Nine-run inning powers ASU past Baylor in series finale

TEMPE, Ariz. — The 18th-ranked Arizona State baseball team used a nine-run sixth inning and a strong outing from its pitching staff to rout Baylor 12-1 on Sunday afternoon in the series finale in front of 2,640 fans at Packard Stadium.

The Sun Devils (2-1) sent 14 batters to the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning as they collected nine runs on nine hits to break open a tie game and take a commanding 10-1 lead. Seven different players recorded a hit in the frame, including a two-run double by freshman catcher Brian Serven and a pair of singles by sophomore outfielder Chris Beall, who collected his first two career RBI in consecutive at-bats in the inning.

Serven went 2 for 2 with two RBI and three runs scored, and junior infielder Tucker Esmay added three hits and a pair of RBI to pace ASU’s offense.

Sophomore starting left-hander Brett Lilek struck out a career-high seven batters, including five of the first seven he faced, and scattered just two hits across four scoreless innings. Senior right-hander Zak Miller (1-0) pitched the fifth and sixth frames and earned the win after allowing one run on three hits.

Freshman right-hander Eder Erives made his first career appearance in the seventh inning and struck out two of the four batters he faced in the frame. Junior right-hander Cory Bernard took the mound in the eighth and punctuated a perfect inning with a strikeout, and freshman right-hander Hever Bueno closed out the ninth.

The Sun Devils took a 1-0 advantage in the bottom of the second inning after a grounder by Beall was misplayed by the Bears’ second baseman to allow Serven to score from second.

Baylor (1-2) second baseman Lawton Langford singled to lead off the top of the sixth inning, stole second base and scored on a single to left field first baseman Duncan Wendel to knot the game, 1-1.

Serven led off the sixth inning with a base hit and after a fielding error by Baylor on a grounder by sophomore outfielder Cullen O’Dwyer, the Devils rattled off hits in five of their next six at-bats, including an RBI triple by center fielder Johnny Sewald, and RBI singles by sophomore infielder Dalton DiNatale and Esmay.

Pinch hitters Cooper Esmay and Zach Cerbo notched an RBI double and an RBI triple, respectfully, in their first career plate appearances in the eighth inning to make it 12-1 in favor the Devils.

Baylor right-hander Drew Tolson (0-1) allowed four runs, including three earned, on three hits in 2/3 innings to take the loss, while starting right-hander Austin Stone surrendered one unearned on two hits in 4 1/3 innings.

NOTES: ASU coach Tim Esmay moved to 74-17-1 in nonconference games and 106-28 all-time at Packard Stadium … The Sun Devils improved to 8-5 all-time against Baylor. … No ASU players started all three games over the weekend.