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Freshman multitasking arms on the mound, plate lead to 9-2 win

ASU baseball notched a 9-2 win with the help of Erik Tolman's home run

ASU Baseball vs Arizona Game 1-64.jpg

ASU freshman left-handed pitcher Erik Tolman (15) throws a strike on Friday, March 29. 2019, at the Phoenix Municipal Stadium in Phoenix, Arizona.

Unlike No. 15 ASU baseball's (31-8,12-6 Pac-12) stomach turning loss to the UNLV (23-19) two weeks ago, the Sun Devils gave and gave a little more in its 9-2 win against them on Tuesday.

Included in the seven of the starting nine that contributed to at least one hit was starting pitcher Erik Tolman who showed his swift and versatile abilities by allowing two runs on three hits. 

He also struck out five and walked one through 4.1 innings. At the plate he hit his third home run of his career in the second.

"Obviously I got to go with the home run," the freshman said when asked which one was a better achievement. "Everyone thinks I'm more of a pitcher, and I like to kinda prove them wrong when I do well at the plate." 

It was the first time since 2008 that a starting pitcher who also started as designated hitter hit a home run.  

When differentiating between hitting and pitching during a game, Tolman said he "takes (pitching) more serious" but when hitting he "tries to smile."

"I know hitting can be one of the most stressful things in any sport because it's so much failure," Tolman said.

Hanging on to a 4-0 lead, Tolman would not be able to complete the fifth inning loading the bases he then allowed two runs to score on a single. 

With one out, freshman Blake Burzell came in to hold off the Rebels from scoring by forcing a double play. He earned the win through 1.2 innings allowing two hits.     

Not long after in the sixth, on a wild pitch junior Hunter Bishop advanced to second and sophomore Drew Swift scored a run. Sophomore Alika Williams then came up strong on a two-run RBI single.

"That (adding the insurance runs) has to happen," coach Tracy Smith said. "You may not always score, but you don't want to give at bats away. We talked about that as a teaching point the last game and quite frankly Sunday's game." 

The last two runs of the game — home runs — came from Gage Workman in seventh. In the eighth, sophomore Spencer Torkelson blasted his 13th homer of the season inching his way closer to Bishop's team leading .382 average and 17 home runs.

With the season winding down, ASU will play a best-of-three against the Washington Huskies (17-17, Pac-12 5-10-0) starting Friday, April 26 at 6:05 p.m. MST. 

Reach the reporter at or follow @Noriega_Edith on Twitter. 

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