Sun Devil Baseball Routs Cougars for Dominant Series Sweep
PHOENIX – Capping off one of its most dominant weekend series in recent memory, the Sun Devil Baseball team routed Washington State, 9-0, on Sunday afternoon for the series sweep at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
Justin Fall had what was likely his best start in his career at ASU (15-5, 4-2 Pac-12), tossing 6.2 scoreless innings of baseball while allowing just two hits. He retired the final 13 batters he faced in the effort. Fall struck out five and walked just one to earn his third victory of the season.
ASU got multi-hit games out of Joe Lampe, Sean McLain and Kai Murphy. McLain extended his hitting streak to 18 games and his multi-hit game tally to 11 games. Lampe and Murphy each added two RBI in addition to a two-RBI day from Hunter Jump.
ASU allowed just four runs in the entire series against the Cougars (12-8. 1-5 Pac-12), all coming in one inning on Saturday while shutting WSU out for the other 26. WSU had entered the weekend in the Top-25 nationally in runs, avering over 8.5 per game.
The Sun Devils jumped to an early 4-0 lead in the first inning but Washington State stayed within a couple hits of striking distance for much of the early parts of the game until ASU blew things open with a four-run sixth inning to put things well out of reach.
For the third time in the series, ASU erupted in the first inning with four runs behind some shoddy defense from Washington State and consistent pressure from the Sun Devil hitters. Hunter Jump had a two-RBI single, Ethan Long had a sac fly and Kai Murphy had an RBI single as ASU put the hammer down early against a demoralized Cougar club and never looked back.
Justin Fall was absolutely dominant, allowing two base hits on the day. The back-to-back one-out soft singles in the second were Washington State's only threat of the day as Fall got a strikeout and fielder's choice to escape the jam. He allowed just one more baserunner on the afternoon, a one out walk that he told reports after the game was the most "pissed" he'd be at himself in a while. He quickly wiped it off the board with a routine double play and then settled on toe retire the final 13 batters he faced on the day as he went a career-high 6.2 innings.
- With two shutouts in the series, it marked the first time ASU had shut a team out twice in a three-game series since 2013 against Long Beach State. It was the first time ASU shutout a Pac-12 conference opponent twice in a series since Washington in 2011.
- ASU now has four shutouts this season, it's most in one year since posting four in 2013. The Devils had five in 2012.
- The four runs were the fewest for Washington State in a three-game series since playing Stanford in 2015. Washington State was 24th in the country with 145 runs coming into the weekend and averaging over 8.5 per game.
- Twice now this season, ASU has held an opponent to just four runs in a three-game series (Utah). The last time it had done that even once in a season was 2013 against Long Beach State (two runs allowed). In 2012, ASU had three such series (WMU (2), USC (2), Gonzaga (4).
- It was the first series sweep over a Pac-12 opponent since sweeping Arizona in the third conference series of the 2019 season.
- Justin Fall's 6.2 innings pitched today marked a career high at ASU.
- Sean McLain recorded his 18th consecutive game with a hit and added his team-leading 11th multi-hit game in the process.
- Drew Swift extended his hitting streak to eight games and has reached base in 12 straight.
- ASU has held opponents to five runs or fewer in 33 of 37 games since Jason Kelly's arrival in Phoenix.
- In ASU's last 12 weekend games, opponents are batting just 15-for-93 (.161) with runners in scoring position and just 35-for-178 (.197) overall with runners on the basepath. With a runner on third and less than two outs in those 11 games, opponents have scored just 8 runs on 22 chances (.364).
- ASU is now 13-1 when it scores at least four runs compared to 2-4 when it doesn't.
- ASU outscored the Cougars 11-0 in the first innings of the games this weekend.
INNING BY INNING
Fall got things going with a 1-2-3 inning and like they'd done all weekend, the Sun Devils opened the game with a big first inning, capitalizing on some tough fielder from the Cougar defense. Putting the first two hitters in scoring position, Hunter Jump brought them both home with a two RBI single. ASU wasn't content there as Sean McLain got himself an infield double on a ricochet and Ethan Long plated Jump with a sac fly. Kai Murphy capped it with an RBI single to give ASU a 4-0 lead.
Fall faced his biggest test of the game with back-to-back one-out singles – the only hits he'd allow on the day. But he got a strikeout a and a fielder's choice to escape the jam. ASU went down in order.
Fall took a one-out walk off the board with a routine 5-4-3 double play. McLain had another infield hit to record his 11thmulti-hit of the game bit ASU couldn't do anything with it.
Fall settled in with a 1-2-3 inning, but so did the Sun Devils go down.
Fall made it eight retired in a row while Joe Lampe singled on a bunt but ASU couldn't bring him around.
Fall cruised through another frame and the Sun Devil bats finally came back to life. Back-to-back doubles from Ethan Long and Kai Murphy plated a run. Sam Ferri got an RBI single and Seth Nager followed that with an infield single and both moved to scoring position on a wild pitch. Lampe did the rest with a two-RBI Texas League to make it an 8-0 game.
Fall coolly got the first two outs of the inning before Jason Kelly went to the mound to collect the ball and send Fall off with a rousing standing ovation. Hunter Haas made a nice snag on a liner to get out of the inning. ASU got a leadoff walk in the bottom half from Jump but three flyouts kept it a scoreless frame.
Cam Dennie came in in relief and retired the side in order. ASU tacked on another one behind some wild WSU pitching allowing Nate Baez to score following two wild pitches as a pinch runner after a leadoff Michael Brueser walk.
Unlike yesterday, there was no ninth inning drama. A two-out walk ended a streak of 19 consecutive batters retired by the Sun Devil pitching staff. But Dennie capped things off with a swinging strikeout in the dirt to complete the sweep.
The Sun Devils will now look ahead to a key Territorial Cup series against Arizona beginning on Thursday at 6 p.m. Friday's game will be at 6 p.m. as well with the series concluding on Saturday at 7 p.m. It will be the first series of the year featured on the Pac-12 Network. All game will also be available on the airwaves at 1060 AM KDUS.