Arizona baseball beats ASU to take game one of series
On a great night for baseball in Tucson with a sunset forming in the backdrop, the Arizona Wildcats captured an important win of the season, 6-4, as they took the opening game of a three-game series with in-state rival ASU.
The game opened up with only three hits through three innings for both teams. It looked like a good old-fashioned pitcher’s duel as Arizona senior Cody Deason wrapped up his final home start with a victory. Deason finished the night with 119 pitches thrown.
Both offenses picked up after seeing the starting pitcher once already, with both clubs scoring two runs in the fourth frame, as Arizona catcher Cesar Salazar got the inning started with a leadoff double. With a couple fielders errors and mishaps the Wildcats and the Hi-Corbett crowd got into the game with four straight base hits.
Things went back and forth in the fifth inning as the Wildcats took the 3-2 lead, then Arizona State freshman Spencer Torkelson hit his 23rd home run of his season which landed at least 50 feet beyond the left field fence.
The moonshot, however impressive it was, was the last of the scoring for the Sun Devils. The Wildcats used a combination of savvy managing, and fundamental baseball that paved the way for the last three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning that they needed to secure a win in the always heated rivalry.
Arizona shortstop Cameron Cannon laid down a squeeze bunt that forced the Sun Devils into making a hurried decision which ended in an errant throw to first base. Cannon ended the play at second base and Alfonso Rivas at third, laying the groundwork for the big inning that was about to ensue.
Cesar Salazar continued to provide when the Wildcats needed him most as he followed up the sacrificial bunt with a equally honorable sacrifice fly to right field, which was deep enough to score Rivas from third base which gave the lead back to Arizona.
Arizona’s Matt Frazier capped off the scoring with a single through the right side of the diamond that brought home Cannon from third base, giving the Wildcat coaching staff, players, and fans a little breathing room on a warm and breezy night in the Old Pueblo.
The two-run cushion allowed the Jay Johnson and his staff to go to the bullpen at the beginning of the eighth inning, as Zach Sherman and Gila Luna took care of the frame, with the latter striking out the last two to keep the Sun Devils at bay.
The last frame was handed to UA closer Zach Stone, who shut down the instate rivals, to bring home the all-important series opening win. The next Wildcats game is at Hi-Corbett on Friday at 6:00 p.m., as Arizona looks to win the series outright before the weekend even starts.
A series win would would not only give Arizona the Territorial Cup Series, but it would also enhance the ‘Cats’ chances of making it to the postseason.
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