Sun Devil Baseball Powers Past URI, 9-6
PHOENIX – Sun Devil Baseball rode another Ethan Long power surge to a 9-6 victory on Friday evening at Phoenix Municipal Stadium against Rhode Island.
In the two programs' first meeting in history, the Sun Devils (23-14) came out on top thanks to a dynamic and relentless offensive effort. Arizona State scored at least one run in six of eight innings, overcoming a brief early deficit to overpower the Rams (17-17-1).
Tyler Thornton found himself in a different role, coming out of relief after right-hander Brock Peery got the start and Brady Corrigan earned the win after firing a scoreless second inning. Thornton entered in the third inning and not another arm would need to be used, as he finished the game off with the first seven-inning save in program history. He struck out 11 and at one point set down nine in a row, looking sharp through six scoreless.
Ethan Long is in the midst of one of the great stretches of power in the history of Sun Devil Baseball, as he delivered yet again. He hit two home runs, both to the opposite field, while adding a double and three RBIs in another extremely productive night. Long had plenty of help, as five other Sun Devils drove in a run as part of a balanced lineup.
THE BIG MOMENT
The Sun Devils got out to another bit of a slow start with Rhode Island taking an early 2-0 lead that could have been much worse with the bases loaded and just one out in the first - a jam Brock Peery was able to escape. ASU halved the lead in the bottom of the frame but it was the second inning where the Devils really did their damage.
Kai Murphy reached on a fielding error sandwiched between two outs in what could easily have been a 1-2-3 frame for ASU. Joe Lampe got a two-out single to right to keep the inning alive and turn the order around. ASU ripped off back-to-back RBI singles from Drew Swift and Hunter Jump to immediately turn a 2-1 disadvantage to a 3-2 advantage. Swift added the insurance as he scored on a failed pickoff error at first to give ASU a 4-2 lead and set the table for another crooked number in the third as the Sun Devils just consistently padded their lead down the stretch.
- Ethan Long now has six home runs in his last five games - becoming the first to do so since Jeremy West had seven over a five game stretch from April 25-May 6, 2003.
- He also has seven homers in the last eight games. The last Sun Devil with just five homers in five games was Hunter Bishop over a five game stretch between Cal Baptist, Oregon and Arizona in 2019. Spencer Torkelson had six over eight games later in that same season.
- Long's eight home runs already place him tied for sixth in ASU freshman history for most homers.
- Long now has two multi-home run games in the past week, leaving the yard twice last Saturday in the win over Utah.
- Sean McLain's first inning sac fly was ASU's 23rd of the eason. It entered the weekend 11th in the country in sac flies.
- Hunter Jump extended his reached base streak to a team-best 23 straight games with an RBI single in the first.
- Tyler Thornton's 11 strikeouts were a season best and his best at ASU. It was the third-highest total in his career (12 twice at Saint Mary's).
- Thornton earned a rare seven-inning save - the first in ASU history. It is a feat that has only occurred once in MLB history since saves became an official stat in 1969.
- ASU had 10 hits on the night and now has posted double digit hits in 10 of its last 13 games. It had just 10 double-digit hitting games in the first 24 games of the year.
- Rhode Island ace Ryan Twitchell has been sharp all season long, but the Sun Devils got to him early and often. Arizona State's six runs are the most he has allowed in an appearance all season.
- Twitchell's 2.2 innings of work were his shortest outing of the year - less than his 3.0 innings against ODU. He had gone 5.0 or more innings in eight of his nine previous starts this year
- With one run in the first, three in the second, and two in the third, and one in the fourth, it is the first time this season that ASU has scored in each of the first four innings.
- ASU has stranded 320 opponent baserunners in 37 games this season (8.6 per game).
- ASU added two more doubles in the game and now has 34 in the last 12 games (2.8 per game). The team had averaged just 1.8 doubles per game in the first 25 games of the season.
The Sun Devils continue the series on Saturday against the Rams at 6:30 p.m. AZT. The game will be available through the Pac-12 Live Stream and over the airwaves at 1060 AM KDUS.
