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Sun Devil baseball drops home series to Utah with poor offensive showings

ASU scored 13 runs across the board in three games while Utah secured 24


ASU sophomore outfielder Kien Vu (11) watching his hit at Phoenix Municipal Stadium on Saturday, April 13, 2024, in Phoenix. ASU won 8-3.

 In a three-game weekend series, the Sun Devils took a series loss to the Utah Utes to worsen their season record to 16-20. The team continues to struggle with inconsistent offense and a problematic pitching staff. 

During game one on Friday, ASU bats were silenced. The Sun Devils recorded three hits in nine innings, averaging .107 on the night offensively. Unfortunately, the game wasn't a pitching duel either. The Utes tallied 10 hits and two home runs to thrash ASU 10-0. 

"We have to find a way to adjust as a team," junior catcher Ryan Campos said. "It's gone on long enough … we're finding ways to lose games. There's a lot of frustration right now knowing we could do better, and we haven’t even gotten close to what we can do all season."  

ASU was able to find some light through the darkness, however, as fans and staff celebrated the unveiling of the statue for the historic Arizona State baseball coach Bobby Winkles. Honoring his legacy as a Sun Devil and acknowledging the 1964 College World Series team along with it. 

ASU managed to flip the script during game two, tying the series 1-1 and beating the Utes 8-3. 

The Sun Devils started the game by scoring five runs in the bottom of the first. They would add three more runs to that with the help of a solo homer from junior infielder Jacob Tobias in the fourth and RBIs from senior infielder Mario Demera and Campos. 

"We talked before in our hitters meeting about just taking the first two swings to just get the A-swing off, and it ended up working out," Demera said. "We talk a lot about how two-out RBIs win ball games; we just go out there with the confidence and trust that you're gonna do it."

Switching sides, starting pitcher and senior left-handed pitcher Connor Markl lasted five innings and struck out five. That was his fifth start in a row lasting five innings or more, his longest stretch in his career. 

In the series finale, ASU couldn't hold on to the early lead and dropped the last game and series 11-5 to Utah. 

Similar to the night before, the Sun Devils attacked early, hitting "back-to-back-to-back" homers off the bat of Campos, sophomore outfielder Kien Vu, and Tobias. 

The Utes added one run of their own in the second, but Vu added one back off a single in the bottom half of the inning. However, Utah continued to push back after senior right-handed pitcher Matt Tieding gave up a two-run homer and double that tied the game up at four. 

It only went downhill from there for the Sun Devils. The team gave up two homers in the sixth inning and another in the eighth, which led to an 11-5 lead and ultimately a win for the Utes as ASU failed to score in the remainder of the game. 

After the tough series loss to the Utes, Arizona State will head on the road to California to face Cal State Fullerton and UCLA. The team expects to stay mentally focused and ready to play with a better performance. 

"Try to control the things that we can control," head coach Willie Bloomquist said. "Effort, attitude, and mindset. You have to try and put in your best effort every day, and those are non-negotiables. What I ask of these guys is to stay mentally ready and give your best effort when you're out there and be mentally into the game. Keep grinding, keep pressing forward, and keep trying to improve."

Edited by Vinny DeAngelis, Alysa Horton and Caera Learmonth.

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