ASU baseball hands No. 19 Tennessee its first loss

TEMPE, Ariz. — Sophomore left-hander Brett Lilek allowed just four base runners in seven shutout innings to lead the 24th-ranked Arizona State baseball team to a 3-1 victory over No. 19 Tennessee in front of 2,917 fans Friday night at Packard Stadium.

The Sun Devils (7-4), winners of five consecutive games, handed the Volunteers (12-1) their first loss of the season.

Lilek (2-0) struck out three and gave up just three hits and one walk to earn his second win of the season. His excellence on the mound can be measured in both innings pitched and runs allowed as he went a career-long seven innings in the win and has not allowed a run in 14 consecutive innings dating back to the fourth inning against Wright State on Feb. 23.

Sophomore third baseman Dalton DiNatale was relentless at the plate as he went 2 for 3 with a double and a solo home run, and sophomore designated hitter R.J. Ybarra added an RBI single.

Lilek, pitching with confidence and discipline in his third start of the season, stranded six runners on base, including a pair in scoring position in the top of the first inning and one on third in the third. His outings have increased each start as he went six innings against Wright State on Feb. 23 and threw four in his first start of the season against Baylor on Feb. 16.

Sophomore right-hander Ryan Burr (1), who made a selfless decision to move back to the bullpen earlier this week after starting the first three weekends of the season, recorded the final four outs of the game to record the save.

Ybarra’s RBI single punctuated the Sun Devils’ three consecutive base hits to lead off the bottom of the first and gave ASU the early one-run lead. Freshman catcher Brian Serven grounded into a double play in the next at-bat to score redshirt junior outfielder Trever Allen from third and extend its lead, 2-0.

DiNatale hit the first pitch thrown in the bottom of the seventh inning over the right-field fence to give ASU a 3-0 lead.

Burr took the mound with two outs in the top of the eighth and experienced a brief stint of humility as he allowed a run-scoring single to the first batter he faced, but he retired four of the next five batters, including a pair of swinging strikeouts, to end the Vols’ threat.

Tennessee starting pitcher Nick Williams (3-1) took his first loss of the season after conceding three runs on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings.