Sun Devil Baseball Set for Penultimate Season Series at USC
LOS ANGELES -- The #25 Sun Devil Baseball program hits the road for the final time of the regular season this weekend, heading west for a three-game Pac-12 series against USC in Los Angeles. The series will get underway on Friday at 6 p.m. AZT, followed by a 3 p.m. start time on Saturday and wrapping up with a Noon first pitch on Sunday. All three games will be broadcast by the Pac-12 Network.
#10THINGS (Twitter-Friendly Notes)
1. ASU is 11-3 in weekend series this season with the three series losses coming in three series splits to Top-25 teams (ORE, ARIZ, STAN).
2. The Sun Devil pitching staff has inherited 174 baserunners this season and allowed just 49 to score (28.2 percent).
3. The Sun Devils are fielding the second-youngest lineup among Power Five teams this year with freshmen representing 66.1% of the team ABs.
4. Drew Swift and Hunter Haas have commit just eight errors on the left side of the infield on 335 chances - fewest in the Pac-12
5. ASU is 18th nationally with 100 doubles this year, notable as it had just 45 in the first 25 games and 55 in the last 21.
6. ASU is batting .293 this season - 33rd nationally - and have double digits hits in 16 of the last 22 games. It had just 10 in first 24 games.
7. ASU had just 16 home runs in the first 23 games of the year (0.70 per game). It now has 36 in the last 23 games (1.6 per game).
8. ASU is currently first in the nation in turning 52 doubles plays this season - notable as it had just six in the first 14 games.
9. The ASU pitching staff has stranded 392 opponent baserunners in 49 games this season (8.5 per game).
10. In the last 19 games, Ethan Long is batting .444 with 40 RBI, 15 homers, eight doubles and a 1.181 slugging percentage.
BY THE NUMBERS
66 - Sun Devil baseball is fielding the second-youngest lineup among all Power-Five teams with freshmen representing 66.1 percent of the Sun Devil at-bats this season. Only Virginia Tech's 72.0 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 21.6 percent of their total at bats represented by freshmen. Despite that, ASU's offense finds itself in the Top-35 nationall in doubles (18th), slugging (32nd) and average (33rd) and just outside the Top-50 in homers (52nd).
36 - ASU now has 36 home runs in the last 23 games (1.6 per game) after it had just 16 home runs in the first 23 games of the year (0.70 per game). It's 52 homers are 56th nationally - notable as the team was 133rd in the NCAA a month ago. ASU has 56 doubles in the last 20 games (2.8 per game). It averaged just 1.8 doubles per game in the first 26 games of the year. ASU enters the weekend 18th nationally with 100 doubles. The Sun Devils are batting .293 as a team this year, 33rd nationally and third in the Pac-12. The Devils have posted double-digit hits in 16 of its last 22 games.
16 - Ethan Long leads the Pac-12 with 16 home runs this season while he is the national leader in slugging percentage at .838. In the 19-game stretch over the last month, this week's unanimous National Player of the Week is batting .444 with 40 RBI, 15 home runs, eight doubles, a 1.181 slugging percentage, a .500 OBP and an absurd 1.681 OPS. Of his 32 hits in that span, 23 have been for extra bases. He is the only Pac-12 player in the top 5 in HRs (1st), slugging (1st), average (1st), RBI (3rd) and OBP (5th) in league-only games.
8 - The left side of the Sun Devil infield has been absolutely exceptional this season with SS Drew Swift and 3B Hunter Haas combining for just 8 errors on 335 chances this season (.976). The eight errors are the fewest by the left side on an infield in the Pac-12 with Swift second among all league shortstops with just five errors and Haas tied for the Pac-12 lead with just three. The duo has combined for 45 double plays, also the most of any left side of an infield in the league while the 335 chances are second most in the Pac-12.
In The Rankings
The Sun Devils moved up in several polls after a series victory over #23 Oregon State last weekend, cracking D1Baseball's Top-25 for the first time this season at No. 25. The team remains at No. 22 in Collegiate Baseball's Poll, No. 24 in Perfect Game, No. 25 by the NCBWA and No. 28 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. ASU is No. 33 in Warren Nolan's RPI standings and No. 23 in Boyd's World ISR rankings.
