Sun Devil Baseball Knocks Off #16 Oregon in Pac-12 Opener
EUGENE, Ore – It was a night of tests for the No. 23 Sun Devil Baseball program. It was the first time this season it had gone on the road. It was the first time this season it was playing a ranked opponent. It was the first time this season it was playing in a Pac-12 game. And right out the gates, it was the first time this season ASU had trailed by three runs at the end of an inning.
The Sun Devils (12-3, 1-0 Pac-12) took each test in stride, riding the bat of freshman Ethan Long and the arm of freshman Jared Glenn to a 6-3 victory over the No. 16 Oregon Ducks (8-4, 0-1 Pac-12) on a rainy Friday evening at PK Park in Eugene, Ore.
Oregon got out to a hot start, plating three in the first to give ASU its largest deficit of the season at the end of an inning – down 3-0. The Devils scratched a run across in the second before plating three of their own in the third to take the lead, letting the pitching and defense take center stage from there.
Long put the Sun Devils on top for good in the third inning with his RBI single to make it 4-3 and added the exclamation point in the eighth with a monster two-run homer to give ASU some breathing room in the final stretch.
Jared Glenn was absolutely electric, inducing soft contact all night as he gave the Sun Devils 7.1 scoreless innings of relief as he entered in the second inning and went the distance for ASU to earn his second win of the season.
Glenn allowed just three hits with no walks. He struck out just one batter but spread the wealth around and let his defense work behind him behind nine groundouts and 10 flyouts with two double plays turned.
Drew Swift had three hits and Sean McLain had yet another multi-hit game. Hunter Jump had a huge two-RBI double and Hunter Haas scored twice.
Oregon ace Robert Ahlstrom had not given up a run this season and was in prime position after his offense gave him an early 3-0 lead to work with after the first inning. After scratching across a run in the second, the Devils came storming back in the third. Back-to-back one-out singles from Swift and Haas led to two runners in scoring position for Hunter Jump. Jump did what he's done all season, working an impressive at-bat and running the count full before turning on one for an RBI double to right to tie the game. Ethan Long did the rest with two outs and Jump on second, singling on the first pitch he saw to send Jump home and give ASU a 4-3 lead it wouldn't relinquish.
ASU had utilized bullpen days in three of its previous five games coming into the weekend and Friday night looked like it would play to form with Seth Tomczak getting the started and giving way to Glenn 1.2 innings into the game. Glenn wasn't having it though, taking the Sun Devils the distance in 7.1 innings of scoreless relief to move to 2-0 on the season. He issued just three hits on the day (all to Oregon cleanup hitter Aaron Zavala), but wiped two of them off the board with doubles plays in the third and sixth innings. He faced the minimum in five innings (and should have had six if not for a defensive error in the fourth. His only strikeout came on the very first batter he faced, taking down Kenyon Yovan with a swinging strike to get ASU out of the second inning.
- The Sun Devils did a good job of getting on Oregon ace Robert Ahlstrom. The defending Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week had been elite in his five previous career games against ranked teams, posting a 1.78 ERA over 30.1 innings with just six earned runs allowed in five starts versus Top-25 teams. ASU tagged him for four in this one.
- Ahlstrom had not allowed a run in 10.0 innings this season before facing the Sun Devil offense. It was just the fourth time in the junior's career he had allowed four or more earned runs in a game.
- Oregon had played seven straight games against ranked opponents coming into the weekend, going 6-1 in series against #15 UC Santa Barbara and #17 Oregon State.
- ASU has held opponents to five runs or fewer in 29 of 32 games since Jason Kelly's arrival in Phoenix.
- Sean McLain extended his hitting streak to 13 games and added his team-best eighth multi-hit game of the year.
- Drew Swift's three-hit effort marked his seventh multi-hit game of the year.
- ASU has 10 homers in its last seven games after having just five through its first eight.
- Oregon had allowed just nine total runs in its five previous games prior to ASU six-run effort on Friday.
Oregon jumped all over the Devils in an inauspicious start for ASU. Oregon ripped off three straight one-out hits to go on top 2-0 and added a third on a two-out single to make it 3-0 after one – ASU's largest deficit at the conclusion of an inning this season.
McLain led the second of with a triple and scored on a Sam Ferri ground out to scratch a run across in response. Jared Glenn entered in place of Seth Tomczak after a two-out single and struck out the potent Kenyon Yovan to get out of the inning – the only Sun Devil strikeout in the game.
The third inning was all Sun Devils behind back-to-back singles from Swift and Haas and a Hunter Jump two-RBI double to tie things at 3-3. Ethan Long plated Jump with an RBI single and ASU took a 4-3 lead it wouldn't relinquish. Glenn faced the minimum behind a nice inning-ending double play as Hunter Haas intercept a hit and run attempt and turned two to keep ASU on top.
It was an uneventful frame with ASU going down in order and Glenn working around a two-out error with no further damage.
Drew Swift's leadoff single was for naught after a double play while Glenn recorded his first 1-2-3 inning.
McLain led the frame off with a single and worked his way to third but was unable to come home. Jared Glenn worked around a Zavala leadoff single with a shallow flyout and an inning-ending double play to keep ASU up, 4-3.
Both sides went down in order.
Haas welcomed the new Duck pitcher Isaac Ayon with a leadoff single. Ethan Long REALLY welcomed him with a towering homer to left center – his first career bomb coming on a full count with two outs to give ASU some insurance at 6-3. Glenn calmly retired the top of the Duck order on just eight pitches for another 1-2-3 frame.
Zavala again got the better end of Glenn but the freshman got a huge play in right field from Kai Murphy who extend for an over the shoulder grab on a long fly ball for the first out of the frame. Glenn got another fly ball to Murphy before Drew Swift made an exceptional play on a line drive up the middle, knocking the ball into the air, bare-handing it and making the throw the first in time to end the game.
The Sun Devils will look to take the series tomorrow at 2 p.m. AZT. The game to be broadcasted via live stream at the following link.