Sun Devil Baseball Looks to Stay Hot Against Fullerton
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***Due to COVID-19 circumstances, roster and statistical printouts are no longer available at the stadium. Fans are encouraged to print out materials at home and bring them to the ballpark.
PHOENIX -- #15 Sun Devil Baseball welcomes perennial West Coach foe Cal State Fullerton this weekend for a three game series at Phoenix Municipal Stadium beginning Friday, March 12 at 6:30 p.m. AZT. Saturday's contest is scheduled for a 2 p.m. first pitch before the two teams wrap up the series on Sunday at 12:30 p.m.
The Sun Devils will host UNLV on Tuesday, March 16 at Noon AZT in the team's last non-conference contest before opening Pac-12 season on the road at Oregon next weekend.
In The Rankings
The Sun Devils are ranked as high as 15th in the polls this week by Perfect Game. The team is 18 in the Collegiate Baseball News Poll and just just outside the Top-25 in the NCBWA Poll (27) and the USA Today Coaches Poll (29). 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 on Friday and Saturday (as well as Tuesday's UNLV game) while the Sunday tilt will be stream on the secondary ASU live stream (https://pac-12.com/live/arizona-state-university)
- All four games this weekend and Tuesday 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.
#10THINGS (Twitter-Friendly Notes)
1. Dating back to last year, ASU has held opponents to five runs or fewer in 25 of the 27 games since Jason Kelly's arrival.
2. ASU stranded 30 Utah base runners last weekend (10 per game) and held Utah to 2-for-27 hitting with runners in scoring position (.074).
3. Sean McLain hits in his last nine games and has multiple hits in six of those - the most-multi hit games on the team.
4. The Sun Devil infielders have combined to post just one infield error on 161 chances after this last weekend (.993).
5. The Sun Devils have had at least seven players record a hit in five straight games and used at least 20 players in three games.
6. ASU has yet to lose a game in which Tyler Thornton has started, going 7-0 in those games going back to last year.
7. The bullpen has recorded a 2.57 ERA this season with four saves and a 52:24 strikeout to walk ration.
8. ASU has three players with at least an eight-game reached base streak: Sean McLain and Hunter Jump (9) and Hunter Haas (8).
9. ASU is 13th in the country with a 1.09 WHIP and 15th in the nation in hits allowed per nine innings (6.10).
10. Blake Pivaroff has four at bats this season, all coming as a pinch hitter, and he has a hit on all for of those chances.
BY THE NUMBERS
25 - ASU has held its opponents to 5 runs or fewer in 25 of the 27 games since Jason Kelly has come on as the pitching coach. For perspective, ASU gave up six or more runs in 25 of its 57 games in 2019. ASU is 13th in the country and fourth in the Pac-12 with a 1.09 WHIP so far this year. The team is 15th in the nation and second in the Pac-12 in hits allowed per nine innings (6.10).The Sun Devils are 17th nationally in ERA (2.60). ASU's bullpen has combined for a 2.57 ERA this season with over a 2:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
9 - Sean McLain has become the hottest batter in the Sun Devil lineup, with hits in his last nine games and has multiple hits in six of those - the most-multi hit games on the team. He leads the team with a .417 average on the year, good for fifth in the Pac-12.McLain has five doubles on the year, good for fifth in the Pac-12 and 31st nationally.McLain has successfully advanced runners a team-best 14 times on 22 chances (.636).He has just one error on 29 chances this year and that error came while playing in the outfield.
7 - ASU has yet to lose a game in which Tyler Thornton has started since arriving in Phoenix, going 7-0 in those games. Thornton has given ASU at least 5.1 innings in six of his seven outings at ASU. In fact, including his 13 starts at Saint Mary's, Thorton has failed to reach the five-inning mark just three times in his 20 collegiate starts. Thornton has 6 or more strikeouts in five of his first seven appearances for the Sun Devils dating back to last year. He has thrown a strike on 65.0 percent of his pitchers this year. His 21 strikeouts are seventh in the Pac-12.
1 - 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. Three of ASU's seven errors this season have come from pitchers, which bumps ASU's position players to a .986 average.
On The Titans/Rebels
- ASU owns a 36-26 all-time record against Fullerton and the two programs have met numerous times in the postseason as two of the elite program in the West. The Devils swept a two-game midweek series against the Ttians last season just before the season was canceled.
- Tanner Bibee will be yet another in a list of elite Friday-night arms the Sun Devils will face this season. Already a two-time Big West Pitcher of the Week, Bibee enters the weekend with a 0.43 ERA over 21.0 innings, striking out 20 with just two walks.
- ASU is 64-20-1 against UNLV in the all-time series between the two.
Just Like He Drew It Up
- Drew Swift has quickly picked up where he left off last season, recording hits in 9 of 10 games this season and enters the weekend with a .341 average. His slugging percentage sits at .500, a notable evolution for a player who had just two extra-base hits in 55 games as a freshman and slugged just .333 as a sophomore.
- He has reached base on 8 out of 16 leadoff opportunities this season and has five games this season with multiple hits. He has multiple hits in 13 of his last 21 games, dating back to last season.
