By: Brian Kreps
FULLERTON, Calif. – Arizona State senior Jordan Aboites had something to prove – to himself and his teammates. He also wanted to redeem himself.
Aboites achieved all of those goals…and more.
Coming off a suspension for violation of team standards, Aboites showed he’s ready to put ready to put that behind him and be a much-needed asset for the Sun Devils. The right-hander pitched five innings, allowing six hits and only two runs to lead Arizona State to a 5-3 over Cal State Fullerton at Goodwin Field in front of 1,493 fans in attendance.
We’re stretched thin right now, and for him to go out and control them for five innings, was exactly what we wanted,” Arizona State head coach Tracy Smith said. “Big time for him to pick his team up like that.”
Smith said he wasn’t sure what to expect from Aboites after his brief layoff, but was impressed by what he saw.
“It’s awesome. It’s part of the healing process. I’ve said before, people make mistakes, and it’s how you respond and how you bounce back from those mistakes determines who you really are, because none of us are perfect,” Smith said. “I think that goes along way, not just for him, and for me to prove in his mindset and everything. Regardless, if we didn’t win this thing tonight, the way he carries himself speaks volumes of who he is.”
While Aboites made an impression on the mound, Arizona State also got some impressive offensive performances. Juniors Brian Serven and David Greer, along with sophomore Andrew Shaps, each had two hits in a 10-hit team performance.
Arizona State (9-3) scored first when junior Sebastian Zawada singled home fellow junior Colby Woodmansee.
“He’s (Zawada) swinging a good bat,” Smith said. “He’s confident. When you’re confident, you mix that with some talent, you have a shot. So, yeah, I like the way he’s standing in there. He’s a DH. That’s what he’s supposed to do.”
Fullerton (6-5) tied the game in the bottom of the second.
The Sun Devils regained the lead in the top of the third inning, by scoring two runs to increase their lead to 3-1. Arizona State added a single run in fifth to increase the lead to 4-1.
The Titans made things interesting in the bottom of the third inning, loading the bases and threatening to take the lead. But, Aboites would strike out Chris Hudgins despite falling behind 3-0.
“That’s a veteran guy, stepping up and acting like a veteran.” Smith said. “He goes 3-0 on their bases loaded and comes back to get the strikeout. That’s huge. Again, it picked the squad up.”
In the bottom of the fifth inning, the Titans added a solo run to cut the deficit to 4-2.
In the top of the sixth inning, Ryan Lillard tripled and scored on a wild pitch, increasing Arizona State’s lead to 5-2.
Sophomore Ryan Hingst pitches three innings of relief, allowing one hit and no runs for the Sun Devils.
“He is commanding both sides of the plate with his fastball. That was big for him to get the hold right there,” Smith said. “He’s getting better and better each time out. Ryan had done his job and did it very well.”
Junior Eder Erives pitched a scoreless ninth for this third save of the season.
“We asked him (Erives), do you have one in ya?” Smith said. “He came in and did his job, which is to come in and save the ball game.”