TEMPE, Ariz. – Sophomore right-hander Eric Melbostad retired the final 12 batters of the game and freshman infielder David Greer tallied a pair of RBI in his first career game to lead the 18th-ranked Arizona State University baseball team to a 7-4 win over Baylor on Saturday afternoon in front of 2,470 fans at Packard Stadium.
Melbostad (1-0) conceded a leadoff single in the top of the sixth and did not allow another base runner in a career-high four innings to earn his first career win. He also struck out a pair after not recording a strikeout in 7 1/3 innings in 2013.
Greer, who made his first career start at second base, knocked in the game winning run with an RBI groundout in the bottom of the sixth and also tallied an RBI sacrifice bunt in the eighth. Junior third baseman Joey Bielek and senior center fielder Kyle Bilbrey also made their first career starts and each notched a pair of hits to lead the Sun Devils (1-0).
Freshman catcher Brian Serven put the Devils on top first, 1-0, with an RBI single down the left-field line in his first career at-bat in the bottom of the second.
Sophomore first baseman David Graybill extended the Devils’ lead, 3-0, in the bottom of the third with a two-run double to left field that scored junior outfielder Trever Allen and Greer. Allen was hit by a pitch to lead off the frame, Greer followed with a single, his first career hit, and both runners advanced on a wild pitch before Graybill’s first extra-base hit of the season.
The Bears (0-1) cut the deficit to one, 3-2, in the top of the fourth with a leadoff home run by left fielder Darryn Sheppard and an RBI double by first baseman Aaron Dodson three batters later.
ASU countered in the bottom of the frame as sophomore shortstop Jordan Aboites and Bilbrey tallied back-to-back singles, and Aboites advanced to third on a fly ball to center field to set up a run-scoring double steal. Bilbrey took off from first and avoided the pickoff attempt, and Aboites swiped home to extend the Devils’ lead, 4-2.
Bears center fielder Logan Brown hit a solo home run, Baylor’s second of the game, in the top of the fifth to again pull within a run, 4-3, and knotted it at four runs apiece in the following frame after the leadoff batter was hit by a pitch, moved to second on a balk and scored on a pair of groundouts.
Greer’s game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the sixth scored Aboites from third, and Greer and junior Nate Causey each recorded RBI in the eighth to jump ahead, 7-4.
Sophomore left-handed starter Ryan Kellogg retired the first six batters he faced, but took a no-decision after allowing three runs on six hits in five innings of work.
Baylor right-hander Sean Spicer (0-1) took the loss after allowing one run on two hits 1 2/3 innings, and starting left-hander Brad Kuntz was chased with one out in the fourth inning after he allowed four runs, including three earned, on five hits and a walk.
The Sun Devils host the series finale against Baylor at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday. Tim Healey (@TimHealeyASU) and Seth Dhaenens (@sethdhaenens) have the call for the MidFirst Bank Sun Devil IMG Sports Network on NBC Sports Radio AM 1060, and the game will also be live streamed via Pac-12.com RIGHT HERE. Former Sun Devil and current Seattle Mariner Willie Bloomquist (1997-99) will throw the ceremonial first pitch.
Sunday’s Pitching Matchup
ASU: LHP Brett Lilek (4.05, 2-1) *2013 stats
BU: RHP Austin Stone (3.74, 3-3)
Notes: Aboites is the first Sun Devil to steal home since Andrew Aplin on April 28, 2012, against Washington State…Kellogg gave up just three home runs in 103 innings in 2013…Aboites notched a pair of hits in his first start of the season.
Tip Your Cap To Packard Celebration
Former head coach Pat Murphy and more than 30 former Sun Devil players and staffers were honored before Saturday’s game. ASU Athletics Director Ray Anderson presented Coach Murphy with a commemorative Tip Your Cap To Packard home plate and coach Murphy’s son, Kai, threw out the first pitch.
College Baseball Hall of Famer and Sun Devil pitching legend Floyd Bannister (1974-76) threw the ceremonial first pitch on Friday.
Season tickets starting at $99, single-game tickets and Mini Packs are on sale now. Admission for ASU students is free with a valid Sun Card. Purchasing season tickets will also give fans first opportunity and priority at selecting seats at Phoenix Municipal Stadium in 2015. Ariz.
Join the conversation all season using the hashtag #OccupyPackard.