Big Pac-12 Series Awaits Sun Devil Baseball Versus No. 18 Stanford
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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 -- Sun Devil Baseball (18-9, 7-5 Pac-12) returns home for a key home series again #18 Stanford this weekend at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Stanford (20-6, 6-3 Pac-12) enters the weekend at the top of the Pac-12 standings. The series will get underway at 6:30 p.m. AZT on Friday as well as Saturday before concluding on Sunday at 12:30 p.m.
In The Rankings
ASU remains in the Top-25 in Collegiate Baseball News' weekly poll, checking in at No. 19 this week and receiving votes in the NCBWA and USA Today Coaches Poll. The team checks in at No. 29 in this week's Warren Nolan Live RPI. Stanford is ranked No. 15 in the CBN Poll, No. 18 in NCBWA and USA Today Polls, No. 20 by D1Baseball and No. 22 by Baseball America. They are just ahead of ASU at No. 26 in the RPI.
Follow the Action
- The game will be streamed live online through the Pac-12/ASU Live Stream at https://pac-12.com/live/arizona-state-university
- The series will also be available over the airwaves with Tim Healey and Mac Rossiter on 1060 AM KDUS.
- Fans are encouraged to follow along pre-game and in-game content throughout the weekend on the Sun Devil Baseball Twitter account: @ASU_Baseball, especially for key weather updates and time changes.
On The Cardinal
- Stanford has won each of its three Pac-12 series this season and took two of three from a Top-20 UCLA club this past weekend.
- ASU holds a slight edge in the all-time series against the Cardinal at 103-100.
- The Cardinal have 39 homers in 26 games this season after having just two in 16 games last year.
- The Cardinal has scored 10-plus runs in eight of the 26 games, and six-plus in 15 of 26, this year after finishing with eight or fewer in each of the 16 contests a year ago.
#10THINGS (Twitter-Friendly Notes)
1. Dating back to last year, ASU has held opponents to five runs or fewer in 36 of the 44 games since Jason Kelly's arrival.
2. Opponents are batting just .221 this season with runners in scoring position and just .188 with two outs.
3. Sean McLain has hits in his last 23 games, the third-longest hitting streak at ASU since the 1998 season.
4. Drew Swift and Hunter Haas have committed just three errors on the left side of the infield on 172 chances - the fewest in the Pac-12
5. Tyler Thornton is 11th in the Pac-12 with a .227 average against, but more impressive has been his .095 average against with two outs.
6. ASU has lost just two game in which Tyler Thornton has started, going 10-2 in those games going back to last year.
7. Will Levine has inherited 10 runners this season and just one has scored. He has induced five double plays in 16.2 innings pitched
8. Hunter Haas has recorded the go-ahead RBI or non-assisted run in six of ASU's wins this season. Jack Moss is second on the team with three.
9. ASU had four shutouts this season, its most since 2013 and good for tops in the Pac-12 and 12th in the country.
10. Justin Fall has three straight quality starts (2 total runs allowed), with wins against two Top-25 offenses in WSU (8.5 rpg) and Arizona (9.2 rpg)
BY THE NUMBERS
36 - ASU has held its opponents to 5 runs or fewer in 34 of the 44 games since Jason Kelly joined the staff. For perspective, ASU gave up six or more runs in 25 of its 57 games in 2019. ASU is 25th in the nation and third in the Pac-12 with a 3.59 ERA.ASU has been efficient at getting big pitches at big moments with opponents batting just .221 against ASU with runners in scoring position (60-of-272). ASU has also been efficient at getting out of innings for the most part, holding opponents to 54-of-288 hitting with two outs on the year (.188).
23 - Sean McLain has become the hottest batter in the Sun Devil lineup, with hits in 23 straight games and multiple hits in 14 of those - the most-multi hit games on the team and four more than any teammate. The 23-game hitting streak is the third-longest at ASU since 1998 and tied with Andre Ethier's 2003 23-game hitting streak. He leads the team with a .407 average on the year, good for third in the Pac-12 and 31st among all NCAA Division I batters. Defensively, his 124 chances are third among Pac-12 second-basemen while the one infield error is tied for second among Pac-12 2Bs.
3 - The left side of the Sun Devil infield has been exceptional this season as Drew Swift and Hunter Haas have combined for just three errors on 172 chances this season. The three errors mark the lowest on the left side of an infield in the Pac-12 ahead of Oregon's four. ASU's 172 chances on the left side of the infield are third-most for a primary duo in the Pac-12. Haas has just one error on the season and it is notable as that error came in the lone game that he played at shortstop. His zero errors at third base mark him the only third baseman in the league to do so.
