Arizona State (36-15, 15-11 Pac-12) returns home to Phoenix Municipal Stadium this weekend for a three-game set with No. 4 Stanford (39-10, 20-6).
The Cardinal are coming off a rainy weekend against No. 12 Oregon State. Similar to ASU’s series in the Bay Area against Cal, mother nature came to affect the outcome of the series. Stanford split with Oregon State.
In his second season at the helm in Palo Alto, Stanford head coach David Esquer has his team playing good baseball. The Cardinal sit at second place in the Pac-12 behind No. 1 UCLA, and they hold the third lowest ERA in the conference.
Stanford has one of the top home run hitters in the conference, and they also have one of the best closers. With a tough task at hand to end the regular season, the Sun Devil bats will look to come alive back at the friendly confines of Muni.
Here is more information to know about this weekend’s games, and what the Cardinal bring to the table:
Game Times/Where to Watch:
Game one: Thursday, May 23 at 6:00 p.m. MST/Pac-12 Network
Game Two: Friday, May 24 at 6:00 p.m. MST/Pac-12 Network
Game Three: Saturday, May 25 at 12:00 p.m. MST/Pac-12 Network
A look at Stanford:
As a team, Stanford is batting a not so shabby .282. Their leaders with the bats are junior Will Matthiessen, redshirt junior infielder Duke Kinamon, and junior Andrew Daschbach. All three hitters above .300, and Matthiesen and Kinamon are both hitting .320.
Another player whose numbers stand out are those of senior outfielder Brandon Wulff. Wulff is third in the conference in home runs with 17, behind only Hunter Bishop and Spencer Torkelson. Wulff is strikeout-prone, as he leads the team in K’s, but the ability to hit the long ball makes up for the statistic.
On the mound, junior Erik Miller and sophomore Brendan Beck are tied for the team lead in starts with 13. Miller holds a 2.93 ERA with 80 strikeouts while Beck has a 3.65 ERA.
Where Stanford holds the most strength however, is the bullpen. Sophomore Austin Weiermiller has made 22 appearances with a 1.45 ERA in 31 innings of work. In those 31 frames, he has punched out 40 batters.
Furthermore, the Cardinal have one of the best shutdown arms in the conference on the back end. Junior Jack Little has nine saves, which is the second most in the Pac-12 behind only UCLA’s Holden Powell.
Against No. 1 UCLA and No. 12 Oregon State, ASU was a combined 2-4. With a chance to improve that mark as they near the postseason, the Sun Devils will get a good test on their home field once again.
Stanford is the type of opponent who ASU can expect to see if they want to make a deep postseason run, and this weekend should be yet another good measuring stick for the team as the season comes to a close.