History in the Making: Torkelson Breaks Pac-12 Record as Sun Devils walk off series opener

Junior outfielder Gage Canning had a walk off hit to help ASU defeat Washington on Friday

Friday night featured history in the making as a new Pac-12 record was set and ASU walked a game off for the first time since April 2017, defeating the Washington Huskies 4-3 at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. 

"I thought we played solid baseball tonight," said ASU head coach Tracy Smith.

Junior outfielder Gage Canning walked off the Sun Devils in the bottom of the ninth inning with an RBI double to left center field, scoring freshman infielder Spencer Torkelson

“Walk-off wins are always nice," Canning said. "(I saw a) fastball middle-away, just looking for a pitch I can drive in the gap to do that, and it ended up being a good pitch to hit and it worked out.”

Washington jumped on the board first in the top of the second inning, plating two runs via a groundout and an RBI single. 

ASU’s offense responded in the bottom of the third inning when sophomore outfielder Carter Aldrete singled to right field, plating Torkelson to cut the deficit in half. 

The Sun Devils were trailing 2-1 entering the bottom of the fifth inning, but Torkelson etched his name into the Pac-12 Conference baseball history books with his 22nd home run of 2018, setting a new record and tying the game.

“I didn’t even think about it,” Torkelson said. “My hitting coach Michael Earley came over and was like 'congrats.' It was pretty sweet.”

ASU took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the seventh inning when Aldrete grounded into a double play with runners on the corners and no outs. 

However, like a seesaw, the Huskies tied the game 3-3 in the top of the eighth inning with a bloop RBI single to right field. 

ASU relief pitcher Dellan Raish won his fourth game of the season. Washington’s Alex Hardy took his second loss of 2018. 

Marsh back in Friday form

On April 6, ASU freshman pitcher Alec Marsh dominated the USC Trojans at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, cruising 8.1 innings while giving up only three hits and one run. Marsh was in similar form Friday against the Huskies, as the sophomore right hander tossed 7.1 innings of three-run baseball. 

"It's allowed (Marsh) to be put in a roll where he can learn and develop, and to his credit, he's not just learning and getting through, he's excelling," Smith said. "That bodes well for him for the future." 

Marsh surrendered six hits to the Huskies’ batters while striking out six in the Friday night effort. Of Marsh’s 107 pitches, 64 were thrown in the strike zone.

“I’ve had quite a few starts on the Friday spot, and I think I just want to take it over and solidify a spot there because we still are trying to fill a weekend or weekday spot … kind of give other people a chance a chance to do their thing,” Marsh said.

What’s Next for ASU

The Sun Devils and the Huskies will battle in game two of the three-game series on Saturday, May 5 at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. ASU will go for its first home series win against Washington since 2012. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. MST. 

"It's no secret we've stubbed our toe early in the season trying to figure some (things) out," Smith said. "We're talking about 'Why not us?' We still feel like we're playing for something because we're playing better baseball now." 

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

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