Sun Devil Baseball Outslugs Rhode Island in Series Sweep
PHOENIX – Sun Devil Baseball out-slugged Rhode Island, 14-13, to earn the series sweep on Sunday afternoon at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
Arizona State (25-14) put up multiple runs in four different innings, as the offense continued their outstanding play. Ethan Long hit another home run, his eighth in the past seven games, finishing with six RBIs in the best performance of his young career. He had plenty of help, highlighted by Sean McLain's four-RBI afternoon and multi-hit games from Hunter Haas and Sam Ferri.
A back-and-forth game for most of the afternoon, a five-run sixth and three-run seventh helped the Sun Devils pull in front, as the Maroon & Gold scored at least one run in each of the final three innings. ASU was able to get enough on the mound from a variety of arms, with Brock Peery, Kai Murphy, and Jared Glenn each delivering scoreless outings.
In a rare non-conference series in the middle of the Pac-12 Conference season, the Sun Devils maintained their focus, scoring 31 runs in the three-game sweep. In the first meeting ever between the two sides, Arizona State handed Rhode Island only their second sweep of the season.
THE BIG MOMENT
The Sun Devils trailed 9-5 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning, but the offense exploded for five runs to take the lead. The big blow came off the bat of the red-hot Ethan Long, who cleared the bases with a three-RBI double. Arizona State followed up an explosive sixth with another productive seventh. After the Rams tied the game back up at 10, ASU responded by adding three runs to reclaim the lead. Capping it off was Ethan Long, who delivered an RBI single to put his team up 13-10.
- Ethan Long now has eight home runs in his last seven games, becoming the first Sun Devil in the history of the program to accomplish the feat.
- He also has nine homers in the last ten 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 ten home runs already place him tied for third with Mike Kelly and only behind Barry Bonds and Spencer Torkelson in ASU freshman history for most homers.
- Long leads the team with 10 multi-RBI games this year - two more than any other Sun Devil. He has six games with at least three RBI - also two more than any other player on the roster.
- Long extended his hitting streak to 11 straight games and he has reached base safely in 14 straight.
- Long's six RBIs were the most by a Sun Devil since Trevor Hauver had seven in a 17-2 rout over UC Davis on Feb. 24, 2019.
- Over Long's last seven games, he is slugging at a 1.433 clip and reaching base at a .545 clip, giving him an OPS of 1.978. During that span he also has 18 RBIs, 10 home runs, three doubles, on 16 hits with 11 runs scored.
- Sean McLain recorded his team-leading 19th multi-hit game of the season.
- With three today, ASU has 39 double plays this season and 33 in the last 25 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 eight different batters recording a hit.
- Jump now has at least one RBI in eight of his last nine games and has one in each game of this series.
- ASU had 13 hits on the day and has now posted double digit hits in 12 of its last 15 games. The Devils had just 10 double-digit hitting games in the first 24 games of the year.
- With 10 stranded Rams on Saturday, ASU has stranded 341 opponent baserunners in 39 games this season (8.7 per game).
- ASU added three more doubles in the game and now has 40 in the last 13 games (3.1 per game). The team had averaged just 1.8 doubles per game in the first 25 games of the season.
- The Sun Devils earned their fourth weekend sweep of the season (previous - Utah, Washington State, Cal State Fullerton).
- ASU improved to 8-3 in weekend series victories on the year, with the only three weekend series losses (all 2 games to 1) came to the three ranked opponents it has played this season (Oregon, Stanford, Arizona).
- ASU scored double digit runs for the sixth time this season and set a new season-high with 14 runs.
The Sun Devils now hit the road for a three-game series in Pac-12 Conference play. They will take on California Friday, May 7 - Sunday, May 9, with all three games broadcasted via live stream at the following link. Friday's contest is scheduled for 6:05 pm MST, with Saturday's game taking place at 3:05 pm MST, and a Sunday series finale at 12:05 pm MST.
Right-hander Christian Bodlovich got the call on the bump, making his second career start. He ran into trouble after giving up a double and a single, eventually loading the bases with a walk. Bodlovich got a huge strikeout and then Rams' designated hitter Billy Butler hit a harmless fly ball to center, but it was lost in the sun resulting in a two-run single. Bodlovich managed to bounce back and get the next two outs, striking out two in the inning.
In a repeat of last night's game, a seemingly harmless first inning turned into a tie game. Sean McLain took one for the team and reached first base via hit by pitch, bringing up the red hot Ethan Long. He smacked a fly ball to right field that carried over the fence, bringing the Phoenix Municipal Stadium crowd to their feet once again. The freshman hit his tenth blast of the season and fourth of the series to tie the game at two.
