This one will sting for the Sun Devils.
After jumping out to an early lead at Stanford, ASU baseball (20-15, 9-7) did exactly what coach Tim Esmay said they could not do: they let them let them back in.
The second consecutive walk-off hit in as many days by the left-handed hitting senior first baseman Danny Diekroger gave the Cardinal (14-16, 5-8) a 4-3 win over the Sun Devils.
ASU got on the board quickly — normally a very good sign — going up 2-0 on junior first baseman Nate Causey’s second home run of the year in the top of the first inning.
Sophomore centerfielder Johnny Sewald was a bright spot in the loss, going 3-for-4 with three singles and a run scored, and ran down several fly balls near the warning track in the deepest part of Klein Field.
The Sun Devils would add a run off of a single by junior second baseman Drew Stankiewicz who picked up his 12th RBI of the year scoring fellow middle infielder and freshman shortstop Colby Woodmansee in the top of the fourth.
But from then on, the Sun Devils could not muster another against the Cardinal bullpen, getting in some extended work after freshman starter Brett Hanewich lasted just 3 2/3 innings.
Stanford only used three pitchers in the win, trying to maximize their staff going up against a talented one-two punch of sophomores Brett Lilek and Ryan Kellogg, who go deep into games.
ASU couldn’t have asked for a better outing from Lilek, and worked exceptionally well with the three-run cushion he preserved for the bullpen.
The sophomore left-handed starter dealt seven shutout innings, and picked up six strikeouts in a painful no-decision.
Stanford’s bench depth allowed them to catch pitching coach Ken Knutson and the Sun Devil bullpen off guard, and in one instance, benefitted from the mismatch of youthful reliever against an experienced hitter.
Freshman reliever Eder Erives inherited a tough spot, facing a pinch hitter in junior outfielder Dominic Jose, who drove in two runs with an RBI double, scoring Diekroger and junior centerfielder Austin Slater.
Fellow freshman reliever Hever Bueno was tasked with keeping the ASU lead intact, instead, he allowed a single to another pinch hitter, freshman shortstop Tommy Edman.
Edman’s hit knotted up the game at three runs apiece, scoring Dominic, and setting the stage for a comeback victory.
Diekroger’s single down the right field line clinched the win for a Cardinal team hungry for a Pac-12 series win, scoring Slater for his second run of the game.
Erives fell to 0-1 in the loss, and senior Cardinal reliever AJ Vanegas picked up his first win, now 1-1 on the year.
ASU and Stanford will square off again tomorrow, with sophomore left-hander Ryan Kellogg (4-2, 4.07 ERA) facing freshman right-hander Cal Quantrill (3-3, 3.20 ERA).
Game two from Sunken Diamond in Palo Alto, Calif., will start Friday at 6 p.m.
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