Arizona State baseball ready to take on the challenge in Tucson with Arizona

Willie Bloomquist still feels the same about playing in Arizona as he did as an Arizona State baseball player.

Time has passed since Bloomquist played on the court for ASU from 1997 to 1999, but the emotions remain the same. In Bloomquist’s first season, ASU found a rhythm and found a good balance between their throwing and offense.

ASU (19-19, 8-7 in Pac-12) earned its first conference sweep of the season last weekend against USC and earned a 6-1 victory over CSUN on Tuesday for its fifth consecutive victory.

“I don’t know if I would ever say I’m excited to go to Tucson,” Bloomquist said after Saturday’s sweep of USC. “I’m sure it will be an emotional series as well.”

The stories surrounding the programs have changed slightly since the last meeting on April 5. ASU had lost three of its last five heading into the game and nearly fell into another hole when Arizona hit four home runs, but the Sun Devils rallied to take down No. 11 Arizona 10-6.

Since then, the Wildcats (26-12, 11-7) have dropped the standings and suffered back-to-back series losses to Washington State and Utah. Arizona still holds a strong position in the conference and sits third in the Pac-12 behind Oregon and Oregon State.

Arizona wide receiver Daniel Susac is the conference’s leading hitter with a .382 batting average and is second nationally in hits with 65. Outfielder Chase Davis is second in homers with 11. Davis has hit one of four homers against ASU in the last meeting. .

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The Sun Devils have had more offensive production with 74 points scored over the last eight games. The lineup came to life with Sean McLain, Joe Lampe, Ethan Long, Conor Davis and Ryan Campos coming into their own on the plate.

“Just from a leadership perspective on the pitch, the way these guys are putting quality sticks, it feeds into the rest of the roster. You can’t forget Ryan Campos, the guy is probably the most mature hitter on the team,” said Lampe. “Just having this guy back them up is like, fuck, you gotta introduce them to these guys. It’s a mess for pitchers right now.

Lampe and Nate Baez are tied for second in doubles with 16 this season. ASU currently ranks seventh nationally in doubles with 92 out of 38 matches. Lampe leads the Pac-12 with 28 more hits.

Both teams will start Friday at 6 p.m., followed by Saturday at 5 p.m. and Sunday at 12 p.m. Friday’s game will air on Pac-12 Arizona, while the other two will be on Pac-12 Networks.

Although the two teams are not scheduled for another meeting this season, there is always a possibility for another meeting. On the horizon for both programs is the upcoming Pac-12 tournament at Scottsdale Stadium May 25-29. ASU will have four more conference series before the tournament begins.

Around campus

  • The No. 13 ASU Softball (31-5, 12-0) hits the road while on its 20-game winning streak and will face Stanford in a three-game series starting Friday at 6 p.m. Yannira Acuña and first-year first baseman Cydney Sanders were named top 25 finalists for USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, NCAA softball’s most prestigious award. Acuña leads the Pac-12 in batting average (.462) and runs scored (44) and ranks No. 7 in the nation in batting average. Sanders, a true freshman, ranks No. 2 in the Pac-12 and No. 11 nationally with a .571 on-base percentage.
  • The stakes remain high for ASU Lacrosse as it hosts No. 17 USC in its regular season finale Friday at 3 p.m. ASU is currently tied at three with USC and Stanford for first place in the Pac-12 and the winner of the game. will impact the standings for the upcoming Pac-12 tournament in Tempe May 4-7. The match will also pay tribute to the 16 seniors of the team.
  • ASU Athletics will host the ASU Twilight Invite, its final home meet of the season, Friday and Saturday at Sun Angel Stadium. Friday, ASU will celebrate its seniors at 5 p.m. at the end of the finish line. This will be the last meeting before the Pac-12 Championships May 13-15 in Eugene, Oregon and one of the last chances for the athletes to qualify for the NCAA West Preliminaries (May 26-28).
  • ASU Women’s Golf finished seventh overall at the Pac-12 Championships in Eugene, Oregon on Wednesday. Senior Alessandra Fanali finished ninth overall and continued the 18-year streak of an ASU golfer finishing in the top 10. ASU will now await her NCAA regional ranking.

Contact the reporter at [email protected] or 602-647-4122. Follow her on Twitter @jennarortiz.

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