A series win against a top team is exactly what ASU baseball needed.
A struggling Sun Devil team limped into Corvallis, Ore., to a date with the No. 4 Oregon State Beavers and clinched a series win with a 7-3 victory Sunday afternoon.
It was the first time the Sun Devils (12-10, 3-3 Pac-12) won a series in Corvallis against the Beavers (19-5, 4-2 Pac-12) since 2007.
ASU sophomore third baseman Dalton DiNatale has developed a flair for the dramatic. After tying the game with two outs in the ninth inning Saturday, he drove in what prove to be the game-winner Sunday.
Freshman catcher Brian Serven led off the top of the eighth with a double, then advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by junior second baseman Drew Stankiewicz. Then DiNatale came to the plate, and knocked in the Sun Devils’ fourth run of the game on a ground ball, his third RBI of the game.
Armed with a 4-3 lead, ASU coach Tim Esmay wasn’t going to wait around to use his biggest gun. He called on sophomore right-hander Ryan Burr in the eighth inning to defend a one-run lead against the heart of Oregon State’s order.
He allowed a single to junior outfielder Michael Conforto, who was then erased on a caught stealing. He also had a strikeout and a fly out to give his team a chance for some insurance runs.
ASU did just that. The top of the ninth eliminated any drama the bottom half of the inning may have had in store. ASU plated three more to give Burr even more breathing room.
Burr pitched an easy ninth for his fifth save of the season.
For the second-straight game, it looked like Oregon State left its starter in just an inning too long. Junior lefty Jace Fry had completed seven innings and allowed three runs, but the Beavers sent him out for the eighth.
It bore a strong resemblance to Saturday, when sophomore righty Andrew Moore was unable to polish off a complete game. Moore surrendered the tying run in the ninth, and ASU went on to win in the 10th.
ASU junior right-hander Darin Gillies appears to have settled into the role of Sunday starter. He completed five shutout innings, and was charged with two in the bottom of the sixth after he allowed the first two batters of the inning to reach base. He also walked three and gave up four hits.
Before Oregon State scored in the bottom of the sixth, Gillies went 11 innings without allowing a run.
It was the first series loss of the season for the Beavers, and the first time they had lost back-to-back games since Feb. 21 and 22.
ASU’s next game is Wednesday in the first Territorial Cup Series game for baseball. The Sun Devils host UA at 3 p.m. at Packard Stadium in Tempe.
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