It’s not in dominating fashion or against powerhouse competition, but Arizona State baseball is winning going into the start of Pac-12 play.
The Sun Devils rallied to beat UC Davis 3-2 on Sunday, their third straight walk-off win in the series and eighth consecutive victory overall. They are 13-3 more than a quarter of the way through the season with three more wins than they had in 16 games last season. How that translates next week at No. 4 Oregon State (12-2), upset 5-0 Sunday by San Francisco, is yet to be determined.
“There is that old saying you’ve got to learn how to win,” ASU coach Tracy Smith said. “These guys are doing a really good job of that right now. I hope that pays off down the road for us.”
Before Ryan Lillard’s walk-off single Sunday, ASU won on a bases-loaded walk to Brian Serven in the 12th inning (4-3 Saturday) and a Serven single in the 11th (6-5 Friday). At Cal State Fullerton on Wednesday, Serven also drove in the eventual winning run in the 14th inning (2-1).
“A win is a win,” said Colby Woodmansee, who erased a 2-0 deficit with a two-run single in the eighth. “That’s all that matters really. Last year our non-conference was a little bit more challenging. Just winning games is confidence. The rest of the country didn’t think we were going to be here at this point so I think we’ll have a lot of confidence going into Oregon State.”
UC Davis starter Nat Hamby allowed just two hits over six innings but threw 110 pitches, forcing the Aggies into their bullpen. In the seventh, Guillermo Salazar ran into ASU first baseman David Greer as he was waiting near the bag to catch a pop fly, angering Greer and energizing his teammates. Greer, ASU’s leading hitter at .415, doubled in the eighth before Woodmansee’s game-tying single.
“The way we were almost sleeping at the plate, you want to let the sleeping dog lie,” Smith said. “That kind of woke us up and got the dugout going a little bit. When you’ve got somebody down, you let them be down. You don’t give them any reason to get charged up.”
In the UC Davis eighth, pinch hitter Cameron Olson hit what was first ruled a three-run homer down the left-field line by home plate umpire Ramon Armendariz. Smith disputed the call with the three umpires huddling before reversing the call to a foul ball.
“As little as that was over the wall, there’s no way it can take a left angle like that and land where it did,” Smith said. “The umpires got that right, so a lot of credit on that. That’s the way it’s supposed to work when guys collectively get together.”
Redshirt freshman Reagan Todd pitched six strong innings for ASU. Ryan Hingst (1-0) worked the final 1 2/3 innings before 2,320 at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
ASU hosts Meiji University from Japan in an exhibition at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday before traveling to Oregon State for the first three of 30 Pac-12 games.