In a series coach Tim Esmay described as a playoff-like weekend, ASU had a heightened sense of urgency from the start Sunday. It might have come too late, though, as the Sun Devils (24-20, 12-9 Pac-12) dropped their third straight, 14-12, to No. 9 Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
The total in ASU’s run column reached double digits for the fifth time this season, but it wasn’t enough.
Junior first baseman Nate Causey initiated offense in the high-scoring affair, doubling in junior shortstop Drew Stankiewicz, who started Sunday’s game in the leadoff spot, while sophomore Johnny Sewald had the day off.
Later in the inning, junior left fielder Jake Peevyhouse singled through the right side to plate Causey and sophomore designated hitter RJ Ybarra to give ASU a 3-0 lead.
As was the case nearly each time the Sun Devils put runs on the board, OSU had an answer.
In the bottom of the first, senior first baseman Tanner Kreitmeier launched a two-run home run to right, and sophomore right fielder Connor Costello hit an RBI double to tie the game at three.
Kreitmeier’s blast was his second of the series, and the first of five longballs on the afternoon by both sides. The burly first baseman went 9-for-12 in the series, with five RBIs.
The lead changed hands four times Sunday, as ASU’s four errors eventually led to a second onslaught that would cost the Sun Devils the game.
Both starting pitchers, junior righty Darrin Gillies and OSU junior righty Tyler Nurdin, were yanked early. Gillies was pulled after two innings and Nurdin after just 1 2/3 innings.
Gillies gave up six runs, all earned, forcing Esmay to call upon freshman relievers Seth Martinez, Nick Diamond and Eder Erives from the bullpen.
After the Cowboys jumped out to a 6-3 lead in the second inning, junior center fielder Trever Allen led off the top of the third with a solo home run to cut the lead to 6-4.
OSU added a pair of runs, one on an error by Causey, and the other on a single by left fielder Gage Green, to open up an 8-4 lead in the third.
At that point, the offensive fireworks were far from finished.
In the fourth, RBI singles from Peeyhouse and Allen got back the two runs the Cowboys earned in the third to come within a run, as ASU trailed OSU 8-7.
A double by Stankiewicz, followed by back-to-back walks of Ybarra and freshman third baseman David Greer loaded the bases for freshman catcher Brian Serven.
Serven hit a grand slam to left for his third home run of the season, giving ASU an 11-8 lead.
The Cowboys would rally once more, scoring two runs in the sixth to regain the advantage, leading 13-11.
Ybarra hit a solo home run down the left field line in the seventh to narrow the margin to one, but junior catcher Bryan Case followed him with a blast of his own in the eighth to left center, capping an explosive 14-12 win and a series sweep.
ASU still leads the all-time series 13-10, but finished 1-3 against OSU on the season.
The Sun Devils will return to conference play with a series against Oregon May 9-11, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Packard Stadium.
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