(Photo: Dominic Cotroneo/WCSN)
Fresh off its first Pac-12 series win of the season, Arizona State baseball will face a Washington school for the second weekend in a row, as the Washington Huskies visit Phoenix Municipal Stadium for a three-game series.
The Sun Devils will try to keep their recently hot bats sizzling against the Huskies, coming off three games at Washington State where they put up 31 runs, including 18 in the series finale. The team had scored just 20 runs in the six conference games preceding the trip to Pullman.
One player in particular that head coach Tracy Smith will want to see continue his production from the Washington State series will be junior catcher Brian Serven. Serven went 3-for-11 in the three games with four RBI and three runs scored.
Serven has yet to be firing on all cylinders offensively this season. His offensive production numbers are down in comparison to last year, as he has just one home run in 2016 after leading the team with six last season.
The task of slowing down the Sun Devil offense will fall primarily on the Huskies two entrenched starters, Noah Bremer and Joe DeMers. Bremer will take the hill for the series opener opposite Seth Martinez for Arizona State, as he holds a 2.62 ERA and a .222 batting average against in 44 2/3 innings so far this year.
DeMers has been less effective than Bremer, coming in with a 4.62 ERA and 38 hits allowed in 37 innings, but still has a modest 2-1 record in seven starts.
If Arizona State can get into the Huskies’ bullpen they could see more of the same offensive success from last weekend. The Huskies have five relievers who have pitched at least 13 innings with an ERA of 5.30 or higher (Spencer Jones, Greg Minier, Ryan Schmitten, Will Ballowe and Alex Nesbitt).
The one bright spot for the relief corps is closer Troy Rallings, who has struck out 27 of the 77 batters he’s faced this year to go along with six saves and a .169 batting average against.
As for the Washington offense against an Arizona State rotation that will feature Martinez on Friday and Ryan Hingst on Saturday, it has four regular starters hitting above .300, with a fifth at .295 (MJ Hubbs).
Outfielder Josh Cushing leads the way for Washington as he leads the team with 22 RBI, five home runs and a .565 slugging percentage, among players with at least 50 at-bats.
Other notable players to watch will be infielder Chris Baker (.307/.358/.523) and catcher Joey Morgan (.333/.437/.550, tied for first on the team with seven doubles).
ASU currently sits 8th in the conference with a 3-6 record, but could jump right back into the top half of the standings with a solid weekend.
Game time on Friday night will be 7 p.m., with Saturday starting at 3:30 p.m. and Sunday at 12 p.m.
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