TEMPE, Ariz. – The 18th-ranked Arizona State University baseball team used a nine-run sixth inning and a strong outing from its pitching staff to win its series finale against Baylor, 12-1, on Sunday afternoon in front of 2,640 fans at Packard Stadium.
The Sun Devils (2-1) sent 14 batters to the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning as they collected nine runs on nine hits to break open a tie game and take a commanding 10-1 lead. Seven different players recorded a hit in the frame, including a two-run double by freshman catcher Brian Serven and a pair of singles by sophomore outfielder Chris Beall, who collected his first two career RBI in consecutive at-bats in the inning.
Serven went 2-for-2 with two RBI and three runs scored, and junior infielder Tucker Esmay added three hits and a pair of RBI to pace ASU’s offense.
Sophomore starting left-hander Brett Lilek struck out a career-high seven batters, including five of the first seven he faced, and scattered just two hits across four scoreless innings. Senior right-hander Zak Miller (1-0) pitched the fifth and sixth frames, and earned the win after allowing one run on three hits.
Freshman right-hander Eder Erives made his first career appearance in the seventh inning and struck out two of the four batters he faced in the frame. Junior right-hander Cory Bernard took the mound in the eighth and punctuated a perfect inning with a strikeout, and freshman right-hander Hever Bueno closed out the ninth.
The Sun Devils took a 1-0 advantage in the bottom of the second inning after a grounder by Beall was misplayed by the Bears’ second baseman to allow Serven to score from second.
Baylor (1-2) second baseman Lawton Langford singled to lead off the top of the sixth inning, stole second base and scored on a single to left field first baseman Duncan Wendel to knot the game, 1-1.
Serven led off the sixth inning with a base hit and after a fielding error by Baylor on a grounder by sophomore outfielder Cullen O’Dwyer, the Devils rattled off hits in five of their next six at-bats, including an RBI triple by center fielder Johnny Sewald, and RBI singles by sophomore infielder Dalton DiNatale and Esmay.
Pinch hitters Cooper Esmay and Zach Cerbo notched an RBI double and an RBI triple, respectfully, in their first career plate appearances in the eighth inning to make it 12-1 in favor the Devils.
Baylor right-hander Drew Tolson (0-1) allowed four runs, including three earned, on three hits in 2/3 innings to take the loss, while starting right-hander Austin Stone surrendered one unearned on two hits in 4 1/3 innings.
The Devils play four games next week, including a midweek tilt against New Mexico Feb. 18 at 6:30 pm at Packard Stadium, and three games in Southern California. The Devils face Long Beach State in Long Beach, Calif., on Feb. 21 at 6 pm PT before taking on UC Irvine in Irvine, Calif., Feb. 22 at 1 pm PT and Wright State in Long Beach Feb. 23 at 1 pm PT. Tuesday’s game against the Lobos will be live streamed via Pac-12.com RIGHT HERE, and Jeff Munn and Seth Dhaenens will have the call for the MidFirst Bank Sun Devil Sports IMG Network on NBC Sports Radio AM 1060.
First career starts for Beall and O’Dwyer…coach Esmay moved to 74-17-1 in non-conference games and 106-28 all-time at Packard Stadium…the Devils moved to 8-5 all-time against Baylor…redshirt freshman infielder Emilio Torrez made his first career appearance, taking over second base in the seventh inning…freshman shortstop Colby Woodmansee made his first career appearance in the seventh inning…no Sun Devils started all three games over the weekend...T. Esmay and Trever Allen each had a team-high four RBI in the series…Serven, T. Esmay and DiNatale led the team with three RBI in the series.
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, and 1999 Pac-10 Player of the Year and current Seattle Mariner Willie Bloomquist (1997-99) threw the ceremonial first pitch on Sunday.
Scott and Helen Spencer, and Jeff Novick, Sun Devil Baseball’s Legacy Supporters from 2000-09, were honored on the field prior to the game.
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