#21 Sun Devil Baseball Wraps Up Regular Season vs. UCLA
PHOENIX -- The No. 21 Sun Devil Baseball team will conclude the regular season at home this weekend with a three-game series against UCLA with a rare Thursday-Saturday series. The set will get underway at Thursday at 6 p.m. AZT on ESPN2 and will continue at the same time on Friday on the Pac-12 Networks. The series finale will also be carried by the Pac-12 on Saturday at 1 p.m.
#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 182 baserunners this season and allowed just 50 to score (27.5 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 356 chances - fewest in the Pac-12.
5. ASU is 29th nationally with 102 doubles this year, notable as it had just 45 in the first 25 games and 57 in the last 24.
6. The Sun Devils are 13-11 when trailing or tied after five innings this season, tied for the most wins in the category since at least 1998.
7. ASU had just 16 home runs in the first 23 games of the year (0.70 per game). It now has 39 in the last 26 games (1.5 per game).
8. ASU is currently first in the nation in turning 54 doubles plays this season - notable as it had just six in the first 14 games.
9. The ASU pitching staff has stranded 416 opponent baserunners in 49 games this season (8.5 per game).
10. In the last 8 games, Nate Baez leads the Sun Devils with a .385 average with 13 RBIs and all five of his homers this year.
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-50 nationally in doubles (29th), slugging (44th) and average (41st) and just outside the Top-50 in homers (61st).
13 - The Sun Devils are 13-11 in games in which they are trailing or tied after five innings this season. 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. Despite not having a true closer, ASU is 29-1 when leading after eight innings and 31-3 when leading or tied after eight. ASU hasn't lost one of those games since the extra-inning loss in the Stanford game on April 17. The only loss when leading after 8 innings came on opening night.
8 - While Ethan Long has deservedly earned much of the credit for the recent offensive surge, the best player on the team by numbers in the last three weeks has been catcher/utility man Nate Baez. In the last eight games, Baez leads the team with a .385 average with a team-best five homers and 13 RBIs for a 1.038 slugging percentage. He is reaching base at a.529 clip as he also leads the team with eight walks in the recent stretch. All these numbers are notable as he didn't become a fixture in the starting lineup until the Cal series.
8 - The left side of the Sun Devil infield has been exceptional this season with SS Drew Swift and 3B Hunter Haas combining for just 8 errors on 356 chances this season (.978). The eight errors are the fewest by the left side on an infield in the Pac-12 with Swift second among Pac-12 shortstops with just five errors and Haas tied for the Pac-12 lead with three. The duo have combined for 47 DPs, also the most of any left side of an infield in the league while the 356 chances are 10 shy of the Pac-12 lead (Cal 18 errors on 366 chances).
In The Rankings
- Coming off its fifth series win in a row, ASU continued to move up the nationally rankings, checking in at #21 in D1Baseball's weekly poll. The team is No. 19 in the Collegiate Baseball poll, No. 23 in the USA Today Coaches Poll and the NCBWA Top-25 and No. 24 by Perfect Game. ASU remains unranked by Baseball America. ASU is No. 22 in Boyd' World ISR standings and and No. 32 in Warren Nolan's Live RPI.
- UCLA is No. 19 in the NCBWA Poll and No. 20 in the Collegiate Baseball Poll and unraked in all others. They check in just behind ASU at No. 36 in the RPI but are at No. 15 in Boyd's World's ISR.
- There are plenty of Pac-12 standing implications in this series and across the league this weekend. ASU enters the weekend alone in fourth and two games back from second in the league...but also two games shy of seventh in the league. UCLA is a game behind the Sun Devils. Teams 2-7 in the Pac-12 entering the weekend are separated by just four games and all six teams have a series against someone else in that group.
Follow the Action
- For the first time this season, the Sun Devils will be featured on ESPNU on Thursday evening with Roxy Bernstein and Wes Clements on the call.
- Friday and Saturday's games will be be broadcast by Pac-12 Arizona and Pac-12 Los Angeles with Dominic Cotroneo and Sun Devil alumnus Tuffy Gosewisch on the call.
- All three games in the series will be available on the airwaves on 1060 AM KDUS with Tim Healey and Max Rossiter.
- 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 Bruins
- ASU leads the all-time series, 120-78, but have lost four of the last five series to the Bruins since 2015.
- The Bruins have won seven of their last 10 games, and three of their last four series and went an undefeated 8-0 in midweeks this season
- JT Schwartz has a higher batting average (.397) and OBP (.525) than any qualified Pac-12 batter. Michael Townsend is tied for the NCAA lead in pitching appearances (33). Sean Mullen leads the Pac-12 with nine wins, is just two off the national lead. Kevin Kendall leads the Pac and is seventh nationally with 78 hits
- UCLA is the only team that ranks top-three in the Pac in both offense (7.1 runs per game, 3rd) and pitching (3.86 ERA, 3rd).
Just Like He Drew It Up
- Drew Swift has recorded hits in 41 of 48 games he has played this season and enters the weekend with a .320 average.
- His slugging percentage sits at .480 - 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 after just having one in his first three seasons combined.
- Swift is second on the team with 36 RBIs this season and and leads the team with 20 two-out RBI as well. His 39 runs scored are second on the team.
- He has reached base on 29 out of 78 leadoff opportunities this season (.372).
- Swift has 20 games this season with multiple hits - two off the team lead. He has multiple hits in 28 of his last 57 games, dating back to last season.
