Bullpen Shuts Out Utah as Sun Devil Baseball Earns Sweep
PHOENIX -- It was a historic day for the Sun Devil Baseball bullpen, which utilized eight different pitchers in a 5-0 shutout and series sweep over Utah on Sunday afternoon at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
Since at least 2000 (as far back as readily available box scores go), ASU had never used more than six pitchers in a shutout until Sunday. Seth Tomczak got the first start of his career while Will Levine earned the victory in his 2021 debut.
The win gave ASU its sixth in a row and first series sweep of the season as the Sun Devils moved to 8-2.
Seven Sun Devils recorded hits and the bats had a big fifth inning to open the game up and give the bullpen some breathing room after clinging to a 1-0 lead through the first four innings.
Tomczak went 2.1 innings with two strikes and three hits before giving way to Levine. Levine was dominant in the effort, recorded his first five outs on just 12 pitches as he went 2.2 with two strikeouts and no hits to earn the win.
Six of the eight Sun Devils who toed the rubber did not allow a pitch while five pitchers made either their Sun Devil or 2021 debut).
Jared Glenn (1.0 IP, 0 H, 1K), Brady Corrigan (0.2 IP, 0 H, 1K), Joe Hauser (1.0 IP, 0 H), Nick Wallerstedt (0 R), Cam Dennie (1.0 IP, 0H, 2 K) and Bryce Barnett (0.1 IP, 0 H, 1K) filled out the rest of the stat line as the crew held Utah to just five hits in the effort.
ASU got multi hit performances out of Ethan Long, Sean McClain, Nate Baez and Joe Lampe.
While the pitching was clearly the story of the game, ASU didn't put things away until the fifth inning and they did it simply hitting a flurry of singles, working the base path and rallying with two outs. Joe Lampe led off with a single, stole second and moved to third on a Drew Swift groundout. Hunter Haas plated him for some insurance before ASU took its second out of the inning. Haas stole second and scored on Ethan Long's single through the right side, the first of three straight singles from Long, Sean McLain and pinch hitter Jack Moss. Moss brought Long home with his to make it a 4-0 game and McClain did the rest as he took two free bags on wild pitches to score the fifth and final run of the game and give ASU's bullpen some breathing room.
- ASU stranded 30 Utah base runners over the course of the weekend (10 per game) and held Utah to 2-for-27 hitting with runners in scoring position (.074).
- Since AT LEAST 2000 (readily available box scores are not available beyond that) the most ASU pitchers who combined for a shutout was six. ASU utilized eight on Sunday.
- After starting the season 1-for-8, Sean McLain now has 14 hits in his last 28 at bats to raise his average over .400. He has two hits in six of his last eight games.
- The Sun Devils have had at least seven players record a hit in five straight games.
- Ethan Long had his first multi-RBI game of the season with his second multi-hit game of the week.
- The Sun Devils have held opponents to five runs or fewer in 25 of 27 games since Jason Kelly assumed the mantle of pitching coach - though Sunday was the first shutout in his tenure.
- The Sun Devil infielders have combined to post just one infield error on 161 chances after this weekend (.993). That comes despite starting freshmen at first, second, and third and shifting Drew Swift from second base to shortstop. ASU recorded just one error as a team in its four games this week and a .993 fielding percentage in the process.
- ASU used 21 players on Sunday, tied with the Nevada contest for the most this season.
INNING BY INNING
Seth Tomczak got the first start of his career, working around an early jam with runners on the corners and only one out, getting a pop out and a big strikeout to keep Utah scoreless. ASU played clinical baseball on offense with Drew Swift singling on the first pitch of the day, taking second on a wild, moving to third on an infield single and scoring on Ethan Long's sac fly to give ASU an early 1-0 lead.
Tomczak stranded a one-out single with another solid inning of work and his second strikeout. ASU had a leadoff single but nothing came of it.
Hunter Haas made an incredible diving stab on a liner for the first out and Will Levine made his 2021 debut after a one-out walk from Tomczak. The sophomore needed literally one pitch to get out of the inning, getting a double play and keeping Utah off the board.
Levine cruised through a 1-2-3 inning, needing just 12 pitches to record his 5 outs, thought the Sun Devils went down in order to keep it a 1-0 game.
Another 1-2-3 frame from Levine set the tone for ASU's big inning. Lampe singled and stole second, moving to third on a Drew Swift ground-out, coming home on a first-pitch RBI single from Hunter Haas. ASU would get the two-out rally started at that point as ASU got three straight singles from Ethan Long, Sean McClain and Jack Moss with Long's and Moss' bringing runs across to make it 4-0. McClain capped the inning with another run on back-to-back wild pitches to make it 5-0.
Jared Glenn entered after a leadoff walk from the Utes and calmly retired the side in order at that point though ASU was unable to tack on to their lead.
Brady Corrigan entered in relief and got two quick outs before being spelled by Joe Hauser in his 2021 debut, who took ASU into the stretch with an easy ground out.
Joe Hauser got the first two outs of the 8th before giving way to Nick Wallerstedt. The freshman pumped mid-to-high 90s on the radar gun but an infield communication issue led to a soft single followed by a first-to-third single and walk to load the bases with two outs. Cam Dennie came in and safely escaped the jam to keep Utah off the board.
Cam Dennie did his part to get the first two outs of the ninth before Blake Barnett got his 2021 debut, getting a swinging strikeout to end the game.
The Sun Devils welcome Cal State Fullerton for a three-game series next weekend beginning Friday at 6:35 p.m. AZT.