Arizona State baseball overcame another first-inning deficit Saturday to win 9-4 over Long Beach State, clinching a series victory at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
Zach Cerbo’s two-run homer to left field was the key hit in a three-run second then Cerbo drove in another run in the fourth with a two-out laser to center.
“You’re happy for someone who pays their dues and earn every bit they get,” ASU coach Tracy Smith said of Cerbo, a senior catcher starting his fourth game of the season. “He’s not been on the field early on, Credit to him that he’s been ready, he’s been steady and waiting for his opportunity. The beautiful part about this game, if you seize your opportunity, you get what you deserve. He did a fantastic job today of keeping guys in it emotionally but also sticking in the big hit.”
Long Beach State (6-7) scored twice in the seventh to pull even 4-4. ASU answered in the bottom of that inning when Cerbo was hit leading off, went to second on a Jeremy McCuin sacrifice and scored on Jackson Willeford’s opposite field single to left. The Sun Devils (8-7) tacked on four runs in the eighth on RBI hits by Carter Aldrete and McCuin, Taylor Lane’s sacrifice fly and a balk.
Reagan Todd (1-1) pitched 2 2/3 innings in relief following starter Spencer Van Scoyoc for the win. Jake Godfrey threw 1 1/3 innings at the end for a save.
ASU now has two straight wins after breaking a four-game losing streak and will go for a series sweep at 2 p.m. Sunday. Ryan Hingst, who worked one-third of an inning, will get the pitching start.
“We were not in a good place after the Wednesday game against Fullerton (10-4 loss),” Smith said. “Lethargic, we weren’t playing well. When things like that make a turn for the worse, there’s two choices. You can feed into all the negativity and all the noise going on around you or you can circle the wagons a little bit and tighten your ranks from within. I would say the latter happened. It’s a long season. We’ve got a little bit of a momentum boost going, but what you look for in baseball is consistency. What we have to do tomorrow is still strive to get better every single day.”
Cerbo, senior pitcher Eder Erives and other upperclassmen asked Smith to allow the players to do a pre-game energy circle like previous Sun Devil teams did at Packard Stadium. That cheering is working in the short term to boost morale.
“It’s one of those things you just let loose and get vulnerable in front of your team and lay it all out on the line and get the guys going,” Cerbo said. “With how this last week has been for us in regards to team building, it’s something guys look forward to and kind of has given us that new spark and change of attitude.”
ASU softball 10, Nebraska 1 (5 innings)
Arizona State softball erupted for 10 runs in the second inning, punctuated by an Ulufa Leilua three-run homer, and the Sun Devils (18-5) cruised to a 10-1 win over visiting Nebraska on Saturday.
ASU baseball 7, Long Beach State 6 (10 innings)
Ryan Lillard scored on a throwing error in the bottom of the 10th as ASU baseball (7-7) completed a late rally with a 7-6 victory over visiting Long Beach State on Friday at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
The Sun Devils tied the game in the bottom of the ninth thanks to a two-run home run from Andrew Shaps. ASU overcame a slow start, as starting pitcher Eli Lingos allowed five runs in the first inning. Lingos kept Long Beach State off the scoreboard over the next five innings, however, giving ASU a chance to come back.
ASU softball 12, Nebraska 1 (5 innings)
ASU softball jumped ahead quickly with a five-run first inning and the Sun Devils (17-5) cruised to a 12-1 win over visiting Nebraska on Friday. Sashel Palacios and Ulufa Leilua each had four RBIs to lead ASU.
ASU baseball preview
When: 6:30 p.m. Friday, 3 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday.
Where: Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
TV: Pac-12 Network (Saturday and Sunday).
