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ASU Baseball: Road series against No. 23 Oregon pivotal for final conference stretch

ASU has the upper-hand in record against common opponents

Zac BonDurant

Though Arizona State (28-13, 13-4 Pac-12) sits atop of the Pac-12 standings, its rapid rise and seemingly easy start to the conference schedule resemble an asterisk next to the pitchfork on the graphic, at least for some.

The weight of a ranked conference matchup at this point in the season, and with this much momentum, is both heavy and motivating. ASU felt it last week when they took two games and the series-win over No. 22 Oregon State at home.

This week, the Sun Devils will carry that burden to Eugene to face the No. 23 Ducks (28-12, 11-7 Pac-12). Against common opponents of the both the Sun Devils and Ducks, Oregon is 8-4, and ASU is 10-3 on the season.

Oregon has a sour taste in its mouth when it comes to ASU, who knocked the Ducks out of the Pac-12 Tournament last season shortly after Oregon handled ASU at the end of the regular season. At this point in time, ASU is a much better team than the one who snuck a victory in the conference tournament.

Leading the charge of-recent has been second-baseman Luke Keaschall, who leads the conference in slugging percentage (.851) and and extra-base hits (33).

Jacob Tobias has been an RBI producer, and his 49 RBI blows his 28 from last season out of the water.

Outfielder Nick McLain is scorching hot after joining the active roster mid-season due to injury. He recorded a hit in each of his first nine games, and he has three homers in that span.

On the mound, starters Ross Dunn and Khristian Curtis carry the momentum for the starters. Curtis is on a streak of three earned-runs or fewer in his last five starts. He accomplished that feat twice in his first five starts.

Dunn’s 12 extra-base-hits-allowed (12) is good for the fifth-lowest in the conference among starters.

If Stanford loses at-least two games against UCLA this weekend, Oregon can secure the top-spot in the conference by sweeping ASU. The Sun Devils can hold first place confidently with two wins this weekend.

USC, Stanford and UCLA all await ASU on the home-stretch of the conference schedule.