SURPRISE, Ariz. – Starting right-handed pitcher Darin Gillies put together a career-long outing and three Sun Devils collected a pair of RBI as the 29th-ranked Arizona State University baseball team defeated Santa Clara, 9-6, on Thursday in the first day of the Sanderson Ford College Baseball Classic at Surprise Stadium in Surprise, Ariz.
Gillies (1-1) struck out a season-high six over a career-long six innings to earn his first win of the season. He gave up three runs in the first frame, but held the Broncos scoreless over the following five innings to help the Devils stake a six-run lead.
Shortstop Drew Stankiewicz paced the offense with a team-high three hits, two RBI and two runs scored, and catcher RJ Ybarra and second baseman Tucker Esmay each added a pair of RBI.
The Broncos (5-5) used four singles in the top of the first inning to score three runs and jump out to an early advantage, 3-0.
The Devils (4-4) responded with three runs in the bottom of the second inning to tie the game, 3-3. Designated hitter Nate Causey began the frame with a double off the right-field wall and a fielding error on a grounder from left fielder Jake Peevyhouse put runners on first and second for Esmay, who drove both of them home with a two-run triple. Esmay scored in the next at-bat on an RBI groundout by center fielder Johnny Sewald.
Ybarra knocked a two-run single to right field in the bottom of the fifth to score Sewald and Stankiewicz, who secured consecutive singles to lead off the frame, and give ASU its first lead of the game, 5-3.
The Devils pushed their advantage to six, 9-3, in the sixth inning behind a bases-clearing single by Stankiewicz and a sacrifice fly by right fielder Trever Allen. A single, a walk and a hit-by-pitch loaded the bases before Stankiewicz’s single to the outfield was misplayed by the Broncos to allow all three runners to score.
SCU added two runs in the top of the eighth and one in the ninth to cut its deficit, 9-6, but ASU right-hander Eder Erives struck out the final batter of the game to close out the win.
Devils right-hander Eric Melbostad took over in the seventh and eighth innings and allowed two runs, including one earned, on a pair of hits and struck out two. Erives conceded one run on one hit in the ninth.
Broncos starting right-hander D.J. Zapata (1-2) took the loss after he surrendered seven runs, including five earned, on nine hits.
The Sun Devils continue their four-game set in Surprise, Ariz., at the Sanderson Ford College Baseball Classic at Surprise Stadium, spring training home of the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers. ASU takes Gonzaga on Feb. 28, Oklahoma on March 1 and Oklahoma State on March 2, and each game will begin approximately at 4:30 pm, or 40 minutes after the conclusion of the preceding spring training game.
Coach Esmay moved to 76-20-1 in non-conference games at ASU…Ybarra is 9-for-19 in his past five games.
Tip Your Cap To Packard Celebration
17 Days of Greatness – Center fielder Mike Kelly (1989-91) will become the 17th Sun Devil to have his number honored on the outfield fence in a ceremony on March 8. From Feb. 20 through March 7, we’re taking a look back at the 16 Sun Devil greats whose numbers have already been recognized.
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