The Sun Devils could use a Pac-12 series win before NCAA play begins.
Less than a week after losing the Territorial Cup to Arizona and dropping the regular season home finale to Brigham Young University, it is safe to say ASU is in need of a rebound this weekend.
The No. 19 Sun Devils (34-18-1, 15-12) will close the season up on the road against the Washington Huskies (22-31, 13-14) with the chance to make a statement before NCAA Regionals start at the end of the month.
The Sun Devils need to clinch the series to put their team in the drivers' seat to host a regional site so this is an important weekend in Seattle, Washington. The NCAA Regional site hosts will be announced on May 26 at 6 p.m. PT and the full selection show will take place on the 27th at 9 a.m.
Michael Benjamin was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week after he went 10-for-19 with seven RBI's. three doubles, and another one of his eight home runs. This news comes as no surprise as he leads the conference in slugging percentage (.588), hits (77), and total bases (127). He is also second in the Pac-12 with 18 doubles and is third with a .356 batting average.
The third baseman's stats are a small sample size of the actual team, but they accurately represent what the club is capable of doing.
Going into the weekend, ASU lead the conference in hits, doubles, home runs, RBI's, total bases and slugging percentage (.448). While ASU is dominating the offensive scene, the Huskies are virtually non-existent. Washington is dead last in the Pac-12 with a .331 slugging percentage, 10 home runs, 119 walks, and 24 stolen bases.
Productivity wise, Arizona State isn't even on the same planet as the Huskies. But the Sun Devils have had their share of struggles on the mound. As a staff, ASU sports a 4.15 ERA, but superstar freshman Ryan Kellogg is looking to improve to 11-0 on the year this Saturday.
On the flip side, all three Husky weekend starters are right handed and the Sun Devils have a tremendous 24-9 record when a righty starts on the bump. Washington did sweep their rival Washington State last weekend and Austin Voth and Jared Fisher both have 2.80 ERAs. Voth is 7-5 on the year with 96 strikeouts in 99.2 innings.
Trevor Dunlap is one of the Huskies' two primary closers and he is 3-3 with a 2.21 ERA and five saves. The main question is going to be whether or not a Washington closer will take the mound in a save situation this weekend.
This weekend's X-factor is ASU's hitting against Washington's pitching. Those are the team's strengths so we will see which ballclub rises to the occasion.