ASU baseball splits doubleheader with Miami University

The Sun Devils lost game one, but the bats were alive and well in game two against the RedHawks

ASU baseball opened its 2018 season a bit later than expected, playing a doubleheader against Miami University on Saturday afternoon at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.

The Sun Devils' season was supposed to start on Friday night, but a weather front in the Midwest forced Miami (OH) to arrive on Saturday. 

Game 1

ASU dropped the first game 4-2, and the difference was found in the respective pitching staffs.

Junior right-hander Nick Ernst got the start for Miami and struck out six over six innings, giving up four hits and an earned run. He commanded his fastball and mixed in a loopy breaking ball to keep hitters off balance.

Sophomore left-hander Spencer Van Scoyoc got the start for ASU. He walked six batters in five innings of work. Only one of his runs was earned, but that run scored on a walk.

  “He was around the zone,” ASU head coach Tracy Smith said. “If he was missing, he wasn’t missing by much."

ASU’s defense did not help Van Scoyoc —or the rest of the staff, for that matter. Sophomore third baseman Carter Aldrete committed two errors and freshman second baseman Alika Williams committed one.

After Van Scoyoc set the side down in order in the first, but followed up in the second with a walk and a two-out RBI double by junior catcher Hayden Senger. After two innings, Miami led 1-0.

Van Scoyoc ran into more trouble in the fifth. It started with a leadoff walk to junior center fielder Dallas Hall. Senior first baseman Ross Haffey reached on an error and was followed by sophomore third baseman Landon Stephens. Sophomore designated hitter Grant Hartwig singled in both runs to make it 3-0.

Through the first four innings ASU only had two hits, but it began to chip away at the RedHawks' lead in the fifth.

Sophomore catcher Lyle Lin led off the inning with a ringing double and junior first baseman Jeremy McCuin reached second base throwing error that helped Lin score the first run of the season for ASU.

The Sun Devils added another run in the seventh to make it a one-run game, with Lin scoring on a sacrifice fly by McCuin.

Miami added a big insurance run in the eighth off of senior right-hander Grant Schneider, with Hall doubling home sophomore second baseman Kyle Winkler. That made it 4-2.

ASU put two runners on base in the eighth inning after back-to-back singles by junior leadoff man Gage Canning and sophomore center fielder Hunter Bishop. But the Sun Devils could not bring either runner home. Freshman designated hitter Spencer Torkelson almost hit a three-run home run to right field but got under the pitch to end the inning. 

Junior left-hander Connor Higgins struck out the side in the ninth, but ASU was set down in order in the bottom half, ending the game with a 4-2 win for Miami University.

Miami only won six games on the road last season, but the team started 2018 undefeated away from home. 

 “You’re walking nine guys, giving up two hit baseman, it is tough to win that way,” Smith said.

Game 2

Home runs were the story in game two.

Not a single baseball left the ballpark in the afternoon tilt, but all that changed in game two.

After a scoreless first inning, Torkelson hit a deep home run to left-center field, which gave the Sun Devils their first lead in a game for the season. 

But Miami did damage in the third inning. With one out and two runners on base after a couple of singles, Haffey hit a two-run homer over the left-center field wall and the RedHawks claimed the lead, 3-1.

ASU could not answer in its half of the third but senior left-hander Eli Lingos settled down in the fourth and the Sun Devils used back-to-back bombs from Torkelson and Lin to tie the game at three runs apiece.  

“He is a good hitter,” ASU head coach Tracy Smith said of Torkelson. “I like his at-bats, I like his approach — but yeah, he has the ability to change the game with one swing.”

After going 0-for-4 in his first game, Torkelson hit two bombs in the second game.

 “That was insane,” Torkelson said. “My approach was to just get a fastball and hit it hard.” 

Lingos continued to pitch well, posting back-to-back scoreless innings in the fifth and sixth. Meanwhile, the bats stayed hot for ASU in the sixth inning. 

 “Once he started throwing his breaking ball, changing speeds on his breaking ball, he was effective,” Smith said. “The homerun was probably on us a bit. We sped the guy up and he got it.” 

Aldrete hit a double into the left-center field gap and he advanced on a throwing error by junior left-handed starter Zach Spears. The second error of the inning, a throwing error by the third baseman on a groundball hit to him with McCuin at the plate, allowed two unearned runs to score and that gave ASU a 5-3 lead. McCuin reached third base on the play. The next batter, freshman shortstop Drew Swift bunted with two outs and reached base, allowing McCuin to come home with the third run of the inning.

After six innings of play, the Sun Devils led 6-3 with nine hits on the night. ASU was in good shape to win itsfirst game of the new season.

But the RedHawks would not go away. Miami threatened in the seventh with runners on second and third with two outs.

ASU junior right-handed reliever Sam Romero, who had trouble throwing strikes for most of the inning, found a way to strike out the cleanup man, Stephens, to end the inning and keep the momentum on the Sun Devils’ side.

“Whenever I get into trouble, I am a whole different person," Romero said. "So, I have to bring that from the beginning and I won’t be in that situation.”

Lingos settled down on the mound for ASU after the three-run homer. He gave up three runs on five hits with six strikeouts and two walks.

“That is kind of what he does,” Smith said. “If you look up five, six innings later and he gives up two or three runs as a starter. I think you will take that. I thought he did his job for sure.”

After Romero’s clutch strikeout, ASU padded its lead with another run in the seventh. Three straight hits – a triple by Aldrete, a single by Lin and a single by Torkelson – added another run to ASU's lead, making the score 7-3 after seven innings. 

Aldrete had singled and doubled in previous at-bats and fell a home run shy of the cycle. Also, junior center-fielder Gage Canning hit triples in the first and fifth innings. That gave him 16, which means he is four three-base hits shy of entering the top-five in program history.

“Just playing here a lot helps,” Canning said. “You know you have a shot because the gap is so deep. If they are just getting the ball or picking it up, I have a shot of going for it.”

After a scoreless eighth frame, Romero came out for his third inning of work and worked a scoreless ninth to give ASU its first win and a split of the day-night doubleheader.


The Sun Devils and RedHawks will play two more games on Sunday. The first game will begin at 10 a.m. and the second game will start 45 minutes after the first contest ends.

 Reach the reporter at or follow @joejacquezaz on Twitter.

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