Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

JP's Weekly Walk-Off: Arizona State

The Beaver baseball team heads to the desert to kick-off PAC 12 play against ASU. JP has an in-depth look at the weekend series.

After a successful 7-0 home stand, the Beavers return to the Grand Canyon state to open Pac-12 play against Arizona State.  This marks the third consecutive season OSU and ASU will face off in the conference opener, and the Beavers will look to replicate last season’s sweep.

THE WEEK THAT WAS

The weather necessitated a bit of tweaking to the schedule again last weekend, but the Beavers were unfazed, particularly the pitching staff.  The biggest development of the weekend was the tremendous start (8 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 BB, 4K) Bryce Fehmel made Thursday night after being removed from the starting rotation the weekend before. 

  • Thursday: OSU 2 – Ball State 0
  • Friday (1):  OSU 5 – Ball State 0
  • Friday (2): OSU 5 – Ball State 1
  • Saturday:  OSU 8 – Ball State 4

THE WEEK AHEAD

Game Times:

  • Thursday: OSU (LHP Heimlich 3-0, 0.31) at Arizona St. (LHP Lingos 3-0, 2.39) 6:00pm PDT
  • Friday: OSU (RHP Fehmel 2-1, 2.37) at Arizona St. (LHP Van Scoyoc 0-0, 2.00) 4:00pm PDT
  • Saturday (1): OSU (RHP Thompson 4-0, 1.38) at Arizona St. (TBA) 12:00pm PDT

Notes:

  • OSU did not include the projected starters in their weekly game notes, but the ASU site had Heimlich/Fehmel/Thompson listed, which I have to assume came from OSU.  Based on the way Fehmel, Thompson, and Tweedt pitched last weekend, it is not surprising to see Casey and Yeskie go with the guys that pitched most effectively last weekend.  
  • The teams stand even at 5-5 over the past 10 series, with each team having won 15 of the 30 games.  The Beavers’ lone series win at Arizona State was in 2008.  This will be OSU’s second series at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, ASU’s home field since 2015.
  • Phoenix Municipal Stadium info:  Surface: natural grass.  Dimensions: 345 down the LF/RF lines, 410 to CF (slightly larger than Goss’s 330/400/330 but will play slightly smaller – additionally the infield, while natural grass, will play hard and fast)
  • The Thursday and Friday games will be televised by the Pac-12 Network.  There will be a video stream of the Saturday game.

OPPOSING PLAYERS TO WATCH

  • 1B Lyle Lin: .375, 3 2B, 13 RBI.
  • RF Gage Canning: .308, 5 2B, 2 3B, 4 RBI
  • 2B Carter Aldrete: .262, 4 2B, 2 HR, 10 RBI

RANDOM TOPICS OF THE WEEK

ASU pitching notes:

Lingos was very good in his first three starts (20.1 IP, 10 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 20 K) but struggled in his last outing (6 IP, 13 H, 5 ER). Lingos started game two of the series last season, and it was a disaster – he gave up 3 hits, 2 BB, hit a batter, and committed an error without retiring a single batter.

Van Scoyoc has only allowed 9 hits in 18 IP (.155), but he has walked 17 and hit 4 batters. He is a freshman, so this will be his first action against the Beavers.

Ryan Hingst has started each of the last four weeks, but ASU did not name a Saturday starter. Three other Sun Devils have made at least 1 start, but of the four starts that trio made, combined with the four Hurst made have resulted in just one outing lasting as long as 4.0 IP (Hurst’s first start of the season against Northwestern).>

14 different Sun Devils have made relief appearances, and the results have been mediocre at best (94.1 IP, 5.15 ERA)

ASU ranks in the bottom 50 nationally in terms of allowing walks.

