ASU Baseball: Sun Devils split opening doubleheader against Miami of Ohio

OMAHA, NE - JUNE 23: Joey Hooft
OMAHA, NE - JUNE 23: Joey Hooft /

ASU baseball got its 2018 season underway Saturday splitting an Opening Day doubleheader vs Miami (OH) losing the first game 4-2 and winning the second 7-3.

In an era of baseball where analytics and advanced methods are becoming more common, sometimes a simplistic approach is the most effective.

This is exactly the approach freshman Spencer Torkelson took as he hit two home runs in his second game as a Sun Devil.

“My approach is just to get a fastball and hit it hard,” Torkelson said. “Don’t try to do too much with it. Just patience, not trying to do too much not trying to do something you can’t do with a bad pitch.”

The two home runs were part of three hits in ASU’s first win of the season and second game part of a season-opening doubleheader against Miami of Ohio.

The Sun Devils had an extremely effective night on the offensive side as they finished the game with 13 hits in route to a 7-3 victory.

ASU was led by the 3-4-5 hitters in the lineup in the duo of sophomores Carter Aldrete and Lyle Lin to go along with the freshman power-hitting designated hitter Torkelson.

The trio finished the game with eight hits in 12 at-bats with Aldrete having a double and a triple to go along with a Lin home run.

The contributions made by the trio was not a surprise to those inside the program.

“(Lin) has worked hard in the weight room,” ASU head coach Tracy Smith said. “He’s really worked hard in staying over his backside. Lyle is a little bit of a free swinger and just trying to get him under control a little bit more.”

More from Devils in Detail

While the players had immense contributions individually, the team knows that a single game of success is only one game in a very long season.

“(Torkelson) a good hitter,” Smith said. “We’ve seen good things out of him up to this point and tonight I think the public got a glimpse of it. One game does not make a career or season, but that’s what he can do. He’s been showing flashes of that all spring and more importantly, I like this at bats.”

The trio was also joined in contributions by junior Gage Canning who was provided three hits in five at-bats including three triples.

Canning was among the nation’s best last season in triples as he used the deep fences at Phoenix Municipal Stadium to his advantage.

“Playing here a lot when you hit it in the gaps you know you have a shot at three because it’s so deep,” Canning said. Usually, when I’m rounding first going to second, I’m just checking it out seeing where the fielders are at.”

While game two of the series went in favor of the Sun Devils, the opening game of the 2018 season was filled with flashbacks from last year’s disappointing season.

In a game where Miami of Ohio pulled off a 4-2 victory, it was walks, sloppy play, and nervousness that hurt ASU.

Spencer Van Scoyoc got the opening nod for the Sun Devils and had an effective stat line of five innings pitched allowing four hits and one earned run. The key stat that stuck out for the sophomore southpaw was six walks in his five innings of work.

The issue of finding the zone continued throughout the remainder of the game as the team finished walking nine batters as a whole and hitting an additional two.

Despite the pitching struggles, ASU found themselves in the game but was unable to convert behind poor hitting with runners on base and keeping runners on the base paths.

The team was a mere 1-for-13 with runners on the bases and had several costly baserunning errors including freshman Drew Swift being caught stealing twice.

Swift also managed to be the only freshman of the four starting to collect base hits as he finished 2-for-3 as the rest of the freshman went 0-for-8 at the plate.

The struggles of the freshman carried into the field with second baseman Alika Williams having an errant throw on a routine double play. The nerves are something the Sun Devils expected heading into the game with such a young team.

“You had a lot of heart rates pounding tonight,” Smith said. “I saw some things from our hitters I haven’t seen leading up to this point. I know guys are pressing so it’s nice to get runs across the board regardless how they came.”

Next: ASU Baseball: Sun Devils host Miami of Ohio to open season

ASU will continue their four-game series against the Miami Redhawks with another doubleheader Sunday to round out the series before their matchup against the Arizona Diamondbacks.