#19 Sun Devil Baseball Welcomes Utah in Non-Conference Series
PHOENIX -- #19 Sun Devil Baseball will host Pac-12 opponent Utah in a non-conference series this weekend at Phoenix Municipal Stadium beginning Friday at 6:30 p.m. AZT. First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 2 p.m. AZT while the series finale will get underway at 12:30 p.m. AZT on Sunday.
All Saturday home games during the month of March have been rescheduled to 2 p.m. AZT.
In The Rankings
The Sun Devils are ranked as high as 19th in the polls this week by Perfect Game. The team is 22nd in the Collegiate Baseball News Poll and receiving votes in the NCBWA Poll. The squad remains unranked by D1Baseball and Baseball American.
Follow the Action
- All three games this weekend will be streamed live online on the main ASU live stream at https://pac-12.com/live/arizona-state-university.
- All three games this weekend will be available over the airwaves on Phoenix Sports Radio 1060 KDUS.
- Fans are encouraged to follow along pre-game and in-game content throughout the week on the Sun Devil Baseball Twtter account: @ASU_Baseball, especially for key weather updates and time changes.
On The Utes
- Utah baseball stays on the road for the third series in a row.
- The Utes and Sun Devils were set to begin Pac-12 play last season in Phoenix, but the series and eventually the season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic
- Utah sits at 1-5 on the season after getting swept by Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles, Calif. This will be the first series Utah has played outside of the state of California.
- ASU leads the all-time series against the Utes, 43-12.
#10THINGS (Twitter-Friendly Notes)
1. Dating back to last year, ASU has held opponents to five runs or fewer in 22 of the 24 games since Jason Kelly's arrival.
2. ASU has scored 22 runs in its last two games after having just 15 COMBINED runs in its first five games.
3. Drew Swift has 4 consecutive games with two hits and he has multiple hits in 12 of his last 19 games, dating back to last season.
4. ASU has recorded just one error on an infielder this season on 120 chances (.991), coming at first base.
5. Drew Swift has recorded 408 career at bats, notable as the remainder of the Sun Devil roster has COMBINED for just 680.
6. ASU has yet to lose a game in which Tyler Thornton has started, going 6-0 in those games going back to last year.
7. Tyler Thornton has gone at least 5.0 innings in 17 of 19 collegiate starts, including all six starts he has made at ASU.
8. Erik Tolman has held the opposition to 1-for-16 hitting with nine strikeouts and threw a strike on 21-of-36 of those batters faced.
9. ASU is 19th in the country with a 1.03 WHIP so far this year.and 23rd in the nation in hits allowed per nine innings (6.29).
10. In 30 career appearances, Erik Tolman has allowed more than three earned runs in a single game just once.
BY THE NUMBERS
22 - ASU has held its opponents to 5 runs or fewer in 22 of the 24 games since Jason Kelly has come on as the pitching coach. For perspective, ASU game up six or more runs in 25 of its 57 games in 2019. ASU is 19th in the country and third in the Pac-12 with a 1.03 WHIP so far this year. The team is 23rd in the nation and second in the Pac-12 in hits allowed per nine innings (6.29).The Sun Devils are 30th in the nation with just 3.14 walks allowed per nine innings this year.ASU also ranks in the Top-50 nationally in ERA (3.14) and K:BB ratio (3.05).
6 - ASU has yet to lose a game in which Tyler Thornton has started since arriving in Phoenix, going 6-0 in those games. Thornton has given ASU at least 5.1 innings in all six of his outings at ASU. In fact, including his 13 starts at Saint Mary's, Thorton has failed to reach the five-inning mark just twice in his 19 collegiate starts - one of those coming in a blowout game early in the seaosn at SMC. Thornton has 6 or more strikeouts in four of his first six appearances for the Sun Devils dating back to last year. He has thrown a strike on 68.3 percent of his pitchers this year.
