Sunday, February 25, 2018

Devils Lose Series Against Gaels

Mike Stockman
Phoenix Area Sports

PHOENIX, ARIZONA (February 25, 2018) In the second week of the 2018 baseball season, the Arizona State University Sun Devils lose two of three games to Saint Mary's Gaels at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, falling 6-1 on Friday February 23, 6-5 on Saturday February 24, and on Sunday get their only win, defeating the Gaels 2-1.  

Game one on Friday evening ended with a victory for the visiting Gaels by a score of 6 - 1. Devils' Gage Canning, who started the weekend needing four more triples to reach 20 for his career, went 4 for 4 at the plate for the Devils.
Devils lose series to Gaels of Saint Mary's

In game two, the Gaels jumped to an early lead scoring three runs in the first inning on four hits. In the bottom of the second inning, Devils' DH Spencer Torkelson hit his forth home run of the season, putting the Devils on the board. Hunter Bishop followed up with a single, scoring on a single by Trevor Hauver who scored on a single by Alika Williams. Canning hit an RBI triple. He scored on the next pitch when a perfect bunt allowed Canning to score.  The Devils led 5-3 until the eighth inning. In the top of the eighth, Gaels' Dylan Robertson, jr slams a two run home run over left field fence, tying the game 5-5. In the top of the ninth, with runners in scoring position, a wild pitch allowed the winning run to score, giving the Gaels the second win of the series - a 6-5 victory.

On Sunday, the final game of the series, Lyle Lin hit a home run in the bottom of the fourth inning putting the Devils on the board first. In the top of the sixth inning, the Gaels senior Jackson Thorelson scored from second base on a single to right field by Austin Chauvin. In the bottom of the sixth, Canning singled to right center, scoring Gage Workman with the go ahead run 2-1. The Devils win the final game 2-1 with seven hits to Gaels' five.

Boyd Vander Kooi pitches 7.2 innings, gets standing ovation
This is Devils freshman pitcher Boyd Vander Kooi's second win of the season. As he walked off the field after throwing 7. innings, allowing four hits, 1 run, with an era 0.61 the fans gave him a huge standing ovation.

In the post game conference, Coach Tracy Smith stated 'we had a lot of growth yesterday but we didn't win. Today, we won.', and finished with this comment on pitcher Vander Kooi's performance 'He's loose, he's got the persona that there's not a lot going on up there (pointing to his head), but trust me, there is.'. 

The Gaels host Xavier for a three game series on March 2-4 in Moraga, Calif. Game times are 2 p.m. on Friday, 1 p.m. on Saturday  and Sunday.

The Devils ( travel to Long Beach State for the first road trip of the season. The Devils will play two games, the first on Tuesday, Feb 27 at 6:00 p.m. and the second game on Wednesday, Feb 28 at 6:00 p.m.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Devils Win Two of Four Game Opening Weekend Against the RedHawks

Mike Stockman
Phoenix Area Sports

PHOENIX, ARIZONA (February 17, 2018) - The 2018 college baseball season started February 17-18 with a four game series at Phoenix Municipal Stadium between the Arizona State University Sun Devils and the visiting Miami (Ohio) RedHawks.

Fans were treated to perfect baseball weather. It never reached above 72 or dipped below 67 degrees.
Photo by Tony Espinoza

The RedHawks won the first game of the series by a score of 4 - 2 on Saturday afternoon.  The Devils were plagued with three errors in the game, coming at inopportune times while the RedHawks produced only one error and six hits.  RedHawks pitcher Nick Ernst, a junior from Cincinnati, Ohio was the winning pitcher with six innings pitched, allowing four hits, one run, and six strike outs.

