ASU baseball coach Willie Bloomquist used portal to improve pitching

Oct 17, 2022, 9:03 AM
Arizona State Head Coach Willie Bloomquist gives the signals from the dugout during a baseball game...
Arizona State Head Coach Willie Bloomquist gives the signals from the dugout during a baseball game between the Arizona State Sun Devils and the Grand Canyon Lopes on May 10, 2022, at GCU Ballpark, AZ. (Photo by Zac BonDurant/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by Zac BonDurant/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Finishing with a 26-32 overall record and going 13-17 against the Pac-12, the Arizona State baseball team knew there was plenty of room to improve in 2022.

In the quest to upgrade the roster quickly, ASU has over 30 newcomers and Baseball America’s No. 2 transfer portal class.

Second-year head coach Willie Bloomquist realized the portal was the best avenue to fill the holes.

“It was something we knew we were going to have to do,” Bloomquist said Thursday. “We had to get better … The staff did a tremendous job researching and staying on top of the portal.”

One position group heavily addressed through the portal was the pitching staff.

Last season, the Sun Devils ranked last in the Pac-12 with a 6.76 ERA, walked the second-most batters and surrendered the third-most homers.

“Last year was ugly,” Bloomquist said. “On the mound, we had to get better.

“It’s tough to expect freshmen to come in and fill that void right away. So we knew we were going to have to be active in the portal and hopefully bring in some experienced arms.”

Among the transfer pitchers are southpaws Ross Dunn (Florida State) and Timmy Manning (Florida), as well as right-hander Owen Stevenson (San Francisco).

The lefties combined for 103 strikeouts in 70.2 innings pitched, while Stevenson pitches to contact and had a 3.10 ERA in 20.1 innings in the Cape Cod Baseball League this past summer.

Dunn has made a strong first impression with his teammates in Tempe. Sophomore infielder Jacob Tobias called the 6-foot-3, 225-pound pitcher a “scary sight to see.”

“Ross Dunn is a dude on the mound,” Tobias said. “We have a lot of new guys like that to where, before you even see them pitch, you see them on the mound and you kind of get a little intimidated.

“I think that’s a great thing for us to have this year.”

The 2023 schedule hasn’t been released yet for ASU baseball. However, the Sun Devils are confident this season will be an improvement on a season ago –– especially on the mound.

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ASU baseball coach Willie Bloomquist used portal to improve pitching