Isaiah Jackson’s explosive start to ASU baseball season a tribute to self-belief

Former Cienega High School standout Isaiah Jackson continues to make waves at the plate for Arizona State to start his sophomore season. (Photo by Zac BonDurant/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

PHOENIX – Arizona State outfielder Isaiah Jackson is laser-focused early into the baseball season, and his teammates are feeding off his energy.

The Sun Devils are off to a 3-1 start, and much of that is thanks to Jackson’s production. He has started the new season off strong, posting 13 RBIs, three home runs, and two doubles while batting .421 through the first four games. This is the hot start he has been working toward since the end of last season, hoping more MLB teams will notice his talent.

A key difference through four games for the sophomore slugger can be viewed through his maturity. Last season, Jackson would go into slumps after tough strikeouts. However, this season, he has fought through early struggles.

He went 0-4 Sunday against Santa Clara, and it didn’t phase him. He followed up in the next game against No. 24 Kansas State with a home run and three RBIs, which helped the Sun Devils win the game 9-6.

Jackson will look to continue his fast start as ASU plays Ohio State in a four-game home series starting Thursday at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
“Last year, I didn’t do too well staying mentally locked in games. I took myself out after a rough (at-bat),” Jackson said. “I realized that is not how you’re supposed to play the game, and it helped me develop as a player.”

Jackson spent four years at Cienega High School in Tucson, where he began to showcase his game-changing ability while playing all four seasons at the varsity level.

“Isaiah has had the tools since day one,” said Kelly Johnson, his Cienega coach. “Isaiah was an impact player as a freshman.”

Jackson ended his senior season with a .506 batting average, which drew the attention of MLB scouts, one of whom represented the Houston Astros.

Isaiah Jackson is a key contributor to Arizona State's 3-1 start to the season, posting 13 RBIs, three home runs and a .421 batting average. (Photo courtesy of Sun Devil Athletics)

Isaiah Jackson is a key contributor to Arizona State’s 3-1 start to the season, posting 13 RBIs, three home runs and a .421 batting average. (Photo courtesy of Sun Devil Athletics)

The Astros picked Jackson with their 553rd pick in the 2022 MLB draft, a baseball player’s dream. However, Jackson didn’t want to spend years in the minor league system. Instead, he decided to go to college to boost his draft stock further and improve as a player. ASU recruited him heavily out of high school, and that is where he decided to take his talents.

The ASU outfielder improved over his first season with the more reps he got, finishing the season with eight home runs and 28 RBIs. He bets on himself and has no regrets about charting his own path.

“It’s the best decision I’ve ever made in my life coming here,” Jackson said. “It’s been the best experience of my life so far.”

Further solidifying Jackson’s decision is the opportunity to learn under coach Willie Bloomquist, who played in the MLB for 14 years and thinks Jackson made the right choice coming to ASU.

“He’s gonna leave Arizona State with his degree, the college experience,” Bloomquist said. “He’s going to be more mentally and physically mature.”

Mason Byers(he/him)
Sports Reporter, Phoenix

Mason Byers expects to graduate in December 2024 with a bachelor’s degree in sports journalism. Byers has contirbuted to the East Valley Tribune.