In game two, the Devils scored first when Freshman Spencer Torkelson hit his first career home run in the bottom of the second inning, clearing the 410 ft center field fence. In the top of the third, Dallas Hall singled up the middle for an RBI followed by a two run home run by Ross Haffey putting the RedHawks up 3-1. In the bottom of the 4th, the Devils' sophomore catcher Lyle Lin hit a home run over the left field wall followed by Torkelson's home run over the same wall tying the score, 3-3. In the bottom of the 6th, Jeremy McCuin reached base safely while scoring two unearned runs by Scott Mehan and Carter Aldrete. McCuin scored on a bunt perfectly executed by Drew Swift. This made the score 6-3. The last score of the game came in the bottom of the 7th. Carter Aldrete hit a triple up middle to center field, scoring when Lin singled to center field making the final score 7-3.
Photo by Tony Espinoza

Lin is now 9-for-16 in his career in games played on Opening Day (DH today, DH last year) with 5 RBI, 3 runs scored and a home run.

In the third game, the first game of the double header on Sunday, the Devils started early, scoring two runs in the first inning. In the bottom of the sixth, the Devils extended the lead when Gage Canning knocked in two runs on a single to left field. In the seventh, the Devils ended the game by adding five runs, putting the rarely seen 10-run rule into effect, winning 11-1.

In the final game of the series, the Devils jump on the board first but the RedHawks score eight in the top of the second to take the lead. In the bottom of the sixth, the Devils scored three runs on wild pitches, shrinking the RedHawks lead to 9-6. In the top of seventh, the RedHawks added three runs, which increased the lead to 12-6. The Devils added two more runs in the bottom of the eighth inning when Torkelson hit a 2 RBI double to CF wall. The RedHawks added four runs in the top of the ninth to put the game out of reach for the Devils, winning 16-8.
Photo by Mike Stockman

During one of the post game press conferences, Devils Coach Tracy Smith, a four-year letter winner at Miami (Ohio) as a pitcher and an infielder for the RedHawks, was asked what he thought of Lyle Lin's efforts at the plate in the opening weekend series. He stated "One game does not make a career, or a season, but that's what he (Lyle Lin) can do. He's been showing flashes of that all spring. More importantly, I like his at bats...he has the ability to change the game".

The Devils travel across town to take on the Arizona Diamondbacks on Feb 21 at 1:00pm.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Territorial Cup Travels Back to Tempe After 42-30 Devil Victory

Mike Stockman
Phoenix Area Sports

TEMPE, AZ (November 25, 2017) - On a beautiful Arizona fall afternoon with the temperature hitting 84 degrees, the Arizona State University Sun Devils came from behind in an exciting, high scoring, hard hitting rival game to defeat the Arizona Wildcats 42-30 in what is recognized as the nation's oldest rivalry trophy game, the Territorial Cup, on Saturday, November 25, at Sun Devil Stadium. 
N'Keal Harry had two touchdown catches in the win. 

59,385 fans from all over the state filled the stadium and would not leave until the

last play was finished and the 00's filled the clock, knowing that for the last five years the precious trophy went to the home team.  

This was also Seniors Day in which 19 Devils were recognized with their families and close friends for the contribution, hard work, and perseverance they endured for the last few seasons. 

Once the game started, fans were treated to four full quarters. The Wildcats got off to a 14 point lead on back to back drives that ended on one yard touchdown runs in the first quarter.

With just over 4 minutes left in the first quarter, the Devils' Kyle Williams scored on an 18 yard pass reception making the score 14-7.

After first quarter, the Wildcats had 111 total offense to the Sun Devils' 91.  The Wildcats' QB Tate was 6-6-0 for 62 yards to Wilkins' 4-3-0 65 yards.

The second quarter started with the Devils sacking Tate for a loss. However, the next play he scrambled for 17 yards and the first down. With 9:36 left in the half, Arizona kicked a 24 yard field goal, extending the lead to 17-7 over the hosting Devils.

On the following drive, the Devils scampered down the field and finished on the Devils' Kalan Ballage flight over the line for a one yard touchdown, making the score 17-14.

Just before the end of the half, the Wildcats' JJ Taylor sprinted 15 yards up the middle for a touchdown, extending the lead 24-14.

The Wildcats had 251 yards on 40 plays to Devils' 167 yards on 30 plays in the first half. The Devils' QB Wilkins was sacked three times to Tate's one.

