Sun Devils’ head coach Tracy Smith has spoke a lot this season how walks have hurt his squad in losses. On Wednesday the script was flipped, as the Sun Devils drew eight walks and a hit by pitch helping them score in the each of the first four innings.
Arizona State (20-27) took the midweek road game win over San Diego (21-29) by a score of 12-7 on Wednesday evening.
“We knew their guy had a little bit of command issues coming into the game. We altered our approach a little bit, but I was proud how the guys stayed with it. We showed patience at the plate,” Smith said, pertaining to his team’s eight walks.
Freshman phenom Spencer Torkelson draws attention from around the country because of his power, but he also leads the team in walks. The first baseman started the trend of free passes on Wednesday with his leadoff walk to begin the game. A hit by pitch and a single later freshman left fielder Hunter Jump walked with the bases load to bring in the first run of the game.
Smith also gave freshman Zach Hogueisson his first collegiate start on Wednesday in the designated player role. The San Diego county native didn’t disappoint. Hogueisson found the gap in the second inning for a RBI double to bring in Hunter Bishop after the sophomore left fielder began the inning with a walk.
Hogueisson added another double and also found his first home run with a solo shot in the fifth inning, it was one of three Sun Devil home runs on the day. Bishop added a towering two-run home run and sophomore third baseman Carter Aldrete added a solo home run in the sixth.
“Comes home in front of his hometown. And performs and really does well. Very happy for him. He’s been working hard in practice,” Smith said. “And throwing together some good at-bats and getting better. He did exactly what he needed to do tonight when you get opportunities you take advantage of them. It’s special when you can do it in front of your home town.”
The junior right-handed pitcher Sam Romero has been in-and-out of the weekend rotation, but made the start in San Diego. Unlike his counterpart in San Diego’s starting pitcher Nick Sprengel, Romero gave few free passes.
Romero hit one batter and gave up one walk in his 6 1⁄3 innings of work. The Phoenix College transfer allowed nine hits, along with five runs and striking out six Toreros. Romero started to struggle in the seventh as San Diego plated four runs in their attempt to crawl back into the game after going down eight.
His defense also helped in the fact that San Diego didn’t score for the first four innings. A Jump-Aldrete relay to sophomore catcher Lyle Lin ended the fourth inning as they cut the run down at home plate. Good defense and few free passes result in a happier Smith as the combo continued to be the difference in the Sun Devils’ outcomes this season.
Arizona State will continue their non-conference week as they return home for a pair of games against Pacific with sophomore Alec Marsh getting the start on Sunday and to be determined on Monday according to Smith.