No. 8 baseball gets 9-6 win, series sweep over Utah
Designated hitter RJ Ybarra's four RBI helped the eighth-ranked Arizona State University baseball team come back from an early deficit to complete a series sweep over Utah, 9-6, on Sunday at Spring Mobile Ballpark in Salt Lake City.
The Sun Devils (28-12-1, 11-7) fell behind by three runs after the opening two innings, but Ybarra hit a three-run homer in the top of the fifth to tie the game at five runs apiece. ASU added four runs over the final four frames to withstand two lead changes and a tie and secure its second series sweep, including the first in conference play, of the season.
Right-hander Darin Gillies (1-2) threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings with three strikeouts to earn his first win of the season, and right-hander Ryan Burr (9) did not allow a base runner over the final 1 1/3 innings to collect his ninth save of the year.
Catcher Max Rossiter tallied a season-high three hits and scored a pair of runs, and third baseman Michael Benjamin extended his hitting streak to 12 games as ASU has now rolled up double-digit hits in eight straight games.
The Utes (16-23, 5-16) scored a pair of runs in the first inning without recording a hit and added a run in the bottom of the second on an RBI single to take a 3-0 lead. The leadoff hitter walked, stole second and came home on two wild pitches, while the second batter of the game walked, advanced to third on the wild pitches and scored on a sacrifice fly to left field.
The Devils used four consecutive one-out singles, including RBI base hits by second baseman James McDonald and Rossiter, to cut their deficit to one, 3-2, in the top of the third inning.
Utah countered with a run in both the third and fourth innings on an RBI single and an RBI groundout, respectively, to extend its advantage, 5-2.
A single by Benjamin and a Utah fielding error put two runners on in the fifth for Ybarra, who drove his third home run of the season over the left field fence to knot the game, 5-5.
Shortstop Drew Stankiewicz gave ASU its first lead of the game, 6-5, in the top of the sixth after he led off the frame with a single, and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and a groundout before he scored on a wild pitch.
The Utes responded in the bottom of the sixth after shortstop Cody Scaggari reached on an error and scored on an RBI double three batters later, but ASU retook the lead, 7-6, in the top of the eighth on a RBI fielder's choice by Benjamin. A leadoff single by first baseman Dalton DiNatale, a double by center fielder Johnny Sewald and an intentional walk to left fielder Kasey Coffman loaded the bases with one out for Benjamin.
Starting right-hander Alex Blackford was pulled from the first inning with runners on the corners and no outs. He was responsible for both earned runs in the frame after issuing three walks and throwing three wild pitches.
Right-hander Billy Young replaced Blackford in the first inning and went a total of three frames. He gave up two runs on five hits and struck out three. Left-hander Matt Dunbar took over to start the fourth and did not allow an earned run on a trio of hits in three innings.
Gillies issued a walk and hit a batter to put runners on the corners with two outs in the eighth inning, but Burr took the mound and induced a groundout to shortstop to end the scoring threat and preserve ASU's one-run advantage.
Rossiter singled to start the ninth, moved to third on two wild pitches and scored on an RBI single by Ybarra, and a sacrifice fly by DiNatale two batters later added two insurance runs for the Devils.
Utah starting left-hander Tanner Banks did not factor in the decision as he allowed four runs, including three earned, on eight hits and struck out four in 4 1/3 innings. Right-hander Joe Pond (2-5) took the loss after surrendering three runs, including the eventual game-winner, on four hits and two walks in 3 1/3 innings.
The Devils head to Tucson on Tuesday for the final non-conference game against the Wildcats before returning to Tempe to host No. 21 Stanford over the weekend. All four games will be broadcast by Tim Healey (@TimHealeyASU) and former Devil Seth Dhaenens (@sethdhaenens) on the MidFirst Bank Sun Devil IMG Sports Network on NBC Sports Radio AM 1060 and on the All-Access player on thesundevils.com. The series opener against the Cardinal on Friday begins at 7 p.m. and will be televised nationally on ESPNU, while the other two conference games will be streamed live over www.pac-12.com/live/thesundevils. First pitch on Saturday is 6:30 p.m. and Sunday's game is slated for a 12:30 p.m. start.
Burr is now in sole possession of second place on ASU's freshmen saves list with 9...he trails Jason Jarvis by two.