PHOENIX – Sun Devil Baseball scored four runs in the first two innings, including three in the opening frame, and right-hander Hever Bueno shut down Xavier in his first career weekend start to give Arizona State a 5-2 season-opening win in front of 3,030 fans at Phoenix Municipal Stadium on Friday night.
The Sun Devils (1-0) began the evening with a special pregame ceremony on the field for Andre Ethier and Dustin Pedroia, who became the 18th and 19th Sun Devils, and the first two from the 2000s, to join the prestigious Sun Devil Baseball Wall of Honor.
The top of the Sun Devils’ order went 5-for-7 with two RBI, five runs scored and five walks, highlighted by first baseman David Greer and center fielder Andrew Shaps, who both finished 2-for-2 with two walks, a RBI and a run scored.
Bueno (1-0) earned the win as he scattered just two hits across a career-long 5 1/3 innings in just his second career start and doubled his previous career high with six strikeouts. He allowed a pair of base runners in the opening frame via a walk and a single, but recovered and retired 10 consecutive batters, and did not allow a hit in 16 straight at-bats until a double to lead off the sixth.
ASU right-handed relievers Eder Erives (1) and James Ryan combined to hold the Musketeers (0-1) to just one unearned run on three hits and a walk in 3 2/3 combined innings.
Erives picked up his first save in more than 18 months and matched his career-high with five strikeouts. He entered the game with two outs in the seventh and stranded a runner on third with three consecutive strikes before he closed out the final two innings with four strikeouts and just a pair of hits.
Ryan, in his first career appearance, notched three strikeouts and conceded one hit and a walk in 1 1/3 innings. He took over for Bueno in the sixth inning with one out and a runner on third, and conceded a RBI single to the first batter he faced, but issued back-to-back looking strikeouts to close out the frame.
Greer drove in the first run of the 2016 season in the first inning with a double off the left-field wall and shortstop Colby Woodmansee added a two-run single up the middle two batters later to push the Devils’ early lead to three.
Shaps followed left fielder Daniel Williams’ two-out double to right-center with a RBI single to stretch ASU’s lead to four, 4-0, in the bottom of the second.
The Musketeers struck in the top of the sixth behind a leadoff double from designated hitter Nate Soria and a RBI single from shortstop Andrew Jernigan, and added a run in the ninth via a double, a passed ball and a sacrifice fly from left fielder Will LaRue.
Right fielder Gage Canning delivered his first career hit and RBI in the eighth inning with a one-out single up the middle to score Woodmansee, who led off the frame with a double down the left-field line.
XU starting left-hander Zac Lowther (0-1) allowed four runs on six hits and four walks, and struck out five, in a losing effort in five innings. He put together three scoreless frames to close out his outing after he conceded four in the opening two frames.
Notes: Zach Mezger, Coach Smith’s family friend, drove in from Bloomington, Ind., to surprise the team. – read more about Zach and his story here…the Devils started a pair of true freshmen in right fielder Gage Canning and designated hitter Tyler Williams…second baseman Andrew Snow went 2-for-4…Daniel Williams notched his first career hit and run scored…Sebastian Zawada made his first career appearance as a pinch hitter.
The Devils host Xavier for a doubleheader at Phoenix Muni beginning at 1 p.m. The second game will start approximately 50 minutes following the conclusion of game one, which will be broadcast on NBC Sports Radio AM 1060 by the Voice of the Sun Devils Tim Healey and Max Rossiter. Both games will be live streamed via thesundevils.com.
Saturday’s Pitching Matchup
XU: LHP Greg Jacknewitz
ASU: RHP Seth Martinez
XU: RHP Brandon Johnson