The Oregon baseball team’s notoriously flamboyant uniforms were out in full force over the weekend, and while neon yellow blinded fans at Packard Stadium, it had no such effect on ASU.
The No. 9 Sun Devils (21-6, 5-1 Pac-10) swept the Ducks right out of Tempe behind three stellar starting pitching performances.
In three games and 22 2-3 innings, ASU’s starting rotation had a 1.19 ERA against UO.
“The pitching was outstanding this weekend,” ASU coach Tim Esmay said. “We knew they had some good arms so we had to be good and we out-pitched them.”
First up was Brady Rodgers.
The ASU ace allowed two second-inning runs Friday night but battled back to hold the Ducks (14-12, 0-3 Pac-10) scoreless the remainder of his outing.
“Early in the game I was throwing mostly fastballs and they were jumping all over them,” Rodgers said. “Then I switched to more of the off-speed stuff to try to get them to roll over. The defense was phenomenal tonight, couldn’t ask for anything more.”
The Sun Devils jumpstarted their offense in the fourth courtesy of a two-run homer off the bat of junior first baseman Zach Wilson.
“It was a fastball in,” he said. “I knew I hit it really high and it just got over the fence.”
An inning later, ASU knocked four hits and scored three runs to take a 5-2 advantage.
Rodgers (4-1) handed the ball over to the bullpen with two outs in the eighth. From there, freshman Trevor Williams and junior Mitchell Lambson recorded the final four outs to secure the win.
Kramer Champlin stole the spotlight Saturday.
The junior transfer threw eight innings of five-hit, one-run baseball while striking out seven.
“I hit my spots well and the defense played great behind me,” Champlin said. “It’s real easy to pitch when you’ve got guys like that behind you. I felt like I got in a pretty good rhythm hitting the glove because of them.”
ASU scored twice in the third thanks to RBIs from juniors Zack MacPhee and Riccio Torrez.
Sophomore outfielder Andrew Aplin provided an insurance run in the seventh with his first career home run.
“It was about time I got one,” he said. “When I hit it, I thought I got enough of it, plus the little breeze helped too. The right fielder made a good leap for it and I thought he might get it but it got out.”
Lambson shut down the Ducks in the ninth for his second consecutive save.
The pitchers performed equally well on Sunday, but the offense provided the fireworks.
The Sun Devils scored in each of the first four innings to take an 8-0 lead.
MacPhee, who entered the game batting .245, went 3-for-4 on the day with two RBIs.
“I know what I can I do, it’s baseball and it’s probably not the last time I’m ever going to struggle,” he said. “I never get down and I know I’ll come out of it eventually.”
Supplied with a cushion, sophomore Jake Barrett (3-2) cruised through the UO lineup, allowing four hits and no runs through seven innings of work.
Williams and sophomore Alex Blackford pitched the final six outs of the weekend, securing the sweep and the 8-0 shutout.
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