Designated hitter Nate Causey hit a two-out grand slam in the top of the ninth inning to break open a tie game as the 13th-ranked Arizona State University baseball team won the series with a 10-7 victory over Cal on Sunday at Evans Diamond in Berkeley, Calif.
Causey finished the day with a career-high six RBI on two hits and scored a pair of runs to lead the Sun Devils (32-15-1, 14-10) to their ninth three-game series win of the season, including their fifth Pac-12 series. His six RBI are the most by a Sun Devil since Abe Ruiz had six vs Western Michigan on Feb. 17, 2012.
ASU scored four runs in the opening frame behind a pair of RBI by Causey to take an early 4-0 lead. The Golden Bears (22-28, 10-17) twice tied the game before Causey's grand slam in the ninth sealed the win and gave the Devils their second game winning ninth-inning home run in the past two outings.
Causey became the fifth different Sun Devil to secure a game-winning hit in the ninth inning or later this season after McDonald gave ASU the win in last night's game with a solo home run.
Left-hander Brett Lilek (2-0), who made his first appearance since March 17, threw a perfect eighth inning and struck out two to earn his second win of the season.
Dalton DiNatale took a leadoff walk to start the top of the ninth, and third baseman Michael Benjamin and catcher Max Rossiter both singled to load the bases with two outs for Causey, who became the second Sun Devil to hit a grand slam this season after freshman RJ Ybarra hit one on April 20 in a 15-3 win over Valparaiso.
Benjamin and second baseman James McDonald each walked, and Rossiter singled to load the bases for Causey, who drove a two-run single up the middle before a fielding error on the Cal first baseman in the next at-bat by right fielder Trever Allen brought home two more runs and gave the Devils a four-run advantage in the first inning.
Cal cut the Devils' lead to one, 4-3, after an error by first baseman Rouric Bridgewater allowed third baseman Mitchell Kranson to score from third in the second inning and a two-run homer by designated hitter Devon Rodriguez in the third.
Shortstop Drew Stankiewicz tripled on a nine-pitch at-bat in the top of the fourth and scored on an RBI groundout by left fielder Jake Peevyhouse to put ASU ahead, 5-3, but the Golden Bears responded with two runs in the bottom of the frame on a leadoff home run and a wild pitch to tie it at five.
The two teams exchanged runs in the fifth inning as Benjamin hit a solo home run with one out in the top of the frame to break the tie, 6-5, and Cal used a sacrifice fly to left field to even the score at six runs apiece.
Cal threatened with runners on second and third and one out in the bottom of the sixth, but Peevyhouse caught a line drive in left field and threw the lead runner out at home to keep the game tied, 6-6.
Starting right-hander Zak Miller took a no-decision as he conceded five runs, including four earned, on eight hits in 3 1/3 innings.
Right-hander Darin Gillies allowed one run on one hit in 1 1/3 innings and left-hander Matt Dunbar threw 2 1/3 scoreless innings with a pair of strikeouts. Right-hander Ryan Burr closed out the ninth inning for the second consecutive game.
Cal starting right-hander Ryan Wertenberger gave up four runs, including three earned, on two hits and three walks before he was replaced with one out in the first inning. Reliever Kyle Porter (1-1) took the loss after conceding Causey's grand slam in the ninth.
The Sun Devils host four games next week, including a non-conference matchup with Texas Tech on Wednesday and a three-game Pac-12 set with Arizona over the weekend. A Territorial Cup point hangs in the balance as the two teams split the two non-conference games in Tucson. All four games will also be broadcast by Tim Healey (@TimHealeyASU) and former Sun Devil baseball star Seth Dhaenens (@sethdhaenens) on the MidFirst Bank Sun Devil IMG Sports Network on NBC Sports Radio AM 1060 and on the All-Access Player at thesundevils.com. Fans can also 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.
Sun Devils On Pac-12 Network
at Washington on Saturday, May 25, in Seattle at 4 p.m. PT
at Washington on Sunday, May 26, in Seattle at 12:00 p.m. PT
ASU scored 12 of its 21 runs with two outs this series and has now scored 107 of 268 runs this season with two outs...Benjamin secured two hits in all three games of the series and leads the team with 22 multi-hit games...Causey's six RBI are the most by any Sun Devil this season.
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