4 - Hunter Haas has recorded multiple hits in each of his last four starts and is sitting second on the squad with a .385 average on the year. He recorded the game-winning RBIs in Game Two of the Hawai'i series and during the midweek contest against Nevada. Haas has easily been ASU's best hitter with two outs, recording six hits on eight chances - two more hits than any other player on the roster.Haas has successfully advanced runners a team-best 10 times on 18 opportunities this season for a .556 average.
1 - ASU has recorded just one error on an infielder this season on 120 chances (.991). ASU finds itself fielding at a very respectable .973 average early in the season - good for fourth in the Pac-12. Three of ASU's seven errors this season have come from pitchers, which umps ASU's position players to a .983 average. This comes despite the fact that no position player this season is the same as what ASU ended the 2020 season with as a starter.
Just Like He Drew It Up
- Drew Swift has quickly picked up where he left off last season, recording hits in every game this season as he entered the weekend with a .379 average and a .438 OBP. His slugging percentage is second among the team's starters at .621.
- He has reached base on 5 out of 10 leadoff opportunities this season and has recorded his fourth consecutive game with two hits. He has a hit in all seven ASU games this season. He has multiple hits in 12 of his last 19 games, dating back to last season.
- Perhaps more impressive has been his defensive play at shortstop where he is a perfect 25-for-25 on his chances with a team-high 18 assists and two double plays turned.
- Swift was Mr. Sun Devil for the ASU last season, seeing time at second base, shortstop, center field and right field. He finished on an unreal tear over his final seven games, recording five-straight multi-hit efforts at one point and two of those being four-hit contests. In that five-game stretch, Swift went 15-of-29 (.517) with a team-best 13 RBIs.
- Swift led the team in batting average, sitting at .365 overall on the season with a team-best 23 hits - three more than any of his teammates. He was easily been ASU's best hitter with runners in scoring position, going 11-for-24 (.524) with three more hits than any teammate.
- His clutch hitting also stood out as he was the team's best hitter with two outs, going 9-for-22 (.409).Swift had a team-best 8 multi-hit games - two more than any of his teammates - and was the only player on the squad to record a 4-hit game - doing so twice.
- Swift helped turn 10 double plays last season - the third-most in the Pac-12 and most among non-first basemen.
- Swift was named to the Pac-12 honorable mention All-Defensive team as a sophomore. He was a part of 36 double plays, despite the time missed, good for fourth in the Pac-12 in the category and second among non-first basemen. He helped ASU turn 61 double plays on the season - sixth in the nation and first in the Pac-12. His 135 defensive assists were good for 7th in the Pac-12.
Welcome to Our Haas
- The hottest player in the Sun Devil order in the last week has been freshman Hunter Haas, who has recorded multiple hits in each of his last four starts and sitting second on the squad with a .385 average on the year
- Haas recorded the game-winning RBIs in Game Two of the Hawai'i series and during the midweek contest against Nevada. His Hawai'i game-winner was especially exciting as it came on an inside-the-park home run in the bottom of the eighth inning - his first career homer.
- His four-RBI effort against Nevada was the most for a Sun Devil this season and he and Joe Lampe are the only two players with two multi-RBI games.
- Haas has easily been ASU's best hitter with two outs, recording six hits on eight chances - two more hits than any other player on the roster.
- Haas has successfully advanced runners a team-best 10 times on 18 opportunities this season for a .556 average and out of ASU's day-to-day starters, he has stranded the fewest base runners with just one.
- Haas has been perfect over at the hot corner, with no errors on 16 total chances.
I Love Lamp
- Joe Lampe showed why he might quickly become a fan favorite for the Sun Devil faithful, hustling out doubles on routine singles, turning around one extra base hit after another and generally providing some oomph into the bottom of the Sun Devil order.
- Lampe has a team-high slugging percentage of .750 this season and leads the squad with eight RBIs - good for 10th in the Pac-12.
