The Sun Devils (42-6, 15-5 Pac-10) actually took an early lead in the first inning, thanks to an error from UA. Zack MacPhee singled with one away and moved up to second on an error by UA centerfielder Joey Rickard. After stealing third base, MacPhee came into score on a groundout by Kole Calhoun.
Mistakes began to hurt ASU in the second inning, as a wild pitch and an error cost Kelly two runs. Steve Selsky and Cole Frenzel started the inning with base hits and Selsky scored on a wild pitch one batter later.
Kelly responded with back-to-back strikeouts, but Raoul Torrez couldn't handle a ball off the bat of Seth Mejias-Brean, allowing Frenzel to score and put UA out front 2-1.
ASU didn't waste much time before tying the game, striking early in the third inning. Matt Newman drew a leadoff walk and scored one batter later on a double from Austin Barnes.
The Wildcats (31-17, 10-10) then took control of the game with a big fourth inning and never looked back. Selsky led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on an errant pickoff throw from Kelly. After a walk to Frenzel, Kelly tossed another wild pitch and the runners moved up to second and third.
That allowed Selsky to score on a groundout by Robert Refsnyder and UA led 3-2. Kelly then got the second out of the inning, but instead of limiting the damage, the inning got away from him and ASU.
Meijas-Brean singled to right center to keep the inning alive and then Alex Meija doubled to left, scoring another run and ending Kelly's day after just 3 2/3 innings.
The big blow came from the very first batter reliever Brady Rodgers faced. Rickard atoned for his earlier error by hitting a three-run homer to left that brought UA's lead to 7-2.
Selsky continued his big day in the fifth inning, doubling with one away, advancing to third on another bad pickoff throw from the ASU pitching staff and scoring on a base knock by Frenzel.
A pair of RBI singles from Johnny Ruettiger and Deven Marrero cut the deficit to 8-4 in the sixth, but Selsky answered back with a two-run double to center in the bottom half of the inning.
In all, Selsky finished a perfect 4-4 at the plate, scored three runs and drove in two.
It was the second shortest start of the season for Kelly and the only outing shorter was a planned three innings in his last start against BYU. He allowed six runs, with five of them being earned, which added up to his first loss of the season.
Rodgers allowed four runs, two earned in two innings of work and Jimmy Patterson allowed two runs in 2.1 innings. The 12 runs were the most runs the ASU pitching staff has allowed all season long.
At the plate, both Calhoun and Raoul Torrez finished with two hits for ASU.
The rubber match of both the season series and the weekend series will be on Monday night at 6PM in Tucson. Jake Borup (10-1, 3.36 ERA) will make his first start in over two weeks for ASU and will likely be facing UA's Daniel Workman (2-1, 8.16).