- Perhaps more impressive has been his defensive play at shortstop where he is a perfect 36-for-36 on his chances with a team-high 23 assists and three 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. 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 missing time with injury, good for fourth in the Pac-12 in the category and second among non-first basemen. His 135 defensive assists were good for 7th in the Pac-12.
- Sean McLain has become the hottest batter in the Sun Devil lineup, with hits in his last nine games and has multiple hits in six of those - the most-multi hit games on the team.
- He leads the team with a .417 average on the year, good for fifth in the Pac-12.
- McLain has five doubles on the year, good for fifth in the Pac-12 and 31st nationally.
- McLain has successfully advanced runners a team-best 14 times on 22 chances (.636).
- 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.
- He has just one error on 29 chances this year and that error came while playing in the outfield after spending the majority of his time at second base.
Welcome to Our Haas
- Hunter Haas continues to get it done both on the plate and at the hot corner, entering the weekend second on the team with a .342 average and an eight-game hitting streak.
- He and Hunter Jump are the only two starters on the team with positive or even Walk:Strikeout ratios as he has just three strikeouts with three walks.
- His four hits with runners in scoring position are most on the team (and come on just seven chances for a .571 average).
- 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, Sean McClain and Joe Lampe are the only two players with two multi-RBI games.
- The frosh isn't afraid to shoot his shot with the majority of his action coming early in counts, rarely seeing more than two pitches. 10 of his 13 hits this year have come on 0-0, 0-1, 1-0, 1-1 or 2-0 counts.
- 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 12 times on 22 opportunities this season for a .545 average and out of ASU's day-to-day starters, he has stranded the second-fewest base runners with just two.
- Haas has been perfect over at the hot corner, with no errors on 20 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 stranded just one runner on the base path this year and successfully advanced runners 9 times on 17 chances (.529).
- Lampe has a team-high slugging percentage of .667 this season and leads the squad with eight RBIs.
- His two triples on the year are ninth in the nation and second in the Pac-12.
- He is third in the nation 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 last week to help lead the squad to victory.
- Jump has reached base in nine straight games and has six straight games with a hit.
- Jump has drawn a team-high seven walks on the season.
- 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.
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 solid .308 average.
- Ferri has thrown out three runners trying to steal second against him, compared to just three stolen bases.
Every Rose Has Its Thorn
- Tyler Thornton has continued to do Tyler Thornton things in 2021 and will look to take those talents as the stabalizer in the weekend rotation after the unfortunate season-ending injuries to Cooper Benson and Boyd Vander Kooi and Erik Tolman's missing of the next couple weeks.
- Thornton leads the Devils with 15.1 innings pitched this year, striking out a team-best 21 and to six walks. The 21 strikeouts are 7th in the Pac-12. He has thrown a strike on 65 percent of his pitches this year.
- Thornton has 6 or more strikeouts in five of his first seven appearances for the Sun Devils dating back to last year.
- Thornton has given ASU at least 5.1 innings in six of his seven outings at ASU. In fact, including his 13 starts at Saint Mary's, Thorton has failed to reach the five-inning mark just three times in his 20 collegiate starts.
- ASU has not lost a game in which he had started, going 7-0 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.
Pay the Tolman
- In 31 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-21 hitting with 13 strikeouts.
- 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.
- Osman leads the team in allowing just a .080 average against.
- 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 while throwing a strike 80.0 percent of the time.
- Graham Osman was electric in his first two appearances this season, retiring all 10 batters he faced on opening weekend.
- He was one of just 31 Division I pitchers with at least 3.0 innings pitched on opening weekend to not allow a hit. 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 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 25 of the 27 games since Kelly has come on as the pitching coach. For perspective ASU gave up six or more runs in 25 of its 57 games in the 2019 season.
- ASU is 13th in the country and fourth in the Pac-12 with a 1.09 WHIP so far this year. The team is 15th in the nation and second in the Pac-12 in hits allowed per nine innings (6.10).
- The Sun Devils are 17th nationally in ERA (2.60).
- 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).
- ASU had eight pitchers combine for a shutout in the team's series sweeping win over Utah - the first time in program history eight pitchers combined to shut out another team.
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 .978 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 bumps ASU's position players to a .986 average.
- 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.
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 and Erik Tolman's absence for the next couple weeks. But thus far, the group has been up to task.
- The bullpen has recorded a 2.57 ERA this season with four saves and a 52:24 strikeout to walk ration.
- Freshman Ethan Long is second on the team with five appearances and has yet to allow a run, recording a team-best three saves.
- Eight players who have come in off the bench still have a 0.00 ERA on the board and 11 are sub-3.00.
- The bullpen is combining to allow just a .182 opponent batter's average against.
A Team Effort
- Three times already this season, ASU has used at least 20 players in a game.
- ASU used a program shutout record of eight pitchers in its series sweeping win over Utah.
- The Sun Devils have had at least seven players record a hit in five straight games.
- Blake Pivaroff once again delivered a clutch pinch hit RBI, starting his Sun Devil career 4-for-4, all of which were pinch-hit appearances.
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.