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ASU Baseball Preview vs. Texas Tech

The Sun Devils head to Lubbock for the first time since 2006, looking to rebound from its first series loss of the season.

Photo: ASU Athletics

The Sun Devils are in need of a rebound after losing their first series of the season to Washington State last weekend.

First up for Arizona State (12-4-1) is a road game against Texas Tech (14-8) before the team travels to Corvallis to play the third ranked Oregon State Beavers. For the maroon and gold, this four-game road trip is all about getting back on track.

Freshman Eric Melbostad is projected to get his first career start on Tuesday night against a Big-12 opponent. The 6-foot-4 Scottsdale native has appeared in just one inning all season and he faced three batters and allowed a walk.

In the past weekend against the Cougars, there was not a lack of offense as ASU slugged 16 runs. Trever Allen led all Sun Devils that weekend, going 5-for-12 with five RBIs and a double.

A couple of sub-par pitching performance hurt the maroon and gold as former Pac-12 Player of the Week Trevor Williams and Adam McCreery combined for 11 earned runs and 15 total run in their ten innings of work. Sunday starter McCreery couldn't make it past the third inning.

Freshman reliever Brett Lilek had an unconventional outing, recording only one out, hitting two batters and allowing three runs to score.

The bright spots are that fellow freshman Ryan Burr lowered his ERA to a 0.57 in 15.2 innings pitched this season. Saturday starter Ryan Kellogg maintained his Pac-12 best 0.93 ERA amongst starting pitchers and has allowed just one run in his last 15 innings pitched.

On the offensive side of things, Arizona State is the only team in the conference with three players ranked in the top ten in slugging percentages (Allen, James McDonald, and Michael Benjamin).

The Red Raiders are 10-2 at home this season and on the road they won two games against powerhouse Texas and split the series against last year's NCAA Champions Arizona. Texas Tech won the series against the Longhorns for the first time since 2002.

This Texas Tech team is very well rounded. They have 40 extra base hits, 22 stolen bases, and a combined 3.23 ERA for starting pitchers who have started at least three games. In comparison, Arizona State has 54 extra base hits, 14 stolen bases, and a combined 2.75 ERA for Williams, Kellogg and McCreery.

Junior right-hander Trey Masek is the best pitcher in the Big-12 thanks to his stat line of a 3-0 record with a 0.22 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 40 innings pitched. The only run he allowed this season came on a Saturday start against Texas last weekend, but he still threw eight quality innings.

Also on the pitching side, junior transfer Jonny Drozd was named the conference Newcomer of the Week after winning two games and throwing 12 scoreless innings last week. A week before Drozd, outfielder teammate Devon Conley won the award thanks to his team-leading 20 RBIs.

The consensus is that both teams had the lumber in their lineups to do some damage so this midweek game will come down to pitching. Two freshman hurlers will be on the mound for their respective squads.

Jonathon Tripp is the probable starter today. He has pitched in six games, including one start and has a 0-1 record with two saves. Tripp is a strikeout per inning kind of pitcher, but he opponents still hit .390 off of him.

Last season, Texas Tech beat Arizona State in Tempe 8-4 so the Sun Devils are looking to return the favor tonight.