Sun Devil Baseball Takes Break from Pac-12 With Series vs. Rhode Island
PHOENIX -- Sun Devil Baseball returns to the confines of Phoenix Municipal Stadium for its final non-conference series of the year against the Rhode Island Rams. The series will get underway on Friday, April 30 at 6:30 p.m. AZT and continue at the same time on Saturday for Game Two. The series will conclude Sunday at 12:30 p.m.
In The Rankings
ASU remains in the Top-30 in Collegiate Baseball News' weekly poll, checking in at No. 26 this week and receiving votes in the NCBWA and USA Today Coaches Poll. The team checks in at No. 42 in this week's Warren Nolan Live RPI.
Follow the Action
- All games will be available streamed online through the ASU Pac-12 Live Stream.
- All three games will be available over the airwaves 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.
#10THINGS (Twitter-Friendly Notes)
1. Dating back to last year, ASU has held opponents to five runs or fewer in 39 of the 53 games since Jason Kelly's arrival.
2. The ASU bullpen has inherited 146 baserunners this year and allowed only 40 to score (27.3 percent) - the lowest total in at least 24 years.
3. The Sun Devils are fielding the second-youngest lineup among Power Five teams this year with freshmen representing 64.8% of the team ABs.
4. Drew Swift and Hunter Haas have commit just seven errors on the left side of the infield on 252 chances - the third-fewest in the Pac-12
5. Cam Dennie has allowed just one earned run over his last 14 games, lowering his ERA from 13.50 to a team-low 3.00 in the process.
6. ASU has lost just three game in which Tyler Thornton has started, going 11-3 in those games going back to last year.
7. Will Levine has inherited 12 runners this season and just one has scored. He has induced a team-high 7 double plays in 26.0 innings pitched
8. ASU is currently four in the nation in turning 35 doubles plays this season - notable as it had just six in the first 14 games.
9. The Sun Devils have stranded 310 opponent baserunners in 36 games this season - averaging over 8.6 per game.
10. Hunter Haas has 21 hits this season with runners in scoring position - nine more than any other player on the team.
BY THE NUMBERS
65 - Sun Devil baseball is fielding the second-youngest lineup among all Power-Five teams with freshmen representing 64.8 percent of the Sun Devil at-bats this season. Only Virginia Tech's 74.1 percent is higher. In fact, only three teams have over 50 percent of their at-bats registered by freshmen. All other Power Five programs combined average just 21.8 percent of the ir total at bats represented by freshmen. Despite that, ASU is batting .289 as a team – notable as the 10 youngest Power Five programs outside of ASU are batting a combined .263.
40 - ASU has also done an excpetional job in not letting innings spiral out of control when turning to the pen with runners on the basepath. The bullpen has inherited 146 baserunners on the year and allowed just 40 to score (27.3 percent). For reference, the lowest percentages in the category at ASU since at least 1998 were 28.1 in 2010 and 28.5 in 2011. Leading that charge is Will Levine (12/1), Jared Glenn (16/2) and Christian Bodlovich (14/4). The Sun Devils have stranded opponent 310 baserunners in 36 games this year (8.6 per game).
35 - ASU is now fourth in the nation with 35 double plays turned this season, which is especially impressive since the team had just six in the first 14 games of the season. The Sun Devils have posted 29 double plays in the last 22 games. Sean McLain leads all second basemen in the Pac-12 with 30 double plays turned, Drew Swift leads all shortstops in the league with 24 double plays and Hunter Haas leads all third basemen in the league with seven double plays. ASU is currently 35th in the nation with a .976 fielding percentage this year.
7 - The left side of the Sun Devil infield has been exceptional this season as Drew Swift and Hunter Haas have combined for just seven errors on 252 chances this season. The seven errors mark the third-lowest on the left side of an infield in the Pac-12, behind Oregon and Utah's six on 235 and 156 chances, respectively. ASU's 252 chances on the left side of the infield are third-most for a primary duo in the Pac-12. Both Swift (24) and Haas (7) lead their positions in the league in double plays turned.
On The Rams
- This will be the first matchup in history between Rhode Island and Arizona State.
- Redshirt senior Sonny Ulliana and redshirt freshman Addison Kopack were the Atlantic 10 Player of the Week and Rookie of the Week. Ulliana batted .500 (8-for-16) with one home run, one triple and two doubles while helping Rhode Island go 4-1 on the week. Kopack has four triples this season. Three of them have come in the last four games.
- Ryan Twitchell and Mike Webb have both started nine games on the mound and are a combined 6-0 this season. Webb has a 1.23 WHIP, while Twitchell is close behind with a 1.31.
- Alexarmando Diaz – who has made four starts in five appearances – has a 1.05 WHIP and has allowed just four earned runs in 14.1 innings of work.
Just Like He Drew It Up
- Drew Swift has recorded hits in 30 of 35 games played this season and enters the weekend with a .329 average.
