LONG BEACH, Calif.-
Sunday games were No. 18 ASU baseball's Achilles' Heel last season, but Brett Lilek has quickly made them a strong point in 2014.
The sophomore lefty threw a career-high six innings against Wright State, propelling the Sun Devils (3-4) to a 7-2 victory over the Raiders (2-4) in the final game of their first road trip of the season.
Lilek (1-0) came up with his second impressive start of the season, striking out five while allowing just two hits, erasing the Sun Devils' worst start in school history and their three-game losing streak.
"All I had to do is throw strikes and we got the easy W," Lilek said.
The offense supported Lilek early, plating four runs in the top of the first.
Sophomore infielder Dalton DiNatale led the way, belting a two-run double down the right-field line with one out.
All nine Sun Devil starters reached base at least twice Sunday and DiNatale said the early offensive success was key to the victory.
"It was huge for us to get that lead early because lately we haven't been scoring that many runs, so just to get that edge early was really good for us," DiNatale said.
DiNatale added to the lead in the in the fourth, singling home his third RBI of the game and team-leading seventh of the season following an RBI groundout by sophomore catcher RJ Ybarra.
Lilek's only blemishes came in the third inning when he allowed a bases-loaded walk and a fielder's choice.
His 95 pitches were also a career-high, but Lilek admitted he wanted to keep pitching.
"(Pitching) coach (Ken) Knutson wanted to take me out after the fifth because I was at (76 pitches) and I told him I'd be mad if he took me out," Lilek said.
The Sun Devils finished 1-2 on the road trip, but are hoping Sunday's victory gives them momentum ahead of next weekend's Sanderson-Ford College Baseball Classic in Surprise.
"Just a great win for us and hopefully we'll keep it going after this," DiNatale said.