ASU baseball sweeps final Pac-12 home series with 14-6 victory over Utah
On the last Pac-12 series played at Packard Stadium after it opened 40 years ago, the Sun Devils came away with a 14-6 win over Utah completing the series sweep.
This marks the first series sweep for ASU this season, as well as the 52nd straight season in which it reached 30 wins.
Sophomore designated hitter RJ Ybarra says the team felt good reaching that 30-win plateau.
"It feels great because we're upholding this tradition that has been here for 50 years now," Ybarra said. "It's pretty special, especially to get the 30th win here at Packard."
Ybarra had a three-run home run in the second inning as well as another RBI in the first on a fielder's choice. He was not the only player to have a shot go over the fence, as junior shortstop Drew Stankiewicz also homered in the fifth inning as he went 3-5 with 2 RBI and a double.
It was a complete outing for ASU, as its offense scored in all but two innings with 17 hits and the defense blanked Utah in all but two innings, only allowing eight hits.
It was another error-filled outing for the Utes, committed five after committing three in the first game of the series and two in the second.
The game was tied at six after ASU allowed five runs by Utah in the top of the third, including letting up a run on a wild pitch and a three-run home run later in the inning. The Sun Devils didn't let that run bother them and they proceeded to shut out Utah the rest of the game.
Coach Tim Esmay says the fact that his bullpen was fresh coming into the game was a big reason why ASU was able to remain so effective on the defensive end.
"Kellogg doing what he did yesterday allowed us to have a fresh bullpen today, and all those guys stepped up," Esmay said. "If you're going to draw it up, you go to each guy one inning and each guy goes an inning without giving up any runs, that's what you want."
Starting on the mound for ASU was junior Darin Gillies, who pitched until the third inning. Also pitching for ASU on the day was freshman Seth Martinez, sophomore Eric Melbostad, redshirt junior Cory Bernard, freshman Eder Erives, sophomore Jordan Aboites and sophomore closer Ryan Burr.
The win went to Martinez, who is now 5-0 on the season.
The next game for ASU is also the last game of the regular season at Packard Stadium. The Sun Devils will host Abilene Christian on Tuesday.
Coach Esmay acknowledged that it will be tough not to get lost in reflection after the game, but his team will have to focus with an away series against Washington State coming up three days after.
"It's tough not to [reflect], because we're all human and this thing's bigger than life, man. This place is amazing, it's a very storied stadium and a lot of storied ballplayers and a lot of storied coaches," Esmay said. "Trust me, there's some reflection, but there's also gotta be those blinders of going out and getting the job at hand and getting ourselves in the best possible position we can be in to make the postseason."
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @HKossodo