TEMPE, Ariz. - The 16th-ranked Arizona State University baseball team opened up its 55th season with a 5-4 victory in 11 innings over Bethune-Cookman Friday night at Packard Stadium.
A dropped third strike in the bottom of the 11th allowed shortstop Drew Stankiewicz to get to first base with one out, and he was moved to second with a walk by third baseman Michael Benjamin. The next better, center fielder Kasey Coffman, roped a single into center field to score Stankiewicz and give the Sun Devils (1-0) a walk-off win in the first game of the year.
Stankiewicz went 3-for-5 on the night with three runs scored and a RBI, and Coffman registered both the game-tying base knock in the ninth and the game-winning hit in the 11th.
Left-hander Matt Dunbar (1-0) threw a scoreless 11th inning to earn the win, while a pair of freshmen pitchers in right-hander Ryan Burr and left-hander Brett Lilek combined to allow one hit over five innings.
ASU trailed 4-3 with two outs and no runners on base in the bottom of the ninth inning, but three consecutive base hits by the Devils, including a run-scoring single by Coffman, pushed the game into extra innings.
Starting right-hander Trevor Williams struck out four in five innings and allowed three runs, including two earned, on four hits.
Stankiewicz hit his first career home run off the right-field fence in the bottom of the third inning to score the game's first run and give ASU the lead, 1-0.
The Wildcats (0-1) countered with a pair of runs in the top of the fourth frame to take a 2-1 advantage. A leadoff walk, followed by an error on second baseman James McDonald, set up consecutive RBI singles before Williams closed out the inning.
Bethune-Cookman tacked on a run in the fifth with a sacrifice fly to right field that scored center fielder Brandon Turner, who reached third on a single, stolen base and a balk.
A pair of RBI by McDonald and catcher Max Rossiter tied the game at three runs apiece in the bottom of the sixth. Coffman began the inning with a single and a stolen base, and a walk by right fielder Trever Allen put two Devils on base with no outs. McDonald brought Coffman home two batters later with a double to deep center field before Allen crossed the plate on a sacrifice fly by Rossiter.
Burr, who took the mound to start the sixth inning, allowed just one base runner over two innings and struck out three, including the final two batters in the seventh.
Lilek pitched the eighth, ninth and 10th innings and allowed just one run on one hit and a walk while striking out a pair. His wild pitch in the top of the ninth frame gave the Wildcats the go-ahead run.
The Sun Devils face Bethune-Cookman again at 1 p.m. (MT) on Saturday at Packard Stadium. The game will be broadcast live online by Blaze Radio at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/blaze-sports-2 .
Saturday's projected pitching matchup:
ASU - LHP Adam McCreery (0-0, 0.0 ERA)
BCU - LHP Ali Simpson (0-0, 0.0 ERA)
Game Notes: The Sun Devils improved to 43-11-1 all-time in season openers, including a perfect 4-0 under coach Tim Esmay...Esmay is just the second coach in school history to start his career with four consecutive season-opening wins...ASU has not lost a season opener since 2006...attendance was 2,019...seven former Sun Devils were in attendance, including Erik Averill and Brett Bordes, and current minor leaguers Jake Barrett, Robert Ravago, Brady Rodgers, Abe Ruiz and Riccio Torrez...the Sun Devils stole three bases (Coffman - 6th, 7th; Stankiewicz - 5th).
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