If you consider how much a score of 20 is worth, in football it is about average, in basketball it is terrible, but in baseball it is a rarity.
ASU (2-0) put their blood, sweat and tears into their 20 runs as they pounded Notre Dame (0-2) in a 20-7 rout.
Junior Carter Aldrete powered the Sun Devil offense with two home runs into the new left field bullpen. He drove in six runs and scored three times in five at bats.
OH MY CARTER!!!— Sun Devil Baseball (@ASU_Baseball) February 17, 2019
His second moonshot of the night, a three-run bomb to blow this game open.
17-5, Sun Devils, after 6 innings at Muni. pic.twitter.com/99bh5460SM
“I know I got one of them pretty good,” Aldrete said. “On the second one the wind was blowing a little bit.”
The fences being moved in had been a big talking point prior to this season. It has factored into how ASU handles their offensive approach.
“Those balls were outs last year,” Aldrete said. “Running the bases becomes more vital with the fences moved in, but besides that it just plays into an advantage with our lineup.”
It is a lineup that has produced 30 runs in two games to start the season. All but one of the starters scored at least once and all reached base at least once.
Sophomore Trevor Hauver reached base five times in the leadoff spot, sophomore Gage Workman went 4 for 6 with two RBIs and three runs and Lyle Lin was 3 for 6 with three RBI and two runs.
“It feels like we hit every inning,” Aldrete said. “You can never count innings out. Even the bottom of our lineup makes a good transition to the top. You could be up at any point in the game. It makes you feel like you’re always having some type of effect on the game because you’re always hitting.”
However, the score was not forever in ASU’s favor.
Going into the bottom of the fifth, the Devils were down 5-3.
Starter Boyd Vander Kooi had struggled early, and it was later emphasized by a three-run third inning. He would finish just 3 2⁄3 innings allowing six hits, five runs, two walks and strike out three on 72 pitches.
“We haven’t seen that all spring,” head coach Tracy Smith said. “He’s trying to maybe do too much. I think once things turned on him, he’d get angry then show the stuff he’s capable of doing. I’ve never seen that out of him.”
It practically got lost because of how well the offense picked up his performance.
The fifth inning saw the Devils cross home seven times; six the following inning and three more times in the seventh.
“With everyone else around us it makes us that much more calm,” Aldrete explained. “That protection behind you, you don’t have to do too much. You have to do your job and know your role.”
The 30 runs the Devils have produced in the two-game span is the third most in program history; the most coming in 2007 when ASU scored 38 times against Southern Utah.
The two fears heading into the series finale have to be in regards to run production and pitching depth. Six relievers were used tonight, and is there enough gas left in the tank to finish the series on a high note?
“We’re riding so high right now that you almost want to say calm down a little bit, but you’ve scored 30 runs in two games, why would you say anything?” Aldrete explained. “You gotta just ride the wave while it’s here. We’re just gonna come ready to play like we have been.
“Tomorrow is going to be our true test of maturity as a team. Win two games, you think you’ve done it all, but a sweep is a lot better than just winning a series; especially to start off your season.”
In regards to pitching, Smith feels they’re in “pretty good shape.”
“We feel like we’ve got some of our higher end guys available. That’s why we put in some of the younger kids at the end; just to save those innings.”
Game three of the series will start tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. Sophomore R.J. Dabovich is the probable starter for ASU. The game can be viewed through the ASU Live Stream.