- His slugging percentage sits at .452 - 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 second on the team with 24 RBIs this season and and second with 134 two-out RBI as well. His 27 runs scored are also second..
- He has reached base on 22 out of 54 leadoff opportunities this season (.407).
- Swift has 15 games this season with multiple hits - second on the team. He has multiple hits in 23 of his last 44 games, dating back to last season. His four hit-effort in Game 2 at Utah is tied for the most for a Sun Devil this year.
- Perhaps more impressive has been his defensive play at shortstop where he has just five errors on 159 chances (.969) with 107 assists and 24 double plays turned. His five errors are fourth among Pac-12 shortstops, though he has more chances - sometimes significantly so - than those ahead of him in USC's Tyler Pritchard (0 errors on 90 chances), Utah's Matt Richardson (1 error on 98 chances) and Oregon Josh Kasevich (4 errors on 155 chances).
- His 24 double plays turned are are tops among league shortstops.
- 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 recorded a 23-game hitting streak this season - tied for the third-longest at ASU since 1998 with Andre Ethier's 2003 23-game hitting streak.
- He leads the team with a .374 average on the year, good for fifth in the Pac-12.
- McLain has 13 doubles on the year, tied for fifth in the Pac-12 and 34th nationally and his .588 slugging percentage this year is also fifth in the league.
- he is third on the team with 14 hits with two outs on 37 chances (.378).
- McLain has stranded just 12 runners on the base path this year, lowest among the team starters.
- McLain has successfully advanced runners a team-best 55.9 percent of the time (38-of-68 chances).
- He has just four errors on 169 chances this year, though one of those errors came while playing in the outfield . His 169 chances are third among Pac-12 second-basemen despite missing several games.
- He has turned 30 double plays this season, tops among league second-basemen and eight more than any of the others.
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 .317 average though his 15-game hitting streak came to a close against BYU.
- His is second on the team with 24 RBIs and third with 25 runs scored.
- His 15 multi-hit games are tied for second on the roster. He had multiple hits in seven straight games prior to the BYU contest.
- Haas has been ASU's best hitter with two outs, recording 19 hits on 44 chances (.432) - three more hits than anyone else on the roster. His 15 two-out RBI are tops on the team.
- Haas has posted the go-ahead RBI or unassisted go-ahead run six times this season - including each of the three games against Fullerton.
- Haas has struck out just 18 times this season, marking him the eighth-toughest player to strike out in the Pac-12 - doing so just once every 8.1 at bats this year.
- His 21 hits with runners in scoring position are easily the most on the team and nine more than any other player (and come on 46 chances for a .457 average).
- His four-RBI effort against Nevada is tied for the most for a Sun Devil this season and he is second with six multi-RBI games.
- Haas has successfully advanced runners a team-high 45 times - seven more than any other player - on 86 opportunities this season for a .523 average.
- He has been significantly better in clutch scenarios with a .393 average with runners on the basepath (.457 with RISP) compared to just a .213 average when they are empty.
- Haas has been nearly perfect over at the hot corner, with just one error on 90 total chances while playing at third base. His other error on the year came in a spot start at shortstop. He is the only third basemen in the Pac-12 with just one error (at third base).
- His seven double plays turned are tops Pac-12 third basemen.
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.
- He (3) and Jack Moss are the only players on the team with at least three three-hit games this year.
- Lampe has successfully advanced runners 35 times on 69 chances (.507).
- He has been absurd at productive outs, recording 22 runners advanced with an out this year - seven more than any other player on the roster.
- He is 30th in the nation and third in the league with three triples this year.
- His five sac flies this year are tops in the Pac-12 and 14th in the nation.
- His is also 12th in the league with 11 doubles this year.
- He has been ASU's best player with a runner on third and less than two outs with 10 RBI - three more than any other player on the team - and a .625 average on 16 chances.
We Want Eazy
- Ethan Long - the defending Pac-12 Player of the Week - 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 tied for the team lead - and did not allow a run as a pitcher
- His seven multi-RBI games this season are tops on the team this year.
- But since then, Long has established himself as one of the hottest hitters in the lineup and enters the weekend with a .333 average.
- His .600 slugging percentage sits in the top ten in the Pac-12 this season.
- He has an active eight game hitting streak entering the weekend.
- Long has homered five times in his last seven games, including two go-ahead homers in ASU's two victories over Utah.
- Despite having just having 40+ fewer at-bats than the majority of the Sun Devil starters, Long still leads the team with 25 RBIs.
- He is second on the team with 12 base hits with runners in scoring position on 31 chances (.387).
- He has four sacrifice flies this season, third in the Pac-12.
- Hunter Jump got off to a bit of a slow start but has come on strong with hits in 27 of his last 31 games and is riding a seven-game hitting streak.
- He leads the team in having reached base in 22 consecutive games.
- Jump has drawn a team-high 16 walks on the season and is second on the team with six multi-RBI games.
- He has an RBI in five of his last six games.
- His 11 doubles on the year are 12th 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.
