The Packard Stadium era has come to a fitting end as the Sun Devils beat Abilene Christian 4-2 to record their seventh straight victory.
Redshirt junior right fielder Trever Allen led the way for the Sun Devils, batting 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored. Allen had two key moments in the game, the first of which came in the seventh inning when his lead-off triple seemed to awaken an ASU offense that had failed to score since the first inning. He also drove in two runs in the eighth inning with a single to left field that gave ASU the lead and would end up winning the game for the Sun Devils.
Allen’s performance did not go unnoticed by coach Tim Esmay, who praised his entire team’s effort in a big game.
“Thank goodness we were pitching well enough to make sure that (Allen triple) meant something,” Esmay said. “We pitched well enough to give us the opportunity to win late. That was a team effort. We pitched well and had timely hitting when we needed it.”
Starting on the mound for ASU was freshman Seth Martinez, who struck out three and gave up two runs in just more than five innings pitched. The following four pitchers, freshmen Hever Bueno and Eder Erives and sophomores Jordan Aboites and closer Ryan Burr did not allow any runs.
Esmay counted on his freshman class to step up but said he feels comfortable counting on his entire team at this point in the season.
“Our freshman (class) is not big, but it’s talented,” Esmay said. “I like our freshman class, I like our sophomore class, I really like the way our juniors are playing, too. The older guys were kind of having up-and-down years and they’re putting it together. It’s a good mix of guys.”
Junior first baseman Nate Causey, who played catcher in the game, had a double and an RBI. Junior left fielder Jake Peevyhouse also had a double and along with junior shortstop Drew Stankiewicz scored the game deciding runs in the eighth inning.
Following the game, the 3,466 fans in attendance were invited to go on the field and watch a fireworks celebration. The emotional moment for the Sun Devil players and fans was not lost on Esmay, who watched from the dugout.
“I’m not gonna lie, there were some tears,” he said. I’ve grown up in this place, I grew up as a little one chasing Bob Horner just like the little ones are doing today. To be able to play here, which was my dream to play at Arizona State and then to coach here. And really, the responsibility of being the last (coach) there I think it finally just wowed me. It made my knees weak, it really did.”
Packard Stadium, which opened in 1974, saw ASU baseball win two national championships in 1977 and 1981. The vast number of historic players and coaches who stepped foot at Packard Stadium made it one of the more storied parks in collegiate baseball, and the Sun Devils thrived during the 40-year run.
ASU baseball went 1,122-308 all-time at Packard Stadium. It will play in Phoenix Municipal Stadium next season.
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