Sun Devil Baseball Sweeps Fullerton, Wins Ninth in a Row
PHOENIX -- For the third time this weekend, Hunter Haas posted the go-ahead RBI and let his pitching staff do the rest as the No. 15 Sun Devil Baseball team swept Cal State Fullerton behind a 5-1 victory on Sunday afternoon at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
The Sun Devils improved to 11-2 on the year and extended their winning streak to nine games.
Haas had the big hit of the day, breaking up a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the second with his base-clearing double to plate three runs with two outs and give ASU all the breathing room it would need for the afternoon.
Justin Fall was exceptional in the start, going 5.2 innings in his first extended action of the year as he struck out four and allowed just one run on four hits.
After earning the win on Friday night, Will Levine bounced back to earn his first career save in 1.1 innings of action to cap things off.
Haas was 2-for-4 on the day and the only Sun Devil to record multiple hits. Joe Lampe scored two runs - the last of which came as he utilized his elite speed to take home from second on an infield single when Fullerton attempted to make the play at first instead.
ASU got all the offense they would need in a big second inning. After Fullerton broke through for a run in the top of the frame, the Sun Devils quite literally immediately evened things as Sean McLain led off the bottom hit with a solo shot to deep left center on the first pitch he saw. ASU would then mount a two-out rally behind back-to-back singles from Sam Ferri and Joe Lampe and a Drew Swift walk. Hunter Haas did the rest, giving one a ride down the left field line for a base-clearing double and a 4-1 ASU lead that it wouldn't relinquish.
- Sean McLain became the first Sun Devil to homer in three straight games since Hunter Bishop had four straight games from March 3-8, 2019 (each game against Xavier and midweek against NMSU). He has now homered in four of his last five games. Prior to that, Spencer Torkelson homered in each game of his freshman series against Arizona in 2018.
- McLain's homer today extended his team-best hitting streak to 12 games.
- ASU has seven homers in the last five games after having just five in the first eight games of the year.
- ASU had six home runs against the Titans. Fullerton had allowed just four homers in its first 11 games of the year.
- It was the first time this season the Sun Devils turned multiple double plays in the game (2).
- After just one hit in his first five games, Kai Murphy now has hits in six of the last seven games.
- Since announcing the loss for the season of Cooper Benson and Boyd Vander Kooi, the Sun Devil pitching staff has responded with allowing just nine total earned runs over a 6-game winning streak for a 1.50 ERA.
- ASU is winners of eight games in a row, its longest streak since starting the 2019 season 21-0.
- The Sun Devils have held opponents to five runs or fewer in 28 of 30 games since Jason Kelly arrived on campus. For perspective, the 2019 team allowed six runs or more in 25 of 57 games.
- In the last six games, opponents are 5-for-50 with runners in scoring position (.100) and scored just one run from third with less than two outs (1-for-10). ASU has stranded 53 runners on the basepath in that time.
- The Sun Devil infielders have just two errors on 220 chances this season (.991). That comes despite playing freshmen at first, second and third while Drew Swift has shifted from second base to shortstop. The left side of the infielder of Drew Swift and Hunter Haas has yet to have an error this year.
- Hunter Haas had the go-ahead RBI in all three games this weekend and now has five go-ahead RBIs on the season in ASU's 11 victories.
- It was just the second time in a storied history between the two teams that ASU had won a three-game series against the Titans and extended the winning streak over CSUF to six games.
INNING BY INNING
Justin Fall faced the minimum, issuing a double play after a leadoff single and a ground out. Drew Swift had a leadoff single of his own, moving to second on a wild pitch and then third on a ground out but ASU was unable to bring him across.
Fullerton broke through first behind a leadoff double and single to put runners on the corners. Fall got two strikeouts but the Titans pushed an RBI single through before Fall finished off the side with another strikeout. ASU responded quite literally immediately as Sean McLain took the first pitch he saw of the day 418 yards out of the park. ASU would work the bases full with two outs behind singles from Sam Ferri and Joe Lampe and a Swift walk and Hunter Haas cleared them all with a double to left to make it 4-1.
Fall did exactly what he needed after the offensive outburst, setting down the side in order on just 11 pitches. Kai Murphy tried to get another two-out rally going but was stranded at second.
Drew Swift corralled a couple tough ground ball up the middle, the second of which a huge play that he turned into a double play to get ASU out of the frame. The Devils went down in order in the bottom half.
It was another quick frame for Justin Fall as he got all three outs on just four pitches straddling a walk to put himself in position for the win though the Devils went down in order again.
Fall capped off his impressive day with a strikeout and his own assist on a put out. For the third straight inning, ASU went down in order.
ASU faced its first spot of trouble in several innings with runners on the corners and no outs after an error and a wild pitch on a third strike. Graham Osman limited the damage though, issuing a sacrifice fly but getting a strikeout and pop out to limit the damage to 4-2. ASU's speed showed off in the bottom of the frame. With Joe Lampe on second and two outs, Hunter Haas sent a soft single up the middle and legged out the throw to first for the base hit. While that was happening, Lampe was well on his way around third and slid safely home for a big insurance run for the Devils, making it 5-2.
Levine stranded a leadoff walk at second base thanks to a nice play on the run from Hunter Haas at third. ASU went down in order.
Things got a little spicy in the ninth as Fullerton loaded the bases with two outs behind two walks and a single, but Levine was unfazed and issued the game-ending popup to third to earn his first career save.
The Sun Devils will have a quick turnaround as they welcome UNLV for a Tuesday afternoon tilt at 12 p.m. AZT. The game will be available on the ASU Live Stream and over the airwaves on 1060 AM KDUS.