3 - Justin Fall has recorded three consecutive quality starts, all coming in victories. Facing two top-25 offenses in runs scored against Washington State and Arizona, Fall combined for 12.2 innings with just one run allowed. He has allowed just two total runs in his last three starts. His five wins on the year are good for second in the Pac-12 and 16th in the nation.Fall has been at his best with two outs, getting out of innings by holding opponents to just 5-of-38 hitting with two outs (.132).
Just Like He Drew It Up
- Drew Swift has recorded hits in 23 of 26 games played this season and enters the weekend with a .321 average - good for 19th in the Pac-12.
- His slugging percentage sits at .481 - 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 three homers this season after just having one in his first three seasons combined.
- Swift is tied for the team lead with 17 RBIs this season.
- Swift has reached base in 18-straight games, the second-longest streak on the team.
- He has reached base on 18 out of 41 leadoff opportunities this season (.439) and has 10 games this season with multiple hits - second on the team. He has multiple hits in 18 of his last 37 games, dating back to last season.
- Perhaps more impressive has been his defensive play at shortstop where he has just two errors on 102 chances (.980) with 68 assists and 11 double plays turned. He is third in the league in fewest errors behind USC's Tyler Pritchard (0 on 77 chances) and Utah's Matt Richardson (1 on 84 chances), though he does have nearly 20 more chances than the other two.
- Swift led the team in batting average last year, 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 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 and in the nation, with hits in each of his last 23 games and multiple hits in 14 of those - the most-multi hit games on the team and four more than any other player.
- The 23-game hitting streak tied for the third-longest at ASU since 1998 with Andre Ethier's 2003 23-game hitting streak.
- He leads the team with a .407 average on the year, good for third in the Pac-12 and 31st among all NCAA Division I batters.
- McLain has 10 doubles on the year, tied for fifth in the Pac-12 and 54th in the country.
- His .670 slugging percentage this year is fourth in the league and 68th nationally.
- His OPS is a gaudy 1.120 on the season - fourth in the Pac-12.
- McLain has successfully advanced runners a team-best 56.3 percent of the time (27-of-48 chances).
- He has just two errors on 124 chances this year, though one of those errors came while playing in the outfield . His 124 chances are third among Pac-12 second-basemen while the one infield error is tied for second among second basemen in the league. He has turned 17 double plays this season, fourth-most among Pac-12 second basemen.
Welcome to Our Haas
- Hunter Haas continues to get it done both on the plate and at the hot corner, entering the weekend with a .280 average and tied second for the team lead with 17 RBIs and second with 19 runs scored.
- Haas has posted the go-ahead RBI or unassisted go-ahead run six times this season - including each of the three games against Fullerton. No other Sun Devil has more than three.
- Haas has struck out just 11 times this season, marking him the second-toughest player to strike out in the Pac-12 - doing so just once every 9.8 at bats this year.
- His 11 hits with runners in scoring position are most on the team and three more than any other player (and come on 30 chances for a .367 average).
- His four-RBI effort against Nevada is tied for the most for a Sun Devil this season and he is second with four multi-RBI games.
- Haas has been ASU's best hitter with two outs, recording 12 hits on 30 chances (.400).
- Haas has successfully advanced runners a team-high 32 times on 61 opportunities this season for a .525 average.
- He has been significantly better in clutch scenarios with a .339 average with runners on the basepath compared to just a .208 average when they are empty.
- Haas has been perfect over at the hot corner, with no errors on 67 total chances while playing at third base. His lone error on the year came in a spot start at shortstop. He is the only third basemen in the Pac-12 with no errors (at third base).
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, scoring sacrifce flies from second base, coming home from second on infield singles and generally providing some oomph into the bottom of the Sun Devil order.
- Lampe is tied for third on the team with 16 RBIs this year.
- He is the only Sun Devil with multiple three-hit games this year.
- Lampe has stranded just 12 runners on the base path this year and successfully advanced runners 23 times on 47 chances (.489).
- He has been absurd at productive outs, recording 17 runners advanced with an out this year - six more than any other player on the roster.
- He is 12th in the nation and second in the league with three triples this year.
Take the Long Way
- Ethan Long has quickly asserted himself as someone that needs to be on the field for the Devils, whether its in the lineup or on the mound.
- Long had four saves early in the season - still the team lead - and did not allow a run as a pitcher
- But of late, Long has established himself as one of the hottest hitters in the lineup and enters the weekend third on the team with a .310 average.
- Despite having just half as many at-bats and 10 fewer starts in the lineup than the majority of his teammates, Long is second on the team with eight base hits with runners in scoring position on 20 chances (.400).
- He has four sacrifice flies this season, second in the Pac-12 and 18 in the nation.
- Hunter Jump got off to a bit of a slow start but has come on strong with hits in 19 of his last 22 games. He is third on the team with an active reached base streak of 13 games.
- Jump has drawn a team-high 13 walks on the season and is second on the team with four multi-RBI games.
