ASU tops Washington State in regular-season finale

PULLMAN, Wash. — The 21st-ranked Arizona State baseball team won its eighth Pac-12 series of the year with a 6-3 win over Washington State in the final game of the regular season on Sunday at Bailey-Brayton Field.

The Sun Devils (33-22, 19-11) clinched sole possession of third place in the Pac-12, one spot higher than they were picked to finish in the preseason coaches’ poll, and will learn their postseason fate on Monday, May 26, during the Division I Selection Show beginning at 9 a.m. PT on ESPNU.

ASU’s eight conference series wins are tied for the second most in a single season in program history and bring head coach Tim Esmay’s five-year total to 33, which is nine more than former head coach Pat Murphy won in his first five seasons at ASU and two more than former head coach Pat Brock won in his first five seasons in the Pac-10.

Esmay notched his 90th Pac-10/12 win and his 201st victory at ASU to become the second-fastest coach in school history to reach the 200-win mark. He owns a .685 winning percentage in his five seasons at the helm of the Devils, which is the 10th highest winning percentage in conference history and the highest winning percentage among the 11 active head coaches in the Pac-12.

Left fielder Jake Peevyhouse tied his season high with three hits and scored a pair of runs, catcher Nate Causey went 3-for-5 with two RBI and center fielder Johnny Sewald drove in two runs.

Starting right-hander Darin Gillies (3-4) picked up the win after he scattered three runs, including two earned, on seven hits in five innings. He struck out five, one shy of tying his season high, and stranded five runners on base, including the bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth.

Right-hander Ryan Burr (12) tossed a perfect ninth inning to collect his 24th career save, one shy of tying the school record set by Doug Nurnberg in 1967.

Right-hander Eder Erives capped a perfect sixth inning with a looking strikeout and recorded the first two outs of the seventh before he was replaced by fellow right-hander Jordan Aboites. He did not allow a hit in 1 1/3 innings, including a perfect eighth inning on eight pitches.

Peevyhouse singled with two outs in the top of the first inning and scored the first run of the game on a RBI single from Causey to give ASU the early one-run advantage.

The Cougars (24-30, 14-16) opened the bottom of the second with three consecutive singles and tied the game at one run apiece on a fielding error by ASU. A stolen base put runners on second and third with no outs, but Gillies worked out of the jam behind back-to-back looking strikeouts and a groundout.

ASU put up four runs on four hits in the fourth inning to retake the lead, 5-1. A pair of singles by Causey and Allen led off the frame, and an error on a grounder from first baseman Joey Bielek loaded the bases with one out. Second baseman Tucker Esmay followed with a RBI single, Sewald knocked a two-run base hit to right-center field and shortstop Drew Stankiewicz followed with a RBI groundout.

WSU left fielder Yale Rosen drove a two-out, two-run homer to right field in the bottom of the fifth to cut ASU’s lead to a pair, 5-3.

Causey extended the Devils’ advantage to three with a RBI single in the top of the ninth.

Washington State starter Tanner Chleborad (4-7) allowed five runs, including three earned, on seven hits in 3 1/3 innings to take the loss.