Arizona State’s baseball season ended sooner than anyone hoped or expected.
Following a 34-23 season that placed the Devils as the second seed in the NCAA San Luis Obispo Regional, ASU lost consecutive games to Pepperdine and Sacramento State, eliminating them from the postseason.
And while they may not have been a favorite to win the College World Series, the early exit was not at all satisfying.
“We would have liked a much better outcome and overall performance down there,” ASU athletic director Ray Anderson told Bickley and Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Wednesday. “We were all disappointed when we left, I can tell you that absolutely.”
On its own, the season would not necessarily be looked at as a disaster. The Devils posted the third-best record in the Pac-12 and had some big victories in their final season at Packard Stadium. But the squad never quite took off and then fell flat in the postseason, which has led to questions about coach Tim Esmay’s job security.
“Very frankly we are evaluating the position,” Anderson said. “It’s no secret to anyone that the expectations here are to win consistently, compete at a championship level, and the expectations for Arizona State are really high.”
The evaluation is currently ongoing, and Anderson said a determination about the way forward will be made in the next few days.
It’s possible that will lead to the dismissal of Esmay, who took over for Pat Murphy in 2010 and has guided ASU to a 201-94-1 record along with four postseason berths. But since reaching the World Series in ’10 and then the Super Regional in ’11, the Devils have failed to get out of the postseason’s first weekend.
But simply being good is not good enough for ASU. Though the school hasn’t reached a World Series since 2010 and last won a national championship in 1981, it is still looked at as a top-flight program. Anderson would like it to stay that way, while adding the success that comes with the reputation.
“The fact remains is that when you think and talk about college baseball Arizona State is going to instantly come to mind as a top four or five program in the country no matter how long it’s been since we won a championship, and that’s just the way expectations are appropriately set,” he said. “I mean, there’s no better place for college baseball than right here in Tempe, Arizona, so it’s a program that should be, very frankly, doing a lot better and winning more consistently.
“And that’s where we need to go.”