College Confidential

Arizona State advances to face TCU at Fort Worth Regional

Arizona State first baseman David Greer tosses the ball to the pitcher covering the bag during action in Game 1 Friday against Gonzaga at the Fort Worth Regional. The Sun Devils lost that game but came back Sunday to defeat Gonzaga and advance.
Arizona State first baseman David Greer tosses the ball to the pitcher covering the bag during action in Game 1 Friday against Gonzaga at the Fort Worth Regional. The Sun Devils lost that game but came back Sunday to defeat Gonzaga and advance. AP

Pinch-hitter Jeremy McCuin hit his first career home run in the ninth inning, Brian Serven drove in two runs, and Zach Dixon pitched eight strong innings as Arizona State advanced in the Fort Worth Regional with a 6-3 victory against Gonzaga.

Serven, a junior catcher, got his fifth hit and second double of the tournament with his drive to left center in the fifth inning to make it 4-1. His sacrifice fly in the ninth inning gave him five RBIs in three games.

The Sun Devils (36-22) advanced to meet TCU at 6:30 Sunday at Lupton Stadium, needing to win to force a decisive game Monday for the regional title.

TCU (44-15) can win the championship with a victory either day.

Dixon (2-1) struck out eight in the first seven innings. He ran into trouble in the eighth inning, giving up two runs. Taylor Jones doubled with two out to close the Arizona State lead to 4-3, but Dixon got Tyler Frost to fly out on his 140th pitch.

“It’s what we had hoped, not to use certain guys and have them available if we were fortunate enough to play tonight,” Arizona State coach Tracy Smith said. “As it unfolded, it unfolded perfectly.”

Gonzaga, which lost to TCU 4-3 on Saturday night to drop to the elimination bracket, ended its season at 36-21.

“There was a natural letdown after a game like last night,” coach Mark Machtolf said. “Our kids have been so resilient. We came out and had a great pregame. We scored a run in the first. It’s not like we werent ready to go. We gave ourselves a chance. Just didn’t do enough on offense.”

Arizona State tied the game in the fourth inning when Serven, who walked with one out, scored on a wild pitch.

Colby Woodmansee followed with an RBI double, and a second run scored on a throwing error for a 3-1 lead.

McCuin’s home run made it 5-3 in the ninth, and Serven’s sacrifice fly made it 6-3.

Ryan Hingst pitched the ninth inning and got his second save for Arizona State.

Carlos Mendez: 817-390-7760, @calexmendez

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