Starting Friday, the No. 19 Sun Devils (7-2-1) will play host to the Long Beach State University Dirtbags (6-7). LBSU is coming off a tough loss to UCLA while ASU is coming off a 3-0-1 weekend where they beat then-No. 2 Arkansas twice.
On the mound, look for ASU’s freshmen to continue their dominance. Ryan Burr ranks fourth in the NCAA with 2.7 hits per nine innings, while also ranking 10th in WHIP. Southpaw Ryan Kellogg is 16th in the NCAA with 0.6 walks per nine innings and 11th with a 13.0 strike-out-to-walk ratio.
Fellow freshman Brett Lilek got his first career start and win during the Coca-Cola Classic in Surprise against Arkansas. Lilek struck out six and walked none while one run was scored on seven hits in five innings of work.
Junior ace Trevor Williams pitched his first complete game of the season against Pacific, where he struck out nine and walked none, giving up five hits and a lone earned run.
As a staff, Sun Devil pitching is ranked 15th in the NCAA in hits per nine innings, allowing only 6.5 hits per nine.
LBSU’s starting pitchers are much older and anchored by Shane Carle. The junior has a 1.00 ERA and a 1-1 record in 18 innings.
Ryan Millison and Jon Maciel, also juniors, and Landon Hunt, a senior, have also started. Millison has the lowest ERA of the group at 4.96, followed by Maciel at 5.00 and Hunt at 6.08. They have combined to give up 34 total runs on 52 hits in 47.2 innings of work.
ASU will be looking to bring their bats to this series. Trever Allen and James McDonald lead all Sun Devils with nine RBIs apiece. Allen also has a team-leading three home runs on the season.
Kasey Coffman, Max Rossiter, and Michael Benjamin are all hitting over .300 in over 30 at bats.
The Dirtbags’s offense has yet to be shut out this season. LBSU’s offensive highlight came in a 13-9 win at then-No. 2 Vanderbilt in the opening series.
Michael Hill has the best batting average at .412 and also has three triples, but outfielder Richard Prigatano leads the team in with ten RBIs and a home run.
If the Sun Devil’s starting pitching can continue to dominate like it did in Surprise, ASU should win the series as they have the offense to exploit LBSU’s pitching woes.