ASU Drops Series Finale to Oregon

The Sunday woes continue as ASU (19-9-1, 6-6) can't stop the Oregon (23-8, 9-3) offense. The Ducks were in control for most of the game and the Sun Devils were unable to complete the sweep. Oregon won 16-3 Sunday afternoon.

With the Sunday starter role up for grabs, Billy Young (0-1) took the mound for the Sun Devils in the first. The Ducks came out swinging and were able to after a fly out and walk, singled to left center. The next batter then grounded out, but it scored an Oregon run.

The Ducks later hit a double to left; bringing in another run. Oregon was up 2-0 heading into the bottom of the first. The bats were quiet for the Sun Devils in the bottom of the inning. Second baseman James McDonald singled down the left field line, but that was the only action in their half of the first.

The Ducks started things in the top of the second with a single up the middle. After a pickoff and a pop up, Young gave up another single, but that was all the damage Oregon could do in their half of the inning. The Sun Devils were looking to find the spark that they had Friday and Saturday night. Jake Peevyhouse walked to start the bottom half of the inning. Trever Allen then grounded into a double play; clearing the bases. R.J. Ybarra was hit by a pitch and a triple by Drew Stankiewicz brought him. Dalton DiNatale struck out to end the inning, but the score was now 2-1.

Oregon brought the bats again in the third. After a single, a stolen base, and another single; the Ducks scored for the third time in the game. Things didn't get any easier for Young when the next batter hit a two-run homered to left field. Sophomore Darin Gillies came into the game to relieve Young. Gillies gave up the fourth run of the inning, but then stopped the damage there. Kasey Coffman led off the bottom of the third with a single through the left side, but the next three Sun Devils went down in order. The score was 6-1 after three.

Gillies shined in the fourth and pitched a three-up, three-down inning. Peevyhouse started the bottom of the fourth with a walk. Allen then singled up the middle and Ybarra hit in to a double play, but scored Peevyhouse. Stankiewicz followed up with a double down the left field line and then scored on DiNatale's single through the left side. Coffman ended the inning, but the Sun Devils had cut the Oregon lead to three.

Gillies was back on the mound in the fifth. He hit the first batter he faced in the inning, but struck out the second. The sophomore allowed one more Oregon run on a double to left field, but struck out the final batter of the inning. The Sun Devils went three-up, three-down in their half of the inning. The score was 7-3 after five.

The sixth inning was a quiet one for both teams. Gillies only allowed one hit in the top of the inning and the Sun Devils went three-up, three-down.

The sophomore took the mound again in the seventh. He got the first Duck to pop up and walked the second before his day ended. Matt Dunbar came in to the game to relieve Gillies. Dunbar struck out the first batter he faced, but another Oregon run was brought in on a single through the right side. A pick-off sent the game to the seventh inning stretch. DiNatale was the only Sun Devil able to reach base in the bottom of the seventh and he reached on a walk. Two groundouts and a popup ended the inning. The score was 8-3 heading into the eighth.

The top of the eighth was one the Sun Devils will want to soon forget. To sum it up, four ASU pitchers made an appearance (Dunbar, Burr, Melbostad, and McAlister) and eight runs were scored. The eighth proved to be a tough inning all series long as seventeen Oregon runs were scored over the three games.

The look on Head Coach Tim Esmay's face said it all; his team needed a serious rally if they wanted to complete the sweep. Tucker Esmay replaced McDonald at second and flied out to lead off the bottom of the inning. Max Rossiter walked, but freshman Cullen O'Dwyer grounded into a double play to end the inning. Oregon had jumped ahead 16-3.

Josh McAllister was back on the mound in the ninth and only allowed one hit while striking out one. ASU was down to their final three outs in the bottom of the inning. Nathaniel Causey was the lone Sun Devil hit in the ninth. The Sun Devils had dropped the series finale 16-3.

Esmay reflected on the continuing Sunday struggles after the game. "It's our Achilles heel man. I look at this and we gave away seven walks and three hit-by-pitches. That's ten freebies. We're chasing in the third inning. It's a different day, same script. It's obviously pretty frustrating for us and it's something that we are working hard to try and fix. It's just been a tough thing."

The Sun Devils have been without a definite Sunday starter all season-long. After today, Esmay is still crossing his fingers that freshman Brett Lilek will be able to return soon. "It would be nice if we could get Lilek up and running. That's a huge bullet that we're not having right now."

Many fans are eager to know if there is a possible timetable for the freshman's return. Esmay addressed those concerns after the game. "No. He had a setback. We thought he was up and running and then he has had a setback so we're kind of back to square one right now. It's very frustrating for the young man, but it's frustrating for all of us."

The Sun Devils head to Las Vegas this week for a game against UNLV on Wednesday. They then head to Southern California to face Pac-12 opponent USC for a weekend series.

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