- His two triples on the year are fourth in the nation and second in the Pac-12.
- He is the nationally leader with three sacrifice flies on the year.
- Lampe slugged a gaudy 1.222 with four extra base hits (2 doubles, 2 triples on his five hits on the weekend) during the opening weekend of action.
- Hunter Jump got off to a bit of a slow start but has come on strong in his last couple games. The junior had two doubles for three RBIs against Nevada this week to help lead the squad to victory.
- Jump has drawn a team-high six walks on the season - good for 13th in the Pac-12 while his 1.00 BB/game average is fifth.
- Jump was among the hottest hitters in the Sun Devil lineup in the last couple weeks of the 2020 season and finished the year on an eight-game hitting streak.
- In the last two weeks of the 2020 season, Jump went 14-of-31 with a .452 average and was second on the team with 12 RBIs in the final 8 games. He slugged .742 in that time with a team-best six doubles.
- He led the Pac-12 and was 27th nationally with 7 total doubles on the season.
- Jump was responsible for the game-winning RBIs in the sixth inning or later in both of ASU's first two games of the series sweep of Fresno State.
Sam I Am
- It is a welcome sight to see Sam Ferri back behind the plate for the Sun Devils after facing two major surgeries in his collegiate career.
- Ferri has responded to his return to the starting lineup with a team best .444 average this season.
- Ferri has thrown out three runners trying to steal second against him, compared to just two stolen bases.
- Sean McLain has become one of the hottest batters in the Sun Devil lineup, with hits in his last six games and multiple hits in four of those.
- He sits tied for second on the team with a .385 average and has struck out just twice.
- McLain has three doubles on the year, good for fourth in the Pac-12.
- He has just one error on 22 chances this year and that error came while playing in the outfield after spending the majority of his time at second base.
Every Rose Has Its Thorn
- Tyler Thornton has continued to do Tyler Thornton things in 2021 and will look to take those talents to Friday nights in the unfortunate absence of Cooper Benson and Boyd Vander Kooi.
- Thornton leads the Devils with 11.1 innings pitched this year, striking out a team-best 13 and walking just three. He has thrown a strike on 68.3 percent of his pitches this year.
- Thornton has 6 or more strikeouts in four of his first six appearances for the Sun Devils dating back to last year.
- Thornton has given ASU at least 5.1 innings in all six of his outings at ASU. In fact, including his 13 starts at Saint Mary's, Thorton has failed to reach the five-inning mark just twice in his 19 collegiate starts - one of those coming in a blowout game early in the seaosn at SMC.
- ASU has not lost a game in which he had started, going 6-0 in those games.
- Thornton, a transfer from Saint Mary's, played heavily into the Sun Devil pitching rotation last season. He was nigh unhittable in his debut as a Sun Devil, allowing just one hit in 6.2 innings of work against Villanova.
- The sophomore posted a quality start in three of his first four starts last season, the only Sun Devil to post such a feat. ASU was 4-0 in games Thornton started.
- Thornton was 2-0 with a 3.48 ERA with 25 strikeouts and seven walks in 24.0 innings pitched - tied for 6th in the Pac-12. His 25 strikeouts were 11th in the Pac-12.
- Thornton was tabbed the National Freshman of the Year (Collegiate Baseball) and National Freshman Pitcher of the Year (NCWBA) and Freshman of the Year of the West Coast Conference. He finished the year with a 10-2 record and a 2.71 earned run average in 13 starts. His 5.54 hits allowed per nine innings were ranked 11th in the country and first in the West Coast Conference and his 10 wins were also ranked 11th in the nation. Thornton's 11.08 strikeouts per nine innings were ranked third in the WCC and his WHIP of 0.97 was also third in the conference (27th in the nation).
Pay the Tolman
- In 30 career appearances, Erik Tolman has only once allowed more than three earned runs in a game.
