After riding a 32-20 (16-14 Pac-12) record into the app's 41st NCAA Tournament appearance, the Sun Devils would be the No. 2 seed from the No. 2 total Texas regional and will play Fairfield (37-3) in their first game on Friday in 4 pm at Austin, Texas, on ESPN3. ASU is currently 10-9 in road games this season.
If the Sun Devils stay in their current rotation sequence, sophomore righty Tyler Thornton would pitch in the first game of the regional round and junior lefty Justin Fall, who has been ASU most consistent pitcher this season, would throw in the second match.
ASU lost its top three pitchers to season-ending knee injuries at the first three weeks of this year, which makes for a much harder path to the postseason. The Sun Devils also fielded one of the youngest lineups in Division I this season with approximately 65 percent of their total at-bats coming from first- or second-year freshmen.
Regardless of the challenges on the mound and the lack of experience within the field and at the plate, the Sun Devils managed to win four of their past five Pac-12 series and reached as high as a No. 21 ranking and No. 32 positioning in D1Baseball's RPI. Their late-season success made evident they'd solidly be included in the Field of 64 despite being spanned by UCLA in their regular-season-ending three-game place in Phoenix.
Dating back to 1959 when baseball became a varsity sport at ASU, the program has missed the NCAA Tournament just 16 times. Notably, only three of those chords happened after the NCAA expanded its baseball championship to a 64-team area and adopted the regional arrangement in 1999. Two of those three happened under Smith.
Since 1999, ASU has attained the super regional round seven times, including five under former ASU head coach Pat Murphy. Smith is the only ASU coach from the regional format era to never advance to the next round in that span.
To progress to the next round, ASU will have to succeed three or more matches, and as many as four if it suffers a reduction in either of its launching two contests.