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Trips to California typically shine bright lights on the visitor.

But that won’t be the case when the ASU baseball team heads to Berkeley for a three-game set with Cal.

Evans Diamond doesn’t have stadium lighting, which means the No. 8 Sun Devils (25-9, 8-4 Pac-10) will play three straight day games starting Thursday.

The midweek start to the series will accommodate the Easter holiday on Sunday.

“It gives us one less day to practice,” ASU coach Tim Esmay said. “We’ll practice at their place and then play. This time of year it’s not as tough as it would have been earlier in the year because we’ve had enough games under our belt.”

The No. 19 Golden Bears (24-9, 9-3 Pac-10) come in riding a five-game winning streak. Last weekend they swept Washington after dropping two of three in Tucson against UA. On Tuesday they beat UC Davis, 4-1, in a non-conference matchup.

Cal boasts the second-lowest ERA in the Pac-10 and ranks No. 16 in the nation with a staff average of 2.79.

The team’s ace, junior Erik Johnson, is 5-1 with an ERA of 2.05. Opposing batters are hitting just .196 against him.

Johnson’s counterpart Thursday will be ASU sophomore Brady Rodgers (5-2, 2.92 ERA).

The Sun Devil ace held Washington State to one run in his last outing.

“We just want to win each series from here on out so we can be on track to win the Pac-10 title,” he said.

ASU swept the Golden Bears last year in Tempe and is 104-57 all time against them.

Aggressive Devils

The Sun Devils have provided their own sparks all season.

The hallmark of their campaign so far has been taking extra bases.

Whether it’s stretching singles into doubles or running first to third on a base hit, ASU is putting tremendous pressure on its opponents’ defense.

“We’re doing some things to force the action,” Esmay said. “It speeds up the game and it gets in their heads. We want to make them uncomfortable.”

Last weekend in Tempe, WSU committed six errors, not including some of the aggressive base running by ASU that doesn’t appear in the box score.

For instance, sophomore outfielder Andrew Aplin scored on a single from first base.

Those types of plays not only provide momentum for ASU, but discourage opponents.

“It's a commitment and it’s contagious,” Esmay said. “When you get those guys starting to do it, the next guy is doing it and the next guy. The Pac-10 does a good job of holding runners, so we figure something else out so we don't have to steal a bag. We create new bases and make it easier on ourselves.”

And when its opponents try to duplicate ASU’s aggressiveness, the defense is ready for it.

The typical ASU outfield of Aplin, senior Matt Newman and junior Johnny Ruettiger has a combined 11 assists this year, which is partly responsible for Sun Devils’ 79-55 advantage over their opponents in doubles this season.

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