Sunday night in Phoenix was the beginning of the pitching rotation changes for the Arizona Wildcats, and it did not pay off.
Xavier Borde got the start on the mound, and did not record an out. Borde allowed three hits, a walk, and a hit batter. Four of those came around to score.
The deficit for Arizona ended up being six as ASU went on to win 13-7. This is similar to the second game of the USC series, where Robby Medel gave up seven runs in a third of an inning, and the Wildcats ended up losing 13-6.
Medel got to redeem himself from that start on Sunday night in Phoenix. The TCU transfer pitched four innings of relief, allowing just one earned run. He did get knocked around a little bit to the tune of five hits and three walks.
Pitching is going to be the downfall of this team. When you lead the nation in batting average, you should not be losing five-straight conference games. The offense kept clicking, collecting 14 hits, eight of them with two outs in the inning.
Star shortstop Kevin Newman, who had not hit a home run in his Arizona career, changed that in the third inning when he lifted one out over the left field fence. That came just an inning after Bobby Dalbec launched one out to dead center. That was Dalbec's eighth of the season. Arizona hit eight home runs as a team in 2014.
- We finally got to see Michael Hoard hit against a left-handed pitcher this season, even after Andy Lopez was adamant on Saturday that he would not put Hoard in that situation. Well, we found out why Hoard doesn't play against lefties, as he struck out twice, and grounded into a crucial double play against Ryan Kellogg. Hoard hit an RBI single in the ninth off a right-handed pitcher.
- Riley Moore struggled behind the plate, letting a few balls get by him that allowed ASU to put themselves in more scoring opportunities throughout the night. Moore does have five hits in the first two games of the series though.
- Matt Hartman pitched the seventh and the first out of the eighth before getting hit in the shin on a comebacker. He had to leave the game with what appeared to be a fairly serious injury to his leg. Hartman has not given up a run in 4 2/3 innings this season, but was charged with a run when the runner who got on by lining a ball off his leg came around to score later in the inning.
- After failing in the 9th on Saturday, Cameron Ming struggled again. He replaced Hartman, and gave up two hits while getting just one out.
- Mathew Troupe returned to the mound for the first time since the first weekend of the season. Troupe started the outing with two balls in the dirt, bringing in the 11th ASU run of the night. Another wild pitch brought in the 12th run. He walked both batters he faced. He has now walked four batters and given up a double while recording just one out this year.
Arizona will need to salvage a game on Monday night in the series finale. Dalbec will make his first start on the mound for Arizona against ASU's Brett Lilek. Monday's game will start at 7 PM PT on Pac-12 Networks.