ASU: The Sun Devils (6-7) will turn to P Eli Lingos (3-0, 0.89 ERA) looking to break a four-game losing streak that started with the final two against Loyola Marymount then a pair vs. No. 17 Cal State Fullerton. Lingos, a junior, already has equaled his 2016 win total. The Sun Devils are hitting just .246 with runners in scoring position in their losses. ASU is facing Long Beach State for a seventh straight season and leads the series 41-13 although Long Beach State won two of three last season. Freshman Lyle Lin leads the Pac-12 with 22 hits and has had more than one hit in nine games. Spencer Van Scoyoc (0-0, 1.35) will start in game 2 with the game 3 starter to be decided.
Long Beach State: Long Beach State (6-5) took two of three at No. 10 North Carolina in its last series and also has a sweep of Fordham while going 1-2 against Oklahoma. Darren McCaughan (1-1, 3.79) and John Sheaks (1-1, 4.70) are the scheduled starting pitchers for games 1-2. 3B Ramsey Romano (.371), 2B Darren Duran (.348) and C David Banuelos (.344) are the top hitters in average while DH Luke Rasmussen has 14 RBIs. SS Markus Montelongo is from Phoenix and P Josh Advocate from Mohave Valley. Coach Troy Buckley is in his seventh season. Long Beach State went 38-22 last season, advancing to an NCAA regional while it lost to host Miami.
Cal State Fullerton 13, ASU baseball 4
Starting pitcher Fitz Stadler gave up seven runs – four earned – on eight hits in two innings as ASU baseball (6-7) fell to visiting Cal State Fullerton 13-4 on Wednesday night at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
Right-hander Grant Schneider was also roughed up for the Sun Devils, as the reliever allowed six earned runs on 10 hits over 3 2/3 innings. Gage Canning and Ryan Lillard each had two RBIs for ASU.
ASU softball 9, Maine 0 (5 innings)
Shortstop Chelsea Gonzales had a double and a home run, racking up five RBIs to lead ASU softball (16-5) to a 9-0 win over Maine in five innings Wednesday night at Farrington Stadium.
Cal State Fullerton 10, Arizona State 4
Arizona State baseball blew an early three-run lead as the bullpen failed to hold up after starter Ryan Hingst exited one out through the fourth inning in a 10-4 loss to No. 17 Cal State Fullerton at Phoenix Municipal Stadium on Tuesday.
Hingst allowed one hit and one run over 3 1/3 innings with two strikeouts.
ASU scored two runs in the first inning and added another two in the bottom of the fourth after Cal State Fullerton’s Scott Hurst cut the lead to 2-1 in the top of the inning.
Cal State Fullerton added two in the fifth, tied the game in the sixth and took its first lead in the seventh. It pulled out of reach with four more innings in the ninth to seal the win in the first game of its mid-week series with ASU.
No. 17 Cal State Fullerton at Arizona State
When: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.
Where: Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
ASU: Coming off a 2-1 series loss to Loyola Marymount, the Sun Devils are 6-5. They are 2-2 so far a third of the way through a 12-game homestand. Zach Dixon (0-1, 5.79 ERA) started in two previous midweek games, but former weekend starter Ryan Hingst (0-1, 3.72) is scheduled to start Tuesday. Eder Erives returned from injury to pitch Sunday but only for a third of an inning. Freshman Lyle Lin is hitting .435 with 11 RBIs, followed by Andrew Snow at .364 with eight RBIs. Tyler Williams leads the Devils in slugging percentage at .519. ASU won two games at Cal State Fullerton last season, including a 2-1 win in 14 innings, and leads the competitive series 33-30 overall. The Sun Devils are at home against Long Beach State (6-5) for a series starting Friday.
Cal State Fullerton: The No. 17 Titans were rained out Sunday at Houston and carry a 5-4 record into the midweek series. They won two of three from Stanford to open the season and also have taken a series from UNLV while splitting with Houston and losing to San Diego State. Because of the rain out, weekend starting pitcher John Gavin (2-0, 0.68) is available if coach Rick Vanderhook opts to use him Tuesday and perhaps again Sunday against Gonzaga. 3B Taylor Bryant is hitting .406 with nine RBIs and .688 slugging. All other regular position players are hitting below .300.