After the Devils block a punt early in the third quarter, Richard scored on a pounding one yard run. The Wildcats lead was cut to 24-21.

Demario Richard (Sr) became the fifth Sun Devil to reach 3,000 yards on the ground at ASU. He finished the night with 165 yards rushing and two touchdowns.

With Tate injured on the last plays of the second quarter, the backup QB Dawkins threw an interception his first series, allowing Devils to drive inside the 20 yard line. A spectacular catch in the corner of end zone by NKeal Harry gave the Devils their first lead of the game 28-24.

Before the third quarter was over, Richard scored his second touchdown on a 6 yard run, giving a lead 35-24 over the Wildcats.

Not a seat was empty as the fourth quarter got underway. Backup QB for the Wildcats' Dawkins made up for his interception when he scrambled 50 yards for a TD, cutting the Devils' lead and quieting the student sections until the extra point attempt in which the fans in the south end zone helped out the defense with extra noise causing the two conversion to fail.

With less than five minutes left, the Devils receiver Harry showed his toe tapping skills once more in the corner of the end zone with a catch that put the Devils up 42-30, the final score.

After the game, Coach Todd Graham spoke highly of the seniors, the staff, and would not take any question on the future of his position as the head coach of the Devils. Sunday morning Coach was released.

The Wildcats end their season with a 7-5, 5-4 Pac12 record. They will be heading to the Las Vegas Holiday Bowl.
The Devils, 7-5, 6-3 finished the season 2nd in the Pac12 South, have an invitation to the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas on Dec 29, 2017.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Devils Leash the Huskies in Hall of Fame Game Upset 13-7

Mike Stockman
Phoenix Area Sports

TEMPE, AZ (October 14, 2017) The Arizona State University Sun Devils' defense put a leash on the #5 Washington Huskies at Sun Devil Stadium on Saturday, October 14, in the Hall of Fame Game, upsetting the Pac-12 rival by  a score of 13-7.

ASU's defense sacked Huskies Browning six times.
The Devils welcomed eight new members into the Sun Devils Athletics Hall of Fame during Saturday's game. Alejandro Canizares (Men's Golf), Amy Hastings-Cragg (Track and Field/Cross Country), Emily Westerberg (Women's Basketball), Aaron Aguayo (Track and Field/Cross Country), Andrew Walter (Football), Jim Newman (Men's Basketball, posthumously), Ron Davini (Baseball), and Adria Engel (Women's Tennis) were honored at halftime.

Having the Hall of Famers honored before and during the game must have inspired the Devils whose offense scored first on a one yard touchdown run by Kalen Ballage. The offense produced six first downs, 82 total yards offense in the first quarter to the Huskies' 17 yards.

Brandon Ruiz connected on a career long 52 yard field goal and a 25 yard field goal making the score 13-0 mid-way through the second quarter.

By halftime, the Devils offense had 163 total yards, with Manny Wilkins completing 17-22 passes for 125 yards.  The defense played at a level not seen for quite some time, sacking Jake Browning three times, and holding the #5 Huskies to 42 total yards offense. The Devils led 13-0.

Huskies' QB needed more than his sideline's help.
In the third quarter, the Devils intensity continued as the defense kept the Huskies scoreless, adding another sack and shutting out the Huskies high powered offense for the third straight quarter.

It was not a good night for the Huskies' kicker who missed two field goals in the fourth quarter. The Devils defense added two more sacks.

With less than six minutes left in the game, the Huskies' QB Browning finally gets them on the board when he scored on a one yard sneak.

With 2 minutes left, the Devils had the ball and went for the win on a fourth down gamble pass which put the Devils on the Huskies' seven yard line where they ran out the clock for the upset.

In the post game press conference, Coach Todd Graham said "This was the best overall performance from every aspect of our team. I'm proud of our coaches and our players." He also mentioned his pleasure in seeing the fans rush the field after the victory. "That was awesome, that was the best atmosphere tonight since I've been here." He very confidently stated "We whooped them - we outplayed them.". He finished with "That was old school defense tonight".

