Arizona State (19-19, 8-7 Pac-12) is starting to play its best baseball of the season and it was on full display Tuesday night at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. The 6-1 Sun Devil victory over CSUN (18-16) is the fifth-straight win for ASU and all areas were clicking.
The ball was leaving the yard Tuesday, as freshmen Ryan Campos (two-run) and Jacob Tobias (solo) each hit a home run in the late stages, to seal it. Kai Murphy also tee’d off for a solo shot in the fourth.
Joe Lampe added to his case for best leadoff hitter in the conference when he doubled twice, both times to start and inning and leading to a score. In the home half of the first, it was Ethan Long who drove him in. Lampe scored on a wild pitch in the fifth, after advancing to third on a Sean McLain sacrifice fly.
The biggest concern for these midweek games is usually the pitching depth. A lot of times they become known as “bullpen games” because the team is coming off a weekend series where all three starting pitchers are resting.
Against the Matadors, the entire pitching staff was spectacular. Boyd Vander Kooi made his sixth appearance for ASU this year and pitched a team-high three innings. He yielded the only run on three-straight singles to start the second.
From that point on, Vander Kooi set down the next six batters he faced in order. Jacob Walker, Chase Webster and Blake Pivaroff followed up with four innings of scoreless baseball, giving up just two hits combined.
If there was one moment to highlight, it would have been the top of the eighth. Will Levine, the only pitcher to not record and out, gave up a single and hit the next two batters to load the bases.
Christian Bodlovich trotted from the bullpen with the bases loaded and nobody out. The righty from San Pedro, California struck out the three batters he faced, in order, without allowing a run.
To say him and the team were fired up is an understatement.
The Sun Devils are now clicking as they head into one of the most-important series of the season, down to Tucson against the University of Arizona. The Wildcats are not ranked but received votes in the coach’s poll this past week.
ASU is currently sixth in the conference standings and Arizona is third. It is important to note that the 10-6 Arizona State win back on April 5 was counted as a non-conference game. The Pac-12 series will begin Friday night at 6 p.m. local time.