The Arizona State Sun Devils could not ask for a better start to the 2016 season as they swept Xavier to begin the season 4-0. Although Xavier won just 15 games last year, ASU took care of business in a weekend that saw USC lose a series to North Dakota, Cal drop two games to Duke and Oregon State loe to Utah Valley.
Friday: W 5-2 (W - Bueno, S - Erives)
Saturday: W 2-1 (W - Martinez, S - Schneider), W 8-2 (W - Lingos)
Sunday: W 5-1 (W - Todd, S - Erives)
Starting Pitching: In a year in which the biggest question mark was starting pitching, no unit had a stronger opening weekend. Friday night Hever Bueno tossed 5.1 innings, allowing just two hits, one run and striking out six. Bueno showed a 94-97 MPH fastball and wipe out breaking stuff.
Saturday it was Seth Martinez (7 IP, 0 ER) and sophomore Eli Lingos (5.1 IP, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K) who dominated Xavier and Sunday redshirt freshman Reagan Todd matched Lingos with 5.1 IP while not allowing a run.
For the weekend ASU starting pitching tossed 23 innings, allowing three earned runs and striking out 22 batters. Yes it was Xavier but the Sun Devils did not allow free bases and threw about as well as they could have.
Outfield: Another position group that shined against Xavier was the outfield. Andrew Shaps finished the weekend 6-13 with 3 RBIs, Gage Canning went 5-14 and Daniel Williams scored a team-high six runs. All three played very good defense as they continue to settle into their roles.
David Greer: The junior first baseman was the star for ASU at the plate in their opening series. Greer hit .636 and made just four outs in 16 plate appearances. He added two doubles, three runs scored and four RBIs.
Catchers at the Plate: One Sun Devil who struggled was catcher Brian Serven, who went 2-12 with no RBIs. Zach Cerbo went 0-4 in his lone start of the weekend meaning that ASU catchers went a combined 2-16 in the first weekend of the year.
Blowout Victories: You know it was a good weekend when we have to nitpick to find some negatives. Even though ASU won all four games of the series, only one game was decided by more than four runs. ASU won by three runs on opening night, then by one, six and four runs, respectively.
Again, a win is a win but the Sun Devils earned little style points this past weekend.
Attendance at Phoenix Muni: Yes, this opening weekend wasn't as sexy as Oklahoma State last year but overall I was a little disappointed with the crowd at the ballpark this weekend considering the outstanding weather that will soon disappear.
ASU baseball opening weekend attendance— Nick Krueger (@NickPKrueger) February 21, 2016
Game 1: 3030
Game 2/3: 2464
Game 4: 2301
Those numbers aren't actually that poor for a college baseball team. However, because of how large Muni is, it looks especially empty when there are only 2,500 fans.
Player of the Week: David Greer
As noted above, Greer tore the cover off the baseball this past weekend. He was officially 7-11 with four RBIs, two doubles and four walks. Greer was overlooked in the preseason with shortstop Colby Woodmansee and catcher Brian Serven receiving the majority of the headlines over the offseason, but is a central piece in Tracy Smith's lineup.
Honorable Mentions: Hever Bueno, Eder Erives, Colby Woodmansee
The Sun Devils will play their first midweek game of 2016 on Tuesday when they host Nevada and new head coach T.J. Bruce. The Wolfpack split a four-game series with Northwestern (played in Mesa) over the weekend.
Nevada won more than 40 games last year but failed to make the NCAA Tournament after falling in the Mountain West Tournament.
This upcoming weekend, the Sun Devils will play Long Beach State in Southern California. It is the first (and only) nonconference weekend series that ASU will play away from home in 2016.