It was a decent weekend for the No. 22 Arizona State Sun Devils as they hit the road on their first road trip of the 2013 season. ASU faced the Tennessee Volunteers in a three-game series, where the Sun Devils took two out of three games in Knoxville.
There were a lot of questions that were going to be answered this weekend in Rocky Top, with the Devils having yet to play against a top-conference team on the road, the team’s flourishing freshmen, and inconsistent pitching staff.
Sun Devils’ ace Trevor Williams proved that his first start of the year was a fluke. The junior right-hander went seven scoreless innings and only allowed one walk and 8 strikeouts, one away from tying his career high. The opening night was great for ASU as the staff as they tossed a shutout and stuck out 11 Vols on the night.
Brett Lilek is giving the Sun Devils’ faithful a different type of torture in the later innings. In his eight innings pitched, Lilek has thrown three wild pitches and walked seven, resulting in some tight situations for ASU in the late innings. The freshman southpaw did show some guts this weekend by getting out of a bases-loaded jam to end the opening game in his two scoreless innings. It looks like he will continue to see time on the bump this season.
The second game of the series was unkind to the Sun Devils, as they allowed 11 runs. Sophomore Adam McCreery went 4 1/3 innings and gave up four earned runs on seven hits. The tall, hard-throwing lefty has not been consistent in his two starts but the season has just started.
Senior right-hander Alex Blackford once again proved how reliable he is out of the bullpen going 2 2/3 inning of relief for McCreery with five strikeouts.
Freshmen Ryan Kellogg got his first career start for the final game of the series and showed why the Toronto Blue Jays drafted him in the 12thround of last year’s MLB draft. Kellogg had a rough start to the game, giving up a RBI single in the first but settled down by pitching beyond his years, going five innings and racking up six strikeouts. Freshman Ryan Burr and senior Matt Dunbar came in to relieve Kellogg and threw scoreless four innings.
The freshmen class for ASU continued to do well this weekend with once again Burr Lilek and Kellogg doing well on the mound. The trio of young arms went threw 10 scoreless innings and had 12 strikeouts and look to continue to be dominant for the Sun Devil pitching staff the rest of the season.
Freshmen outfielder Johnny Sewald and designated hitter Tony Dimartino showed that the youth’s talent is not just in the Sun Devils’ arms. Sewlad went 2-for-4 with a stolen base and DiMartino hit his first career home run.
The offensive heroes of the weekend were Trever Allen and James McDonald. Allen had 2 home runs and 5 RBIs on the weekend that gave vital insurance runs for ASU this weekend. McDonald had one of the best at-bats of the weekend, in a 10-pitch battle with Vols starter Andy Cox that resulted in a two-run home run. Max Rossiter had a nice weekend as well, going 3-for-7 on the weekend and spraying the ball all over the field.
Arizona State will be in the Coca-Cola Surprise Tournament this week. The Sun Devils will take on the third-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks in game one at Surprise Stadium at 4 pm.