Offensive Surge Continues As Sun Devil Takeball Takes Series From URI
PHOENIX – Sun Devil Baseball clinched the series with a 8-6 victory over Rhode Island on Saturday evening at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
Arizona State (24-14) earned the series victory behind another relentless offensive effort and several strong relief performances. The Maroon & Gold got to the Rams' ace right-hander Mike Webb early and often, with seven different batters recording at least one hit.
Ethan Long continued his brilliance, launching another home run to the opposite field to set the tone in the first inning. A four-run six inning allowed the Sun Devils to jump back in front, behind the strength of more clutch hitting from Hunter Haas.
The bullpen would take it from there, as Jared Glenn, Graham Osman, and Will Levine combined for 4.2 innings of one-run relief. Glenn moved to 5-1 on the season, Osman picked up a team-high fifth hold, and Levine locked down his fifth save. Arizona State looks to become only the second team to earn a three-game sweep of the Rams this season as the series wraps up tomorrow at 12:30 pm MST.
THE BIG MOMENT
The game turned on a massive sixth inning for the Devils as ASU dropped a four-spot to turn a 5-3 disadvantage to 7-5 advantage. The true freshmen led things off with Ethan Long and Jack Moss singling and both came home on a Hunter Haas two-RBI double to tie things up at 5-5. Haas would score on a failed pickoff attempt that allowed Sam Ferri to go from first-to-third as well and Ferri came home on an RBI double from Joe Lampe to make it 7-5, a lead ASU would not relinquish.
- Ethan Long now has seven home runs in his last six games, becoming the first to do so since Jeremy West had seven over a six game stretch from April 25-May 6, 2003.
- He also has eight homers in the last nine games. The last Sun Devil with 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 nine home runs already place him tied for fourth with Bob Horner and Ike Davis in ASU freshman history for most homers.
- Long leads the team with nine multi-RBI games this year - two more than any other Sun Devil. He has five games with at least three RBI - also two more than any other player on the roster.
- Long extended his hitting streak to 10 straight games and he has reached base safely in 13 straight.
- Drew Swift added his 16th multi-hit game of the year, second on the team. He now has multiple hits in 24 of his last 46 games dating back to last season.
- Jared Glenn improved to 5-0 in games he appeared in relief while Will Levine added his team-best fifth save of the season on the night.
- ASU turned in its 36th double play of the year and 30th in the last 24 games. It had just six in the first 14 games of the season. ASU entered the weekend fourth nationally in double plays turned.
- From top to bottom the Sun Devil order put pressure on the Rams pitching, with seven of nine batters recording a hit.
- After another two-hit day, Drew Swift now has 16 multi-hit performances this season.
- Hunter Haas added another hit with runners in scoring position tonight on a two-RBI double to tie the game in the fifth, his second of the series and his team-best 23rd hit of the year with RISP. It marked his seventh game of the season with multiple-RBIs - second on the team behind Ethan Long.
- Haas is batting .479 with runners in scoring position this year (23-of-48) - 100 points higher than any other Sun Devil. His knack for clutch hitting is all the more incredible when you consider he is batting just .200 with no runners on the base path, .407 with runners on and .479 when those runners are in scoring position.
- Graham Osman recorded his team-best fifth hold of the season.
- Hunter Jump's eighth inning sac fly was ASU's 24th of the eason. The Devils entered the weekend 11th in the country in sac flies. While it got the job done, it also unfortunately ended his 23-game streak of having reached base safely.
- Jump now has at least one RBI in seven of his last eight games and has one in each game of this series.
- ASU had 10 hits on the night and now has posted double digit hits in 11 of its last 14 games. The Devils had just 10 double-digit hitting games in the first 24 games of the year.
- With 11 stranded Rams on Saturday, ASU has stranded 331 opponent baserunners in 38 games this season (8.7 per game).
- ASU added five more doubles in the game and now has 39 in the last 13 games (3.0 per game). The team had averaged just 1.8 doubles per game in the first 25 games of the season.
- Rhode Island starter Mike Webb entered the game with a solid 2.88 ERA and an undefeated 4-0 record. The Sun Devils tagged him for six runs on nine hits, the most runs he had allowed all season (previous high was four). He also suffered his first defeat of the season.
- The Sun Devil bullpen has inherited 150 baserunners this year and allowed just 41 to score (27.3). For reference, No Sun Devil team since at least 1998 has had a sub-28.0 percentage in the category,
- ASU improved to 8-3 in weekend series victories on the year in taking the series over Rhode Island. ASU's three weekend series losses (all 2 games to 1) came to the three ranked opponents it has played this season (Oregon, Stanford, Arizona).
