ASU baseball has struggled in the past two seasons, but the performance of some players shows promise for what's ahead.
Chris Gleason - Reporter:
2017 was the Sun Devil's worst season in over three decades, and many don’t see this year as much better with a team that’s been defined by its youth. While the pitching staff is a mix of upper and underclassmen, eight of ASU’s 10 regular position players are sophomores or freshmen. But despite the overall struggles, this team has shown reasons for optimism.
For one, the Devils won their 9th Pac-12 game Sunday, already one more than a season ago and putting them in the middle of the conference standings at 9-9. Then there’s freshman first baseman Spencer Torkelson, who hit his Division-I leading 20th home run Sunday. He’s already shattered the programs single-season freshman home run record, previously held by Barry Bonds, and is chasing the NCAA’s freshman single season mark of 26 and the ASU all-time record of 27 in a year.
Tracy Smith - ASU Baseball Manager:
I said you know it's not all about his power he's a good hitter, he's a smart hitter. He knows what he wants to do, he'll talk about how the pitcher's trying to work him prior to the at-bat.
Furthermore, Torkelson and junior outfielder Gage Canning were selected to the mid season watchlist for the golden spikes award, the most prestigious honor in amateur baseball. Canning, the NCAA leader in triples, along with Tork became the first Sun Devils selected to the list since 2015, and the first position players since 2012. While Canning will likely get drafted into the MLB after this season, he’s helped set the foundation for a program trying to get back to national prominence. The Sun Devils will now get a shot at one of the nation’s best as they head north to play fifth-ranked Oregon State Friday through Sunday.
Reporting for State Press, I’m Chris Gleason.