SURPRISE, Ariz. – Freshman left-hander Brett Lilek allowed just one run in his first career start and second baseman James McDonald recorded a pair of RBIs to lead the 24th-ranked Arizona State to a 3-2 win against No. 2 Arkansas on Thursday at Surprise Stadium.
Lilek struck out six and did not walk a batter in five innings to earn his first career win. He scattered seven hits, but stranded a total of eight Razorbacks on base, including twice with the bases loaded.
After the Sun Devils (5-2) took a one-run lead in the bottom of the first inning, Lilek allowed three consecutive singles to start the second frame, but struck out the next three batters to escape the inning unscathed.
McDonald led the way offensively with a season-high two hits to extend his team-leading hitting streak to seven games. Catcher Max Rossiter added a pair of hits, an RBI and a run scored.
Rossiter put ASU ahead in the bottom of the first with an RBI single after center fielder Kasey Coffman led off the frame with a base hit and added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth on an RBI double to score Rossiter from first base.
Rossiter extended the Devils’ lead to two in the bottom of the third on an RBI single to right field that scored left fielder Jake Peevyhouse. Peevyhouse had walked, moved to second on an off-target throw and reached third on an error.
Lilek again loaded the bases in the fifth inning with one out after the Razorbacks (7-2) cut the ASU lead to one, but he induced a pop-up and groundout to keep the Devils’ advantage intact.
Right-hander Alex Blackford pitched a scoreless sixth inning before freshman right-hander Ryan Burr closed out the final three frames to earn his first career save and the first save of the season for ASU. Burr struck out the first batter he faced in the seventh inning and allowed just one run on one hit in three innings while striking out four. A leadoff single and a walk in the ninth, followed by a sacrifice bunt and a groundout, brought home a run for Arkansas to bring them within one, but Burr induced a flyout to secure the win.
Arkansas starting right-hander Ryne Stanek suffered his first loss of the season after he surrendered two runs, including one earned, on five hits in 5.2 innings.