ASU baseball is No. 2 seed at Cal Poly Regional

Current Sun Devil baseball players watch from the dugout as former Sun Devil baseball players compete against them during the 2014 Alumni Game. The current team beat the alumni 11-5 at the final installment of the game at Packard Stadium on Feb. 8. (Photo by Andrew Ybanez)

Current Sun Devil baseball players watch from the dugout as former Sun Devil baseball players compete against them during the 2014 Alumni Game. The current team beat the alumni 11-5 at the final installment of the game at Packard Stadium on Feb. 8. (Photo by Andrew Ybanez)

ASU baseball was selected as the No. 2 seed in the Cal Poly Regional in San Luis Obispo. The 33-22 Sun Devils face off against the 39-16 Pepperdine Waves, who won the West Coast Conference Championship with a 6-1 win over Loyola Marymount.

Also playing in San Luis Obispo will be host Cal Poly, who play Sacramento State. Cal Poly finished the season with a 45-10 record and are winners of their last six games. Sacramento State is also on a winning streak, having won four in a row, and they finished the regular season with a record of 39-22.

ASU enters the tournament as hot as any team in the nation. The Sun Devils have won nine of their last 10 games, including three Pac-12 series victories over Oregon, Washington State and a sweep of Utah.

 

 

It was a much-needed hot streak for ASU. The team could never find a groove for much of the season and that culminated in May, when it was swept by Oklahoma State. That series seemed to motivate the Sun Devils, and they have been playing worlds better on offense and defense ever since.

ASU’s improved play did not go unnoticed. Junior shortstop Drew Stankiewicz was named Pac-12 Player of the Week for May 12-18, and even though it was one Sun Devil who won the award, it represented a team that steadfastly improved since that Oklahoma State series.

Pepperdine has also recovered from a slump. The Waves played well for much of the season and had a 34-9 record before losing seven of their last 12 regular season games. They bounced back and defeated Santa Clara and LMU to take the WCC Championship, and in those three games the most runs they gave up were two.

The winner of the Cal Poly Regional will play against the winner of the TCU Regional. Along with TCU in that Regional are Siena, Sam Houston State and Dallas Baptist.

Five Pac-12 teams made the tournament. Along with ASU is the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA, Oregon State, as well as Washington, Oregon and Stanford. ASU has been in the tournament every year since 2000, except 2012 because of violations that ruled it ineligible.

ASU and Pepperdine will play Friday in San Luis Obispo. The Regionals are double elimination, while the Super Regionals are a best of three series between the winners of two Regionals. In last year’s tournament, ASU reached the Regional Final before being eliminated by Cal State Fullerton. The Sun Devils have won the National Championship five times in their storied history, the most recent in 1981.

 

Reach the reporter at hkossodo@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @HKossodo