_Baron96 on Twitter.

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