You Don't Know Jack
- Jack Moss has quickly become one of the most consistent batters in the Sun Devil lineup as a true freshman.
- Moss is second on the team with a .353 batting average this year and second with a .400 OBP.
- His .565 slugging percentage is third on the team.
- He has yet to post an error in 183 chances at first base this year.
- He is the only player on the team with at least four games this season with three or more hits - all coming in the last eight games.
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 48.2 innings pitched this year, striking out a team-best 53.
- Thornton has given ASU at least 5.0 innings in 10 of his 14 outings at ASU. In fact, including his 13 starts at Saint Mary's, Thornton has failed to reach the five-inning mark just six times in his 27 collegiate starts.
- ASU has lost just three games in which he has started, going 11-3 in those games.
- Thornton's success has come largely from not allowing innings to spiral out of control as he has been solid with two outs, holding opponents to just 10-for-55 hitting with a chance to close out an inning (.182).
- 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 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 becoming a pivotal part of the weekend rotations
- Fall has gone at least 5.0 innings in five of seven games since making the transition to weekend starter, including a career ASU best 6.2 innings of shutout ball against Washington State.
- He posted three consecutive quality starts, the only Sun Devil with multiple quality starts this season against Washington State, Arizona and Washington.
- His five victories on the year are good for third in the Pac-12
- 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 seven double plays this year.
- Fall has been at his best with two outs, getting out of innings by holding opponents to just 6-of-45 hitting with two outs (.133). He also has excelled about not giving up hits with runners on the basepath, holding opponents to .212 batting with runners (14-of-66).
Will I Am
- Will Levine has quickly established himself as one of the top relievers in the Pac-12 this season, entering the weekend second on the team with a 3.12 ERA and tied for the team lead with four saves - fifth in the Pac-12.
- Levine has been at his best in helping the Sun Devils escape jams, inheriting 12 runners this season and allowing just one of them to score.
- He has been extremely successful in getting multiple outs with one pitch, inducing seven double plays in 26.0 innings - tied for the team lead despite being a reliever.
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 39 of the 54 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 and 28 of its 55 games in 2018.
- ASU has been efficient at getting out of innings for the most part, holding opponents to 88-of-391 hitting with two outs on the year (.225) - the third-lowest total in the category since 2000.
- ASU has also done an excpetional job in not letting innings spiral out of control when turning to the ben with baserunners being inherited. The bullpen has inherited 146 baserunners on the year and allowed just 40 to score (27.3 percent). For reference, the lowest percentages in the category since at least 1998 were 28.1 in 2010 and 28.5 in 2011.
- Leading that charge has been Will Levine (12/1), Jared Glenn (16/2) and Christian Bodlovich (14/4).
- The Sun Devil staff has stranded 310 runners on the basepath in 36 games, averaging just over 8.6 LOB per game.
- It wasn't the most auspicious start to the season for Cam Dennie with six runs allowed in his first five appearances and a 13.50 ERA through that point. Dennie has settled in to a nice groove since though, allowing just one earned run over his last 14 games and now posting a team-best 3.00 ERA.
- In Pac-12 games only this season, ASU's bullpen has recorded a 4.45 ERA - the seventh-lowest total since the 2000 season.
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 15th 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-Non-Conference). 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 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.
- ASU set a program record with 12 pitchers used in the second game against GCU - with 11 pitching changes setting an NCAA record for a game featuring two Division I teams and one shy of the overall record of 12.
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 .976 fielding percentage this season - good for 35th nationally
- The left side of the Sun Devil infield has been exceptional this season as Drew Swift and Hunter Haas combining for just seven errors on 252 chances this season. The seven errors mark the third-lowest on the left side of an infield in the Pac-12, just behind Oregon and Utah (6).
- ASU's 252 chances on the left side of the infield are third-most for a primary duo in the Pac-12.
- ASU is now fourth in the nation with 35 double plays turned this season, which is especially impressive since the team had just six in the first 14 games of the season. The Sun Devils have posted 29 double plays in the last 22 games.
The Kids Will Be Alright
- Sun Devil baseball is fielding the second-youngest lineup among all Power-Five teams with freshmen representing 64.8 percent of the Sun Devil at-bats this season. Only Virginia Tech's 74.1 percent is higher.
- Despite that, ASU is batting .290 as a team – notable as the 10 youngest Power Five programs outside of ASU are batting a combined .263.
- As far as the rotation, 160 of ASU's 327.1 innings pitched this year have come by way of freshmen.
- In the last four games, true freshmen hitters Ethan Long and Jack Moss have combined to go 18-34 (.529) in the middle of the order with four homers, a triple, four doubles eight RBI and eight runs scored with a gaudy 1.059 slugging percentage between the two. The numbers are especially notable as neither was a consistent fixture in the starting lineup until beyond the first month of the season.
- If the season ended today, Sean McLain, Ethan Long and Jack Moss would all move into ASU's all-time top-10 for freshmen batting averages.