A leadoff single put Christian Bodlovich back on his heels, but this time he responded with a shutdown inning. He got two straight outs before giving up another single, but he came through with a clutch strikeout to leave two runners stranded.
After a quick out to start the inning, the Arizona State offense got to work, putting up a crooked number. It started with a single from Allbry Major, who gave ASU the lead after scoring on a line drive double to right center by Sam Ferri. Drew Swift was hit by a pitch and Hunter Jump earned a free pass via walk to load the bases with two outs. Sean McLain came up clutch like he has all season, ripping a double to left field to score a pair and provide the Sun Devils an early 5-2 lead.
Rhode Island responded to the Sun Devils big inning with one of their own, chasing Bodlovich from the game. By the time the inning was over, they had five runs on the board and a 7-5 lead, with right-hander Brock Peery coming into the game and getting a double play to prevent any further damage.
Arizona State chased Rhode Island starter Domenic Picone early, getting into the Rams bullpen early. Left-hander Broc French was the first in relief and he managed to set the Sun Devils down in order in his first full inning, as the Rams maintained their 7-5 lead.
Brock Peery had the benefit of a fresh slate in his first full inning, getting a ground ball out to start the inning. After allowing a one-out single, Jack Moss, Drew Swift, and Peery teamed-up for a spectacular double play. Moss dove to his right to snag a hard hit ball and Swift returned fire with Peery covering just in time to get out of the inning.
The third pitcher of the game for Rhode Island was right-hander Justin Cherry, who entered to start the fourth. Joe Lampe worked a one-out walk and advanced to second on a balk, but was stranded with the Rams still leading 7-5.
Left-hander Kai Murphy was next on the mound for the Sun Devils, making his second appearance of the season. Murphy looked sharp from the start, retiring the first batter and picking off a runner that had reached on a single. It was the first pickoff of the season for the Sun Devils. Murphy was able to work around a double with two outs and completed the scoreless frame.
For the first time in the game, Arizona State went down in order, as Rams' right-hander Justin Cherry delivered a 1-2-3 inning.
Kai Murphy stayed in the game and recorded a strikeout of the first Rams' hitter before giving way to right-hander Nick Wallerstedt. Wallerstedt struggled from the start, giving up two runs without recording an out. Right-hander Jared Glenn was able to come in and prevent any more runs from scoring, with the Sun Devils trailing 9-5.
Glenn's work set up for a big offensive inning for Arizona State, as they made up the deficit. By the time it was over, the Sun Devils had put up a five-run inning of their own. Hunter Haas led the inning off with a single and Allbry Major walked, their first of two at bats of the inning. After a failed sac bunt, Joe Lampe walked to load the bases for the top of the order.
Drew Swift roped a single to left field to score a run and make it 9-6. Hunter Jump struck out for the second out of the inning, but Sean McLain extended the inning with a RBI single. As has been the case all weekend, Ethan Long came through for the Sun Devils, clearing the bases with a critical three-run double. It put Arizona State ahead for the first time since the second inning, leading 10-9.
Left-hander Graham Osman made an appearance for the second straight night, tasked with the seventh inning. A pair of walks were sandwiched by a pair of strikeouts, but Osman was unable to pick up the hold after giving up a two-out single to tie the game at 10.
The game would not stay tied for long, as the Sun Devil offense enjoyed a breakout performance. ASU first got to right-hander Vitaly Jangols for a run, but eventually pegged Rams' star reliever Zach Fernandez for two runs. It started with a Sam Ferri leadoff single and the bases would quickly be loaded after a base hit from Joe Lampe and a walk from Drew Swift.
Hunter Jump drove in the first run of the inning with an RBI groundout, which was followed by another run scoring on a fielding error to put the Sun Devils back in front. Ethan Long added a key insurance run with a solid approach, driving in his sixth run of the game to make it 13-10 ASU.
Osman remained in the game in the eighth inning, his second inning of work. He set down the first two batters, but the next two reached via free pass. Right-hander Brady Corrigan got the call, looking to close out the inning and game. Corrigan did exactly that, getting out of the jam to keep the lead at three.
Hunter Haas got the inning started with a single as the Sun Devils searched for an insurance run. Pinch hitter Blake Pivaroff delivered off the bench once again, putting runners on the corners with no outs. Sam Ferri may have grounded into a double play, but it provided a necessary one to extend the lead to 14-10.
Brady Corrigan was given the opportunity to finish the game off in the ninth. Rhode Island rallied late for the third straight night, scoring three runs to cut the Sun Devil lead to 14-13. However, Corrigan buckled down to get the final out of the game and record his second save of the season, securing the series sweep.