The lineup cards at Phoenix Muni are a thing of beauty. Having the rosters for both teams, along with standard statistics, makes it really easy for writers and reporters to have a one-stop shop for contextualizing relevant information to convey to you, the reader (shoutout to baseball SID Jeremy Hawkes and his staff).
Prior to Arizona State’s 12-5 win over Washington glancing at the lineups were a great way to mentally prepare to enjoy a three-plus hour ballgame. After eyeballing the first six batters in the order and their RBI totals on the year, it looked something like this:
Lampe, Joe – 14
McLain, Sean – 14
Long, Ethan – 16
Davis, Conor – 16
Tobias, Jacob – 4
Baez, Nate – 14
Something sticks out right? Well, I’m glad to inform you that Jacob Tobias more than doubled that number next to his name on Friday night.
Starting lineups for tonight’s series opener against Washington.— House of Sparky (@HouseOfSparky) March 26, 2022
Kyle Luckham gets the start since Adam Tulloch opened Tuesday’s game with GCU. pic.twitter.com/sLAmo2bIri
Tobias put ASU on the board first with a single to left. The freshman reclaimed the lead for the Sun Devils with a go-ahead two-run blast in the third after a nine-pitch at-bat. It was the first home run surrendered by UW starter Jared Engman this season.
His fourth RBI came via the hustle department. He ran out a ground ball to short where the throw took the first baseman away from the bag, but unable to recover because Tobias was blazing down the basepath.
Designated to hit, Tobias understood the assignment ending his night going 4-5 with his fifth and final RBI coming from a single in the seventh.
“It felt awesome, just getting a small at-bat in the first inning and rolling off of that,” Tobias said of his career night. “I think it really helped the offense to start rolling. All of our coaches like saying that we were ‘passing the torch’ tonight and that’s exactly what we need to do to win.”
The torch was definitely passed on the offensive end, as everyone in the lineup reached base and six Sun Devils (besides Tobias) each tallied one RBI: Sean McLain, Conor Davis, Nate Baez, Ryan Campos, Kai Murphy and Joe Lampe.
ASU as a team batted .381 with runners in scoring position despite leaving 11 runners on base. The Sun Devils scored in every inning except the bottom of the second and ninth.
While starter Kyle Luckham was not as dominant as we have seen him at times this year, he was still good enough to give his team a chance. He threw five innings and gave up four runs while striking out a pair.
Jacob Walker entered from the bullpen in the top of the sixth and gave up a lead-off homer to Michael Snyder. It was his second dinger of the night.
From that point on, Walker set down 12 of the last 13 batters he faced. He struck out two and yielded just one additional hit during his four-inning and 50-pitch outing.
“It’s extremely valuable to have a guy like (Walker) that doesn’t complain about his role,” head coach Willie Bloomquist said. “He just wants the ball to go compete and do the best job he can for his team. You got to have guys like that. The dude just goes out, competes and gets out.”
Walker’s stellar outing out of the bullpen saved a ton of arms that could be used throughout the rest of the weekend.
Hunter Haas also made an appearance batting in the bottom of the eighth. He walked and scored in his first action since it was announced on March 2 that he had a partially-torn rotator cuff. Bloomquist said that Haas has not begun throwing yet, but can run and hit.
The Sun Devils (10-13, 2-2 Pac-12) and Huskies (12-9, 4-3) will face-off in round two tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m. local time. Tyler Meyer is projected to start for ASU, and I am sure the lineup card will look a little less lopsided in the RBI department.