Quick Pac-12 observations:

Arizona leads the nation in scoring with an astonishing 10.5 runs per game.  However, you can thank their scheduling for such gaudy numbers as Eastern Kentucky (49/4 games), McNeese State (42/4 games) and Hartford (63/3 games) were mauled in Tucson.  In UA’s five games against Arkansas, Oklahoma State, Nebraska, Texas Tech, and CS-Fullerton, the Wildcats averaged 2.8 runs (with 10 of the 14 runs coming against Oklahoma State).

It might be a long year for UCLA.  While the Bruins, as they usually do, have solid pitching they rank 271st in batting (.222) and 258th in scoring (3.9 runs/game).

This week’s other conference matchups:

  • Wazzu @ USC
  • Oregon @ Cal
  • Utah @ Washington
  • Arizona @ UCLA
  • Stanford is idle (their annual break for finals)

RANDOM TOPIC OF THE WEEK UNRELATED TO OSU

Not OSU-related, but I am intrigued by Oklahoma’s scheduling this season. 

  • 19 game home-stand to open the season
  • Played those first 19 games in 23 days (2/17 through 3/11)
  • Prior to opening conference play, scheduled to play 25 games in 33 days (through 3/21)
  • The team will have back-to-back days off just twice in that 33 day stretch
  • Those first 25 games will come against 13 different opponents
  • The final four weeks of the season Oklahoma will not play any mid-week games.

Interesting strategy to front-load that heavily, but while the extra rest at the end of the season will be nice in some regards, I wonder if it is entirely positive.  With the importance of a fourth starter in tournament play, I wonder if it is not a disadvantage to not have those mid-week games in the mix to assure regular work for the #4 option. 

I’d be curious to hear your thoughts pro/con on that.

PARTING SHOTS AND PREDICTIONS

With just one series win ever at Arizona State, history says this will not be an easy way to open the season.  However, the Beavers enter conference action having played much better baseball than the hosts.

Offensively, the two teams are very similar – in many of the major statistical category, they are ranked one spot ahead of/behind the other in the Pac-12 rankings.  So, I can fairly easily call that a “push”.

Defensively, the numbers are similar, but I will give the Beavers the edge here, as ASU’s infield has not been very good with SS Jeremy McCuin and 3B/2B Andrew Snow each having 7 errors already, which ties them with one other player for most in the conference. 

I suspect at this point it goes without saying but the Beavers hold a solid advantage in the pitching department. 

All told, pencil me in for a 2-1 Beavers’ series win. 

As always, if you have questions/comments/suggestions you’d like me to cover, by all means feel free to let me know either on the board or you can always e-mail me at jp@beaverblitz.com.    

 

NUMBERS TO GNAW ON…

OREGON STATE

ARIZONA STATE

Wins and Losses

Overall Record

14 – 1

9 – 7

Pac-12 Record

0 – 0

0 – 0

Home

7 – 0

8 – 5

Away/Neutral Site

7 – 1

1 – 2

Last 5 Games

5 – 0

3 – 2

Last 10 Games

9 – 1

5 – 5

Streak

Won 9

Won 3

Offensive Stats

Runs/Game

5.66

5.56

Batting Ave.

.284

.286

OB %

.379

.361

SLG %

.404

.396

HR Per Game

0.40

0.56

Stolen Bases

20 - 24

12 – 18

Pitching Stats

Team ERA

1.20

5.35

Opponent Bat. Ave.

.180

.268

Team WHIP

0.86

1.64

K per 9 Innings

8.47

8.06

BB per 9 Innings

2.00

5.35

HR Allowed Per Game

0.33

0.44

Defensive Stats

Fielding %

.969

.964

Stolen Bases Allowed

5 – 7

12 – 21

Rankings

RPI*

5

99

SOS*

46

51

ISR*

7

96

Polls**

2 – 2 – 2 – 4 – 1

NR – NR – NR – NR

*RPI via NCAA.com - SOS via Warren Nolan - ISR via boydsworld.com

** Polls = ESPN/Coaches - Baseball Writers - D1 Baseball - Baseball America - Collegiate Baseball  [NR = Not Ranked; RV = Rec’d Votes]


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