- Perhaps more impressive has been his defensive play at shortstop where he has just five errors on 226 chances (.978) with 149 assists and 36 double plays turned. His five errors are second among Pac-12 shortstops, though USC's Tyler Pritchard (2 errors on 160 chances) has significantly less opportunities.
- His 149 assists are second in the Pac-12, first among shortstops and just one off the Pac-12 lead. His 36 double plays turned are third in the Pac-12 and tied for tops among shortstops.
- Swift has a 14-game streak without an error at shortstop, dating back to April 27.
- 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 .344 average on the year, good for 13th in the Pac-12. He has a .350 average in Pac-12-only games - good for 14th in the league.
- McLain leads the team in multi-hit games this year with 22. His eight multi-RBI games are second on the team.
- McLain has 16 doubles on the year, tied for sixth in the Pac-12.
- He leads the team with 22 hits with two outs on 59 chances (.373).
- McLain has stranded just 20 runners on the base path this year, lowest among the team day-to-day starters by a significant amount..
- McLain has successfully advanced runners a team-best 53.1 percent of the time (51-of-96 chances).
- He has just seven errors on 240 chances this year, though one of those errors came while playing in the outfield. His 240 chances are second among Pac-12 second-basemen - despite missing several games.
- He has turned 43 double plays this season, tops among any player in the league and 13 more than any other second-basemen.
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 .304 average.
- His 19 multi-hit games are third on the roster. He had a streak of seven straight games with multiple hits in April.
- His 25 hits with runners in scoring position are easily the most on the team and eight more than any other player (and come on 62 chances for a .403 average).
- Haas has posted the go-ahead RBI or unassisted go-ahead run seven times this season in ASU's 32 wins.
- He has been significantly better in clutch scenarios with a .369 average with runners on the basepath and an solid .403 average with RISP compared to just a .231 average when the bases are empty.
- Haas has successfully advanced runners a team-high 55 times on 108 opportunities this season for a .509 average.
- Haas has been nearly perfect over at the hot corner, with just two errors on 124 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 among 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 done a solid job turning the order around in the nine-hole with a .375 OBP compared to just a .290 average.
- Lampe has successfully advanced runners 48 times on 96 chances (.500).
- 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 - tops on the team - and a .667 average on 18 chances.
We Want EZ
- Despite a tough weekend at USC, Ethan Long remains fifth in the nation and tops in the Pac-12 in slugging percentage at .773. He remains first in the league and 16th nationally with 16 home runs this season while remaining in the Top-50 nationally in RBI with 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 remains first in the Pac-12 in league-only games in slugging (.747) and homers (9). He is tied for fourth with 27 RBI in Pac-12 games and his .445 OBP is seventh.
- 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 five 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 and last until his hitless weekend against USC last week, Long bat .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 were for extra bases.
- 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.
Nate the Great
- While Ethan Long has deservedly earned much of the credit for the recent offensive surge, the best player on the team by numbers in the last three weeks has been catcher/utility man Nate Baez.
- In the last eight games, Baez leads the team with a .385 average with a team-best five homers and 13 RBIs for a 1.038 slugging percentage. Those five homers are also his season total, making the surge more impressive.
- He is reaching base at a .529 clip as he also leads the team with eight walks in the recent stretch.
- All these numbers are notable as he didn't become a fixture in the starting lineup until the Cal series as he has fully taken on his role as the team's backstop, showing off his utility after coming to ASU as an infielder and spending much of his early career there prior to this reent stretch.
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 eight of 11 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 in his win 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 third in the Pac-12.
- 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 12-of-68 hitting with two outs (.176). He also has excelled about not giving up hits with runners on the basepath, holding opponents to .220 batting with runners (24-of-109).
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 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 182 baserunners on the year and allowed just 50 to score (27.4 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 (22/5) and Brady Corrigan (25/3).
- The Sun Devil staff has stranded 416 runners on the basepath in 49 games, averaging just about 8.5 LOB per game.
- Opponents are getting an RBI with a runner on third and less than two outs just 51.4 percent of the time, improving on a 20-year average that sits at 57.7 in the category with nine seasons over 60 percent. ASU's opponents are just 11-of-67 with the bases loaded (.164).
- Opponents have just a .247 average on the season with two outs with ASU outscoring opponents in two-out runs 114-81.
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 39 home runs in the last 26 games (1.5 per game) after it had just 16 home runs in the first 23 games of the year (0.70 per game). Itss 55 homers are 61st nationally - notable as the team was 133rd in the NCAA a month ago.
- ASU has 57 doubles in the last 24 games (2.5 per game). It averaged just 1.8 doubles per game in the first 26 games of the year. ASU enters the weekend 29th nationally with 102 doubles.
- The Sun Devils are batting .289 as a team this year, 41st nationally and third in the Pac-12.
- The Devils have posted double-digit hits in 17 of its last 25 games. ASU had just 10 double-digit hitting games in the first 24 games of the year.
- ASU is slugging .460 on the season, good for 44th nationally and second in the league.
- 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 39th 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 356 chances this season. The eight errors mark the lowest on the left side of an infield in the Pac-12.
- ASU's 356 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 54 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 (43), Drew Swift (36) and Hunter 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 (149) and McLain (144) are second and fourth in the league, respectively, in defensive assists.
- ASU is 29-9 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 13-11 when trailing or tied after five innings on the season.
- Those 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.