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ASU-Utah series preview

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After a nice mid-week win over UNLV on Wednesday night, the No. 8 Arizona State Sun Devils (25-12-1) travel to Utah to take on the Utes (16-20).

ASU’s offense has been seemingly unstoppable as of late. Each game, more and more players step up and make it happen with their bats.

There are seven Sun Devils with a batting average over .300 batting average. RJ Ybarra leads the pack currently, with a sparkling .375.

Ybarra hit his first two home runs of the season in the series against Valparaiso, with his first being a monstrous grand slam over the left field wall. This was the first grand slam by a Sun Devil in more than three years.

Michael Benjamin has been on fire lately, picking up 7 RBIs on 10-for-14 hitting against Arizona and Valparaiso. Benjamin leads the team in hits and extra-base hits.

Dalton DiNatale appears to have secured his position at first base with great performances both offensively and defensively. DiNatale is hitting .327 with 15 RBIs and also has a fielding percentage of .973.

The Utes’ batting average leader is Dallas Carroll, who has a .293 batting average.  Tyler Relf leads the Utes with 32 hits, and Trey Nielsen has a team-leading 18 RBIs. Nielsen and AJ Young are tied for first with three homers each.

Pitching should be solid for ASU, at least Friday and Saturday. On Friday, Utah’s Mitch Watrous (3-2) will face off against Trevor Williams (5-3).

Saturday, ASU’s Ryan Kellogg (9-0) will be on the bump looking for his 10th win in an outstanding freshman season. Kellogg will duel with Dalton Carroll (3-4).

The Sunday starter has yet to be announced for ASU, which is not surprising, seeing as the team is just 3-5-1 on Sundays this year. The Sun Devil’s Sunday starter has been a very hot debate topic, and you can catch up on our coverage of it here.

There’s no controversy for Utah, as their Sunday starter will be Tanner Banks (1-4).

Ryan Burr will be coming out of the ASU bullpen fresh off his eighth save of the season. The red-hot Burr has just been named to the USA Collegiate National Team, and is the most reliable pitcher in the Sun Devil bullpen.

The Utes have a losing record at home, and if ASU’s pitching can hold up, it should be a very winnable series for the Sun Devils. The first pitch is Friday night at 5 p.m. PT.

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