ASU Baseball 2024

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Side thought. Oregon State is truly a baseball juggernaut these days. I wonder just how bad things will turn for the program after the PAC finally dies. Hopefully they can maintain their dominance in spite of that
 

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OSU believes it has the brand to compete successfully as an independent and it turned down a chance to play in the WCC. It will be interesting to watch how that goes.

 
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Well…

Heading into this past week, I didn’t have the highest expectations. I was hopeful they could split the 4 game week and it started off ok with a walk-off win over GCU. Oregon State baseball is no joke so I was hoping to get one of those games. Didn’t happen.

ASU battled tough on both Friday and Sunday but could not scratch out a win. The pitching, which for a stretch this season seemed to be coming together, has regressed back to what they were early on. They cannot seem to hold leads. Injuries are certainly not helping the situation and neither is the number of freshman arms being utilized.

The hitting is coming back but this team just doesn’t put together great at bats when they are needed most. I don’t get overly worked up about ABs with RISP since I know the opposing team is trying to stop the hitters, however, I really cringe when guys strike out and strike out looking in critical situations. Case in point: Top 8 and first two hitters reach base with ASU down 9-7. ASU has their 3-4-5 hitters coming up so things feel decent. K looking, K swinging at pitchers out of the zone and weak grounder to 3rd. Inning over. Just happens too often.

No real observations for the week since it’s more of the same issues. They have about 25 games left I think. They probably need to win 18-20 of them plus a run in the final PAC tournament and maybe they sneak into postseason. The problem is there is no indication they can pull that off.

Up next a Tuesday nighter at GCU and home weekend series against a surprisingly good Utah team. Gotta take 3 off these minimum.
 

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What a demoralizing way to play in front of alumni who paid for a statute to honor ASU's greatest baseball coach, Bobby Winkles.

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Here is the unveiling of the statue of Bobby Winkles.

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Realistically, the season is cooked and done. The devils have a fairly “easy” schedule closing out the year but worth this team, easy means nothing.

The Devils went 1-3 last week and the week was a microcosm of the season. Shaky hitting, especially with RISP, shaky pitching and a team at a loss for answers.

Most observers guessed that they would be poised, even with the shaky pitching, to get into a regional. They are not fully eliminated from a regional but they have not shown they are capable of doing what needs to be done to make it.

If not for the ghastly situation in the AD office, I think Bloomquist might be on a hot seat but since ASU is showing to be incompetent at most things athletic, he will keep his job into next year. There will be massive roster turnover in all likelihood and that creates uncertainty for next season.

Up next 2 weeknight games at a truly struggling blue chip program in CS Fullerton and then a weekend series at a truly struggling UCLA. If ever there was a get right week, this is it
 
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What a demoralizing way to play in front of alumni who paid for a statute to honor ASU's greatest baseball coach, Bobby Winkles.

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That game was brutal. You tip your cap to the Utah pitcher but oh my did ASU have an atrocious game. Only 3 base runners all night and none even got to 2nd. Bullpen imploded in 6th inning and turned a tough game into a rout
 
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What a strange week but, as it turns out, it was a good week. Sure didn’t look like it would be though.

Opened the week with two weeknight games against a really struggling Cal State Fullerton team. ASU opened with a win driven more by pitching than hitting. They on Wednesday ASU got run ruled. Yup, ASU got torched 14-4 in just 7 innings.

That left a bad taste going into the weekend. UCLA is having a terrible season but ASU has been very meh as well. ASU decided enough is enough and swept the Bruins outscoring then 26-6 across the 3 game series.

Observations

- Kien Vu started the year as a 4th-ish OF and was getting spot time and producing. He continued producing whenever called upon and so when production issues came up in the OF he has been getting more and more playing time…and this kid is producing like crazy. I heard a stat on the Sunday live stream that he hit over .500 for the week. Every AB and this kid is doing something

- Isaiah Jackson is one of the struggling OF but he got a start on Sunday and did ok at the plate. But he made a HR robbing catch in CF that somehow did not make ESPN Top 10 plays. It was a sight to behold.

Hopefully this team keeps stacking wins. Up next, no weeknight games this week. Weekend home series against a struggling USC team. The rest and another struggling opponent…hopefully a series win but a sweep would be nice.
 
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Oops. Jackson’s catch did make top 10:

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Opportunity missed.

No weeknight games last leaving a full compliment of pitching for the weekend series versus USC. Friday and Saturday nights, ASU completely dismantled USC out scoring them 29-3. Everything was firing on all cylinders. I really feel like that was the team many thought possible especially if the pitching found its way. Optimism was high for a sweep…

Then Sunday happened. They came out flat. The day’s starting pitcher apparently got hit in the foot by a baseball and was scratched. Suddenly pitching reverted to what they had been at times. They were issuing walks and getting lit up by a mediocre USC lineup. A late rally made the score look closer than the game was. I almost never leave a game early but we gave up in the 8th.

They won the series and that is great but this team almost cannot afford to lose down the stretch. This was really a game that seemed to set up perfectly for a sweep.

Up next, two weeknight games against a good UC San Diego team then a weekend home series against a pretty bad Washington team. Anything less than a 4-1 week should be consisted a failure mainly because they cannot lose many more
 

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Willie Bloomquist makes a case for needing NIL money.

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ASU moves to 25-22 after a 11-7 win over Washington on Friday.

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ASU moves to 25-22 after a 11-7 win over Washington on Friday.

