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Sun Devil baseball battles through trial and error in search of lost chemistry

ASU Baseball is 11-14 on the season so far amid multiple struggles on and off the field

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ASU sophomore outfielder Isaiah Jackson (24) celebrates after a home run against Santa Clara at Phoenix Municipal Stadium on Friday, Feb.16, 2024. ASU won 11-6.

The Sun Devils entered the season knowing they would face many ups and downs while balancing the changes made over the offseason. With a losing record 25 games into the season (11-14), ASU is on a journey of reconnection to fix the team's dynamic.

During the first regular season series, the Sun Devils looked promising with their uplifting energy in the clubhouse and quality at-bats. Since then, they’ve been on a downhill spiral. With problems such as poor pitching, inconsistent offense, and a loss of team chemistry, the battle to scrape up a win is harder than the team envisioned.

Starting on the mound, ASU’s pitching has been this team's biggest weakness since opening day. The best pitcher in the bullpen, with a 1.35 ERA, is junior right-handed pitcher Ryan Schiefer. As for the rest, they all have an average higher than 3.45, with 236 hits and 182 runs allowed combined.

The Sun Devils have allowed less than five runs in only eight games this season and seven games with their opponent scoring ten or more runs. With many young arms to test, ASU's coaching staff can't seem to put together a quality rotation, making the bats work harder to hit out of holes during many high-scoring games.

ASU has a shortage of problems offensively. Since their first away trip to Texas, the bats have been inconsistent and have struggled to score in situations with two outs or with runners in scoring position.

March has been a tough month in particular. ASU has only hit .300 or above average in five games compared to their 11 most recent games, which range between .133 against Utah Valley last week and .297.

The coaching staff has mixed and matched the lineup, but they have yet to find one impressive enough to keep consistent. Aware of their strengths and weaknesses, the Sun Devils have been working hard to find solutions, carrying much frustration and not meeting the team expectations they know they can reach.

There's also been an issue this season with bouncing back from blown leads, which starts and ends in the clubhouse. With that in mind, ASU has established a new tradition in the locker room: players-only meetings to reflect on and discuss team performances.

Offensively, hitters follow a "pass it on" method. In this method, each hitter doesn't go up to the plate looking to be the one to get the big hit but instead looks to keep the inning alive with the hope of sparking a rally.

ASU's offensive power relies on the bats of redshirt freshman Brandon Compton, redshirt senior outfielder Harris Williams, and junior infielder Jocab Tobias. They currently rank among the top three in batting averages on the team. Compton is on top, averaging .352; Williams is second with .308, and Tobias is third, hitting .301.

"I feel like we're giving these guys the coaching they need, but we're just not getting it done," head coach Willie Bloomquist said. "At some point, they have to look in the mirror and ask themselves if they have it or they don't, and right now, they don't."

ASU looks to string some wins together this weekend. They will return home to Phoenix Municipal Stadium for a three-game series against California starting on Thursday.

Edited by Vinny DeAngelis, Shane Brennan and Caera Learmonth.

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