Baseball to honor Hahn against Delaware

Slippery Mound: ASU sophomore pitcher Jake Barrett throws a pitch in the rain during the Sun Devils’ season-opening victory over New Mexico on Feb. 18. ASU begins a four-game series with Delaware on Friday in Tempe. (Photo by Scott Stuk)

When the ASU baseball team takes the field Friday night against Delaware, it will be with a heavy heart.

The No. 9 Sun Devils (3-0) will be without one of their own.

Freshman outfielder Cory Hahn was seriously hurt Sunday while sliding head first into second base on a steal attempt.

Paramedics rushed him to St. Joseph’s Hospital where he underwent neck surgery later that night.

No new information has been released about his condition, but coach Tim Esmay has remained upbeat about the situation.

“I’m happy and proud to say that Cory (Hahn) is in the healing process right now,” he said. “It’s been incredible seeing the Sun Devil nation step up to support this thing. And trust me, Cory (Hahn) and his family are hearing those things.”

Throughout the week, Hahn frequently received visits from his teammates and coaches while recovering in bed.

“There’s nothing but hope and positive prayers that we’ve been seeing,” Esmay said. “You’re never prepared for this, and it hasn’t been easy, but my gosh we have hope.”

Come Friday night though, the diamond will become a safe haven for ASU to escape from the emotions of the past few days.

“It’s not a normal week, who are we kidding?” Esmay said. “But the ability to walk on that baseball field and do what you’ve always done, I think is cleansing. The greatest thing we have right now is playing baseball.”

To honor their teammate, the Sun Devils will wear bracelets as well as the number 34, Hahn’s number, on their stirrups.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been more proud of a group of young men. It’s a situation nobody has ever been involved with,” Esmay said. “The ability to handle adversity and be comfortable being uncomfortable is exactly what these kids have done pretty much their whole careers here.”

Coming into town will be a Blue Hen team that opened its season last weekend by dropping two of three to UNC Greensboro.

Delaware’s win came in a 14-inning affair in the series finale.

“They’re going to play good baseball,” Esmay said. “It’s a great situation for us in the sense that it forces us to play a little bit better team baseball. This will be a weekend where they are going to challenge us and ask us to handle some pressure.”

The two teams are scheduled to play single games on Friday and Sunday and a double-header on Saturday. But rain might be an issue again.

The starting rotation is likely to stay the same as a weekend ago, with sophomore pitchers Brady Rodgers and Jake Barrett kicking off the series and junior transfers Kyle Ottoson and Kramer Champlin finishing it up.

The four gave up a combined three earned runs in their 20 innings of work last week.

The Sun Devils have only faced Delaware once before, a 13-5 ASU win in 1976.

All four games are scheduled to be webcasted on foxsportsarizona.com.

Reach the reporter at tyler.emerick@asu.edu