The No. 15 Arizona State baseball team will face USC this weekend at Dedeaux Field in Los Angeles. The three-game Pac-12 Conference series begins today at 6 p.m. PT and resumes on Saturday at 2 p.m PT. Sunday’s game is also at 2 p.m. PT and will be broadcast live on ESPNU.
Arizona State (19-10-1, 6-7 Pac-12) enters the series with the Trojans on the heels of an 11-3 trouncing of UNLV on Wednesday night in Las Vegas.
Last weekend, ASU won two-of-three at home against then No. 7 Oregon. The Sun Devils defeated the Ducks 6-5 in 11 innings on Friday, and then secured a 14-9 victory the following evening on the strong arm of freshman ace Ryan Kellogg, as well as clutch hitting by slugger R.J. Ybarra. Kellogg improved to 7-0 despite giving up six earned runs in 7 1/3 innings on Saturday. Ybarra was named Pac-12 Baseball Player of the Week in recognition of his performance versus Oregon.
The Sun Devils fell hard—16-3—in their final game against the Ducks.
USC visits Tempe hoping to recover from a season sweep by fourth-ranked Cal State Fullerton. The Trojans suffered a 6-4 loss to the Titans on Tuesday. USC finished the game with 10 hits, but was unable to mount a consistent threat, stranding nine total base runners.
USC is fifth in the Pac-12 in batting average (.277), as well as sIxth in hitting percentage (.364) and ranks fourth in hits (299), just five behind Arizona State with 304. The team ranks ninth with 194 strikeouts, and is sixth in the conference with batters struck out looking (60).
The Trojans have used nine different pitchers out of the bullpen this year. As a whole, they have an ERA of 4.93 with a collective 192 strikeouts. Six of the pitchers are newcomers, with five being true freshmen. The only upperclassmen out of the pen are Matt Munson and Nick Berhel.
USC was picked to finish tied for eighth along with Washington State by a vote of the Pac-12 coaches in the preseason poll.
The Arizona State-USC baseball rivalry offers plenty of intrigue. ASU holds a narrow edge over USC all-time and swept the Trojans last season in Tempe. USC took two-of-three against the Sun Devils last time the teams met in Los Angeles.