After dropping the first two games by scores of 5-4 and 13-7, the Arizona Wildcats and Bobby Dalbec battled on Monday and ended up with a 7-2 win after a big ninth inning.
Traditional starting pitchers are still an issue, while Dalbec starting is most definitely not an issue.
Here's the best and worst from the weekend in Phoenix:
1. Bobby Dalbec
This individual performance by Dalbec on Monday night was something else. Nevermind that he started the game by throwing 4 1/3 scoreless innings on the mound. In the second inning, Dalbec came up in the cleanup spot as the pitcher (confusing ASU fans around me down along the third base line), and promptly knocked out his ninth home run of the season off of ASU's giant videoboard in right-center.
Then, as Arizona entered the ninth inning trailing 2-1, Dalbec came up with a runner on base and facing star ASU closer Ryan Burr. Dalbec, who faced Burr plenty in high school, got him in the big situation for his tenth home run of the year that almost ended up on Van Buren beyond the left field wall.
He had a chance to cap off a crazy night with a grand slam later in the ninth inning, but went down swinging, which was unfortunate. Overall, Dalbec was 5-of-11 with three walks, five runs scored, four RBI, and three home runs. He just missed a fourth home run with a double off the top of the wall on Saturday.
This weekend may have been the Dalbec coming out party to the rest of the nation.
2. Nathan Bannister
Bannister pitched in two huge situations on the weekend. On Saturday, he pitched three crucial innings, allowing Arizona to come back and tie the game at four before falling in the bottom of the ninth.
Then on Monday, Bannister relieved Dalbec with the bases loaded and one out in the fifth, and Arizona leading 1-0. Bannister got out unscathed, but then did allow ASU to tie the game, and was charged with a second run when Tyger Talley allowed an inherited runner to score and the Sun Devils to take the lead. But still, Bannister has been a big reason why the bullpen has had some success this year. Possibly the MVP of the pitching staff to this point.
3. Riley Moore at the plate
Just like Dalbec, Moore was 5-for-11 hitting against ASU, walked three times, scored twice, and drove in one. He also just missed a home run off the top of the right-center fence on Saturday.
1. Riley Moore behind the plate
Sometimes I wonder what this pitching staff would look like with a decent defensive catcher. Sunday was a prime example of just how bad Moore can be behind the plate at times. He was only charged with one passed ball, but it should have been a lot more. And a lot of free bases given to ASU runners throughout the night by the poor blocking ability the senior catcher has shown the last couple years. Combine that with his inability to frame pitches, and you're leaving a lot out there compared to if an above average defensive catcher is in the game.
2. Cameron Ming
Ming failed to get the two batters he faced in the 9th on Saturday, allowing ASU to get away with a walk-off win. Then the next day he gave up two hits and two earned runs while recording just one out. Not a great weekend for the freshman lefty.
3. Xavier Borde
Borde finally got a chance to start a weekend game, and he apparently didn't want that very much. He failed to record an out on Sunday, allowing three hits, a walk, and a hit batter. Four of those scored. Whoever starts this Saturday at Oregon State will have to do better than this.