Alec Marsh's scoreless relief outing powers ASU baseball over UNC Wilmington

Sophomores Carter Aldrete and Hunter Bishop drove in six of the Sun Devils' nine runs

A scoreless outing by sophomore right-handed reliever Alec Marsh and timely hitting helped ASU baseball take game one of the series against UNC Wilmington, 9-4, on Friday night at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.

Marsh worked 3.1 scoreless innings in relief of ASU junior right-handed starter Sam Romero. At the plate, ASU hit .375 with runners in scoring position, while the Seahawks were 0-for-13. 

“I thought he was the key to the game for us tonight,” ASU head coach Tracy Smith said of Marsh. “That’s … a really really good offensive baseball team and the fact that he came in and was able to attack the zone and hold those guys in check I thought was the key to the game.”

ASU jumped out to an early 4-0 after one inning. Two errors and a double by sophomore third baseman Carter Aldrete put the Sun Devils up 1-0. But, the big hit in the inning came off the bat of sophomore right fielder Hunter Bishop, a two-RBI bloop single to right field. 

After Romero struck out the side in the second, working around a two-out single and stolen base, and pitched around a hit batter and two errors, ASU increased their lead to 5-0 in the bottom half of the third on an RBI single by Bishop.

The Seahawks finally got to Romero in the fourth. After back-to-back singles led off the frame, UNCW manufactured two runs on consecutive groundouts to second base, making the score 5-2.

But ASU responded with two runs of their own in the bottom half of the fourth. After a walk and an error by the third baseman put runners at first and second, Aldrete drove both in with a sharp single the to right.

Those add-on runs would prove vital. Two solo home runs, first a leadoff shot by freshman infielder Greg Jones over the batting cages in right field and then a one-out missile to left off the bat of senior first baseman Mason Berne pulled UNCW to within three runs, 7-4, and chased Romero from the game in the fifth.

Romero, who works only from the stretch, allowed four earned runs on eight hits in 4.1 innings. He struck out five, did not walk a batter and threw 92 pitches. 

ASU tacked on run number eight of the night in the seventh. A single, stolen base and a throwing error put runners at second and third. After a walk loaded the bases, junior center fielder Gage Canning sacrificed in a run.

Sophomore left-hander Chaz Montoya stranded runners at first and second in relief to end the eighth.

The Sun Devils added an insurance run in the bottom half. After a leadoff double into no mans land in left, freshman pinch hitter Hunter Jump collected his first hit of the season, an RBI single that gave ASU a 9-4 lead.

"I was happy for him because he worked his butt off during the week to get to that point,” Smith said of Jump. “That is how you earn playing time and opportunities and confidence."

Montoya worked a scoreless ninth and ASU won its eighth game of the season. 

Marsh Proves Invaluable 

Marsh, who started last Sunday but has worked mostly out of the bullpen, has not allowed a run in 12.1 innings this season.

“My goal this year was to just perform well and give our team a chance to win no matter what role they put me in,” Marsh said.

Aldrete and Bishop stay hot

Aldrete drove in three runs tonight, extending his hitting streak to five games.

“This time of the season is where I start to feel good and I felt really good tonight,” Aldrete said. “Just giving myself a chance to see the ball is my big thing.”

Bishop, who could not buy a hit early in the season, drove in three. He has six RBI in his last two games, after having only three in his first 12.

“We get him going a little bit and Carter (Aldrete) the same thing, it’s a pretty lethal lineup,” Smith said. “Those guys have done it before at this level, we’re just waiting for them to settle in offensively.”


ASU will go for it's fifth win in the last six games on Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. in game two against UNC Wilmington. Senior Eli Lingos will get the start for ASU.

Reach the reporter at or follow @joejacquezaz on Twitter.

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