After winning the opener of their three-game series with Oklahoma on Jeff Larish’s walk-off home run Friday night, the Arizona State baseball team had it relatively easy on Saturday.
An injury to Oklahoma starter Garrett Patterson led to a big second inning for the Sun Devils and Erik Averill shut down the Sooners offense in a 5-1 win before 2,915 fans Saturday night at Packard Stadium. ASU (15-12) will go for the sweep at noon today.
The win was the Sun Devils’ ninth in 12 games since a school record-tying six-game losing streak.
Oklahoma (12-7) had a 1-0 lead when Patterson, who came into the game with a 4.26 ERA and 3-1 record in five appearances, aggravated a lower abdominal strain on a pitch that hit Willy Fox in the second inning.
Junior P.J. Sandoval entered the game and walked the first two batters he faced. Rocky Laguna then tied the score on a sacrifice fly and the Sun Devils took the lead when Larish scored on a double steal. Joey Hooft hit an RBI single to drive in the third run before Will Savage replaced Sandoval (1-1), who took the loss.
"That’s just how baseball goes. It was definitely a tough spot (for Sandoval)," Averill said. "We took advantage of it and that’s what we’re supposed to do."
The three-run second inning was all the support Averill (5-2) would need.
The junior lefty gave up nine hits and no earned runs. He struck out seven and walked two in pitching his third complete game of the season.
Oklahoma didn’t advance a runner into scoring position over the final five innings.
"I just try to make pitches every game and they leave me out there as long as they need me," Averill said. "My focus was probably the best it’s been all year. It definitely ranks up there as one of my better performances. I had great defense tonight so it made it a lot easier to stay out there. It’s a big confidence-builder to know you trust the defense behind you."
Hooft was 1-for-2 in his first game since pulling his left hamstring in the first inning of the Sun Devils’ loss to Arizona on Feb. 23. He committed an error in the first inning that led to Oklahoma’s only run.
Zechry Zenicola drove in Colin Curtis on a fielder’s choice to make the score 4-1 in the third and Travis Buck closed out the scoring in the seventh when he scored on a throwing error by left fielder Kody Kaiser after hitting a triple.