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Infielder Ethan Mendoza kickstarts his first season as a Sun Devil

Mendoza went 5-5 in his first official start as a Sun Devil, which jumpstarted his early success in his freshman season


ASU freshman infielder Ethan Mendoza (2) batting against Ohio State at Phoenix Municipal Stadium on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024 in Phoenix. ASU won 14-4.

Freshman infielder Ethan Mendoza came to ASU from Texas and has already turned a lot of heads

As a young player, Mendoza has a .250 batting average in 68 at-bats. This includes his 5-5 night against Santa Clara during his first night in the starting nine, and his walk-off hit against the Oregon Ducks. 

Mendoza's perfect 5-5 night was one to remember for more than just the stat line. Head coach Willie Bloomquist told him only the night before that he would start. Mendoza flew his dad over to watch his game that morning, and he couldn’t have been happier about his performance. 

"Mendoza, I mean, what isn't there to say," Bloomquist said. "Five hits during your first start as a Devil and six for six on the first weekend as a freshman is pretty insane. He’s doing great."

Impressing his team was one thing; having a perfect first night in front of someone Mendoza sees as his biggest supporter meant something extraordinary for him and his father. 

"It was a cool experience to play for him,” Mendoza said. "After seeing me play in a baseball uniform my whole life, I think he sees me as a younger version of him. It was cool to go out and play well for him. I look forward to many more exciting games like that to come." 

Mendoza’s love for the game began with his dad’s passion and baseball career. He first got a feel for the field when his dad played independent ball in Sioux City, Iowa. Spending time with him there, he learned the game and stuck to the field ever since. 

From there, Mendoza returned to Texas, where he played travel baseball with the Dallas Patriots, traveling to places like New York and Florida. He continued to high school, where he played for the Texas Stix

When it came to picking a college, the choice was easy. He was drawn to ASU when Bloomquist was the first to jump at Mendoza. He knew that Bloomquist would be loyal. 

Bloomquist supported him over the offseason regarding improving his infield technique. While other freshmen had to work more on getting back on their feet after a tough loss, Mendoza was lucky enough to learn that from a younger age. 

“I have a short mind,” Mendoza said. “That’s how I was raised to play, following my dad. Failing in the past has helped me succeed. I haven’t personally dealt with coaches telling me to shake it off, as I have always been able to move on pretty quickly and focus on the next point of action.” 

Mendoza believes that playing baseball taught him the ups and downs that life can bring. Being a part of this sport has taught him how to bounce back and not dwell on what he did wrong, something he takes up from his dad.

“I’ve always told my children and former players that the sports arena is the safest place to make mistakes,” Robert Mendoza said. "Ethan has always listened to that and plays like how I tell him to: work like you’re down 0-5, play like you’re up 5-5.”

One other factor that Mendoza relies on is the support of his teammates. Coming into his collegiate career with many other freshman teammates, Mendoza has built a strong connection with them just by hanging out in the dorm rooms. 

He and the other new players were also welcomed by the upperclassmen, such as redshirt senior outfielder Harris Williams. Williams makes all players feel comfortable, along with the other veterans, when it comes to teaching them the rights and wrongs of the clubhouse. 

“Mendoza is a wonderful player,” Williams said. “He always comes into games very poised. Something the cameras, and unfortunately, the media, don’t get to see is exactly how much work that guy puts in. It’s unbelievable how much time he puts into the games. He always gets here early and ready to play.” 

Edited by Vinny DeAngelis, Walker Smith and Shane Brennan

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