ASU Baseball: Sun Devils can only go as far as Alec Marsh takes them

OMAHA, NE - JUNE 23: Travis Buck
OMAHA, NE - JUNE 23: Travis Buck /

Yes, ASU baseball‘s strength is at the plate. But if the Sun Devils want a chance at the NCAA tournament, then Alec Marsh will have to lead the way

It was just another day at the office for ASU’s offense.

Ten runs, eight hits and eight walks against a Notre Dame pitching staff that left much to be desired if you were a fan of the Fighting Irish.

Heading into the season everyone knew that the Sun Devils offense was the strength of the team. A year ago, ASU finished second in the Pac-12 in slugging percentage and batting average.

But what Sun Devil fans maybe didn’t expect, or count on, on opening night was a dominant performance from junior right hander Alec Marsh. On Friday night, Marsh struck out 10 batters becoming the first ASU pitcher to strike out 10 or more batters since 2016.

“He was throwing a lot of sinkers. They were just making weak contact so we kept pushing that,” Marsh’s battery-mate Sam Ferri said. “His curveball was good, slider was good, changeup was good late.”

Through six innings, Marsh held Notre Dame scoreless. The only run the righty surrendered was a solo home run from Niko Kavadas. And although he surrendered a double later in the inning to Jared Miller, Marsh finished his outing allowing only four hits and a walk in 6.2 innings of work.

“(Marsh has) earned the opportunity to pitch on Friday night(s),” coach Tracy Smith said. “That was definitely a quality start out of him.”

Last season, ASU finished ninth in the conference in walks allowed, allowing 228 free passes on the year.

On Friday night, over 70 percent of Marsh’s pitches were for strikes. As a team, ASU threw 92 strikes on 134 pitches and only gave out two free passes by night’s end.

Without their most consistent pitcher from a year ago in Eli Lingos, and with only 12 pitchers on the roster, many speculated as to how affective ASU’s pitching was going to be this season. Keep in mind, the Sun Devils had a 4.70 team ERA in 2018.

Granted, the 2019 season is just a game old. But, a dominant opening night performance from their ace, Marsh, should give ASU fans comfort in knowing that they have an ace that they can lean on for this season.

As talented as Boyd Vander Kooi is, he has health issues. RJ Dabovich was a top five recruit coming out of high school in Colorado but he’s only a freshman. Sam Romero has starting experience, but failed to consistently perform last season.

The Sun Devils rotation isn’t hopeless, but it isn’t the strength of this ASU team.

Next. ASU Baseball: Sun Devils dazzle in season opening 10-1 win. dark

Offense may be the strength of the Sun Devils, but Alec Marsh will need to pitch like an ace, as he did on Friday night, to give ASU a chance at playing postseason baseball.

All quotes in this article were obtained firsthand by Devils in Detail unless otherwise noted.