- As has always been the case, Tolman is electric when operating ahead in the count in 2021. In two-strike counts (0-2, 1-2, 2-2), Tolman has held the opposition to 1-for-16 hitting with nine strikeouts and threw a strike on 21-of-36 of those batters faced.
- Erik Tolman allowed just one hit in five innings of work during the opening weekend, striking out six and holding the opposition to a .062 average.
- Tolman had 30 strikeouts in just 18.0 innings pitched last season - holding opponents to just .143 hitting. The 30 strikeouts were 5th in the Pac-12 last season while his 12 looking strikeouts were second.
- Tolman recorded 15.00 strikeouts per nine innings, a total that was 2nd in the Pac-12 and 18th nationally.
- In his three starts last year, Tolman allowed just four earned runs. He was unfazed by runners on the basepath, holding opponents to just 3-of-20 hitting (.150) with runners on. Tolman was deadly with two strikes to his credit last season, holding opponents to 3-for-45 (.067) hitting with two strikes.
- Tolman's 2020 debut was absolutely electric as he posted a career-best 12 strikeouts against #24 Oklahoma State - the most for an ASU pitcher since Ryan Kellogg had 12 strikeouts against Oregon on May 12, 2014. It took Kellogg eight innings to get to that mark, while Tolman was able to reach the number in just six innings of work. It was the most strikeouts in six or fewer innings since Mitchell Lambson had 12 on March 14, 2009 against Kansas in 5.2 innings.
- Graham Osman was electric in his first two appearances this season, retiring all 10 batters he faced on opening weekend.
- Osman leads the team in allowing just a .091 average against.
- Osman went 2.1 innings in the Sac State finale to earn his first career save and seal the series victory for the Sun Devils.
- The redshirt freshman has been solid in full count situations, facing 13 of them this season and holding opponents to 0-7 hitting with four strikeouts and just two walks while throwing a strike 84.6 percent of the time.
- He was one of just 31 Division I pitchers with at least 3.0 innings pitched on opening weekend to not allow a hit.
The JK Effect
- Pitching coach Jason Kelly has made an immediate impression in Phoenix in just his short time with the program and his early returns last season have continued into 2021.
- ASU has held its opponents to 5 runs or fewer in 22 of the 24 games since Kelly has come on as the pitching coach. For perspective ASU game up six or more runs in 25 of its 57 games in the 2019 season.
- ASU is 19th in the country and third in the Pac-12 with a 1.03 WHIP so far this year. The team is 23rd in the nation and second in the Pac-12 in hits allowed per nine innings (6.29).
- The Sun Devils are 30th in the nation with just 3.14 walks allowed per nine innings this year.
- ASU also ranks in the Top-50 nationally in ERA (3.14) and K:BB ratio (3.05).
- The series-clinching effort against Sac State was ASU's first one-hitter since May 20, 2007 when Brian Flores went the distance in an 8-1 victory over Oregon State. ASU has had two no-hitters since then (Ryan Kellogg in 2013 and Ryan Hingst in 2016).
Playing the Field
- The Sun Devils are likely one of the few teams in the country that are not returning a single position player to their 2020 positions in 2021. ASU's only two veteran starters are Drew Swift - who shifted over to shortstop this season after spending the majority of his career at second base - and catcher Sam Ferri, who was knocked out during opening weekend last season with injury. All other positions on the diamond have been replaced by newcomers.
- Despite that, ASU finds itself fielding at a very respectable .973 average early in the season - good for fourth in the Pac-12.
- Three of ASU's seven errors this season have come from pitchers, which umps ASU's position players to a .983 average.
- Even more impressive has been the infield defense. With Swift playing a different position and three freshmen starting at the bases, ASU has recorded just one infield error this season on 120 chances (.991)
Grab the Bullpen By the Horns
- ASU will depend heavily on its pen this season with the loss of Cooper Benson and Boyd Vander Kooi to the starting rotation. But thus far, the group has been up to task.