Follow the Action
- All games this weekend will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network with JB Long on the call.
- There will be no home radio for the series this week.
- 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 Trojans
- Among the most historic rivalries in college baseball, ASU holds a slim 110-107 advantage in the all-time series. ASU is the only team in the Pac-12 USC does not have a winning record against.
- Isaac Esqueda has been a picture of consistency this year, leading the way for the USC staff with a 3.01 ERA, which is good for sixth in the conference. Esqueda has thrown at least 5.0 innings in all but one of his 11 starts and has only given up more than two runs twice.
- Amongst regular starters, Ramirez leads the Trojans with a .307 batting average and .869 OPS. He has been the most consistent run producer for USC this year driving in 42 runs and scoring 20.
Just Like He Drew It Up
- Drew Swift has recorded hits in 40 of 45 games he has played this season and enters the weekend with a .335 average and a active-team best 11-game hitting streak.
- His slugging percentage sits at .495 - 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 six homers this season (three of the last five games) after just having one in his first three seasons combined.
- Swift is second on the team with 35 RBIs this season and and leads the team with 20 two-out RBI as well. His 38 runs scored are second on the team.
- He has reached base on 28 out of 72 leadoff opportunities this season (.389).
- Swift has 20 games this season with multiple hits - one off the team lead. He has multiple hits in 28 of his last 54 games, dating back to last season.
- Perhaps more impressive has been his defensive play at shortstop where he has just five errors on 213 chances (.977) with 140 assists and 34 double plays turned. His five errors are second among Pac-12 shortstops, though USC's Tyler Pritchard (2 errors on 141 chances) has significantly less chances.
- His 140 assists are third in the Pac-12, first among shortstops and just four off the Pac-12 lead. His 34 double plays turned are fourth in the Pac-12 and one shy of tops among leagye 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 is second on the team with a .351 average on the year, good for 12th in the Pac-12. He has a .363 average in Pac-12-only games - good for 10th in the league.
- McLain leads the team in multi-hit games this year with 21. His eight multi-RBI games are second on the team.
- McLain holds an active 14-game reached base streak, the longest on the team.
- McLain has 16 doubles on the year, tied for sixth in the Pac-12 and 36th nationally.
- He is second on the team with 21 hits with two outs on 54 chances (.389).
- McLain has stranded just 20 runners on the base path this year, lowest among the team starters.
- McLain has successfully advanced runners a team-best 52.6 percent of the time (50-of-95 chances).
- He has just six errors on 225 chances this year, though one of those errors came while playing in the outfield. His 225 chances are third among Pac-12 second-basemen - despit missing several games.
- He has turned 41 double plays this season, tops among league second-basemen and 12 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 .321 average.
- His 18 multi-hit games are third on the roster. He had a streak of seven straight games with multiple hits in April.
- His 23 hits with runners in scoring position are easily the most on the team and six more than any other player (and come on 57 chances for a .404 average).
- Haas has posted the go-ahead RBI or unassisted go-ahead run seven times this season in ASU's 30 wins.
- He has been significantly better in clutch scenarios with a .365 average with runners on the basepath and an solid .404 average with RISP compared to just a .233 average when the bases are empty.
- Haas has successfully advanced runners a team-high 51 times on 101 opportunities this season for a .505 average.
- Haas has been nearly perfect over at the hot corner, with just two errors on 116 total chances while playing at third base. His lone other error on the year came in a spot start at shortstop. He is tied for first among third basemen in the Pac-12 with just two errors (at third base).
- His 11 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.
- Lampe has successfully advanced runners 47 times on 91 chances (.516).
- He has been absurd at productive outs, recording 23 runners advanced with an out this year - seven more than any other player on the roster.
- He has been ASU's best player with a runner on third and less than two outs with 12 RBI - three more than any other player on the team - and a .667 average on 18 chances.
