It was an ugly win for Arizona State baseball.
But ASU coach Tracy Smith will gladly take the ‘W’ – especially since it marks the first time in 10 years that the Sun Devils have swept Pac-12 rival University of Arizona in a series. After the game, the fifth-year head coach was quick to point out that “you’d much rather play an awful game and win, than play an awful game and lose.”
Hard to argue with that logic.
But just how ugly was it? How about…a combined eight errors, 14 pitchers sent to the mound, a couple of hit batters, a combined 33 runs, and 15 ASU batters given a base-on-balls.
There was so much craziness going on yesterday that it took five hours and 10 minutes to complete the nine-inning contest at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
The first couple of innings gave a glimpse of the slugfest to come as Arizona put four runs on the board in the top of the first inning and the Sun Devils came back in the bottom of that frame with three runs of their own. The Wildcats answered with a three-run homer in the second, and ASU countered with a home run that added two more runs and brought the score to 7-5 before the game could even get into the third inning.
But it all came down to the eighth inning when Arizona took over the lead by scoring four runs to take the score to 16-15. ASU, however, wasn’t ready to concede the game, coming back to tie it up at 16 when Hunter Bishop doubled and scored later to send the game into extra innings. Bishop, who came into the game leading the nation in home runs, was kept from doing much damage by walking him four times.
After all that offense, it turned out to be a defensive miscue that cost the Wildcats the game. With the game still tied and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, an infield error allowed the Devils to bring home the winning run.
The ASU offensive effort was led by Trevor Hauver, who went 3-for-5 at the plate, with two doubles and three RBIs. Alika Williams collected a couple of hits in six trips to the plate and led the team in RBIs with three. Williams, Spencer Torkelson, and Lyle Lin all homered.
Arizona (13-14, 2-7) also had several players with multiple hits. Cameron Cannon was 2-for-6 with two doubles and two runs scored, Austin Wells went 2-for-4 with four runs and a couple of doubles, and Nick Quintana finished the game with a 2-for-4 performance at the plate that included a home run and three RBIs.
With all the activity on the mound, the game’s pitching spotlight fell on ASU’s big right-hander from Alhambra High School, Sam Romero. The senior came into the game in the final inning after earning the save the night before, less than 24 hours from his last turn on the mound, and this time holding the Wildcats scoreless in the top of the ninth, the first time in the game the Cats couldn’t get at least one run in an inning.
And tonight the rest of the team will be right back on the field with little rest. The Sun Devils (25-1, 8-1) host Long Beach State in a non-conference game at Phoenix Muni.
(Photo: ASU Athletics)