ASU Falls in Territorial Cup Series Finale

Despite having the bases loaded in the eighth and ninth innings, the Sun Devils (34-17-1, 15-12) fell to the Wildcats (31-21, 12-15) 7-6 on Sunday afternoon.

Zak Miller took the mound for the Sun Devils and the Wildcats were eager to strike first. Miller surrendered a double and then Arizona was able to bring in the first run of the game on a single by catcher Riley More. Miller then ended the top of the first on a groundout to the shortstop, Drew Stankiewicz. The Sun Devils went three-up, three-down in their half of the inning. The Wildcats took a 1-0 lead after one.

Miller was able to get the Wildcats to go three-up, three-down in the top of the second. Designated hitter Nathaniel Causey was able to get things going for Arizona State with one out in the bottom of the inning. Right fielder Trever Allen then followed up with a single through the left side. Stankiewicz then reached on a throwing error by the Wildcats; allowing Causey to score. First baseman Dalton DiNatale struck out to end the inning, but the game was tied up at one.

Offense picked back up in the third inning. Miller gave up a single in the top of the inning and the runner was able to reach on an error by Stankiewicz. That was the only hit Miller allowed, but the runner was brought in on a sacrifice fly. The Sun Devils brought the bats in their half of the inning. Left fielder Jake Peevyhouse led off the inning with a triple to right field. Coffman then followed up with a long homerun over the right field fence. Third baseman Michael Benjamin and second baseman James McDonald continued the offensive streak with singles of their own. Catcher Max Rossiter singled to center; scoring Benjamin. Causey struck out swinging and Allen hit in to a double play, but the Sun Devils had jumped ahead 4-2 after three.

Miller was back on the mound in the fourth. A three-run double by first baseman Joseph Maggi ended Miller's day. Adam McCreery relieved him and after walking the first batter, got the final Wildcat batter to line out to Benjamin. The Sun Devils continued to show fight in the bottom of the inning. DiNatale was hit by a pitch and then Peevyhouse singled up the middle. Benjamin doubled to left center; scoring both DiNatale and Peevyhouse. ASU had regained their lead.

McCreery stayed in the game in the fifth, but not for long. He was pulled for Josh McAllister after walking the first two batters he faced in the inning. The Wildcats pushed a run across the plate on an error by Stankiewicz. The Arizona State batters went down in order in the bottom of the inning so the score remained tied at six after five.

The sixth inning was quiet for both sides. After a lead-off walk, the Wildcat hitters went down in order in the top of the inning and the Sun Devil hitters went three-up, three-down in the bottom of the inning.

McAllister got two quick outs in the top of the seventh but after giving up two singles, he was relieved by Matt Dunbar. Dunbar got the final out; sending the game into the seventh inning stretch. The ASU bats were quiet in their half of the inning. Coffman was the only batter to get a hit and the score remained tied after seven.

Dunbar continued pitching in the eighth and gave up a single before getting two outs. Head Coach Tim Esmay pulled Dunbar and replaced him with Darin Gillies. Gillies faced only one batter and gave up a single; allowing a Wildcat run to score. Gillies was replaced by Lilek, who got the final out of the top of the inning. The Wildcat pitching staff walked the bases loaded in the bottom half of the inning, but the Sun Devils were unable to cash in. The Wildcats kept their one-run lead heading into the ninth.

Alex Blackford took the mound in the ninth for the Sun Devils and sat the Wildcats down in order. ASU was down to their final three outs of the game. Coffman led off the inning with a single up the middle and Benjamin followed up with a single of his own. After McDonald hit into a fielder's choice, Rossiter was walked; loading the bases for the second time in two innings. Signs of a rally were showing but Causey hit into a double play; ending the game and sending the Wildcats home with the territorial cup.

What's next? ASU faces BYU Tuesday night for their final regular season home game of the 2013 season. They then travel to Washington for their regular season finale.

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