ASU Baseball: Sun Devils open Pac-12 play, drub WSU

OMAHA, NE - JUNE 23: Joey Hooft
OMAHA, NE - JUNE 23: Joey Hooft /

ASU baseball opened conference play with a 6-0 win over Washington State, improving the Sun Devils’ record to 17-0 on the young season.

Entering Friday, Arizona State sat atop the Pac-12 standings with a 16-0 record. Its opponent, Washington State, dwelled at the bottom of the league at 6-10.

That disparity was on full display in ASU’s 6-0 victory to open conference play.

The Sun Devils broke the scoreboard in the second inning when Gage Workman hit a solo home run. It marked Workman’s first round tripper of 2019.

“It’s nice, all the guys are giving me crap because I hadn’t hit one yet,” Workman said. “I guess I kind of get that off my back a little bit.”

After that, the runs piled on. ASU scored four runs the following inning, putting the Sun Devils ahead 5-0. Their only other run came in the seventh inning — a Hunter Bishop RBI triple. Eight of Arizona State’s nine batters in the lineup recorded hits, and five reached base at least twice.

More from Devils in Detail

But ASU didn’t just excel in the batter’s box; the Sun Devils controlled the game defensively.

Alec Marsh pitched a 6.1-inning shutout with four strikeouts, earning him the victory. Marsh is now 5-0 on the season with a 0.77 ERA. Comparatively, Marsh won just three games a year ago.

“He’s confident; he knows what he’s doing,” Smith said. “I think he manages the game.

“He sets the standard of how the weekend’s going to go.”

Though a six scoreless innings is no easy feat, Marsh wasn’t pleased with his performance Friday.

“I feel like I’m not pitching to my potential right now,” Marsh said. “Pretty hard on myself. It’s all our defense right there.”

Over the game’s entirety, the Sun Devils were perfect in the field, committing zero errors. And they also turned three double plays. Individually, Spencer Torkelson recorded 11 putouts, a team-high.

Even though Marsh said he could’ve pitched better, the Sun Devils’ prowess in the field kept the damage minimal.

“I thought we played really, really well defensively,” Smith said. “That’s that whole trust piece. Getting your pitchers to trust the guys behind them to make the plays.”

Relief pitcher Sam Romero entered the game in the seventh inning and didn’t allow a run. This marked Romero’s ninth outing of the season, and, in 14 innings, he has allowed just two runs.

According to Smith, Romero’s dominance in his 2.2 innings was an overlooked component of Friday’s win.

“As much as anyone’s performance tonight, his was the key for our team,” Smith said. “Sam going and finishing that game was key for us.

“Not only was it key for this game, but I think it sets us up for a more-rested bullpen for the next few days.”

With the win, the Sun Devils own a 17-0 record; the quest to perfection continues.

Saturday, Arizona State will look to clinch its first Pac-12 series of the 2019 season. For the Sun Devils, Boyd Vander Kooi (2-0) will be on the hill.

In spite of the team’s recent triumph, Smith said his team needs to cut out poor at-bats. That was his only complaint on Friday.

Next. ASU Baseball: Pac-12 proving strong in Sun Devils’ playoff push. dark

“We left a few away in a stretch that we were probably better than that,” Smith said. “If we want an ‘A-grade,’ we gotta not give bats away.”

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