We Want EZ
- Ethan Long is the national leader in slugging percentage at .838 – 26 points higher than any other player - and 10th in home runs at 16 – notable as 15 of those have come in his last month of action. He is fourth in the league (37th nationally) in average at .385 and also fourth in the league and 24th nationally in RBI (52).
- These numbers are made all the more incredible knowing that after the Washington series concluded on April 11, he had just one home run and 12 RBIs on the year after entering the season as the team's closer and posting four saves and no earned runs in the opening week of action before going down with a minor injury that has kept him off the bump since.
- Long finished the weekend improving his stock in Pac-12 league-only games as he now sits first in the league in average (.400), homers (9), and slugging (.850), third in RBI (27) and fifth in OBP (.479). His .850 in Pac-12 games is 100 points higher than any other player in the league. He is the only player in the Pac-12 in the top-five in all five categories.
- With all games included, Long is first in the Pac-12 in homers (16) and slugging (.838), and fourth in average (.385) and RBI (52).
- Long is responsible for the go-ahead RBI in seven Sun Devil victories this season – three coming against ranked opponents (#16 Oregon, #18 Stanford and #23 Oregon State) and four coming by way of the long ball. He has two go-ahead home runs in the ninth inning of games this year.
- Behind Long's bat, ASU has won four straight weekend series. He began getting hot with his go-ahead two-RBI eighth inning double off potential Stanford All-American closer Zach Grech on April 16. In the 19-game stretch that started that night, Long is batting .444 with 40 RBI, 15 home runs, eight doubles, a 1.181 slugging percentage, a .500 OBP and an absurd 1.681 OPS. Of his 32 hits in that span, 23 have been for extra bases.
- There are currently 26 players in Division I baseball with 15 or more home runs, including Long. Long has done so on 130 at-bats. The other 25 have done so on an average of 169.6 at-bats this season. Of those 26 players, Long also has the highest average at .385 compared to just .316 for the rest of the group. His .838 slugging percentage also crushes the crowd with the 25 others averaging a .684 percentage.
- Of the 40 Division I players with at least 50 RBIs this season, Long's 52 on 130 at-bats against stands out with the average of the rest sitting at 180 at-bats. In fact, Long has 16 fewer ABs than any other player on that list. Long's 0.4 RBIs per at-bat this season easily leads the group.
- Long is the only player in the Pac-12 to earn multiple Pac-12 Player of the Week nods this season, let alone three. He is the first Pac-12 player to win the honor three times in a season since Hunter Bishop in 2019. Andrew Vaughn of Cal was the last non-Sun Devil to accomplish the feat thrice in one season in 2018 when he was eventually named the Pac-12 Player of the Year. He enters the weekend as the Unanimous National Player of the Week.
- Hunter Jump got off to a bit of a slow start but has come on strong with hits in 32 of his last 39 games.
- He had a 23-game reached base streak snapped earlier this year, the second-longest for a Sun Devil this year.
- Jump has drawn a team-high 22 walks on the season, a big reason that his OBP is nearly 100 points higher than his average (.293/.388).
- 10 of Jump's doubles this season have come in Pac-12 games, tied for third in the league.
- 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.
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 seven of 10 games since making the transition to weekend starter, including a then-career ASU best 6.2 innings of shutout ball against Washington State before topping it with ASU's first complete game since 2019 in a win over Cal. He followed that up with 7.1 innings against #23 Oregon State.
- He posted three consecutive quality starts - the only Sun Devil with multiple quality starts this season - against Washington State, Arizona and Washington. He has bumped that up to five with back-to-back quality starts against Cal and #23 OSU.
- His seven victories on the year are good for second in the Pac-12 and 40th nationally and his five wins in league games are tops in the league.
- 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 13 double plays this year.
- Fall has been at his best with two outs, getting out of innings by holding opponents to just 9-of-60 hitting with two outs (.150). He also has excelled about not giving up hits with runners on the basepath, holding opponents to .208 batting with runners (20-of-96).
- Fall is seventh in the Pac-12 with his 3.41 ERA. He is tied for fifth in the league in fewest homers among eligible pitchers with three.