The Huskies (6-1, 3-1 Pac-12) have a bye week before hosting Pac-12 rival UCLA on October 28.

The Devils (3-3, 2-1 Pac-12) travel to Salt Lake City, Utah on Oct 21 to play the Utah Utes. Game time is TBD.

Monday, September 11, 2017

San Diego State Aztecs Stun the Devils on Frank Kush Day

Mike Stockman
Phoenix Area Sports

ASU Coach Frank Kush (HC '58-'79)
TEMPE, ARIZONA (September 9, 2017) On Saturday evening, the Arizona State University Sun Devils honored former Coach Frank Kush (head coach '58-'79, .764, 176-54-1). It was not an honorable showing on the field when the San Diego State University Aztecs stunned and controlled the Devils in an embarrassing 30-20 defeat on September 9, at Sun Devil Stadium.

Coming into the game, the Devils led the series 10-0-1. This was another tough game for the Devils who have problems against rushing teams. This week the Aztecs were able to produce 281 yards rushing, averaging 6.7 yards per carry.

In the first quarter, the Devils defense got two sacks to end the first drive of the Aztecs and force a punt. The Devils were unable to move the ball but were able to pin the Aztecs inside their one yard line on a perfectly placed punt by Michael Sleep-Dalton (redshirt-sophomore).

Fans were treated with halftime show honoring Frank Kush
On third down from the five yard line, Aztecs' running back Rashaad Penny sprinted 95 yards up the middle for a touchdown, giving the Aztecs an early lead and quieting the crowd. This was the third longest rush in Aztec school history. The Aztecs led 7-0.

On the last play of the first quarter, the Devils' Kalen Ballage scored on a one yard TD run, his third TD of the season. The score was tied 7-7.

On the first play of the second quarter, the Devils kick off to Penny who flew past Devils for a 99 yard kickoff return touchdown. This was Penny's sixth career kickoff return for touchdown, a school record and his second TD of the game, now 14-7.

The Aztecs were able to hold off the Devils and in the middle of the second quarter were able to add a 30 yard field goal to increase the score to 17-7 over the Devils.

With less than five minutes in the half, the Devils drove down field and scored on a five yard touchdown pass from Manny Wilkins to N'Keal Harry, making the score 17-14.

After holding the Devils deep in their territory, the Aztecs got the ball back and scored another field goal with :11 left in the half, 20-14.

Aztecs' Rashaad Penny scored 3 touchdowns in 30-20 win.
By half time, the Aztecs compiled 198 yards rushing, but only 28 yards passing due to the Devils' defense producing three sacks.

In the third quarter,  the Aztecs increase the lead when Penny added to his touchdown count by receiving a 22 yard touchdown pass making the score 27-14.

At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Aztecs extend the lead with a 32 yard field goal by John Baron, 30-14.

With 8:34 left in the game, the Devils were faced with a third down and 37.  Wilkins scrambled and chased out of pocket but was able to hit Frank Darby on a deep throw for a 53 yard touchdown, the biggest play of the night for the struggling Devil offense. The extra point attempt was missed making the final score 30-20.

After the game, Coach Todd Graham, with his head low, stated "this was not how we wanted to honor Frank Kush".

The Aztecs will host the Stanford Cardinal on September 16, at 7:30 p.m. The game will be broadcasted on CBSSN.

The Devils travel to Lubbock for their first road game of the season to take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders on September 16, at 5p.m. The game will be broadcasted on FSN.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Ballage Scores Twice in Home Opener Win Over New Mexico State Aggies

Mike Stockman
Phoenix Area Sports

TEMPE, AZ (August 31, 2017) - The Arizona State University Sun Devils had just enough air left in their sails to pull out a victory over the New Mexico State Aggies on Thursday evening, August 31, at Sun Devil Stadium, winning by a score of 37-31.

Fans experience new screen and other renovations.
This was the first time these teams have met since 1999. In that game on September 18, 1999, the Aggies won 35-7. The Devils lead the series against the Aggies 22-7-1.

