ASU Baseball: Big 5th inning the difference in 8-3 win over Xavier

OMAHA, NE - JUNE 23: Travis Buck
OMAHA, NE - JUNE 23: Travis Buck /

A four-run fifth inning and solid pitching for ASU baseball sealed the Sun Devils’ 14th straight victory of the season on Saturday night over Xavier.

During their 14-game winning streak to start the season, there’s rarely been a time where ASU has looked vulnerable.

In the second inning of Saturday night’s game against Xavier, the Sun Devils looked vulnerable.

After a lead off home run to start the frame from Ryan Altenberger to make it a 3-1 game, ASU starting pitcher Alec Marsh proceeded to retire the next two batters.

And with the way Marsh has pitched this season (0.94 ERA) one could safely assume that Altenberger’s solo shot was the only damage the Musketeers were causing that frame.

But Luke Stephenson then reached on a strikeout after the third strike got past ASU catcher Sam Ferri. And then Andrew Sexton (Xavier’s nine-hole hitter) poked a single into left.

So now Xavier had momentum to potentially tie the ballgame at three despite there being two outs.

Three pitches later, the Musketeers did just that.

A single from Chris Givin into left field was poorly read by ASU’s Trevor Hauver who let the ball go underneath his glove in a half hearted attempt to make a diving catch.

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As the ball rolled toward the warning track, both runs came into score and suddenly the game was tied at three.

For most of the 2018 season poor play, particularly poor play on defense, plagued the Sun Devils with big innings regularly resulting from mental mistakes and errors.

One mistake always seemed to result in a snowball effect for the team. With one bad inning resulting in another even if the offense happened to be clicking on all cylinders that day.

But in 2019, that snowball effect has yet to occur for this Sun Devils team.

Following the three run frame, Xavier was held scoreless for the rest of the night. Hauver’s error was the Sun Devils first and only fielding miscue in the game.

It took a few more innings for ASU’s offense to take back the lead but once it did it led to a positive snowball effect for the Sun Devils.

Following Spencer Torkelson’s RBI single, three more runs and six more batters came to the plate for ASU. The four run frame gave the Sun Devils enough of a cushion to cruise there way toward an 8-3 victory. A solo home run from Hauver being ASU’s final insurance run.

Tonight’s win doesn’t only mark the teams 14th straight win, the victory also keeps the Sun Devils as one of three teams in the country that are undefeated.

As great of a feat as that is, nobody on this Sun Devils team seems to be satisfied.

“We’re not doing any of this stuff for anybody else,” ASU head coach Tracy Smith said after the win. “We’re doing it because what it means to us in that locker room to play good baseball.

“I’ve not heard one guy talk about a streak.”

“It’s always about where your feet are,” Ferri said. “Everyday we step in the locker room and it’s where are feet are today.

“We don’t look forward, we don’t look backwards.”

Next. ASU Baseball: Sun Devils dominate in 12-0 victory over Xavier. dark

On Sunday, ASU finishes off their three game set with Xavier at 12:30 from Phoenix Municipal Stadium.

All quotes in this article were obtained firsthand by Devils in Detail unless otherwise noted.