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 42 of the 65 (64.6 percent) 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 (43.9 percent) and 28 of its 55 games in 2018 (51 percent).
- 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 174 baserunners on the year and allowed just 49 to score (28.2 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 (16/3), Jared Glenn (20/4) and Brady Corrigan (22/3).
- The Sun Devil staff has stranded 392 runners on the basepath in 49 games, averaging just about 8.5 LOB per game.
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.
- Tyler Thornton's seven-inning save against Rhode Island was the first in program history. It is a feat record just one time in MLB history since saves began being recorded in 1969.
- Against Cal, Kai Murphy was the first Sun Devil pitcher to hold an opponent to just one hit in at least 7.0 innings since Ryan Hingst's no-hitter in 2016.
- Only 8 ASU pitchers have gone 7.0 innings with one or fewer hits since AT LEAST 1998. None did so in their first career start like Murphy.
Bats Coming Alive
- ASU now has 36 home runs in the last 23 games (1.6 per game) after it had just 16 home runs in the first 23 games of the year (0.70 per game). Itss 52 homers are 56th nationally - notable as the team was 133rd in the NCAA a month ago.
- ASU has 56 doubles in the last 20 games (2.8 per game). It averaged just 1.8 doubles per game in the first 26 games of the year. ASU enters the weekend 18th nationally with 100 doubles.
- The Sun Devils are batting .293 as a team this year, 33rd nationally and third in the Pac-12.
- The Devils have posted double-digit hits in 16 of its last 22 games. ASU had just 10 double-digit hitting games in the first 24 games of the year.
- ASU is slugging .467 on the season, good for 32nd nationally.
- ASU had two double digit hitting games against Oregon State and finished the series with 30 hits - notable as OSU had entered the weekend fifth nationally with just 6.7 hits allowed per game and only 5.82 hits per road game.
- Prior to last weekend's series, the Beavers' pitching staff had allowed only 17 home runs before the Sun Devil got a hold of 8 in three games.
- Arizona State scored at least nine runs in each of the first two games against Oregon State, the first time Oregon State had allowed nine or more runs in back-to-back games since Feb. 24-25 of the 2012 season (not a series). It is the first time it has happened twice in a three-game series since all three games at Cal in 2010.
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 .977 fielding percentage this season - good for 37th nationally
- The left side of the Sun Devil infield has been exceptional this season as Drew Swift and Hunter Haas have combined for just eight errors on 335 chances this season. The eight errors mark the lowest on the left side of an infield in the Pac-12.
- ASU's 335 chances on the left side of the infield are second-most for a primary duo in the Pac-12.
- ASU is now first in the nation with 52 double plays turned this season, which is especially impressive since the team had just six in the first 14 games of the season.
- Sean McLain (41), Drew Swift (34) and Hunteer Haas (11) all lead their respective positions in the Pac-12 in double plays turned. McLain and Swift are first and fourth in the league in the category, regardless of position - incredibly notable as first basemen tend to lead the way in the area.
- Swift (140) and McLain (133) are third and fourth in the league, repespectively, in defensive assists.
- ASU is 27-8 this year with one or fewer errors compared to 3-8 with two or more.
The Kids Will Be Alright
- Sun Devil baseball is fielding the second-youngest lineup among all Power-Five teams with freshmen representing 66.1 percent of the Sun Devil at-bats this season. Only Virginia Tech's 72.0 percent is higher.
- In fact, ASU is one of just three teams among all Power Five programs with a 50 percent or more rate of freshmen ABs (Virginia Tech and Washington). All remaining Power Five programs combined are averaging just 21.6 percent of their at-bats this season from freshmen.
- If the season ended today, Sean McLain and Ethan Long would all move into ASU's all-time top-10 for freshmen batting averages.
- For a young team that has taken its fair share of gut punches, ASU is 11-3 in weekend series this year and are 12-10 when trailing or tied after five innings on the season. hose 12 wins are tied for second in a season at ASU since 1998 (the 2011 team was 13-13 and three times ASU had 12). Only the 2007 (10-7) and 2010 (10-9) have posted winning records in the category since 1998.