The No. 21 Arizona State Sun Devils (19-9-1, 6-6) failed again Sunday to sweep a Pac-12 opponent, losing their fourth straight series finale, this time to the No. 11 Oregon Ducks (22-9, 9-3) by a score of 16-3.
“Different day, same script,” ASU head coach Tim Esmay said. “We gave away seven walks and three hit by pitches. That’s 10 freebies.”
Sun Devil right-hander Billy Young, who threw five innings of two-run baseball in Tuesday’s win over Wichita State, could not replicate his success against a tougher opponent, retiring just seven Ducks and surrendering five runs.
Arizona State used six pitchers in the loss, relying mostly on right-hander Darin Gillies, who took over for Young and pitched four innings.
“Gillies was huge for us,” Esmay said. “Until that eighth inning we were still in the ball game.”
The Sun Devils entered the eighth down just five runs, but by the time Oregon was done compiling hits and drawing walks, the game was essentially over.
ASU’s relief of Matt Dunbar, Ryan Burr and Eric Melbostad combined to allow seven hits, three walks and a hit by pitch in the inning.
“Today just leaves a sour taste in your mouth,” Esmay said.
The highlight from the offensive side was shortstop Drew Stankiewicz, who tripled home RJ Ybarra in the second for ASU’s first run. Stankiewicz also doubled in the fourth and eventually scored on an RBI single from freshman Dalton DiNatale.
Despite allowing three runs on six hits, Oregon freshman Cole Irvin pitched seven innings of quality work, earning his sixth win of the year.
“He threw well enough to the scoreboard,” Esmay said. “It’s kinda nice to pitch with a lead like that.”
Oregon, although not known for power hitting, executed when it mattered and plated 16 runs despite leaving 12 men aboard.
“We didn’t do a good job of holding runners,” Esmay said. “Oregon did a good job of taking advantage of it.”
Right-hander Josh McAlister not only got the Sun Devils out of the eighth inning, but also closed out the game, finishing with one and a third innings pitched, allowing no runs and just one hit.
With the loss, the Sun Devils are now 7-4 against teams ranked in the top 15.
“There’s a light at the end of the tunnel here,” Esmay said.
The Sun Devils begin a five-game road trip Tuesday at UNLV before flying to Los Angeles for a weekend series against USC.