For the Utah Valley Baseball team, the time for a turnaround is now. After a three game series against the Southern Utah Thunderbirds, the Wolverines head south to take on the No. 10 Arizona State Sun Devils.
Utah Valley has struggled to begin the season, going 2-8 and currently having lost seven out of the last eight games. The Wolverine bats have been stifled thus far, batting a combined .254 and only a .335 on base percentage. In order to muster any offense against the Sun Devils, the slumping Jake Rickenbach and Austin “Bubba” Heaps must find ways to begin producing runs to kick-start the lineup.
Countering the ice-cold Wolverine sluggers is the smoldering pitching staff of ASU. The Sun Devils have begun the year fifth in the nation in ERA at a ridiculous 1.57. Anchoring the staff is 6-2 right-hander Brady Rodgers, who has yet to allow an earned run in 22 innings. Alongside Rodgers, Trevor Williams and Alex Blackford round out the Arizona State rotation that allowed a mere nine runs in 64 innings.
On the offensive side of the field, the Sun Devils haven’t been much worse. In fact, ASU is second in the NCAA in batting average and has 47 extra base hits on the season, including 10 home runs. The Sun Devils have scored 100 runs and boast the Division I second-leading hitter, Joey DeMichele. The junior second basemen has hit an otherworldly .524 and reaches base nearly 60 percent of the time. First basemen Abe Ruiz hits cleanup and also began the season on a tear, hitting .425 and clubbing three home runs. Opposing the red-hot ASU hitters is the Wolverine pitching staff, who have disappointed thus far in the season. Reigning Great West Conference Pitcher of the Year Jeremy has been keyed by opposing teams and has started slow, sporting an 0-3 record and a 7.04 ERA. Opposing hitters have hit .369 off him, and he has allowed 8 walks to only 7 strikeouts in 15.1 innings pitched.
The lone bright spot in the rotation has been transfer right-hander Adam Gunn. Gunn has led the Wolverines in innings pitched, strikeouts and leads starters with a 2.08 ERA. Out of the bullpen, Preston Olson has impressed and has yet to allow an earned run in 9 innings pitched.
After the series with the No. 10 Sun Devils, the Wolverines will head to Moraga, California to take on the 8-5 Saint Mary’s College Gaels in a three-game set.