The Sun Devils finish up the series on Sunday against the Rams at 12:30 p.m. AZT. The game will be available through the Pac-12 Live Stream and over the airwaves at 1060 AM KDUS.
Left-hander Justin Fall got the start for the Sun Devils, his ninth of the season. He cruised through the top of the Rams order, setting them down 1-2-3 using only 12 pitches. Fall set the tone for the Arizona State offense, who came to play right away.
Rams right-hander Mike Webb came into the game with an ERA under three, with three complete games on his resume. He retired the first two batters of the inning, but a Sean McLain single started a rally. Last night's hero Ethan Long stepped to the plate, pounding another home run over the right field fence to spot the Sun Devils an early 2-0 lead.
Rhode Island had a response to the Sun Devils big first inning, as Justin Fall ran into his first trouble of the night. A single and a walk with one out put a pair of runners on base for Rams' third baseman Alex Santos. He delivered with a two-run double to tie the game at two. Fall was able to prevent any further damage, retiring the next two batters.
As was the case in the first inning, the first two Sun Devils were set down and it looked like the Rams were going to get out of the inning. However, Sam Ferri had other ideas, as he launched a home run to right center field well over the fence to put the Sun Devils back in front 3-2.
The first two runners of the inning reached against Fall, as he found himself in trouble for the second consecutive inning. This time he was able to get out of the jam, with a fielder's choice and crucial double play ball allowing him to escape with a scoreless frame.
Drew Swift got the bottom of the third off to a promising start, reaching base with a leadoff double. Three consecutive flyouts ended the Sun Devils' threat, keeping the game at 3-2.
Justin Fall ran into more trouble in the fourth inning, allowing the first two runners to reach base. Both moved into scoring position on a wild pitch, and the runner from third scored on a ground ball which ended Fall's outing. With the game tied at three and only one out, Cam Dennie came in relief and prevented the Rams from taking the lead with a pair of crucial outs.
Kai Murphy doubled into left center with two outs to try and spark a two-out rally, but the Sun Devils could not take the lead with the game remaining even at three.
Cam Dennie struggled to begin the fifth and the Rams took advantage, scoring a pair of runs on sacrifice flies to take the lead. Right-hander Jared Glenn came in to relieve Dennie and prevent any further damage, as Rhode Island took a 5-3 lead.
Drew Swift's second double of the day came with one-out and set the Sun Devils up with the tying run at the plate. However, Rams' starter Mike Webb got the next two hitters out with the Rams leading after five.
Jared Glenn began to settle in this inning, shifting the momentum to the home dugout. He worked around a two out single and put up a much-needed scoreless frame. The Sun Devil offense would take over from there, putting up a crooked number to take the lead.
Ethan Long stayed hot with a single to lead off the inning to kickstart a game-changing rally. Jack Moss followed with a single of his own, and both moved up a base on a passed ball to put two runners in scoring position. That is where Hunter Haas thrives and he delivered once again, this time ripping a two-run double to left field to tie the game at five. The Maroon and Gold offense wasn't done there, as Sam Ferri walked to put runners on the corners. ASU took advantage of a Rams' miscue, scoring a run on a failed pickoff attempt to take a 6-5 lead. Joe Lampe added a crucial insurance run with a double down the left field line, with Arizona State claiming a 7-5 lead after six.
Left-hander Graham Osman came in to relieve Jared Glenn after 1.2 of scoreless work. Osman picked up where he left off, managing to work around a couple of baserunners on his way to a scoreless top of the seventh. Jack Moss drew a walk and Hunter Haas was hit by a pitch, giving the Sun Devils two runners on. However, no insurance was added and the lead remained 7-5.
After a Rams' leadoff single, Graham Osman set down the next two batters and gave way to Will Levine for a righty-on-righty matchup. Levine took care of business, retiring the final batter of the inning and earning Osman a hold.
The Sun Devils were on the hunt for a crucial insurance run, now deep into Rhode Island's bullpen. Following a Sam Ferri walk and Joe Lampe hit by pitch, Drew Swift gave himself up and executed a perfect sacrifice bunt to put two runners in scoring position. Hunter Jump came through delivering a sacrifice fly to drive in a run and extend the lead to 8-5.
Will Levine stayed in the game to finish off the ninth, looking for his fifth save of the season. The Rams manufactured a run in a late attempt at a rally, but were unable to muster anything else as the Sun Devils held on for a 8-6 victory to clinch the series.