Cal's 4-run eighth sends ASU baseball to first series loss
BERKELEY, Calif. -- A four-run eighth inning led to an 8-6 win for No. 13 California, as No. 6 Arizona State lost its first Pac-12 baseball series of the season on Sunday at Evans Diamond.
Second baseman Jordan Aboites opened the eighth inning with a home run to push Arizona State's lead to a pair, 6-4, but the Golden Bears (29-15, 15-9) responded with four two-out runs in the bottom half of the frame to send the Sun Devils (29-15, 14-7) to their second consecutive loss.
Right-hander Eder Erives hit the first batter in the eighth inning and coerced a pop-up before he was replaced by right-hander Darin Gillies (2-4), who induced a fly ball to center field for the second out of the inning. Cal then tallied four consecutive hits, including a two-run triple by center fielder Aaron Knapp, to take a two-run lead into the final frame.
Aboites hit his first career home run and laid down a pair of sacrifice bunts that led to eventual runs as he made his first career start at third base. Center fielder Johnny Sewald reached base five times, including a pair of singles, and has reached base in a team-high 26 consecutive games.
There were three lead changes through the first two innings, highlighted by a three-run second that staked the Devils a 4-2 advantage.
A leadoff single by Sewald and a two-out RBI single by third baseman David Greer bookend the opening frame as ASU took a 1-0 lead. The Bears countered with two runs in the bottom half on a pair of singles and a double to move back ahead, 2-1.
Right fielder Trever Allen began the Devils three-run second inning with a double, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Aboites, and came home on a RBI single from left fielder Jake Peevyhouse to tie the game at two runs apiece. Sewald added a single before a fly ball from Snow set the stage for shortstop Colby Woodmansee and catcher Brian Serven, who notched back-to-back two-out base hits to push ASU ahead by a pair.
Cal knotted the game at four runs apiece as they drove in a run in the third and fifth innings behind third baseman Lucas Erceg and right fielder Devin Pearson, respectively. Erceg's RBI double in the third brought the Bears within one and Pearson's solo home run in the fifth dropped over the wall just past Peevyhouse's glove to for the fourth tie of the afternoon.
Snow put the Devils back on top in the sixth inning, 5-4, with a sacrifice fly to center field. Allen singled and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Aboites before consecutive walks loaded the bases for Snow.
Starting left-hander Brett Lilek took a no-decision as he scattered four runs on eight hits and struck out a pair in five innings, and did not walk a batter for the first time this season.
Cal right-hander Dylan Nelson (2-1) pitched the eighth inning to earn the win and Erceg (1) notched the save with a perfect ninth. Starting left-hander Matt Ladrech was chased with two outs in the second inning and allowed four runs on seven hits.