After four months and 55 games, the regular season is complete and it is now tournament time for Arizona State baseball. The Sun Devils will get the postseason started today in Fort Worth, battling Gonzaga in a crucial regional opener for both clubs.
Tracy Smith's team picked an interesting time to have its worst defensive performance of the season. The maroon and gold pitching staff gave up a program-high 31 runs in Sunday's regular season finale against USC, using nine arms in the 31-9 defeat.
It is unknown if the team will still hungover from the strange loss when they take the field at Lupton Stadium this afternoon, but Smith did all he could after the game to try and flush the loss. The head coach wanted to focus on the season (and the impressive second half) as a whole, which resulted in ASU earning a No. 2 seed into the NCAA Tournament.
Seth Martinez is today's probable starter, although there has been speculation that another pitcher could get the nod in order to save the team's ace for a possible showdown with host TCU on Saturday. Martinez has been spectacular as of late, with Arizona State posting victories in the last seven games he has started.
Gonzaga Update (35-19, 18-9 WCC)
Like the Sun Devils, Gonzaga has been on a roll in the second half of the season. The Bulldogs have only lost one series since the middle of April, and their 18-9 mark in WCC play was good enough to earn them a share of the conference crown.
A pair of identical 13-4 losses against Saint Mary's eliminated Gonzaga from its conference tournament last week in Stockton, but the team still made the field of 64 due to its impressive standing in the RPI (No. 30).
The Bulldogs finished inside the top two in the WCC in nearly every offensive category, including batting average (.290), on-base percentage (.379), and RBIs (320). They are led by junior outfielder Justin Jacobs, who is hitting at a .345 clip with 22 RBIs.
The Sun Devils lead the all-time series against the Bulldogs, 16-2-1.
The two teams have met at least once a year for the past four seasons. Gonzaga has not posted a victory in that stretch.
The Bulldogs have four players batting above the .300 line, led by Jacobs and Taylor Jones. Jones has started all but one game this year and is hitting .332.
First pitch is set for 12:00 p.m. (MST) and the game will be televised on ESPNU. The winner will play again on Saturday at 4:30, while the loser will play an elimination game earlier in the day at 9:00 a.m.