- His nine doubles on the year are 11th in the Pac-12.
- 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.
- Kai Murphy has had the knack for the big hit this season and is tied for the team lead with four homers on the year.
- Murphy has five games this year with mutliple RBIs, good for the team lead.
- Of his 21 hits, nine have been for extra bases (4 doubles, 1 triple, 4 homers).
- His eight hits with runners in scoring position are second on the team.
You Don't Know Jack
- Jack Moss has started to come alive at the plate, record three home runs over the last week and already tied for third on the team in the category.
- Moss had the go-ahead RBI in ASU's win last Sunday over Arizona (sac fly) and this past Saturday with his two-run go-ahead homer in the fourth against Washington. He was responsible for the go-ahead run on an error in the 16th inning on Friday night against the Huskies, marking him responsible for the go-ahead run or RBI in all three of ASU's wins over a week span.
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, Boyd Vander Kooi and Erik Tolman.
- Thornton leads the Devils with 40.0 innings pitched this year, striking out a team-best 46. The 46 strikeouts are tied for 8th in the Pac-12 and the 40 innings are 12
- Thornton has given ASU at least 5.0 innings in 10 of his 12 outings at ASU. In fact, including his 13 starts at Saint Mary's, Thornton has failed to reach the five-inning mark just four times in his 25 collegiate starts.
- ASU has lost just two games in which he has started, going 10-2 in those games.
- Opponents .227 average against Thornton this year is 11th-lowest in the league.
- Thornton, a transfer from Saint Mary's, played heavily into the Sun Devil pitching rotation last season and posted a quality start in three of his first four starts, the only Sun Devil to post such a feat.
- Thornton's success has come largely from not allowing innings to spiral out of control as he has been electric with two outs, holding opponents to just 4-for-42 hitting with a chance to close out an inning (.095).
- 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.
Taking the Fall
- Thrust into a starting role due to the loss of three starting pitchers, Justin Fall has embraced moving for the backend of the pen to post several straight solid starts
- Fall has gone at least 5.0 innings in all five games since making the transition to weekend starter, including a career ASU best 6.2 innings of shutout ball against Washington State.
- He has posted three consecutive quality starts, the only Sun Devil with multiple quality starts this season.
- Opponents are averaging just a .227 average against Fall this season, good for 11th among Pac-12 pitchers.
- His five victories on the year are good for second in the Pac-12 and 16th nationally.
- In two starts against two Top-25 offenses in Washington State (8.5 runs per game) and Arizona (9.2 runs per game), Fall pitched 12.2 innings and allowed just a single earned run between them.
- Fall has induced a team-best six double plays this year.
- Fall has been at his best with two outs, getting out of innings by holding opponents to just 5-of-38 hitting with two outs (.132).
Will I Am
- Will Levine has quickly established himself as one of the top relievers in the Pac-12 this season, entering the weekend with a 2.16 ERA and a 3-1 record off the bench.
- Levine has been at his best in helping the Sun Devils escape jams, inheriting 10 runners this season and allowing just one of them to score.
- He has been extremely successful in getting multiple outs with one pitch, inducing five double plays in 16.2 innings - the second-most on the team.
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 36 of the 44 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 25th in the nation and third in the Pac-12 with a 3.59 ERA.
- ASU has been efficient at getting big pitches at big moments with opponents batting just .221 against ASU with runners in scoring position (60-of-272).
- ASU has also been efficient at getting out of innings for the most part, holding opponents to 54-of-288 hitting with two outs on the year (.188).
- 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.
- The Sun Devil staff threw up 15 zeroes in the fourth-longest game by innings in program history against Washington - allowing two runs in the seventh before blanking the Huskies in seven extra innings.
More on the Staff
- ASU has four shutouts this season, the most it has had since the 2013 season. ASU had five shutouts in 2012, the next milestone. The four shutouts this season are 12th in the nation and tops in the Pac-12.
- In the second game against Washington State, ASU stranded 15 baserunners. It was the first time since March 15, 2016 against Eastern Michigan that ASU stranded 15 or more baserunners and that was an 11-inning game. The last time it happened in a nine-inning game was when it allowed 15 in a 15-5 victory over Stanford on May 30, 2004.
- 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 (WSU and 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)).
- With two shutouts against Washington State, 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.
- The Sun Devil staff has stranded 232 runners on the basepath in 27 games, averaging just over 8.5 LOB per game.
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 .979 fielding percentage this season - good for 21st nationally and fourth in the Pac-12.
- The left side of the Sun Devil infield has nearly flawless this season as Drew Swift and Hunter Haas combining for just three errors on 172 chances this season. The three errors mark the lowest on the left side of an infield in the Pac-12, ahead of Oregon's four. ASU's 172 chances on the left side of the infield are third-most for a primary duo in the Pac-12.