(Photo: ASU Athletics)
Packard Stadium’s final opening day saw both a lead and crowd dwindle and then disappear as the No. 18 Arizona State Sun Devils dropped the first game of the series to the Baylor Bears . A three-run rally in the eighth and a four-run rally in the ninth sealed the victory for Baylor.
On the mound, both teams struggled to control the ball. ASU’s Ryan Burr hit two batters in a wild third inning for the sophomore. In his first ever career start, he allowed one run while striking out five in four innings. Baylor’s Dillion Newman also hit two batters in his five innings of work.
“I think he was a little amped up, you have to remember it was his first start at Arizona State,” ASU head coach Tim Esmay said about Burr. “He just wasn’t commanding the zone. He was still getting outs, but it was 3-2, 3-2, it was just a lot of pitches.”
Darrin Gillies relieved Burr to start the fifth and pitched three innings of one-run relief. Josh McAlister took over in the eighth, giving up three runs before being relieved by redshirt freshman Nick Diamond, who dismissed the two batters he faced in the eighth before giving up a two run homer in the top of the ninth to Baylor DH Grayson Porter.
“We had to go to our pen early today, and that makes the end of the game a little bit stretched out more than anticipated, ” Esmay said.
Offensively, ASU got started early and then woke up the bats again late. Trever Allen, 2013’s home run and RBI leader, wasted no time, crushing the first pitch he saw beyond the left field fence. Two errors by Baylor shortstop Lawton Langford, who had three in total, lead to two Sun Devil runs in the bottom of the sixth to take the lead 3-2.
The Sun Devils scored four runs in a huge seventh inning. Nate Causey had a sacrifice fly, Dalton DiNatale hit a two RBI single, and Lawton’s third error allowed Allen to score and put ASU up 7-2.
Baylor scored three runs on McAlister in the eighth and then added four runs in the top of the ninth to take the lead. Porter’s homer tied it up and Duncan Wendel’s RBI single gave the Bears the lead, and Darryn Sheppard added another RBI to make it 9-7 heading into the bottom of the ninth.
Josh Michalec retired the side in order to close the game for Baylor.
Series resumes Saturday at 1pm MST with ASU’s Ryan Kellogg taking on Brad Kuntz.