Pitching Leads Sun Devil Baseball to Midweek Win
TEMPE, Ariz. - Sun Devil Baseball defeated Nevada, 3-1, in a pitcher's duel Tuesday night at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
Arizona State got enough timely hitting and clutch at bats to support a spectacular effort from the pitching staff. Four Sun Devil pitchers combined to allow only one run on five hits, while striking out 11 in the midweek contest.
Tyler Meyer led the way in his first career start, becoming the first Sun Devil starting pitcher to earn a win this season after going 5.0 innings with six strikeouts and no runs allowed. Chase Webster tested the radar gun up to 96 miles an hour in his best collegiate performance of his career, going 3.0 innings with no runs allowed with four strikeouts to earn the save.
ASU stranded nine Wolfpack baserunners - none more important than the three that Christian Bodlovich left on in the sixth as he inherited a bases loaded jam with one out and got out of it unscathed.
The pitching effort was especially notable as Nevada averaged 9.3 runs per game in its opening weekend series while batting .322 in its first three games.
Hunter Haas had two hits and a run scored while Ethan Long had two hits as well. ASU drew six walks and kept the pressure on the Wolfpack all night but struggled to find the big hit, stranding 10 and going just 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
Sun Devil Head Coach Willie Bloomquist made the decision before the game to start right-hander Tyler Meyer, knowing he had a rested Chase Webster on the back end. That decision paid off in a big way, as Meyer delivered five scoreless innings, striking out six while working out of several tricky situations. Webster entered the game in the seventh and never looked back, going the distance with three scoreless frames of his own.
THE BIG MOMENT
Christian Bodlovich entered the game with the bases loaded and only one out in the sixth inning, with Arizona State holding a 2-1 lead. The rain started to pour down at Phoenix Municipal Stadium as soon as he got the call, but it did not faze the right-hander. He proceeded to strike out Nevada first baseman Cameron Jowaiszas looking and then got shortstop Peter Mendazona to fly out on the first pitch, firing up the Sun Devil dugout. The Wolfpack did not score another run, as the Sun Devils pitching staff was excellent all night.
- The one run allowed by the Sun Devils was the fewest in a Tuesday game since shutting out Long Beach State on February 27, 2018. There have been 22 games in that span.
- It is just the fourth time in the past 55 Tuesday games dating back to 2012 that an opponent has been held to one or fewer runs.
- Arizona State has played 86 midweek games (Monday-Wednesday) combined since 2012 and this is only the fifth time they have allowed one run or fewer.
- Nevada second baseman Joshua Zamora entered the game hitting .667 with only four strikeouts. The ASU pitching staff held him to 1-for-4, while striking him out two times. He was retired only four times in three games prior to today's game, but was retired twice in three innings to start the game against the Sun Devils.
- In his career, Christian Bodlovich has inherited 25 runners, with only five scoring (20%). Tonight he standed three of the nine total Wolfpack that were left on base.
- The Maroon & Gold move to 3-1 to start a season for the first time since 2019 and only the second time since 2017.
- Ethan Long had a multi-hit game, his first of the season and the 18th of his career.
- Chase Webster has yet to allow a run as a Sun Devil in four innings pitched.
- Tyler Meyer has now allowed only one run over his first seven innings of work this season.
- ASU has defeated Nevada in three straight midweek non-conference games.
Willie Bloomquist on bullpen's confidence after a win like tonight…
"That's what we're preaching. Continue to not beat yourself, go out and throw strike one, not let that lead-off guy get on base and don't give him free passes. I think some of it [performance] this weekend could have been nerves, we've seen them do it all Fall and all Spring where they've done a good job attacking the strike zone and we have confidence in our guys that they're going to find the zone and at least force the offense to beat us versus beating ourselves. I can't say enough about the arms today, they all threw the ball very well."
Ethan Long on his single in the seventh inning and the rowdy fans...
"I'm kind of the wrong guy to talk crap to because it fuels my fire and that's usually when I do really well. I should've just thanked him, but at the same time I don't really take crap from anybody. That was just a reaction, I didn't plan on doing anything, I just hit it and said 'oh well'. I know there's going to be a lot of stuff thrown at me, I understand but at the same time I'm going to go out and prove them wrong."
Tyler Meyer on when he found out he will be starting tonight and how he felt he performed...
"I found out today actually. It was better because I didn't have much time to think about it, I just went out there and did my thing and it felt great. It was good to get that first one out of the way."
Christian Bodlovich on the importance of coming out of the bullpen and his mindset…
"I would just say taking the whole mentality and mindset that your job is to come in and go as hard as you can for as long as you can is something I've always taken to heart. Just going right after guys, not being afraid of anybody, and attacking the zone."
Right-hander Tyler Meyer got the start for the Sun Devils and could not have had a more efficient start. He got the first batter to pop up on the very first pitch of the game. Meyer ran into some trouble after a single and stolen base, followed by a one-out walk. However, he was able to work out of trouble thanks to an effective slider, striking out the next two Nevada batters swinging to post a zero in the first.
