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ASU baseball: San Luis Obispo Regional preview

(Photo: NCAA)

The Arizona State Sun Devils’ “Road to Omaha” will begin at the San Luis Obispo Regional this year. This regional features host Cal Poly taking on fourth-seeded Sacramento State, and two-seed ASU facing three-seed Pepperdine. Let’s take a look at what to watch for from each team:

ASU vs. Pepperdine, Friday, 1 pm PT

Sacramento St. vs. Cal Poly, Friday, 6 pm PT 

#1 Cal Poly (45-10)

The Mustangs are ranked fourth in the nation, cruised to a Big West Conference title this season and will be rewarded by hosting a regional for the first time.

Their pitching staff boasts a 2.98 ERA and is lead by Casey Bloomquist. The right-handed sophomore went 12-1 this season, the second-most victories in the nation, with a 1.60 ERA in 90 innings of work. Matt Imhof ranks sixth in the nation in strikeouts with 120 and third in strikeouts per nine innings with 11.78.

Offensively, Cal Poly is just as formidable. The Mustangs have a .300 batting average as a team and are led by Mark Mathias’ .378 average. Mathias also leads the team in hits with 74. Nick Torres leads the team in both home runs (5) and RBIs (47).

#2 Arizona State (33-22)

The Sun Devils finished third in a very competitive PAC-12 behind Oregon State and Washington, and ASU took the series from the Beavers in Corvallis.

ASU’s pitching staff has a 3.91 ERA. Ryan Kellogg went 8-3 in a team-high 96 innings and Brett Lilek led the staff in strikeouts with 79 and a starter-low 2.59 ERA.

On offense, the Sun Devils are batting .286 collectively. Drew Stankiewicz leads the team with a .337 average. RJ Ybarra leads the team with 45 RBIs, and Nate Causey leads the team with 64 hits.

#3 Pepperdine (39-16)

The WCC Champion Waves are coming off their best regular season since 2006 and will look to prove themselves against Arizona State in the first round of regionals.

Pepperdine’s pitching has a 2.52 combined ERA led by Corey Miller’s 1.70 in a team-high 105 and two-thirds innings. Aaron Brown went 11-1 on the year for the Waves and leads the team in strikeouts with 96. Both Miller and Brown only gave up one home run in over 100 innings of work.

Offensively, the Waves are batting .286 as a team, led by Aaron Barnett’s .378 average and 76 hits. Aaron Brown, yes the pitcher who also plays outfield, leads the team with 45 RBIs and 12 home runs, which ties him for 15th in the nation.

#4 Sacramento State (39-22)

The Hornets are making their first ever Division I tournament appearance after winning the WAC championship. Their last tournament appearance was the 1989 Div. II tournament.

Sacramento State’s pitching staff has a 3.21 ERA. Brennan Leitao has thrown 110 innings, and his 17 starts are tied for most in the nation. Leitao also leads the team with 75 strikeouts.

On offense, the Hornets are batting .286 as a team and are led by Nathan Lukes’ .357 average and 89 hits. Rhys Hoskins leads the team with 12 home runs, which ties him for 15th nationally, along with 53 RBIs.

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