ASU Sweeps Doubleheader from N.Illinois

On Saturday the bats came alive for the Arizona State Sun Devils. It wasn't just the offense that exploded at Packard Stadium as ASU got strong performances on the mound as well. All of that added up to a sweep of a doubleheader from Northern Illinois, 10-5 and 26-1 in seven innings.

Junior Merrill Kelly got the start for ASU in game one of the doubleheader. The Huskies greeted him by loading the bases with nobody out, but Kelly got out of the inning with no runs allowed.

That was just the start of what would become a very long day for NIU.

ASU (3-0) got on the board in the first inning. Sophomore left fielder Drew Maggi led off with a double and scored on a triple by sophomore second baseman Zack MacPhee.

MacPhee would come around to score on a double by sophomore designated hitter Zach Wilson to put ASU up 2-0 after the first inning.

The Huskies (0-3) got one of those runs back in the second inning thanks to two errors by the Sun Devils. Senior designated hitter Brian Smith reached on an error by first baseman Kole Calhoun.

After being sacrificed to second, Smith was caught off of second base, but ASU catcher Xorge Carrillo threw the pickoff throw into centerfield allowing Smith to come around and score to make it 2-1.

The Sun Devils added another run in the third inning when a sacrifice fly by Carrillo scored Matt Newman, who reached on a double.

The game appeared to be blown open in the fourth when ASU put six runs up on the board, all after two outs. Wilson sent a double down the right field line that plated Maggi and MacPhee to increase the lead to 4-1 and he eventually scored on a wild pitch.

NIU starter Jake Hermsen then lost his control, walking in two runs while senior Raoul Torrez added an RBI single to give ASU a 9-1 lead.

The Huskies fought back in the fifth inning, scoring three times to get back into the game. Dave Reynolds had an RBI single in the inning and another run scored on a balk by Kelly. NIU added another run in the sixth inning on an RBI single by Jordin Hood.

ASU's offense was held scoreless all the way until the eighth after the big fourth inning. Freshman Deven Marrero was walked, forcing in a run to make it 10-5.

That was plenty of offense to secure the victory because freshman Brady Rodgers was impressive out of the bullpen, allowing just one run in four innings while striking out five.

Kelly picked up his first career victory, working five innings and allowing three earned runs.

"It was nice to see him pitch through some things," ASU head coach Tim Esmay said. "When you have a deep pitching staff, you can kind of allow guys to work through some things because you can go to the pen at anytime."

Maggi and Wilson each finished 3-5 in game one, with Wilson finishing with three runs driven in.

In game two, ASU took it to the overmatched Huskies' pitching staff, scoring 26 runs on 25 hits in just seven innings. Both teams agreed to call the game after NIU batted in the top of the seventh.

The Sun Devils scored 20 runs in the first three innings alone, batting around and scoring nine runs in both the second and third innings.

Three guys finished with four hits for ASU and all but one player recorded a hit. MacPhee finished game two 4-4 with two triples, a home run, four runs scored and five RBIs.

Riccio Torrez went 4-5, scored four runs, drove in two and finished a homer away from the cycle. Catcher Austin Barnes also finished 4-5 and drove in four runs. Newman and Ruettiger both went 2-2 with three RBIs.

The Sun Devils tied a school record with six triples in the game, matching the record set in 1963 against Utah State. MacPhee had two of the triples and now has four on the young season.

In the offseason, MacPhee became a switch hitter and the results have been outstanding thus far. Through the first three games, the sophomore is 8-11 at the plate.

"To make that adjustment at this level is amazing. The first three games he has been really good," Esmay said of MacPhee. "With Maggi running in front of him he is going to see some fastballs and he has to be ready to do some damage and that is what he is doing. I like the way he is controlling his AB's and controlling the plate."

Sophomore Jake Borup started game two for ASU and allowed just one run on four hits in five innings to pick up the win. Junior Josh Moody pitched the final two innings and allowed just one hit.

"I was excited about all the guys today. Our pitching was outstanding tonight," Esmay said. "Out of all of them Jake Borup was the most efficient. He was really efficient today."

The Sun Devils and Huskies will wrap up their four game series tomorrow afternoon at Packard Stadium. First pitch is at noon with junior Jimmy Patterson making his ASU debut on the mound.

Sun Devil Source Top Stories