Nevada gave the ball to right-hander Nathan Rohlicek, who proceeded to retire the Sun Devils in order, keeping the score knotted at zero through the first inning.
The Wolfpack started off the second frame with a single, immediately forcing Meyer to work out of the stretch. A hit by pitch followed, putting the first two runners of the inning on base. After a sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position, Meyer found himself in more trouble early. Much like the first inning, he looked unfazed in retiring the final two batters of the inning to escape trouble. First, he recorded a strike out looking followed by a one-pitch pop up in a repeat of the first inning when facing off with Nevada lead off hitter Tyler Bossetti.
In the bottom half of the inning, a lead off walk from Conor Davis created the first scoring threat of the game for ASU. He advanced to second on a wild pitch and on to third via a Jacob Tobias single, putting runners on the corner with only one out. Nate Baez followed up by lacing a double down the left field line, driving in Davis and giving the Sun Devils a 1-0 lead. Back-to-back strikeouts ended any further threat, but Arizona State managed to strike first.
Meyer earned a shot at a third inning, after delivering two scoreless innings. He rewarded the coaching staff's trust, posting yet another zero for the Sun Devils. Working around a lead off walk, Meyer got a pop up and notched his fourth strikeout to record the first two outs of the inning. Catcher Nate Baez took care of the final out himself, throwing out a potential Wolfpack base stealer to end the frame.
Arizona State was looking for some more two out magic after an Ethan Long single, but were unable to generate any scoring threat, holding on to a 1-0 lead.
The Sun Devil starting right-hander Tyler Meyer did everything asked of him, attempting to get through another inning of work. He looked more comfortable than ever, getting two quick groundouts thanks to some great defensive work by first baseman Conor Davis. After a two out walk, Meyer got another ground out to post yet another scoreless frame.
Arizona State drove up the pitch count of the Wolfpack starting pitcher Nathan Rohlicek, forcing Nevada to go to the bullpen in the fourth. Left-hander Boon Fay got the call and hit Jacob Tobias with one-out, but managed to post a zero and keep the score at 1-0.
Cruising through the first four frames, Meyer returned to the mound for arguably his best inning. He set down the Wolfpack in order for the first time, mixing his pitches and hitting his spots. Meyer struck out two more hitters to move his total to six on the night, finishing with five scoreless innings of work.
The offense was looking to tack on to the lead, getting off to a good start thanks to a Hunter Haas leadoff single. Sean McLain followed up with a walk to advance him to second, with Haas reaching third on a Lampe fielder's choice. That set the scene for an Ethan Long sacrifice fly, doubling the Sun Devil lead to 2-0.
Right-hander Josh Hansell was the first reliever to come out of the bullpen, with Meyer exiting after five scoreless innings. Hansell allowed the first batter to reach and advance to second on a wild pitch, with the following hitter driving in the first Wolfpack run with a single. Two more Nevada batters reached to load the bases, with Hansell's night coming to an end. He gave way to right-hander Christian Bodlovich, who immediately came in and recorded a huge strikeout. The next hitter fly out to center on the first pitch, as Bodlovich stranded three runners and maintained a 2-1 Sun Devil lead.
The third Nevada pitcher of the night Russell Hicks took the mound, registering a quick out. He ran into trouble right after that, issuing back-to-back walks to generate a scoring opportunity. That prompted a pitching change, with left-hander Jacob Gebb entering to face Kai Murphy. Another free base loaded the bases, with Kai Murphy taking one for the team. Another pitching change followed, with right-hander Tyler Cochran getting his turn. Cochran caught Hunter Haas looking, but Sean McLain worked a walk to put Arizona State ahead 3-1.
Right-hander Chase Webster was the next Sun Devil pitcher to get the nod. Webster looked sharp in getting the first two outs in the inning before running into trouble with a two-out double. He prevented any damage by retiring the next batter via flyout, getting a huge out and preserving the 3-1 lead.
Things looked promising in the home half of the seventh, as the first two runners reached base. Ethan Long ripped a single to left and Conor Davis followed with a walk. A foul out and double play ended the threat quickly, with the score remaining 3-1.
Webster took the mound for the second straight inning, looking to hold the two-run lead. He did exactly that, mowing down the Wolfpack batters in a 1-2-3 inning, putting the momentum in the ASU dugout. Webster has yet to allow a run as a Sun Devil in his first two appearances.
Another Nevada pitcher entered the game, with right-hander Casey Burfield taking the bump. Hunter Haas drilled a two-out double to left center, but that was all the Sun Devils could muster.
In need of three more outs, Arizona State turned to Chase Webster, who answered the call. Despite a lead-off walk, he induced a double play on the very next batter, putting the Sun Devils one out away from victory.
Arizona State has a quick turnaround, kicking off a three-game series with BYU starting Thursday at 6:30 PM MST. Friday's game is at 7 PM MST, while Saturday's contest is scheduled for 12:30 PM MST. The Thursday and Saturday matchups will be broadcasted live via the ASU Live Stream. The Sun Devils will be back on Pac-12 Network Friday, appearing on Pac-12 Arizona.