- The bullpen has recorded a 3.24 ERA this season with four saves and a 34:13 strikeout to walk ration.
- Freshman Ethan Long leads the team with four appearances and has yet to allow a run, recording a team-best two saves.
- Five bullpen pitchers still have a 0.00 ERA on the board and seven are sub-3.00.
Looking at the Bright Side
- The loss of the 2020 season was tough to swallow for many across the nation, but especially for a promising Sun Devil program that was primed for a College World Series-type run. But while the Sun Devils lost some significant bats and infield defense following the season, the shortened 2020 Draft left a talented pitching staff mostly unscathed.
- Only closer RJ Dabovich was (114th overall selection of the fourth round) lost and while ASU will have to find a way to replace his production (4 saves, 0.77 ERA, 17 strikeouts in 9 appearances and 11.2 innings), the Sun Devils return every starter for the 2020 campaign from a team that posted a 3.56 era with 178 strikeouts to just 67 walks and a just a .224 average against.
Feeling the Draft
- Despite the draft being shortened to five rounds from 40 due to the fallout from COVID-19, the Sun Devils made history as ASU's five draft selections through the first four rounds marked a program record. Previously the record was four, which had occurred six times in history and most recently in 2012 (Deven Marrero, Brady Rodgers, Joey DeMichele, Jake Barrett).
- The five selections in the 2020 MLB Draft were the most of any program. ASU has had at least five MLB Draft selections if 49 of the 56 all-time draft years since Sun Devil alumnus Rick Monday was selected with the No. 1 overall pick of the 1965 MLB Draft. It was ASU's third consecutive season with five draft picks and the fourth season in the last five years with the total.
- The haul brings ASU's all-time MLB Draft selections to an NCAA-leading 447, including secondary phase and January drafts throughout history. ASU's 156 draft selections since 1999 are also the most of any team in the nation.
- Sun Devil Baseball bookended the opening round of the 2020 MLB Draft as Spencer Torkelson was selected with the No. 1 overall pick by the Detroit Tigers while Alika Williams was chosen 37th overall by the Tampa Bay Rays in the Competitive Balance Round A with the final selection of the first round.
- Torkelson became the fourth Arizona State baseball player to go No. 1 overall in program history, easily an NCAA-high – two more than any other program. He joins Rick Monday (1965), Floyd Bannister (1976) and Bob Horner (1978) to earn the prestigious designation out of ASU.
- It was the seventh time in ASU history that the program recorded two first round selections (including supplementary rounds) - tied with Stanford for the most multi-pick years in NCAA history. The last time it occurred was 1997 when Ryan Bradley and Dan McKinley were selected 40th and 49th overall in the supplemental rounds. It is the first time with at least one of the players going in the non-compensatory first round since 1994 (Antone Williamson (4th) and Jacob Cruz (32nd)).
- With Torkelson becoming Sun Devil Baseball's fourth No. 1 overall pick, Arizona State now ranks tied for fourth among all NCAA programs for most No. 1 overall draft picks from a single program among the major sports (MLB/NBA/NFL/NHL). Notre Dame, Oklahoma and USC football have all had five No. 1 picks in the NFL draft. Sun Devil Baseball is the only NCAA baseball program in the Top-10.
- Torkelson was the 22nd first round selection for the Sun Devils in program history (June draft only, no supplemental rounds) – good for the second-highest tally in NCAA history (Stanford's 23). With supplemental rounds included, Torkelson and Williams mark 30 first-round selections - one behind Stanford for the most in the NCAA. The duo marks the 51st and 52nd first round selections in program history with the supplementary, January and June Secondary phase drafts included as well.
- Torkelson's selection marks the second consecutive season that a Sun Devil has gone in the first 10 picks of the MLB Draft, joining Hunter Bishop's 10th overall selection by the San Francisco Giants last season. Torkelson is the 14th Top-10 pick in Sun Devil program history - the most of any program in the NCAA.