After losing their NCAA tournament opener vs. Gonzaga, ASU Baseball responded by defeating the Bulldogs 6-3 in Sunday’s elimination game.
Arizona State advances to the Regional Final, where they will face TCU Sunday night.
Starting pitcher Zach Dixon led the way for ASU, as he threw eight solid innings and a career-high 140 pitches. Dixon allowed three runs on nine hits, walking three and striking out nine Bulldogs.
Gonzaga took the lead in the first inning on an RBI double from center fielder Tyler Frost, but Dixon would settle down and pitch masterfully, throwing six consecutive shutout innings.
Sun Devils got on the board in the fourth inning, capitalizing on some Gonzaga mistakes.
ASU tied the game on a wild pitch from Bulldogs starting pitcher Hunter Wells. Shortstop Colby Woodmansee would drive in the other two runs in the inning on a double and a throwing error by Bulldogs second baseman Jake Roberts.
Sun Devils added another run in the fifth inning on a RBI double from catcher Brian Serven to take a 4-1 lead.
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Gonzaga would make things interesting in the eighth inning, scoring two runs off Dixon on a fielder’s choice and an RBI double by Taylor Jones to cut the ASU lead to one.
ASU responded by scoring two insurance runs in the ninth inning on a solo home run by third baseman Jeremy McCuin and an RBI sac fly from Serven, putting the game out of reach for Gonzaga.
Closer Ryan Hingst relieved Dixon in the ninth inning, throwing a 13-pitch hit-less inning to secure the victory.
With manager Tracy Smith extending Dixon for eight innings, he has saved his bullpen for the next game vs. TCU.
First pitch between Arizona State and TCU will be at 4:30 p.m. PST.