ASU Baseball Weekend Preview: Recapping Western Michigan, And Previewing UC Riverside

The Arizona State baseball team continues non-conference play this weekend as they host the UC Riverside Highlanders (2-2). Last weekend, the Sun Devils swept Western Michigan to open their season, outscoring the Broncos 40-2 over the three game stretch.

ASU rose four spots in the latest Baseball America Top 25 Poll, moving from 17 to 13. ASU used both great pitching and hitting to dominate the Broncos last weekend.

Brady Rodgers (6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 7 SO) shined on Friday night and set the tone for the rest of the series. ASU had a team ERA of 0.33 in the three game set, and only allowed Western Michigan to 16 hits and two runs.

At the plate, ASU was led by senior first baseman Abe Ruiz. Ruiz hit .600 (6-10) over the weekend, including six RBI's and two home runs. Ruiz was named the first ever Pac-12 Player of the Week for the week of Feb. 13-19.

The Sun Devils now look forward to UC Riverside. The Highlanders lost two of three games to BYU last weekend, and defeated San Diego State 7-1 on Tuesday.

The Highlanders will start Dylan Stuart (1-0 0.00) on Friday night, likely against ASU's Brady Rodgers (1-0 0.00). Stuart threw a complete game shutout against BYU last weekend, and is the ace of the Highlanders staff.

UC Riverside will throw Eddie Orozco (0-1 6.23) on Saturday and Trevor Frank (0-0 1.80) on Sunday. ASU will likely counter with Adam McCreery (1-0 0.00) on Saturday and Trevor Williams (1-0 0.00) on Sunday.

Devyn Bolasky leads UC Riverside in hitting, with a batting average of .600 and a slugging percentage of .667. Bolasky has nine hits and three RBI's in four games played this season.

ASU has a all-time record of 34-5 against the Highlanders, with the last meeting being a 5-4 extra inning victory in the 2011 Coca-Cola Classic.

Full Weekend Preview:

Game Times and Location:

Friday - 6:30 PM

Saturday - 1 PM

Sunday - 12:30 PM

All games at Packard Stadium

Key Matchup:

Brady Rodgers vs. Dylan Stuart: ASU did not get to face a true ace like Stuart is last weekend. Stuart posted a 1.72 ERA in 18 relief appearances last season and started this season off with a complete game shutout. Rodgers posted a nice outing as well last Friday (6 IP, 4 H, 0 R), we will see if the ASU's juggernaut offense is still present when they face a pitcher with the stuff that Stuart has.

Player to Watch:

Drew Stankiewicz, Freshman: Stankiewicz saw limited playing time last wekend, but when he got his chance, he contributed for the Sun Devils. Stankiewicz went 2-3 with two RBI's and two walks last weekend. It may be tough for Stankiewicz to find playing time, right now he is behind Deven Marrero and Joey DiMichele on the depth chart, but when he gets his chances, this freshman has an impact at the plate.

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