Photos by David Cohen.
FULLERTON, CA – On Friday at Goodwin Field the No. 24 Arizona State Sun Devils and the New Mexico Lobos kicked off the Fullerton Regional as ASU defeated the Mountain West champions in a 4-3 finish.
Mitch Garver of New Mexico put the Lobos on the board in the first with an RBI single to drive in Chase Harris who led off the inning with a single to left field.
The Sun Devils answered in the bottom half of the inning as Kasey Coffman advanced to third base on an overthrow to first after being walked by starting RHP Josh Walker. Junior James McDonald plated the run on a sacrifice fly to make it an even 1-1 going into the second frame.
After both teams went scoreless through the second, ASU starter Trevor Williams shutout the Lobos in the third before the Sun Devils took a 2-1 lead in the bottom half of the inning. Coffman hit a two-out double to right field and would score on a fielding error by shortstop Jared Holley.
New Mexico capitalized on a hit from right fielder Chase Harris in the fifth inning as the senior advanced to third base on a hit from freshman Sam Haggerty. Harris scored on a sacrifice fly from junior DJ Peterson to make it even at 2-2. However, the tie was short-lived as Arizona State’s James McDonald belted a two-run jack to give ASU a 4-2 lead heading into the sixth.
Neither team would have a base-runner in the seventh, but New Mexico’s Garver cut Arizona’s lead to one run after clearing the left field wall to make it 4-3 in the top of the eighth prompting a Sun Devil pitching change. Ryan Burr entered for Williams with a man on first and second and got the job done with a strikeout to end the inning.
LHP Gabe Aguilar came in relief for Walker in the bottom of the eighth and got out of the inning without giving up a run. However, New Mexico did not score again as Arizona State took the first game of the Fullerton Regional with a 4-3 victory.
Arizona State’s Williams got the win as freshman Burr recorded a save.
Said the freshman, “It was fun more than anything, that’s the kind of situation you dream about. I’ve got to give so much credit to the coaches for getting me to this point. It’s so much easier going out there throwing strikes when you know your defense is going to make plays behind you.”
“We knew going in that they weren’t going to give away at-bats and any guy in the lineup can hurt you,” said Arizona State coach Tim Esmay.
Check out the 19-photo gallery shot by David Cohen of BHE Photos of the action Friday in Game 1 of the Fullerton Regional: