The 16th-ranked Arizona State University baseball team rallied back from a five-run deficit to bring it within one, but couldn't complete the comeback and fell to Bethune-Cookman 7-6 on Sunday at Packard Stadium.
The Sun Devils (2-1) trailed 6-1 heading into the bottom of the third inning, but tallied runs in three of the next five frames, including two in the seventh, to close the lead to one run. Catcher Max Rossiter hit a single in the ninth to put the tying run on base, but pinch runner Kyle Bilbrey was thrown out at third trying to stretch a single by designated hitterNate Causey into two.
Rossiter and third baseman Michael Benjamin each recorded a pair of RBI, and the ASU bullpen scattered four hits and two runs across eight innings in another strong showing.
Right-hander Alex Blackfordallowed one earned run on three hits and struck out three in four innings. Left-hander Brett Lilektook the mound in the sixth inning and surrendered one run on one hit over three frames, and left-hander Matt Dunbarpitched a scoreless ninth.
Six walks, including five consecutive to lead off the frame, and four wild pitches in the top of the second inning contributed to five runs for the Wildcats (1-2) and gave them the early lead. Starting right-hander Darin Gillies (0-1) was chased from the game with no outs in the inning after he allowed five earned runs on zero hits, and was replaced by Blackford, who coerced three of the next four batters into outs to end the frame.
B-CU added a run in the top of the third inning on a triple and a sacrifice fly to take a 6-1 advantage, but ASU countered in the bottom of the frame with an RBI double by second baseman James McDonald that scored left fielder Kasey Coffman, who reached base on a single.
Benjamin lined a two-run single up the middle in the bottom of the fourth after consecutive base hits by Bridgewater and Stankiewicz to bring ASU within two, 6-4.
A two-run ground-rule double by Rossiter scored right fielder Trever Allen and Benjamin from second and third, respectively, as ASU cut their deficit to one, 7-6.
Wildcats starting right-hander Scott Garner (1-0) earned the win after giving up six runs, including five earned, on seven hits while striking out six in 6 1/3 innings. Right-hander Jordan Dailey recorded the save after closing out the final 2 1/3 innings.
The Sun Devils travel to Knoxville, Tenn., to take on the Tennessee Volunteers in a non-conference road series. First pitch on Friday is set for 3 p.m. (MT), while both Saturday and Sunday's contests are slated for an 11 a.m. (MT) start time. Follow the team on Twitter at @ASU_Baseball for live scoring and updates from the weekend, and check thesundevils.com for stats, notes and more.
Stankiewicz recorded multiple hits in all three games of the series and now has six in his ASU career...McDonald, Stankiewicz and Rossiter lead the team with four RBI apiece...Coffman stole his third base of the season...the Devils caught B-CU stealing twice in the game, both times to end the inning...freshman Johnny Sewald made his first career start at center field as Coffman moved over to left...senior right-hander Alex Blackford made his first appearance of the season...attendance was 2,074.
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