ASU baseball drops series finale to Cal in 10 innings

TEMPE, Ariz. — Junior starter Darin Gillies turned in the best performance of his three-year career and the 25th-ranked Arizona State baseball team rallied to send the game into extra frames, but the Sun Devils came up short in a 5-3 loss to Cal in 10 innings Sunday at Packard Stadium.

Gillies threw a career-best seven scoreless innings and tied his season high with six strikeouts, but took a no-decision after Cal scored two runs in the top of the eighth. He allowed just two runners to move into scoring position and issued just one walk. He bookended a perfect opening frame with a pair of strikeouts and at one point retired seven straight in the middle innings before he induced back-to-back flyouts in the top of the sixth to strand Cal runners at the corners.

The Sun Devils (19-14, 9-6) took a 2-0 lead into the eighth inning, but the Bears (15-17, 4-8) scored two in the top of the frame and one in the ninth to secure a one-run advantage. Junior first baseman Nate Causey singled to start the Devils’ two-out rally in the bottom of the ninth and sophomore third baseman Dalton DiNatale capped it off with an RBI single two batters later to send the game into extra innings in a 3-3 tie.

A hit batter, a walk and a pair of fielding errors by ASU allowed Cal to take a 5-3 lead in the top of the 10th. Junior right fielder Jake Peevyhouse led off the bottom half of the inning with a single to put the tying run at the plate, but the Devils were retired in three consecutive at-bats to end the game.

Sophomore right-hander Ryan Burr (3-3) entered the game in the 10th inning and was responsible for both runners to take the loss. Fellow sophomore right-hander Jordan Aboites gave up one run on three hits in two innings of relief.

Sophomore designated hitter R.J. Ybarra broke up a scoreless tie in the bottom of the seventh inning with a two-out RBI single up the middle and DiNatale drove in the Devils’ second run of the game with a base hit to right-center field to extend ASU’s advantage, 2-0. Freshman shortstop Colby Woodmansee led off the frame with a walk, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and took third on a groundout. Causey followed with a walk and both runners scored in the next two at-bats.

The Bears responded with two runs in the top of the eighth to knot the game at two runs apiece. ASU sophomore right-hander Eric Melbostad took over for Gillies and walked the first two batters he faced before he was replaced by Aboites. A sacrifice bunt by center fielder Aaron Knapp moved the runners into scoring position and designated hitter Devin Rodriguez knocked a two-run single to center field.

Cal left fielder Brian Celsi led off the top of the ninth with a double and scored two batters later on a sacrifice fly to right field by third baseman Lucas Erceg to take their first lead of the game, 3-2.

Cal right-hander Trevor Hildenberger (2-2) allowed one run on two hits in 2 1/3 innings to earn the win and right-hander Andrew Buckley (1) threw a scoreless 10th to record his first save of the year. Starting right-hander Ryan Mason gave up five hits in four scoreless innings in a no-decision.