Baseball Completes Series Sweep Over Utah, 13-6
PHOENIX – Sun Devil Baseball completed its series sweep over the Utah Utes, taking the final game of the series 13-6 on Sunday at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
The Sun Devil bats tallied up a total of 19 hits, with 10 of them being extra base hits. ASU bat an incredible 10-for-17 (.588) with two outs and 10 of the team's 13 RBIs came with two outs.
The tone was set early, as ASU posted six runs on seven hits in the first inning - all coming with two outs. The six ASU tallied in the first would match the total runs the Utes would score in the game. A scoring break would take place in the second, but the Sun Devils would pick back up, scoring in five straight innings.
Freshman Jacob Tobias had four of the extra base hits with two homers and two doubles to pick up his second five-RBI game of the weekend. Nate Baez tacked on his ninth home run of the season and fifth in the last five games and went 3-for-5 on the day. Kai Murphy added another three-hit game - his seventh of the year. Sean McLain, Conor Davis and Will Rogers also logged two-hit outings.
Boyd Vander Kooi pitched two scoreless innings to earn the victory in a bullpen day in which ASU used eight pitchers with none throwing more than 33 pitches.
The Sun Devils were in the driver's seat from inning one, when they scored six runs right off the bat. McLain got things going with a one-out single but a Campos fielder's choice quickly put the second out on the board. That meant nothing to Baez who singled with two outs, sparking the two-out rally. Davis then smoked a single of his own and Tobias started his four-hit day with an RBI double to make it 2-0. Murphy was the beneficiary of a sun double, as the ball dropped out of the grasp of a diving shortstop in shallow center for two RBIs to make it 4-0. Rogers made it three straight RBI doubles and Magee followed with an RBI single of his own as ASU set the tone and bat around for a 6-0 lead.
THE BIG MOMENT
Freshman have been anything but cast to the side this season. Ryan Campos and Jacob Tobias have especially made an impact. And today, Tobias shone brightly. In his second at-bat, Tobias blasted a 407-foot shot to right center, a mammoth two-run shot that made it 8-0 and effectively putting the game away in the second inning. In Tobias' next at-bat, he saw a 1-2 count before getting a solo shot to center. He added two doubles for 12 total bases on the afternoon and his second five-RBI day of the weekend.
THE FINAL STRAW
Utah showed no quit, consistently putting base runners on and keeping the offensive pressure on the Sun Devils. The Utes ripped off six runs over the second half of the game but ASU got its biggest stop in the fifth inning. Holding on to a comfortable 10-2 lead at that point, Utah loaded the bases and was one swing away from making it a ball game - especially the way it was swinging the bat the latter half of the game. For the second time this weekend, Will Levine was put into the game with two outs and the bases loaded and for the second time, he left the bases stranded with a first pitch flyout that sapped any air of momentum from the Utah bullpen.
- ASU recorded double digit hits for the 19th time in the last 22 games and 28th time in 47 games this season. It was the eighth time this season ASU recorded 15 or more hits in a game
- Nate Baez's fourth-inning home run was his fifth homer in as many games.
- The two-run shot also gave Baez his 28th and 29th two-out RBIs of the season out of his team-leading 42 RBIs.
- Baez also assumed the team lead in Pac-12 games in average this weekend, now sitting at .385 and good for second in the conference.
- Joe Lampe's 19th double of the season in the fifth inning extended his hitting streak to 17 straight games.
- ASU tagged Utah for 38 runs over three games this weekend. The most it had allowed in any other series on the year was 26. Utah was playing some of the best baseball in the Pac-12 in the weeks leading up to this weekend and had allowed just 40 runs in its 10 previous games prior to running into the Sun Devil buzzsaw.
Vander Kooi started his day on the mound facing only one over the minimum when he gave up a two-out, full count walk. Magee was positioned perfectly to snag a line drive and also fought the sun off on a pop up for the third out of the inning. The Devils batted around in the first inning, with McLain starting things off with a one-out opposite field single. Although Campos grounded into a force out, Baez started the fire when six straight Sun Devils went up to the plate and recorded two-out hits to give ASU an early 6-0 advantage.
