By: Brian Kreps – Contributing Writer
April 24, 2016
STANFORD, Calif. – The Arizona State Sun Devils used a five-run seventh inning to overcome a 5-3 deficit and earn a 9-6 win over the Stanford Cardinal in front of 1,876 fans in attendance at Sunken Diamond.
The key inning started with a bang for Arizona State (22-14, 8-9 in the Pac-12) as sophomore Andrew Shaps blasted a solo home run, his first of the season. One batter later, the birthday boy and freshman Gage Canning followed with a solo home run of his own, also his first of the season, which tied the game 5-5. Later in the inning, sophomore Ryan Lillard singled home another run, putting Arizona State up 6-5. Shaps, Canning and Lillard, all left-handed hitters, did their damage against Stanford lefty junior Chris Castellanos. After Castellanos was replaced by Tyler Thorn, who gave up another run, junior Brian Serven capped the inning by driving in the final two runs and extending the lead 8-5.
“Shaps put a good swing on them there, the third time through the order the guys were struggling with the change up and finally got something they could handle, and then the birthday boy followed it up with the tying shot,” Arizona State head coach Tracy Smith said. “It was good to see us in a come-from-behind win. That was fun to see. Lillard with the big hit, that one put us ahead. It’s good to see what guys can do when they’re locked in and focused. We’re not finished yet. We know we go another one tomorrow, and we want to keep this thing going.”
In a game with so many offensive stars, Serven led the way, going 3-for-5 with two RBIs.
“He’s seeing the ball well this weekend. Not just that, he’s doing a fantastic job behind the plate, handling the pitching staff, but then getting in there and throwing together some pretty good at bats for us,” Smith said. “We thought we were gonna hit this year. Hopefully, this is the turning point and gets us swinging the bats top to bottom.”
Last nights hero freshman Tyler Williams, was back at it again today. He went 1-for-3, driving in one run and scoring one run.
“He’s kind of settled in as of late. We really like the at bats that he’s putting together,” Smith said. “We love the at bats he’s giving us. It may not always be a hit. He seems to be seeing the ball well, and taking guys deep in the count. I think the more experience he gets, the better he’s gonna be.”
Arizona State used four different pitchers with Tucker Baca getting the final out to earn his first win of the season.
“I think Tucker Baca got probably the biggest out of the game,” Smith said. “I was really proud to see him come into that situation and do what he did, and ultimately getting the win, facing one hitter. I thought he had the biggest out of the game.”
The Cardinal (19-14, 7-7) were led by sophomore Quinn Brody, who hit his fourth home run of the season and was 2-for-5 on the day.