TEMPE, Ariz. - – A 10-run sixth inning powered the Arizona State University baseball team to a 14-6 win over the University of Arizona in the first Territorial Cup game of the season on Wednesday afternoon in front of a season-high 3,913 fans at Packard Stadium in Tempe, Ariz.
The Sun Devils (13-10) erased a five-run deficit in the middle innings as they scored three in the fifth and 10 in the sixth to jump out to a commanding lead, 14-6. ASU set a season high in runs scored, hits and runs batted in en route to its first win in a best-of-five series against the Wildcats (11-16). ASU currently leads the Territorial Cup Scoring, 6.5-6, with seven sports still undecided.
ASU notched three runs in the bottom of the fifth to pull within two, 6-4, on a pair of leadoff singles, a passed ball, a sacrifice fly by sophomore center fielder Johnny Sewald and an RBI single by junior first baseman Nate Causey. The Devils then held UA scoreless in the top of the sixth before they sent 16 batters to the plate in the 10-run bottom half of the inning, which was the most runs scored in a frame since they tallied 13 in the ninth inning against Arizona on April 29, 2009.
Sophomore right-hander Jordan Aboites (3-1) tossed a perfect 2 2/3 innings with two strikeouts to earn the win. He is now tied with sophomore left-handed starter Brett Lilek for the most wins on the team.
Freshman catcher Brian Serven tied a career high with three RBI and scored two runs, Sewald drove in a pair and Causey went 4-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored. Causey has now gone 10-for-13 with three runs scored in the past three games.
This was the Devils’ first game of the season with more than 3,000 fans and ASU came into the game as the West Coast leader in average attendance with more 2,700 fans per game. ASU has led the West Coast and Pac-12 in average attendance for nine consecutive years and 10 of the past 11 seasons.
UA struck first in the top of the second inning with back-to-back singles and a two-run double by first baseman Bobby Dalbec to take a 2-0 lead. The Devils countered in the bottom of the frame with a leadoff single by junior right fielder Jake Peevyhouse and an RBI double by Serven to cut their deficit to one, 2-1.
Wildcats second baseman Trent Gilbert hit a solo home run with one out in the top of the fourth inning and UA tallied three more in the fifth to extend its lead to five, 6-1. A leadoff walk, a double and a fielding error brought home the first two runs of the frame, and an RBI single by shortstop Kevin Newman knocked in the third before Aboites induced an inning-ending double play on the first pitch he threw to nullify the bases-loaded threat.
The Devils forced four pitching changes by UA in the sixth inning and notched 10 runs on six hits, two fielding errors, two wild pitches and a passed ball.
Freshman right-hander Hever Bueno and senior right-hander Josh McAlister combined to pitch a scoreless eighth and ninth inning to close out the win. Starting freshman right-hander Seth Martinez allowed five runs, including four earned, on five hits in a no-decision in his second career start.
UA left-hander Xavier Borde took the loss after conceding one run on one walk in the sixth inning. Starting right-hander Tyger Talley allowed four runs on eight hits and struck out three.
The Devils moved to 213-239 all-time against Arizona…sophomore right-hander Eric Melbostad faced four batters in the fifth and allowed one unearned on two hits.
The Sun Devils travel to 15th-ranked UCLA March 28-30 for their second consecutive road Pac-12 series against a ranked team. First pitch on Friday is at 6 p.m., followed by a 2 p.m. start on Saturday and a 1 p.m. start on Sunday.
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