A couple soft singles and a walk and HBP led to two runs and the bases loaded with just one out but Peery was able to avoid disaster thanks to a head's up play by Hunter Haas to get the force at home and a strikeout to keep it 2-0.
Drew Swift led off the inning with a walk, working Rhode Island ace Ryan Twitchell for a seven-pitch at bat. He picked up his fifth steal of the season to advance to second and would move to third on a Hunter Jump single. Sena McLain drove a fly ball deep enough to center to score Swift, cutting the Rams' lead in half.
Right-hander Brady Corrigan relieved Brock Peery to start the second and settled in quickly. He retired the first two batters on four pitches and eventually worked out a two-out, two-on jam. Corrigan struck out Rams' cleanup hitter Xavier Vargas in a big situation, keeping the deficit at 2-1.
Kai Murphy reached on a one-out error, but the inning looked like it would come to a harmless end after the second out was recorded. ASU mounted a two-out rally that would eventually result in them taking the lead. It got started with a Joe Lampe single, with Drew Swift following with a clutch RBI single that evened the game. Hunter Jump kept the line moving, dropping a single into left field to give the Sun Devils the lead. Drew Swift would come home thanks to a muffed pick off attempt by the first baseman, with Arizona State taking a 4-2 lead.
Regular starter Tyler Thornton entered the game in a different scenario, coming in relief with the Sun Devils already ahead. He shut down the Rams offense, retiring the side featuring some of his best velocity of the season.
The Sun Devil offense got greedy in the bottom of the third, adding to their lead and chasing the Rams starter. It started with something that the Arizona State rallies have included a lot lately, with an Ethan Long home run. He drove a ball to right center and over the fence to put the home team up 5-2. That wasn't the only contribution from a freshman, as Jack Moss singled and scored on a Hunter Haas double, giving the Sun Devils a 6-2 advantage.
Tyler Thornton looked impressive in the top half of the fourth, setting down the Rams in order. He needed only 10 pitches and gave the Sun Devils momentum heading into the bottom half of the inning. The crowd was once again brought to their feet thanks to an Ethan Long swing, as he launched his second long ball of the game to put the Sun Devils up 7-2.
Thornton made it eight consecutive Rams retired with another dominant 1-2-3 inning, This time, he struck out two Rhode Island hitters, featuring an overpowering repertoire. Sam Ferri delivered a two-out single, but that was the only thing the Sun Devils could manufacture in the inning.
A first pitch out greeted Tyler Thornton in the sixth, but his streak of nine straight batters set down was broken with a one-out hit by pitch. He was not fazed by the baserunner, getting the next two hitters out to post his fourth consecutive scoreless frame. The Sun Devils went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the frame, maintaining a 7-2 lead.
Tyler Thornton continued to cruise through the Rhode Island order, getting stronger as the game went on. He struck out the side in an impressive seventh inning, tallying his eighth strikeout of the night and fifth scoreless inning.
It may not have been a home run, but Ethan Long stayed molten hot, drilling a double down the left field line to lead off the inning. He advanced to third on an error that Jack Moss reached on, putting runners on the corner. Hunter Haas was hit by a pitch, loading up the bases for Arizona State. Pinch hitter Allbry Major provided a much-needed insurance run with a sacrifice fly to extend the lead to 8-2.
Remaining in the game, Thornton hit a brief speed bump to start his sixth inning of work. A Rams leadoff single put some pressure on the right-hander, but he showed poise and bounced back with three straight outs.
Seth Nager made a pinch hitting appearance and produced in the role, singling to lead off the eighth. He advanced to second when Hunter Jump walked, with Sean McLain getting struck by a pitch to load the bases. The star of the night Ethan Long came to the plate and stayed within himself despite already having hit two home runs, driving in a run with a sac fly to push the score to 9-2.
The Rhode Island offense exploded in the ninth inning, scoring four runs on three hits. They took advantage of a couple hit by pitches and a walk, narrowing the deficit to three runs. However, Thornton put the finishing touches on a gritty performance, recording the rare seven-inning save.