Wildcat Weekly: Baseball

Arizona won a pivotal series against Arizona State over the weekend. Read on for more about the games, including the wild finish to the series.

The defending champions have reached their last leg down the stretch of the season. The Wildcats may be a loss away from missing out on the postseason, but they took the weekend series from their rivals from the north.

Here's a recap of what happened over the weekend and a look ahead for the Arizona baseball team:

Recap:

Friday– Arizona 10, Arizona State 7: After nearly blowing a nine-run lead, the Wildcats came out victorious in Tempe. Arizona shot out of the gates with two runs in the first inning after an error by the Sun Devil shortstop extended the inning on what could have been a double play.

The Wildcats struck for six more in the top of the second. Back-to back singles with one out got things going and another ASU error and a Brandon Dixon double cleared the bases for three runs. Riley Moore and Trent Gilbert both had RBI singles in the inning and Zach Gibbons had an RBI ground out.

Arizona State showed why it is ranked 15th in the country throughout the game, as the Sun Devils clawed back into it with two runs in the third and fourth innings. Heading into the bottom of the eighth, Arizona was leading ASU 10-4.

The Sun Devils made a strong push, plating three runs with the two-outs and the bases loaded. The Wildcats had closer Mathew Troupe on the mound, when he gave up a 2-2 smash to center field. The former Pac-12 batting champion, Johnny Field, showed off his fielding skills with a diving catch in center field to end the inning and keep the Wildcats ahead, where they stayed for the remainder of the game.

Saturday– Arizona State 6, Arizona 3: Through six innings in Tempe, both pitchers had thrown gems. James Farris allowed just a single run in the third inning after giving up a two-out walk and an RBI single to the next batter.

Things got rough in the top of the seventh. Arizona tied the game, though it could have added on more runs in the inning. Gilbert was thrown out at home trying to score from second on a single to left field, but Moore scored the next batter later, when an errant throw by the third baseman allowed the Arizona catcher to cross the plate.

The seventh was rough for Farris as well. He gave up four straight singles after striking out the lead-off man. He was charged with two runs in the inning and the Sun Devils were out to a 3-1 lead.

Arizona struck back once more in the next half-inning. Joseph Maggi was hit by a pitch to lead off the frame and Field right and picked up an RBI as the right fielder misplayed the ball. An out later and Dixon shot the ball to left field for an RBI single tying the game once again.

The Sun Devils continued the scoring with three more runs in the bottom of the eighth. The outing was troubling for Arizona as the star closer, Troupe, was on the mound. He was knocked around for two runs on two hits and two walks, while recording just one out.

Arizona was unable to fight back, striking out three straight times to end the game.

Sunday- Arizona 7, Arizona State 6: With the series tied, it came down to the final frame of the weekend before the game was decided. After a struggle back and forth all day long, Arizona came up with a miraculous play to come away with the win.

The Wildcats scored once in the first, third, and fifth innings, but lit up the scoreboard for three runs in the fourth. That still wasn't enough to trump the rival Sun Devils, who had the game knotted up at 6 heading into the eighth inning.

Maggi started it off with a single to right field and was sacrificed to second by Field. Gilbert flied out to left field and things looked dim for the Wildcats' scoring chances, but the Sun Devils made a pitching change anyways, trying to combat Dixon's hot bat.

It didn't work, however, as the third baseman singled to left on a 1-1 pitch, giving Arizona the one run that would later prove to be decisive.

The Sun Devils opened the ninth inning with back-to-back singles. The first out of the inning came when Maggi took a bunt and fired to third base to gun down the lead runner. Augey Bill walked the bases loaded after a hard fought at-bat, setting up the final play of the game.

Nate Causey tapped a 0-1 pitch right back to Bill, creating a rare 1-2-3 double play as Moore stepped on home plate before rifling the ball to first to end the game. Arizona won 7-6, taking the series from the Sun Devils.

Notes:

  • After changing things up in the pitching rotation for a week during the road trip to UCLA, Arizona Head Coach Andy Lopez decided to set the order back to normal during the rivalry series. Konner Wade returned to his regular Friday starting position with Farris pitching on Saturday. Tyler Crawford remained in his Sunday position, having not moved since he earned the spot.

    Wade seemed to react well to the switch, despite struggling against UCLA. Friday, he pitched well enough to get the win, but also had a bit of offense behind him. Wade picked up his fifth win of the season, allowing four earned runs on nine hits and four walks. He also struck out five.

  • The weekend wasn't all rainbows for the Arizona pitching staff. Closer Mathew Troupe struggled throughout the series to find the strike zone. On Friday, he walked three of four batters. Saturday, he walked two batters and gave up two runs. Sunday, he continued to struggle, walking two more batters.

    Throughout the weekend, Troupe threw 54 total pitches and only twenty of them were for strikes.

  • Throughout the school year, Arizona and Arizona State have been battling for the right to keep the Territorial Cup. Heading into the weekend series, both schools were dead even in the challenge. The only sport that remained was baseball.

    The Wildcats won the season series with the Sun Devils, giving Arizona the deciding point in the yearlong Duel in the Desert. Arizona will retain the cup for a fourth straight year, having won the trophy the three previous years.


  • Wildcat Authority Top Stories