Wednesday must have felt like the lowest point of the season for the University of Arizona baseball team.
The Wildcats, who are 11-16 overall and have just one win in six conference games, had a chance to break a string of six straight losses that dates back to the middle of March – and then fell all over themselves in a 14-6 loss to rival Arizona State in Tempe.
And to make matters worse, the Cats were in control for the first part of the game, taking a 6-1 lead into the fifth inning. But then something went terribly wrong. Actually, just about everything went terribly wrong.
ASU (13-10) picked up three runs in the bottom of the fifth, but the sixth was when the Cats’ pitching imploded. Tyler Crawford (Jr./Sunrise Mountain HS), who had come in to relieve the starter, Tyger Talley (sophomore/Chaparral HS), walked the first two batters. His replacement, Xavier Borde, loaded the bases with another walk. And then all hell broke loose, fueled by six Sun Devil hits, a hit batter, a passed ball, and two Arizona errors.
When the dust cleared, ASU had sent 16 hitters to the plate and scored 10 runs – the most in a single inning since April of 2009. Coincidentally, that game, too, was against the Wildcats.
And Arizona had used up four pitchers.
Brian Serven, the freshman catcher for ASU, scored twice in the sixth inning, as did Jake Peevyhouse, the junior outfielder from Pinnacle High School in Phoenix. Both Serven and Peevyhouse finished the game 2-for-3 at the plate and scored three runs apiece.
All in all, six ASU players contributed multiple hits in a game tailor-made for the large crowd that showed up for a mid-week game. In addition to a TV audience for this game, the 3,913 fans that poured into Packard Stadium made it the first home game all season that had exceeded 3,000 fannies in the bleachers.
Nate Causey, a junior from nearby Gilbert High School, led the group of ASU players getting more than one hit, going 4-for-5. – making it 10-for-13 over the last three games. Arizona’s junior infielder Trent Gilbert was 3-for-4 with a home run and a pair of runs scored in the losing effort.
Jordan Aboites (3-1), who came to the mound in the top of the fifth with bases loaded and just one out, got the Devils out of that jam and went on to record the win. The loss went to Arizona’s sophomore left-hander, Xavier Borde.
Despite the fact that the game will count toward the Territorial Cup standings, which currently favor ASU, 6.5-6.0, this game was considered a non-conference game on the schedule.
But Arizona will have plenty of opportunity to even the score. The two teams will play a total of five games this season.
(Photo: ASU Athletics)