Arizona baseball's slump might get worse with road trip to ASU this weekend
Things are going downhill quickly for Arizona baseball.
After getting swept by No. 1 UCLA in a three-game weekend series in Jackie Robinson Stadium, Arizona surrendered a late eighth-inning rally to San Diego State this past Monday, dropping its fourth-consecutive game.
It doesn’t get any easier for the Wildcats this coming weekend, as they head out to Tempe to face off against rival ASU, who just entered the top 10 after reeling off 21 straight victories to begin the season before dropping their first game of the season this past Saturday against Oregon.
The Sun Devils have been led by a great balance of hitting and pitching to help them get off to the second-best start in school history.
The Sun Devils’ batting lineup is as deep as they come; they are first in the Pac-12 in batting average, home runs, RBIs and hits. The team currently has eight hitters who are all batting over .300 (among hitters with a minimum of 50 at-bats).
UA’s pitchers will want to stay away from Hunter Bishop, who is second in the Pac-12 in batting average (.427), first in RBIs (36) and leads the country in home runs (14).
Pitching has been a struggle overall all season, so this may be a long series for the Wildcat staff, who currently rank ninth in ERA and dead last in hits allowed among all Pac-12 teams. The bullpen specifically has been the biggest headache for the Wildcats, as they have surrendered two or more runs in the eighth inning in each of the last three games.
The good news is the team’s hitting has been reliable most of the season. Arizona is first in runs scored, second in hits, second in RBIs and second in batting average. The bad news, though, is they haven’t been as reliable of late, scoring five or fewer runs in three of the last four games.
Arizona will be tasked with trying to scratch runs off some of the better Pac-12 starters. ASU is led by Alec Marsh and RJ Dabovich. Marsh is 6-0 with a 0.65 ERA and 38 strikeouts over 41.2 innings. Dabovich is 5-0 with a 2.97 ERA and 25 strikeouts over 33.1 innings pitched.
The bullpen has been just as good, led by Erik Tolman, Chaz Montoya, Sam Romero and Brady Corrigan, who have combined for a 1.27 ERA with 82 strikeouts over 78 innings pitched.
It has been quite the opposite for the Wildcat bullpen. George Arias Jr., Zach Sherman, Gil Luna, Nate Brown and Preston Price have combined for a 7.03 ERA so far this season out of the bullpen.
Overall, this is a crucial series for the Wildcats as they look to get over a four-game losing streak. They currently find themselves seventh in the conference, after being projected as a top four team coming into the season among the Pac-12. To put it plainly, the Sun Devils have the advantage in just about every aspect heading into the rivalry showdown in Tempe.
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