ASU Baseball: Bishop stays hot; Sun Devils stay perfect

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

Behind a stellar two home run performance from Hunter Bishop, ASU baseball staved off the nation’s best offense to improve to 16-0 on the year.

Hunter Bishop continued to show why many scouts consider him to be a first-round caliber talent in the upcoming MLB Draft, knocking two home runs and leading the charge in a 7-3 Sun Devil victory over New Mexico State in Phoenix.

Bishop reached base five times on the night, going 4-for-4 with a walk, two homers and three RBIs. The reigning Pac-12 Player of the Week has been as hot as any hitter in baseball at the moment.

He brought himself up to second for the NCAA lead in home runs and is having his best collegiate season yet, already doubling his home run total from the past two seasons combined.

“I wouldn’t say it’s like a streak. I would just say I’m staying with my approach. It’s easy to see when you have a guy like [Trevor Hauver] hitting in front of you and [Spencer Torkelson] too,” Bishop said. “It goes without saying but they take a lot of pressure off my shoulders with how good they are and how they pitch [to] them, so they got to throw me pitches.”

In the top of the fourth inning, the junior got up to rob Tristen Carranza, one of the nation’s leaders in home runs alongside teammate Nick Gonzales, of a three-run shot to end the inning. Minutes later in the bottom half of the inning, Bishop hit a lead-off home run to nearly the same spot where he had robbed one.

“It really was a four-run difference [in the fourth]. It took three off the board then he got one himself,” head coach Tracy Smith said. “He’s playing at a high level… If that thing goes out there and we don’t make that play, who knows how that game goes.”

Sun Devil pitching held the Aggie offense to their second lowest run total of the season, behind only a shutout from Texas Tech. The Aggies threatened late, scoring two in the final three innings, but Chaz Montoya put out the flames late to close the game, throwing a perfect 1.2 innings in relief.

“You can’t throw the get-me-over curveball and hang it right down the middle to these guys,” Montoya said. “We had to make better pitches, smarter decisions when we were on the mound and that was pretty much what we took into this.”

As for the rest of the team, Alika Williams drove in two runs and Trevor Hauver hit his sixth home run of the season. Sam Romero threw 2.2 innings of one run ball while Erik Tolman and Blake Burzell combined to toss 3.1 scoreless innings.

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The Sun Devils will open up Pac-12 play on Friday as they take on Washington State during a three-game set in Phoenix. The Cougars are 6-10 heading into the series and looking to finish better than their 8-21 conference record they had a year ago.