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Baseball Weekend Preview: Desert-Bound Ducks

ASU Awaits as Oregon Sets Sights on Conference Movement

COLLEGE BASEBALL: MAR 13 Oregon at Stanford Photo by Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Oregon @ Arizona State - Friday, May 13 - 7:00 pm - TV: Pac-12 Arizona, Radio: OSN

Oregon @ Arizona State - Saturday, May 14 - 6:00 pm - TV: Pac-12 Arizona, Radio: OSN

Oregon @ Arizona State - Sunday, May 15 - Noon - TV: Pac-12 Arizona, Radio: OSN

Oregon baseball returns to Pac-12 action against Arizona State on the road this evening following its split of a 2-game mid-week home series with UC San Diego. After being shut out in 3 of its previous 5 games – including in the first game against the Tritons on Tuesday – Oregon’s bats roared back to life in the Wednesday game as the Ducks pounded out 19 hits and 15 runs. Carrying that momentum to the desert could help Oregon move up in the Conference standings. The Ducks are 29 – 20 overall and are sitting in 5th place in the Conference with a 13 – 11 record. Oregon, however, is only 2 games behind 2nd-place Stanford and one game behind both Arizona and UCLA for 3rd. Success in this series could move Oregon into a great position with one Conference series weekend to play (May 19-21) before the inaugural Pac-12 Baseball Tournament.

Arizona State comes into the Oregon series at 24 – 25 overall and 12 – 12 in the Conference, just one game behind the Ducks. The Sun Devils have won 4 in a row, including a series sweep of Utah at home last weekend. Although they haven’t been consistent, ASU has shown it can generate runs – they scored 39 runs in the 3-game Utah series and 31 in a sweep of USC. They are averaging about 7 runs per game.

COLLEGE BASEBALL: MAR 13 Oregon at Stanford Photo by Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Sun Devils are led at the plate by Redshirt Sophomore Nate Baez, who is hitting .339. Baez also leads the team in Slugging Percentage at .617, doubles (20), RBI (45) and is tied for the team lead in home runs with 10. Five other players are hitting over .300 with Redshirt Sophomore outfielder Joe Lampe at .335 and Conor Davis at .319. Lampe also has 10 homers and 35 RBI and Davis is third on the team with 33 RBI. Davis and Baez have appeared in every ASU game this season. Lampe is the primary base-stealing threat having been successful on 17 of his 19 attempts. The Sun Devils take few chances on the base paths. As a team, ASU attempts only one steal per game and are thrown out on about one quarter of their attempts.

Arizona State has four pitchers who have started at least 7 games. The bulk of the starts have gone to left-hander Adam Tulloch (14 starts, 2-2 record) and right-hander Kyle Luckham (12, 6-2), both Redshirt Juniors. Sophomore Tyler Meyer (3-0) and Redshirt Senior Boyd Vander Kooi (2-2), both righthanders, have 14 starts between them. Jacob Walker (1-0), another Redshirt Senior righty, has 6 starts. Luckham leads the staff with a 4.46 ERA and Meyer is at 4.47. Tulloch has struck out 75 and walked 32 and has a 7.39 ERA in 59.2 innings of work. Luckham has 56 strikeouts and has issued 20 walks in 68.2 innings. Walker has worked 40 innings, struck out 24 and walked 11. He has a 7.88 ERA. Three relievers appear frequently for ASU: Will Levine, Christian Bodlovich and Brock Peery have all appeared in 24 or more games. Levine and Bodlovich have ERAs of 4.83 and 4.94 respectively, and Levine has worked 41 innings in relief. ASU has 19 pitchers who have made at least 4 appearances.

As a team, ASU fields at a .971 clip. Most of the team’s errors have come from regular players. Sophomore infielder Sean McLain leads the team with 10 miscues in 229 chances. On the mound, Vander Kooi and Baez have made some errors and could give the Ducks extra baserunners if either starts in the series.

The_Badwater will be covering this series for ATQ. Be sure and join him in the game threads to root on your Ducks!