Kyle Luckham started the year as the Saturday starter for Arizona State (12-15, 4-3 Pac-12). After starting the year strong, he closed the month of March with two starts in which he allowed a combined 17 hits, 10 earned runs and three home runs.
In Friday night’s 8-3 win over California (11-14, 4-6), Luckham was dominant on the bump and looked back to being the dominant righty he was at the start of the year.
The redshirt junior dealt seven innings without giving up an earned run and was pulled in the eighth after giving up a lead-off double as his 105th pitch (his season-high is 107). Just one walk in his outing was the biggest key, as head coach Willie Bloomquist has preached not giving away free bases.
“I felt like I had my pitches tonight,” Luckham said. “My changeup wasn’t quite there but I made some adjustments and I think that set up some of my other pitches.”
The trio of Christian Bodlovich, Danny Marshall and Brock Peery recorded the final six outs. The Golden Bears only run production came from two sac-flies and a groundout.
There were a few more Friday night fireworks for the Sun Devils and they did not waste time getting started. Sean McLain was moved from his typical spot in the lineup from batting second to hitting fifth.
It did not seem to matter to him as he homered for the second-straight game in the bottom of the first. The three-run shot gave Luckham a lead to pitch with and the offense some momentum.
Joe Lampe, who seems to lead ASU in every offensive category, only had two hits, but they both drove in runs. An RBI single and two-out triple helped him take over as team-leader in RBIs (26).
“It’s certainly nice when you can come out against a quality Friday night starter like (Cal pitcher) Josh White and be able to get some breathing room early,” Bloomquist said. “It’s nice when you can put together a good game plan and the offense executes.”
Arizona State jumped on White, who was voted to the preseason All-American second team. White struggled in his previous two starts and it continued against the ASU bats, going only 5.1 innings while giving up seven runs on 10 hits (five for extra bases).
Tyler Meyer was the projected starter for Saturday as he has been the killing it his past two games with outings of over seven innings and a combined three runs allowed over that span. Bloomquist announced after Friday night’s contest that Meyer would not be pitching due to stiffness in his shoulder.
It will be interesting to see how the Sun Devils adjust in their Saturday night game against Cal, where they could go for the series win. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m. local time.