(Photo: Gabrielle Mercer/WCSN)
Following a game that featured a two-hour and 3o-minute rain delay, Tracy Smith acknowledged that today’s series finale wasn’t a run-of-the-mill sort of contest.
Arizona State (17-12, 4-8) dropped its home series with Washington (16-11, 7-5) following today’s 6-1 loss at Phoenix Muni.
The rain, in Smith’s eyes, still should have had minimal impact on the outcome of the game.
“[The rain] should not impact whatsoever, it really shouldn’t,” Smith said. “We probably weren’t going to go real long with Chris [Isbell] today anyway, I felt like he gave us more than really we were even expecting. So I felt pretty good going back out there.”
Isbell earned the starting nod and despite some trouble early, seemed to be cruising with the threat of rain looming. He finished with three strikeouts, a walk and three hits in 3 1/3 innings pitched before the delay.
While Washington’s bats seemed to be working right out of the gate, Arizona State’s offense never got anything going.
“I would have liked to see us be a little bit more competitive in our AB’s early in the game, because I think they were trying to do exactly what we were trying to do and steal some innings early,” Smith said. “They’ve got the [Troy] Rallings kid at the back of the bullpen. I knew they were trying to make it a short game and hand it over to him.”
Rallings, a senior, has appeared in 15 games this season, allowing just two earned runs in 28.1 innings pitched. His 0.64 ERA ranks as the sixth-best mark in the nation.
He took over following the delay in Sunday’s game and pitched for six innings, striking out three and giving up a run on two hits.
The two hits were the only bit of offense Arizona State was able to put together on the day, both of which came off the bat of the pinch-hitting Ryan Lillard.
“Just truly a struggle offensively today,” Smith said. “The most disappointing piece, for me, when you look back at the box score, is we only left four guys on [base] too, so we weren’t threatening. Kind of tough to score runs when you don’t have guys on base.
While Smith acknowledges his current roster might not be the most consistent group in the conference, he believes that his current crop of talent is more than able to start winning conference games on a more frequent basis.
“We’ve got enough talent in that room to figure out a way to piece together if you will two games on a weekend, minimum,” Smith said. “We’ve just got to find a way to do that.”
Arizona State will have a one-day turnaround before squaring off against in-state rival Arizona (20-12) on Tuesday night.
“There’s a lot of baseball season left, a lot of conference games left and we can [win two games per weekend]. I don’t think that’s an unrealistic expectation is to win series’ the rest of the way. We physically can do that.”