ASU baseball defeats Utah 9-3 behind strong sixth inning

Junior center Nate Causey stops a USC player from stealing second base at a home game on April 6. ASU against USC. (Photo by Mario Mendez)

Junior center Nate Causey stops a USC player from stealing second base at a home game on April 6. The Sun Devils are on a four-game winning streak after beating Utah 9-3 at Packard Stadium on Friday. (Photo by Mario Mendez)

It was a 2-2 tie until the bottom of the seventh, when ASU went on an offensive explosion, scoring six runs en route to a 9-3 victory Friday over Utah at Packard Stadium.

The scoring began in the bottom of the first when sophomore center fielder Johnny Sewald scored off of a ground out by junior left fielder Jake Peevyhouse.

After the DiNatale homerun in the bottom of the second inning, neither team would score until the bottom of the seventh. DiNatale’s homerun is his third of the season.

 

 

Junior center fielder Trever Allen opened up the scoring in the seventh after a DiNatale double. DiNatale would go on to score himself off of an error by senior catcher Konnor Armijo of Utah after the Utes changed pitchers.

Two more runs would score for the Sun Devils as Sewald and junior second baseman Tucker Esmay capitalized from a Peevyhouse double to right field. Another error by Armijo would lead to a run by junior shortstop Drew Stankiewicz.

Yet another error by Utah would lead to Esmay’s second run of the game in the bottom of the eighth inning, and that would be the end of the scoring for ASU as the bottom of the ninth did not have to be played.

As explosive as the ASU offense was, their pitching and defense certainly stopped Utah’s offense from doing the same. Sophomore pitcher Brett Lilek allowed only five hits and two runs while striking out five batters in six innings of work.

However, the win went to freshman Eder Erives, who only pitched one inning but struck out the three batters he faced. Freshman Hever Bueno and sophomore Eric Melbostad each pitched an inning. Utah junior Mitch Watrous is now 4-5 on the season following the loss to ASU.

It was a complete effort by the Sun Devils, as not only the offense was on point but their defense only allowed runs in the second inning and the ninth in garbage time.

ASU has definitely bounced back after a four game losing streak including getting swept by Oklahoma State. The Sun Devils are now on a four game winning streak, and have scored at least eight runs in each of the four wins while the most they have given up in the span is six.

The Sun Devils’ series against Utah is the last regular season series that will be played at Packard Stadium, as the team is moving to Phoenix Municipal Stadium next season. The last game at Packard will be played on May 20 against Abilene Christian.

The second of the three game series against Utah will be played Saturday at Packard Stadium at 6:30 p.m.

Reach the reporter at hkossodo@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @HKossodo

Correction: Because of a reporting error, Tucker Esmay’s name was misspelled in an earlier version of this story.