The Utes managed to send four batters to the plate but had no luck scoring. With only one batter making it on base, ASU made quick plays to keep Utes off of second. Much like the opposing team, ASU had trouble getting on base with three quick outs by McLain, Campos, and Baez. Mclain grounded to second, Campos lined to right field, and Baez struck out.
With a six-run lead going into the third, Coach Bloomquist decided to cut Vander Kooi's outing short, and bring in Graham Osman. Osman handled the task well, sending his batters down in order, with a strikeout, fly out and lineout. On the other side, Davis skied a ball over the left fielder's head for a double. A pitching change was made, but on the second pitch the fresh reliever threw, Tobias blasted a two-run moonshot to right center. Murphy singled, but that would be it for the Sun Devils.
The Utes were able to get on the board thanks to a leadoff double that moved over to third on a ground ball to the right side and a sacrifice fly would score him. Osman was able to limit the damage and get out of the inning with no further scores. Lampe was able to reach on a throwing error by the Utah shortstop and although McLain and Campos both flew out, Baez would then bring Lampe home with a two-out homer that just cleared the right-center field wall, putting the Devils up 10-1. It was Baez's fifth homer in as many games.
Utah once again put a matchstick on the board during the inning. It began with a single to right field, followed by a fielder's choice to second base. A double put two runners in scoring position and a walk loaded the bases with one out. A sac fly scored a run and another walk reloaded the bases with two outs. Levine came into pitch after the second walk of the inning, and induced a flyout on his first pitch of the game to strand the bases loaded for the second time this weekend. The Devils matched the scoring with a leadoff homer by Tobias, his second of the game. Murphy then singled up the middle and Rogers flew out to right field. Lampe doubled down the right field line to extend his hitting streak to 17 games and moved Murphy to third. Utah made another pitching change and got the final out, stranding the pair.
Levine had a relatively simple second inning, with a strikeout, HBP, and 2-4-6 double play to erase the hit batter. Baez got an infield single with one out. Davis struck out, bringing the man who had hit two home runs in his last two at-bats. Tobias went a different way with this at-bat, hitting a shallow pop out to right field. Tobias hustled to second as the ball dropped in between the three Utes defenders.
Ethan Long went in for some work and although the first two batters he faced were able to reach with a walk and a single, he retired the next two with a couple of flyouts to center, the second one being a sacrifice fly for the Utes. A stolen base and a single would give Utah their second run of the inning, and a walk would end Long's day on the mound after facing seven batters. Christian Bodlovich relieved Long and was welcomed in with an RBI double into right center, allowing a third Utah run to score in the inning, but a flyout to Murphy in right ended the inning. Rogers smoked a single into right field to get the leadoff man on for the Sun Devils and Magee followed with a fielders choice. Lampe drove one to left field, but it was caught, bringing up McLain who laced one into right, just out of the right fielders reach who tried making a diving play, but resulting in an RBI triple for McLain.
Bodlovich pitched his first full inning of the game and it wasn't without its challenges. There was a fielding error, a double, and a runner scoring. The Devils went down in order, with outs coming from by Baez, Davis, and Tobias. Baez grounded to shortstop and both Davis and Tobias struck out.
Danny Marshall secured a quick first out with a lineout, but hit a bump after walking a batter on a full count, and hitting the next. Marshall would manage to get a second out on a popup, to make way for Will Rogers, ASU's usual left fielder, to close it out. One pitch was all that was needed for Rogers to get an out, and declare the series sweep over the Utes.
ASU heads up the road for its final midweek tilt of the season, taking on crosstown opponent Grand Canyon on Tuesday at 6 p.m. AZT. The game will be streamed via ESPN+ and available over the airwaves on KDUS 1060 AM.