The Aggies, currently playing in the Sun Belt Conference, stepped on the field Thursday evening looking like an underdog against the Pac-12 South Devils who boasts an Opening Day home record of 77-27-2.

Within the first few minutes of the game, it appeared it could become a blow out.  In the first quarter, Kalen Ballage scored the first touchdown of the season on a seven yard run off the right tackle. Freshman kicker Brandon Ruiz made the extra point.

On the Devils' next possession, Manny Wilkins hits TE Jalen Harvey down the middle for a 53 yd TD pass. Ruiz makes the extra point, making the score 14-0 with over 8 minutes left in the first quarter.

At that point, the Aggies buckled down and began to hold back the onslaught. In the second quarter, the Aggies' QB Tyler Rogers found Jaleel Scott for a 15 yard touchdown. The extra point was blocked. Rogers finished the night 40-57-2 for 398 yards, and three TDs.

Just before the end of the first half, Tyler Rogers scored on a 1 yard run, silencing Sun Devil Stadium and making the score 14-13.

In the third quarter, the Devils got to experience the strength of their new kicker's leg when he cleared the uprights on a 52 yard field goal. The scor
e didn't stay still for long. Within a minute, the Devils got the ball back and Wilkins connected with John Humphrey on a 60 yard TD reception.

Going into the fourth quarter, it appeared the Devils would walk away with the scoring when Ballage scored his second TD of the game on a 20 yard run, followed by the defense getting their first score of the season when Kobe Williams intercepted Rogers and ran it back 50 yards for a pick six. The score was now 37-13.

Kalen Ballage scores 2 TDs
That would not discourage the Aggies who were putting up better numbers on both sides of the ball minus the two turn-overs.

With less than 9 minutes left, the Aggies' HB Jason Huntley shoots up the middle faster than a speeding bullet for a 50 yard touchdown run.

With just over 5 minutes left, Rogers hits Huntley for a 23 yard TD pass, making the score 37-25.

At this point, it appeared the Devils could barely keep up and seemed out of breath, not producing much giving the ball back to the Aggies who scored on the final play of the game on a jump ball TD for 29 yards from Rogers to Scott - his second of the game. The score - 37-31.

The Aggies will be at New Mexico for their next game on September 9. Game time is 6 p.m.

The Devils host San Diego State on September 9 at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, AZ. Game time is 8 p.m. and will be broadcasted on Pac-12 Network.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Devils Fall to Bruins in Weekend Series

Mike Stockman
Phoenix Area Sports

PHOENIX, AZ (March 31, 2017) The Arizona State Sun Devils lost a Pac-12 conference weekend series against the UCLA Bruins, March 31 thru April 2 at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.

Bruins hit 6 doubles in 17-4 win over the Devils
Going into this weekend, the Bruins were 72-117 against the Devils.

In game one on Friday night, the Bruins had a 4-3 lead going into the top of the ninth inning. They extended the lead with five runs in the top of the ninth to win 9-3 over the stunned Sun Devils.

On Saturday night, the Devils took game two in front of 2613 fans after scoring three in the bottom of the seventh inning. The final score was 5-4.

Devils unable to outrun the Bruins defense
Game three was a hit fest for the Bruins who had a total of 17 hits, six were doubles, and one home run by freshman Jeremy Ydens, the first of his UCLA career.

For the Devils, Andrew Shaps hit a home run over right center field fence in the bottom of the first.

After five innings, the Bruins led by a score of 14-1.

In the bottom of the sxth, senior Zach Cerbo hit a home run over right field fence making the score 14-2.

Senior Zach Cerbo hits home run in loss to Bruins
Bruins add three more runs in the top of the ninth while the Devils add two in the bottom of the ninth for a final score of 17-4.

The Bruins head to San Diego State for a one game match up on Tuesday evening at 6 p.m.

The Devils travel to Tuscon on Tuesday to take on the Arizona Wildcats for the first match-up of the season. Game time is 7 p.m.