New Mexico takes on Arizona State Friday at 6 p.m. MDT in the 2011 NCAA baseball tournament, and Arizona State's House of Sparky SB Nation site was kind enough to answer a few questions about the Friday's matchup.
1. Who are the playmakers for this Arizona State team?
ASU has an interesting identity. Joey DeMichele has been tearing the cover off the ball in recent weeks, and over the season he's hit seven home runs with 39 RBI. Most impressive is his .371 batting average. Riccio Torrez has been playing well at third base, delivering a team-high 46 RBI in 2011. That's the thing about the Sun Devils -- they come at you from a lot of different directions and it's hard to stop them.2. Does Arizona State have the tendency to look past lesser opponents?
I don't think so. The Sun Devils are a good team, but they're not great. No truly "lights out" pitcher (though Brady Rodgers and Kramer Champlin are close). They are well-coached and prepared to take on the opposition. Maybe if they knew all season they'd be in the postseason, they might have won a few more games, but no one can truly argue that.
3. Does ASU have any extra motivation for not being named one of the eight national seeds?
Again, I don't think so. They know how good they are, and dealing with adversity in 2011 has brought the team together. If they make it to a Super Regional, it could be a good thing for them to hit the road and play an adversarial role. Judging by their performance this season, they could have been a national seed if they hadn't been swept by Oregon State on the road. That's just the way the cookie crumbled.
4. With the Lobos having the worst record of any team in the tournament are the Sun Devils going to set their rotation to have a stronger pitcher when they face either Arkansas or Charlotte, assuming they get past New Mexico?
I hope they come out with Brady Rodgers, because he's been the best pitcher on the staff all year long. Why not put your best team forward in the first game? In my opinion, Rodgers and Champlin are interchangeable as far as being called the "ace" of the staff, so either will be acceptable for me against the Lobos.
5. What would it take for New Mexico to get past Arizona State in game one?
From the looks of New Mexico's record, some luck. ASU fans are very supportive and the team is quite motivated to play for injured teammate Cory Hahn, who suffered a horrific neck injury early in the season. The Devils do quite well at Packard Stadium, going 25-7 during the 2011 regular season.
The Lobos have already played the Sun Devils three times this season in both squad's season openers. ASU won all three games by a combined total of 23-8. The pitching will have to be greatly improved for the Lobos to have a chance on Friday.
There you have it, a look at Arizona State Sun Devil baseball team. Thanks again to Cory at House of Sparky