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McLain had a horrible awful AB in bottom of the ninth with bases juiced to end a shot at winning so he definitely redeemed himself.

Great night at Muni
 
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Crazy week.

ASU pulls off a 4-1 week. Two run rule wins against a decent UC San Diego team. ASU scored a combined 34 runs over the two games. They took care of business.

The weekend series against Washington was an offensive showcase for both teams as all three days a strong wind was blowing out and the ball was traveling. ASU took 2 of 3 games and scored 41 runs across the three games. Of course they gave up 39 runs as well. Routine fly balls were going over the fence, infielders were struggling to catch popups and the umpires strike zones added to the difficulty of pitching. Needless to say, some ERAs took a beating.

The Sunday game was a 21-18 win that had a little of everything it seemed. That includes Willie getting tossed by, perhaps, the worst college umpire I have come across in some time. It got so bad for the umpires that at the end of the game yesterday, am ASU campus officer was tasked with scoring the umpires off the field. Nothing would have happened but it was telling.

Up next a weeknight home game against a resurgent U of A team and then a weekend road trip to play an unusually mid Stanford team. The theme remains this team has no room for error and this week the difficulty level is higher. I think ASU really needs a 3-1 week to keep their hopes, such as they are, alive for the postseason
 
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Here is the umpire ejecting Willie after going out there to pick a fight

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The sequence of events that led to that ejection was brutal and we were shocked Willie wasn’t ejected several minutes earlier.

The home plate umpire yesterday was simply dreadful
 

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ASU has won 12 of their last 15 games.

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Funny how a week can be both crappy and great at the same time.

Crappy: A midweek non conference loss to UofA. The Cats truly played a bullpen game and the ASU bats could never get into a rhythm. ASU had some opportunities but couldn’t get the clutch hit. UofA was really playing good baseball heading into the game and they did what they do. They don’t do anything flashy they just make solid plays and wait for their opponent to hurt themselves. Always sucks losing to that team down south.

Great: ASU then traveled to the house of horrors in Palo Alto. Stanford is down this year and ASU went in and swept the Trees in their final PAC 12 series in the Devils history. Bats just went wild. They outscored Stanford 39-9 in the series. Truly a great way for the Devils to close out their regular season history in the PAC. Astonishingly, ASU went 11-1 against the California schools this season. If anyone told me that fact and then told me ASU likely doesn’t get into the postseason I would’ve thought they were crazy.

Up next are a couple games against Texas Tech on Thursday and Friday and a season closing game against UNLV on Saturday. Basically tune up games for the final PAC12 tournament. At this point this week’s games aren’t critical although I think they need to win them out of principle. It’ll be interesting to see how ASU approaches the games this week from a pitching standpoint. In order to get into the postseason ASU needs to win the tournament. I don’t think there is any other party in at this point.
 

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This is what ASU is competing against when it comes to NIL in baseball.

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This is what ASU is competing against when it comes to NIL in baseball.

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Pretty much every sport at ASU is in this dilemma at this point and I don’t think there is a way to catch up. Not without major benefactors stepping up.

I do think Noah’s last statement is a little disingenuous given the current scholarship limits placed on baseball programs, however, his point still stands.
 
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I don’t even know where to begin. Last night was the craziest game of them all. Down 6 heading into bottom 9 and while I knew the bats could pull it off you never really believe it could happen. As the half inning wore on it was feeling more and more like we were going to witness an epic comeback…and we did just that. Those of us who had been around all year as season ticket holders were dumbfounded and elated. Unbelievable. Healy pulls out the “i can’t believe what I just saw” line and he was 100% right.

Willie went bonkers when the game ended and I’ve never seen a manager lose his mind in happiness over a game against a Mountain West foe but there we were. Still amazed and what I saw happen. Yes, UNLV committed one really bad error in the inning and booted another ball on a difficult play at 1B. I think their manager also made a very questionable pitching change decision in the 9th. Between those and ASU really driving the ball all over the place…

Up next, last PAC12 tournament. ASU is in a pod with Stanford who is playing poorly and ASU swept on the road a couple weeks ago and Oregon State. Let’s see if they can keep going as probably the hottest team in the conference right now. They have the pitching set up for next week and given how they have played recently, 15-3 in their last 18 games, they maybe have given themselves an ever so slight bit of wiggle room for an at large.

Scottsdale stadium
Tuesday 10a vs Stanford
Thursday 10a vs OSU
 
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It’s game day! I’m heading up the Scottsdale Stadium this morning for the game vs Stanford. Hoping the bats stay hot and the pitching does what is capable of.

Last PAC12 tournament
 
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Well, the season is over. Devils had a chance in the last PAC12 tournament and lost their first game to Stanford. Stanford has had a rough season but they have won their pool and are in the semis. ASU recently swept Stanford 39-9 on the road. Stanford scored 8 runs in a single inning and that is all it took. ASU fought back and even had the young run at third in the bottom of the 9th but couldn’t get the last hit. 8-7 was the final.

Another chance today to still advance to the semis against Oregon State. Kenny Dillingham was in the house with a bunch of the football team. Raucous atmosphere for sure. Devils drew first blood scoring 2 runs in the 3rd inning. Then they gave up 3 in bottom of 4th. And that was it. No more scoring for either team and Oregon State officially eliminated the Devils and ended their season.

This team was inconsistent at the plate and on the mound pretty much all year and after a massive hot streak to end the season their bats went cold.

Major changes to the team this offseason due to the draft upcoming in July as well as the transfer portal opening up soon.

I loved watching this team this season.
 

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