ASU baseball splits two-game midweek series with GCU

ASU tied a season-high for runs on Tuesday, then a season-low on Wednesday

ASU baseball split its midweek two-game set with Grand Canyon University. The Sun Devils won an offensive showcase Tuesday 13-10 at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, then fell 4-1 on the road Wednesday. 

Both teams combined for 23 runs on 24 hits allowed by 12 different pitchers on Tuesday at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. The scoring was nonstop, as at least one team scored multiple runs in each of the first seven innings. 

ASU took a commanding 11-7 lead after scoring four runs in the fifth inning. GCU clawed back to 11-10, but redshirt junior right fielder Allbry Major clubbed a two-run blast to center field in the seventh inning to regain a cushion. 

Major, redshirt junior shortstop Drew Swift and freshman designated hitter Ethan Long each drove in three runs. 

Redshirt freshman Cam Dennie and redshirt sophomore Will Levine shut the Antelopes down in the final two frames to quiet the offensive onslaught and close out the win. 

"When we put the double midweek, it was with the idea that we were going to have a full staff," ASU head coach Tracy Smith said Tuesday. "So, it's not the most ideal situation for us. But what I love about that is we still found a way to win."

ASU unloaded the bullpen on Wednesday night, as 12 pitchers threw for the Sun Devils. Four of them faced just one batter. With a fatigued bullpen, ASU's plan was to get through the game without extending anyone and by using some less experienced arms. 

Freshman Joe Hauser started and went 2.1 innings. He had the longest outing of the night for the Sun Devils. Redshirt freshman Jay Baggs made his ASU debut after transferring from Boise State, while redshirt freshman Kai Murphy and freshman Blake Pivaroff pitched for the first time this season. 

ASU allowed 11 hits, the same as Tuesday, but stranded 13 runners on base. That kept the game close. 

The offense had opportunities early but stranded the bases loaded in the second and fourth inning. From the fifth frame on, ASU managed just one hit. GCU pitching sat down 11 batters in a row to end the night. 

"The difference in the game was they got the two-out RBI and we didn't," Smith said Wednesday. 

Each of GCU's runs came with two outs. 

A major disparity in the second game was that ASU used several pitchers who had not thrown much this season, while GCU used three of its top-four innings leaders. The Antelopes do not play this upcoming weekend and had that luxury. 

"We feel like the way that we did handle our pitching tonight, we feel like the guys will be fresh and their arms will be ready to go certainly Friday, Saturday, Sunday," Smith said Wednesday. 

The Sun Devils head to Utah for four games from Friday-Monday. Three are at the University of Utah, followed by a Monday matchup with Brigham Young University. 


Reach the reporter at alexjweiner@gmail.com and follow @alexjweiner on Twitter.

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