#25 Sun Devil Baseball Takes Opener Over USC, 6-2
LOS ANGELES – Sun Devil Baseball rallied behind a five-run sixth inning to take the opening games of the series against USC, 6-2, on Friday in Los Angeles.
Nate Baez had a three-run homer in the explosive sixth and Joe Lampe had a solo shot of his own as ASU (31-16, 15-10 Pac-12) turned a 2-1 disadvantage into a 6-2 advantage and never looked back.
With the win, ASU moved to 13-10 this season when trailing or tied after five innings. The 13 wins ties the 2011 squad (13-13) for the most in the category at ASU since 1998. Only the 2007 (10-7) and 2010 (10-9) teams have posted winning records when trailing or tied after five since 1998.
Tyler Thornton was especially solid in his effort on the bump, earning the win behind 5.2 innings of work where he allowed just two earned runs with four strikeouts. Graham Osman pitched 2.1 scoreless innings of high leverage baseball, stranding five runners in the process. Will Levine did enough in the ninth, stranding the bases loaded to close things out. The trio combined to strand 11 Trojans on the basepath in the victory.
ASU got multi-hit efforts out of Lampe, Sean McLain and Hunter Jump. It was a busy day for Lampe as he had two hits and a homer while recording a profound nine putouts in center field as well – the most for a Sun Devil centerfielder since at least 1998.
HOW IT HAPPENED
ASU did just about all its damage in the span of just a couple batters, and it was the bottom of the order that carried the rally.
Trailing 2-1 after USC posted the go-ahead run in the bottom of the fifth, ASU got three straight one-out singles from Hunter Jump, Hunter Haas and Jack Moss – the last of which played Jump and tied the game at 2-2.
Nate Baez did the rest with an absolute rocket to left center, a monstrous three-run blast that was his fourth home run in the last six games that gave ASU the lead for good. Joe Lampe gave the Devils some insurance with a solo shot off the scoreboard from the nine-hole two batters later. USC ace Isaac Esqueda had allowed just three home runs all season prior to the outburst in Friday.
- Sean McLain added his team-best 22nd multi-hit game of the season.
- Joe Lampe recorded nine putouts in center field, the most by a Sun Devil centerfielder since at least 1998. Only one other player had even reached eight (Hunter Bishop in 2019).
- With two today, ASU now has 38 home runs in the last 24 games (1.6 per game). ASU had just 16 home runs in the first 23 games of the year (0.70 per game).
- USC's Isaac Esqueda had only given up three home runs all season (71.2 innings) and only 7 in his entire four-year career (180 IP) before giving up two in the 6th inning Friday.
- games of the year. ASU entered the game 19th in the nation in doubles.
- While it didn't get there Friday with 9, ASU has posted double-digit hits in 16 of its last 24 games. The last two games, ASU had 8 and 9, respectively, however. The Devils had just 10 double-digit hitting games in the first 24 games of the year.
- The ASU pitching staff has stranded 403 baserunners in 47 games (8.6 per game) - including 11 on Friday.
Arizona State will look to take the series and improve to 11-3 in weekend series on Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. AZT. The game will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network.
ASU got a pair of two-out singles from Sean McLain and Hunter Jump but couldn't capitalize. Joe Lampe made a nice diving play in center and Thornton had a 1-2-3 frame in return.
Both sides went down in order.
ASU got a leadoff single from Lampe, a walk from Swift and runners on the corners thanks to a hard struck lineout to the warning track from Long. Sean McClain immediately capitalized with a first-pitch RBI single to put ASU on the board first. USC came right back with a walk and a single and scored on a sac fly to tie things at 1-1.
ASU went down in order and Thornton came back in the bottom half to strand a two-out single.
It was another 1-2-3 frame for the Devils. USC took its first lead behind a pair of two-out hits to go up 2-1.
The Sun Devils came right back with a monstrous five-run frame in the sixth. After tying things behind three straight singles from Jump, Haas and an RBI from Moss, Nate Baez got the big hit with his fourth home run of the last six games – a three run shot to make it 5-2. Joe Lampe followed that up with a monstrous shot off the scoreboard in right center to make it 6-2.
Thornton's day came to an end after 5.2 innings with a pair on and Graham Osman got out of the jam with a fielder's choice.
ASU went down in order but Osman pitched a scoreless frame to keep it a four-run lead.
Another 1-2-3 frame from the Devils. Osman faced a gut check moment after a leadoff infield error and a single put two on with no outs. The freshman stranded the runners at the corners though to keep ASU up by four.
ASU was unable to pad its lead and Will Levine had to face a jam of his own with the bases loaded and two outs. But a fielder's choice ended things to give ASU the victory.