Arizona State baseball used ample hitting, stellar defense and just enough pitching to win 13-10 over Grand Canyon on Tuesday night in the first crosstown rivalry meeting since 2010.
Allbry Major, playing for the first time since April 6, hit a two-run homer in the seventh to give ASU enough breathing room for its first mid-week win since March 2.
ASU’s final two of six pitchers – Cam Dennie and Will Levine – allowed one hit and no runs over 2 1/3 innings to make a three-run lead stand up. Brock Peery (3-0) earned the win with Levine picking up his third save.
The Sun Devils improved to 20-11, ending a two-game losing streak.
GCU fell to 22-15-1 with its eight-game win streak ending. Brodie Cooper-Vassalakis (0-1), third of six Lopes pitchers, was the loser.
Major, Ethan Long and Drew Swift each had three RBI. Long’s came on a three-run homer in the first after GCU took a 2-0 lead. It was Long’s first game back after a one-game suspension for an ejection Saturday.
Juan Colato, Cade Verdusco and Brock Burton homered for the Antelopes. Colato’s was a two-run bomb to right field in the fourth giving GCU a 7-5 lead.
Swift, Sean McLain, Joe Lampe and Jack Moss made plus defensive plays for ASU, which committed no errors. McLain made a bare hand stop and threw out the leadoff runner in the fifth and Lampe’s sliding catch in center held a runner at third in the sixth with the Sun Devils leading 11-9.
Highlights of the game
Major was 0-of-3 through the fifth inning then taking a 2-2 pitch at his knees out in center for a 405-foot home run. It was his first hit since March 12 when he also hit his only other home run. This is his first season at ASU as a transfer from Xavier.
Dennie got the final out in the seventh then he and Levine retired six in a row in the eighth and ninth.
Quotes of the game
“I’m happy for him, he helped the team win. What makes it even better from a coaching standpoint is he’s been working like crazy, putting time in the cage on some things mechanically. You love it when guys do that and happy when they get a good result. It validates that work ethic.” – ASU coach Tracy Smith on Major
“It feel good off the bat. We’d been battling the entire game. We score, they score. I was hoping that would give us the momentum to get over the hump and finish the game strong. That’s what was going through my mind rounding the bases.” – ASU outfielder Allbry Major
“Defense was the key. Swifty has a lot of pride in his game and said he needed to start laying some leather out there. McLain’s play up the middle was as good as you’re going to see. That’s our formula for winning, good defense. We did that tonight and got a good result.” – ASU coach Tracy Smith
The crosstown rivals play again at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Brazell Field/GCU Ballpark with TV coverage Fox XTRA. ASU then goes to Utah for a Pac-12 series starting Friday. Smith said some pitchers who haven’t been used this season could throw including Jay Baggs, a transfer from Boise State, and Kai Murphy, who has started most of the season in right field.
Arizona State, Grand Canyon baseball resume rivalry for first time since 2010
Grand Canyon vs. Arizona State, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Phoenix Municipal Stadium, 6 p.m. Wednesday, Brazell Field at GCU Ballpark, Fox 10 XTRA (Wednesday), KDUS (1060 AM) — ASU and Grand Canyon will play in baseball for the first time since 2010 in a pair of mid-week games. The schools have a lengthy history against each other going back to 1953, playing 109 or 112 times per varying records. ASU (19-11) lost two of three to No. 18 Stanford last week but still is ranked No. 23 (Collegiate Baseball). GCU (22-14-1) is on an eight-game win streak including a 5-4, 10-inning win over Arizona on April 13. Antelopes coach Andy Stankiewicz was an ASU assistant from 2007-09.
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