TEMPE, Ariz. — A pair of unearned runs proved to be the difference as the Arizona State baseball team fell to No. 9 Oregon 5-4 in the series opener on Friday night in front of 3,394 fans at Packard Stadium.
Starting left-hander Brett Lilek (4-4) struck out a career-high nine and allowed just four hits and three earned runs across seven innings in the loss. He put together four perfect frames and recorded his seventh quality start, including the fourth in his past five games. Right-hander Jordan Aboites struck out three and gave up one hit in two scoreless innings of relief.
The Sun Devils (24-21, 12-10) out-hit Oregon, 8-6, but were unable to overcome three errors that led to unearned runs in the second and fifth innings.
Catcher Brian Serven led the way with a pair of hits and two RBI, right fielder Trever Allen added two hits and scored two runs, and shortstop Drew Stankiewicz went 2-for-3 with a run scored.
Oregon took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning before the Devils countered in the bottom of the frame to tie it at two runs apiece, but the Ducks (36-14, 13-9) pulled away with three in the fifth, including the eventual game-winning run on a throwing error.
A run-scoring single by designated hitter Josh Graham put Oregon on the board first and a fielding error by Stankiewicz two batters later brought around the second run of the game and put the Ducks ahead, 2-0.
Left fielder Jake Peevyhouse singled to lead off the bottom of the second, Allen followed with a double and Stankiewicz was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs for Serven, who came through with a two-run single to knot the game at two runs apiece.
Third baseman Mitchell Tolman drove a two-out triple over the outstretched glove of Peevyhouse to break open the 2-2 tie and then came home on a throwing error by Stankiewicz to give the Ducks a three-run lead 5-2.
Second baseman Tucker Esmay cut the Devils’ deficit to a pair, 5-3, on a RBI groundout to the second baseman in the bottom of the sixth inning. Allen and Stankiewicz each notched singles to begin the frame and moved into scoring position on a groundout before Allen scored.
Aboites was able to pitch the Devils out a jam in the top of the eighth after he replaced fellow right-hander Hever Bueno with runners on first and second and no outs. Aboites threw the Ducks’ lead runner out at third on an attempted sacrifice bunt, and after a wild pitch moved them both into scoring position, he issued back-to-back swinging strikeouts to end the frame.
ASU pulled within one, 5-4, in the bottom of the eighth after a grounder to third base by center fielder Johnny Sewald was misplayed by the Ducks. Stankiewicz, who scored the run, reached on a single and moved to third on a single by Serven and a flyout by Esmay.
Oregon starting left-hander Tommy Thorpe (8-4) scattered a pair of runs and four hits across five innings to earn the win. Right-hander Jake Reed (11) struck out one in a perfect ninth inning to record the save.