Analysis: No. 25 ASU baseball undefeated streak has come with baggage

Five key Sun Devil games have shown a diverse offensive power

At the 20 game mark last year, ASU baseball lost four games decided by two runs.

This year, with an undefeated record of 19-0, the team has not only managed to crack into every ranking you can think of but has done it at the hands of a mature and healthy offensive roster along with pitching depth that has already translated over to the team.

So far, the Sun Devils have gone 5-0 in games decided by two runs or less. Following Sunday's win, coach Tracy Smith said he's disappointed after the team had one of its toughest one-run decisions yet over the weekend. 

"Clearly today we had a lot of mistakes," Smith said on Sunday. "That's the bad part of it. We're not really happy about that, but that said when you can still do those things and find a way to grind out a win, it tells you you're learning how to win."

So, what makes this team so special?

In those five crucial wins, all of ASU's starting players have stepped up offensively. From the team's very first win to everywhere in between, this learning experience has not seemed to fade away.

ASU 3-2 win over UC Davis

In this quick 2 hour and 24 minute game ASU would come out on top, 3-2 over UC Davis during the first doubleheader at Phoenix Municipal Stadium on Saturday, Feb. 23. But the story wouldn't be complete until the eighth inning thanks to the sophomore outfielder Trevor Hauver

At the time, Hauver was one walk away from tying his career high of 12, but instead opted to show his true versatility when he tied the game 2-2 with an RBI single. With the bases loaded, Sun Devil junior catcher Lyle Lin's RBI sac-fly would go on to win it.

As for the pitching, freshman lefty Erik Tolman went into his third appearance recording his first save by retiring the Aggies in order.   

Smith praised Tolman after the game for "throwing well" and "pitching aggressively."

ASU 4-3 win over Pepperdine

The Sun Devils would make it a tough eighth straight win in a 4-3 contest over Pepperdine on Tuesday, Feb. 26.

Just as the Sun Devils' pitching hit a road bump in the seventh inning it allowed Pepperdine to tie the game 2-2 but Hauver, the 6 foot, 205 pounder would make up for it with a two-run long ball shot pulling the team ahead. 

"It's pretty incredible what we have here as a team as an offense," Hauver said at the two week mark. "One through nine I believe can hit with anyone out there."

Pepperdine would come within one-run in the eighth inning before Sun Devil freshman righty Blake Burzell would record the save.  

ASU 6-4 win over Cal State Fullerton

From sophomore infielder Alika Williams' first home run to Lin, redshirt sophomore catcher Sam Ferri and Hauver all produced RBIs in the Sun Devils' 6-4 win over the Titans.

The Titans would come swinging with four-runs in the eighth inning but would eventually be silenced by junior righty Alec Marsh through 2.0 innings. 

At the conclusion of the Tuesday, March 5 win, all four Sun Devils would stand with a .303 batting average or above.

ASU 8-7 win over Washington State

In front of the biggest crowds of the season, Ferri's walk off would cap the Sun Devils' 8-7 win but in true fashion the offense was alive. Sophomore infielder Spencer Torkelson went 2-for-4 with a home run and Ferri also went 2-for-4 with two RBIs in the teams close 8-7 win over the Cougars on Saturday, March 16. 

The Cougars kept tying and leading their way back into the game but with junior outfielder Hunter Bishop's home run in the second and single in the seventh it was enough to stretch the Sun Devils streak to 18.      

ASU and junior infielder Carter Aldrete said the team's capability of being able to grind out close wins has come from "maturity".

"I say it after every win: winners win," Aldrete said. "We find a way to win and no one on this team gives up. I think that's the mentality we take in every day in the fall and every day in the spring. So we're not going to change our mentality for anything. We expect to win and we're going to out and play until someone beats us."   

ASU 6-5 win over Washington State

The Sun Devils would cap their third best start in program history grinding out their second consecutive one-run win. 

After previously playing in only eight games, sophomore infielder Drew Swift went 3-for-4 and Williams went 4-for-4 leading the team with a 6-5 win and sweep over the Cougars.  

Collectively, the Sun Devils make up one of the most diverse offensive teams in Division I baseball with 12 players batting .250 or above and nine having hit at least one home run. 


Reach the reporter at Edith.Noriega@asu.edu or follow @Noriega_Edith on Twitter. 

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