ASU baseball went 1-1 on Opening Day against Miami (OH), but with just three hits with runners in scoring position, it could be an area of concern.
Arizona State came out of their first doubleheader of the season with a 1-1 record against Miami (Ohio) Saturday. However, the team managed to go 2-for-21 with runners in scoring position, which could be a cause to pause.
The Sun Devils failed to string hits together in the first game altogether. ASU hit just 1-for-13 with runners on base in total and 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position. This led to ASU scoring just two runs in their season opener, dropping the game 4-2.
Outfielder Gage Canning led off the second game with a triple. The next two batters struck out followed by a groundout, leaving Canning where he stood.
The Sun Devils would score seven runs in the second game mostly thanks to home runs and a costly error by Miami third baseman Landon Stephens though. But, the Devils still hit just 2-of-11 with runners in scoring position.
Head Coach Tracy Smith touched upon the issue after the game.
“I just felt like we got a lot of young guys, we got a lot of guys who press,” said Smith. “I saw some things from our hitters that I haven’t seen leading to this point, I know guys are pressing.”
Perhaps the fact that it was Opening Day resulted in more nerves and hitters “pressing” in tense situations. But with ASU’s pitching staff coming off of such a poor season, it is tough to tell how exactly they will perform in 2018. Therefore, the offense cannot blow opportunities the way that they did on Saturday.
During the second game, power was able to get them the runs needed to win. But, if the Devils do not execute with runners on base then they are relying on home runs to win games. But against better pitchers, especially in the Pac-12, that could lead to more results similar to ASU’s season opener.
The next few games should show whether their performance was a case of first-game jitters or if this is a red flag that could plague the ASU season.
All quotes in this article were obtained firsthand by Devils in Detail unless otherwise noted.