Rodgers pitches deep, limits OSU to two runs

Brady Rodgers dealt for the Sun Devils once again to earn his fifth win of the season as No. 23 ASU defeated No. 17 Oregon State 8–2 in the first of a three-game series at Packard Stadium on Thursday night.

The junior pitcher (5-1, 1.12 ERA) continued his inning-eating trend for ASU (17-12, 4-6 Pac-12), yielding seven hits and two unearned runs through eight innings. Junior pitcher Matthew Dunbar came onto the mound in the ninth to earn his first save of the season and snap the Sun Devils’ four-game losing streak.

“I haven’t felt that good in a long time,” Rodgers said. “My arm was fresh even though it was a couple days ahead of schedule because we played on a Thursday. I had control of all my pitches.”

Offensively, it was clear ASU had forgotten last weekend’s poor performance at Oregon, as five different Sun Devils contributed RBI in the affair.

“We definitely went out there and just played,” junior shortstop Deven Marrero said. “We cleared our minds from last week, and today we just went out and played the way we’re supposed to.”

ASU drew first blood in the third inning where it did all the damage with two outs. After the first pair of batters was retired, Marrero got things going with a bunt single. The play lit a spark in the Sun Devils’ bats, and a Marrero steal, two hits, two walks and an OSU (18-9, 6-4 Pac-12) error later, ASU had a 4–0 lead.

“I had to get something going, and I hadn’t really been doing it with my swing, so might as well just try something else,” Marrero said. “That’s the funny game of baseball. You put down a bunt, you get a hit, and then the next thing you know things start rolling.”

After senior first baseman Abe Ruiz hit a home run to right-center in the fifth for his eighth of the year making it a 5–0 Sun Devil advantage, the Beavers struck back with two runs in the sixth after a two-out error by freshman third baseman Drew Stankiewicz.

The error didn’t shake the unflappable Rodgers, who set the Beavers down in order in the seventh and was part of an impressive 3-6-1 double play to avoid an OSU rally in the eighth.

“Errors are a part of the game, that’s baseball,” Rodgers said. “My mentality is to just keep staying focused, keep getting ground balls and sooner or later something’s going to go our way. That’s exactly what happened in the eighth when we had that double play: first pitch of the inning we make an error, then a couple pitches later we get a double play.”

ASU added three insurance runs in the seventh thanks to a two-out, bases-clearing double by sophomore rightfielder Kasey Coffman to make it 8–2.

“We’ve got to understand why we played well tonight,” coach Tim Esmay said. “I told (the team) this week that all I’m asking them to do is to simplify this game. By simplifying it I mean play aggressive and play hard. And we did both those things tonight.”

Friday’s contest will once again begin at 6:30 p.m. Sophomore Trevor Williams (5-2, 1.51 ERA) will be on the hill for the Sun Devils.

 

Reach the reporter at kjnewma2@asu.edu

 

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