Following a loss on Thursday against Stanford, the Arizona baseball team looked to rebound quickly facing ASU in an elimination game late Friday afternoon at Scottsdale Stadium.
TJ Nichols took the mound for the Wildcats and as fans were still taking their seats, Arizona already found themselves down 2-0 after Nichols threw just five pitches. He was eventually able to settle down, holding the Sun Devils off the board the next few innings.
After failing to record a hit in the first two frames, Arizona exploded for a 5-run third inning highlighted by back-to-back home runs hit by Daniel Susac and Tanner O'Tremba.
ASU cut Arizona's lead to 5-4 with 2 runs in the fifth inning. A rare error by shortstop Nik McClaughry led to one of those runs being scored.
Nichols went six innings, allowing 4 runs on seven hits to go along with four strikeouts and one walk.
Quinn Flanagan took the mound in the seventh inning for the Wildcats. After one quick out, the next three Sun Devil hitters reached including two doubles to give Arizona State the 6-5 lead.
Arizona trailed 6-5 with six outs to go entering the bottom of the eighth inning. Chase Davis and Tony Bullard walked to open the frame, which was followed by a sacrifice bunt laid down by Garen Caulfield and ASU intentionally walking Noah Turley to load the bases with one out. Tyler Casagrande fouled out to third base for the second out before Mac Bingham came up clutch with a bases clearing triple to give Arizona the lead back at 8-6. ASU centerfielder Joe Lampe took one step in and the ball flew over his head.
Wildcat closer Trevor Long entered the game in the ninth inning, working around a two out single to secure the 8-6 win for Arizona.
Susac left the game in the fourth inning with an unknown injury. Cameron LaLiberte took over behind the plate for him.
Arizona will need to beat Stanford twice on Saturday to advance to Sunday's championship game. The first game is at 9 a.m. MST.
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