(Photo: Dominic Cotroneo/WCSN)
As the 2016 seasons enters its final turn, Arizona State baseball makes its last Pac-12 road trip, traveling to Jackie Robinson Stadium to take on the UCLA Bruins.
The Sun Devils come into the weekend on a bit of a down note after they dropped their final midweek game of the season at San Diego in 10 innings by the score of 6-4. However, they are riding an overall hot streak having won their past five weekend series, including two sweeps.
The Pac-12 championship is still in grasp for head coach Tracy Smith. His team sits fourth overall with a 13-11 conference record, two games behind leader Utah, with Washington and Arizona in second and third place, respectively.
Meanwhile, the Bruins come in second-to-last in the conference with an 11-13 Pac-12 record and an overall mark of 24-26. Just three years removed from a national championship, the Bruins have struggled mightily this season on the mound. Only three pitchers have an ERA of four or under with a minimum of eight innings pitched.
The series will kick off Friday night with Sun Devil ace Seth Martinez (8-3, 1.93 ERA) against Bruin workhorse Griffin Canning (5-6, 3.41 ERA, leads the team with 95 IP).
The Bruins offense will try their best to get the series started with a win on Friday night, something no team has been able to do in games started by Martinez since Washington did it on April 12. Infielder Luke Perisco leads the Bruins with a .321 average, to go along with 25 RBI and a .385 on-base percentage.
Other notable players include outfielder Kort Peterson (tied for first on the team with 36 RBI, 11-for-16 in stolen base attempts) and outfielder Eric Filla (.317 average, 30 RBI, leads the team with 38 walks).
The starting pitchers for Saturday’s game are scheduled to be Eli Lingos for ASU (3-3, 3.59 ERA) opposing Grant Dyer (3-3, 4.95 ERA). Both teams’ starting pitchers for the Sunday series finale have not been announced yet.
The first pitch for Friday’s game is scheduled for 6 pm Pacific Time.
Bobby Kraus is a baseball beat writer for the Walter Cronkite Sports Network. You can follow him on Twitter @bobbykraus22