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ASU baseball is red hot heading into the Pac-12 tournament



ASU baseball celebrates.
H/T Sedona Levy of Sun Devil Daily

TEMPE, Ariz. – ASU baseball has gone on one of the most impressive tears in program history to end its regular season in 2024.

ASU sat at 17-21 on April 19, decimated by injury and struggling to string anything positive together beginning a weekend series at UCLA. The Sun Devils swept that series and won 15 of their final 18 games to finish the regular season.

ASU now begins the Pac-12 tournament on Tuesday, May 21, sitting at 32-24, and one of the hottest teams in the country. The Sun Devils are ranked No. 75 according to both the NCAA rankings and D1 Baseball.

How has ASU baseball turned things around?

The offense has carried ASU during the final 18 games of the season putting up historic numbers. The team is hitting .388 and has 16 10-hit games, including 12 straight to end the regular season. The Sun Devils have scored 10 or more runs in 13 of those games and six straight games heading into the Pac-12 tournament.

If those numbers weren’t impressive enough, ASU has hit a home run in each of those 18 games, and multiple home runs in 15 of its final 16 games.

The offensive surge has led to four series sweeps and just a lone series loss, which came in a one-game mid-week series against No. 28 Arizona.

Kien Vu has become a star

ASU has had players up and down its lineup step up during its 15-3 run to end the regular season, but none more than sophomore outfielder Kien Vu.

Vu started the season on the bench and was not an everyday starter for the first half of the season. The sophomore was inserted into the lineup and started getting consistent playing time in late March, and he hasn’t looked back.

Vu has started 22 straight games going back to April 12. He leads the team hitting .427 with 56 RBI and a 1.331 OPS. For reference, the nation’s leader in OPS is Georgia’s Charlie Condon, who has a 1.630 OPS.

In addition, Vu is hitting .440 during his 22 straight starts with 15 multi-hit games and five in his last six. The standout outfielder has 11 home runs and 42 RBI during that span.

By the way, he also leads the team with 11 stolen bases and has only been caught once.

Other standout Sun Devils

Junior catcher Ryan Campos has started every game this season for ASU. He’s hitting .364 with a 1.078 OPS, 11 home runs, and 55 RBI. Campos leads the team with 83 hits, 72 runs scored, 25 doubles, and 38 walks.

The junior catcher has been a patient and reliable bat in the Sun Devils lineup all season. He’s currently riding a 10-game hit streak, batting .510 with 19 runs scored. During the streak, Campos has eight multi-hit games and three straight 4-hit games.

In addition to his offense, Campos has been steady behind the plate with just one error in his last 43 games.

Junior infielder Jacob Tobias has brought the thunder to ASU’s lineup this season. The junior infielder leads the team with 18 home runs. Tobias is riding a nine-game hit streak of his own and has hit safely in 18 of his last 19 games.

In his last five games, Tobias is hitting .522 with four home runs and 19 RBI. Campos and Tobias are two of only three Sun Devils who have played in every game this season.

In the outfield, redshirt sophomore Nick McLain started his season a little late after dealing with a hand injury. But he’s getting hot at the right time. McLain has hit safely in 18 straight games. Over his last 12 games, he’s hitting .566 with 29 runs scored, eight home runs and 24 RBI. He has an extra-base hit in 11 of those 12 games.

On the season, McLain is batting .346 with a 1.138 OPS, 12 home runs, 54 RBI, and 33 walks.

Stars out on the mound for ASU baseball

Senior southpaw Connor Markl has been the staple starter for ASU this season. He finished the regular season 6-3 with a 4.21 ERA and pitched 62 innings with 61 strikeouts.

Markl has pitched at least 5 innings in eight of his last nine starts with the exception of a one-inning outing last time out against Texas Tech in preparation for the Pac-12 tournament. He’s allowed no more than one earned run in six of those starts.

Another sophomore southpaw, Ben Jacobs, has become ASU’s second reliable starter down the stretch. Jacobs has pitched at least four innings in his last six starts. The southpaw has a 3-game stretch where he went at least six innings each game.

Jacobs has a 7-2 record with a 4.75 ERA on the season. He’s pitched 60.2 innings and accumulated 92 strikeouts. However, Jacobs has been bitten by the long ball, allowing 14 home runs this season. If he can keep the ball in the yard, his ERA will continue to drop.

Junior pitcher Ryan Schiefer has been ASU’s most reliable bullpen arm. Schiefer carries a 3.89 ERA pitching 41.2 innings over his 22 appearances. The junior leads the team with three saves and a .211 batting average against.

Redshirt junior pitcher Jonah Giblin finished the season pitching 20 innings and allowing just two earned runs. The veteran arm has sustained himself as a reliable option in the backend of the bullpen.

Giblin has a 4.26 ERA in his 37.2 innings pitched with 54 strikeouts.

Looking ahead to the Pac-12 tournament

ASU finished No. 5 in the Pac-12 which placed them in pool B. The Sun Devils will compete in pool play against No. 2 seed Oregon State and No. 8 seed Stanford.

ASU will face Stanford on Tuesday, May 21, at 10 a.m. and Oregon State on Thursday, May 23, at 10 a.m.

The Sun Devils swept Stanford in their season series outscoring the Cardinal 39-9. However, Oregon State swept ASU in their season series. But the Beavers are ranked No. 13 by NCAA and No. 14 by D1 Baseball.

The winner of the pool will advance to the semifinals on Friday, May 24, and the Pac-12 Championship game will be played on Saturday, May 25, at 7 p.m.

If ASU does not win its pool, there is another way to advance. There are three pools and four semifinal spots in the tournament. The top-seeded team with the best performance in pool play that does not win the pool gets the final semifinal spot.

If the Sun Devils continue the offensive tear they’ve been on, it will be hard to stop ASU in the Pac-12 tournament. We’ll have coverage of the tournament throughout ASU’s run.

The Sun Devils start their tournament run Tuesday at 10 a.m. at Scottsdale Stadium.


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