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ASU Baseball Weekend Preview: Sun Devils Visit Long Beach State

The Arizona State Baseball team travels to Long Beach State this weekend for its first road series of the 2012 season. ASU (8-4) comes into the series currently on a two-game losing streak, an extra inning loss last Sunday to Saint Mary's and an 8-4 defeat on Tuesday against Texas Tech.

Arizona State comes into the series on a roaring pace at the plate. The Sun Devils lead the Pac-12 in batting average (.380), slugging percentage (.562), on base percentage (.461) and hits (123). ASU is second nationally in team batting average, trailing Cornell, who has played only four games this season.

The Sun Devils haven't been too shabby on the mound as well, as ASU ranks fifth in the country in team ERA (1.57). Saying that staff ace Brady Rodgers has been superb this season is a major understatement. The junior right-hander is 3-0, has not allowed an earned run in 22 IP and has 24 strikeouts to just two walks this season.

Sophomore Trevor Williams is 3-0 this season with an 1.06 ERA in 17 IP, and Arizona State has used 15 pitchers so far this season in 12 games, including six pitchers who have made at least one start.

Long Beach State (4-8) comes into the weekend set on a four-game losing streak. The Dirtbags were swept by Oregon last weekend, losing all three games by one run.

The Dirtbags boast an impressive pitching staff in 2012. Sophomore Ryan Strufling is 2-0 with a 1.83 ERA in 19 IP, and junior Matt Anderson has a 2.00 ERA in 18 IP despite not registering a decision.

Full Weekend Preview:

Friday - 7:30 p.m. MT

ASU - RHP Brady Rodgers (3-0 0.00 ERA)

LBSU - RHP Shawn Stuart (1-0 4.91 ERA)

Saturday - 3 p.m. MT

ASU - RHP Alex Blackford (0-0 2.30 ERA)

LBSU - RHP Matt Anderson (0-0 2.00 ERA)

Sunday - 2 p.m. MT

ASU - RHP Trevor Williams (3-0 1.06 ERA)

LBSU - LHP Ryan Strufing (2-0 1.83 ERA)

All games played at Blair Field in Long Beach, CA.

Key Matchup

Trevor Williams vs. Ryan Strufing: ASU needs to flex their muscles against an inferior Long Beach State team, as the Dirtbags are 2-5 against Pac-12 teams this season. With Brady Rodgers doing his thing on Friday, on Sunday this game could mean the difference between an ASU sweep and just a series victory. Trevor Williams has been dynamite for the Sun Devils all season, and Strufing statically has been LBSU's best pitcher this season. A sweep would sure be nice for a team looks to get momentum into Pac-12 play.