They say that pitching wins championships, and solid pitching is indeed imperative for the Sun Devils in postseason play. Yet, timely hitting and disciplined at-bats are equally as essential.
After Arizona State lost two of three games to Washington in the Pac-12 opening series, coach Tim Esmay called out his team’s lack of maturity at the plate. The Sun Devils had not been stringing hits together, and a runner in scoring position with less than two outs was hardly a guaranteed run.
The Sun Devils took the coach's criticism to heart and finished the season atop the Pac-12 in nearly every offensive category: .286 batting average, .389 slugging percentage, 741 total bases and 546 hits.
The team boasts four everyday players in Drew Stankiewicz, Nate Causey, Johnny Sewald and Dalton Dinatale with batting averages of .300 or better, and four players with an on-base percentage above .400. Left fielder Jake Peevyhouse has reached base in a team-high 21 straight games, right fielder Trever Allen is currently riding a 13-game hitting streak, and shortstop Stankiewicz is hitting .500 (11-for-22) in his past five games.
This offense will need to continue to click, as the Sun Devils will face some of the nation’s most elite arms.
Cal Poly right-hander Casey Bloomquist has a sparkling 1.60 ERA and is second in the country with 12 wins. ASU will likely face Pepperdine ace Corey Miller, who leads the team with a 1.70 ERA and 105.2 innings pitched. Aaron Brown, however, has been just as productive for the Waves, sporting an 11-1 record. Fourth-seeded Sacramento State does not lack from the pitching department either. Junior Brennan Leitao is the definition of a workhouse. The 6’2”, 205-pound righty has made 17 starts, tied for the most in the country, and has logged a team-high 110 innings.
Perhaps this young Sun Devils offense has overperformed this year and will go back to looking overmatched like it was at the start of conference play. But Arizona State’s scorching hot offense has proved to be sustainable. Even high-caliber pitching staffs will have trouble quieting an Arizona State team that has averaged just more than 12 hits in its last 10 games.