For a while, it looked like ASU baseball was going to win its eighth consecutive Opening Day game, but Baylor had other ideas.
The Bears (1-0) scored seven combined runs in the eighth and ninth innings to erase a 7-2 deficit and topple the Sun Devils (0-1) 9-7.
"It's college baseball," Esmay said of his team's late-game woes. "I don't think you ever have the game in hand."
Baylor started its rally in the eighth courtesy of freshman outfielder Darryn Sheppard, who singled home a run off Sun Devil senior reliever Josh McAlister.
The next Bears batter, sophomore second baseman West Tunnell, doubled to right field after ASU redshirt junior Trever Allen misjudged the ball, plating two more.
The Bears tied the game in the ninth with a two-run home run by senior designated hitter Grayson Porter off Sun Devil redshirt freshman lefty Nick Diamond, who was making his first career appearance.
Baylor took the lead for good two batters later off Diamond's replacement Hever Bueno when Allen booted a single off the bat of junior third baseman Duncan Wendel all the way to the wall.
"If you play in this ballpark at that time of day, it's tough to see the ball," Esmay said.
Allen hit well in the loss, homering on the first pitch he saw in 2014 and fell just a triple shy of the cycle.
Every Sun Devil starter minus junior designated hitter Nate Causey recorded a hit and Esmay said the offense, which scored six runs combined in the sixth and seventh innings, wasn't the reason for the loss.
"I thought our approach was good," Esmay said. "Our guys gave us some quality at-bats."
Sophomore Ryan Burr lasted just four innings in his first career start, striking out five and allowing one run while walking three.
Esmay thought Burr might have been too amped up, causing him to lose control of his pitches.
"He just wasn't commanding the zone," Esmay said. "He was still getting outs, but it was just a lot of pitches."
The Sun Devils and Bears return to action tomorrow afternoon at 1 p.m.