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ASU vs. Arizona baseball recap: Wildcats mash Sun Devils 11-2

Just an absolute demolition of ASU

JJ Matijevic
Jason Bartel

When you love what you do, you tend to perform better than someone who doesn’t.

The Arizona Wildcats love what they do. The Arizona State Sun Devils do not.

Arizona, the team with far more energy and pizzazz on Tuesday night in the Territorial Cup showdown came out swinging and never let up, taking down ASU 11-2.

JJ Matijevic was the star of this one for the team from Tucson, at least at the plate. He started the scoring with this two-run double in the first inning.

He would eventually score later in the inning. He stole third without ASU catcher Zach Cerbo contesting him at all. Then when on third, Cerbo tried to pick him off, but badly overthrew the ball, allowing Matijevic to cross the plate with ease.

But that was definitely not the end of the junior first baseman’s offensive output.

Matijevic was due up first in the third inning, and crushed this one to right, putting the Cats up 5-1 at the time.

Then there was this in the fifth inning, an absolute moonshot that went off the very top of the intimidator.

That wasn’t the only bomb in the fifth though. Cal Stevenson hit his first career dinger at Arizona, but it was of the grand slam variety, putting the Wildcats up by ten.

All these home runs are nice and all, but all the energy and excitement in the place got started with this Kyle Lewis play in the third. With runners on the corners for ASU, Tyler Williams skied a pitch to short right field, and Lewis scampered over to make the nice catch. Andrew Shaps tagged up at third, then tried to score on the play. He was unsuccessful.

Not to be forgotten was the pitching effort of Tylor Megill. Cameron Ming was Arizona’s starter in this game, but lasted just 2+ innings, giving up three hits and hit a guy while not looking to have a ton of command on any of his pitches.

Megill replaced Ming after the HBP started the ASU half of the third. An error by Matijevic catching a throw from short started Megill’s outing, but then a strikeout looking and the Lewis double play got him out of the jam.

From there, Megill gave up just two hits over the next three innings. His final line was: 4 IP, 2 H, 4 K, 0 ER. 37 of his 52 pitches were strikes.

Seve Romo took over for Megill to start the seventh, and got into a bit of a jam.

A single, error, and walk loaded the bases with Sun Devils with just one out. But Romo induced a double play ball to short, ending the ASU threat abruptly.

In the bottom half of that inning, Cesar Salazar was hit by a pitch, which brought on dugout warnings for both teams. ASU assistant Ben Greenspan was then immediately ejected by the home plate umpire.

Romo had the duty of facing ex-Wildcat Jackson Willeford as a pinch hitter in the eighth. Willeford, who had been drafted in the 12th round by the Kansas City Royals before coming to Tucson for college, rocked a home run just over the right field fence for ASU’s second run of the night.

Austin Schnabel would pitch a perfect ninth.

The Wildcats return to Pac-12 play on Friday when they travel to Pullman to play a three-game series against the Washington State Cougars.

Pac-12 Baseball Standings

Team Conference record Overall record
Team Conference record Overall record
Oregon State Beavers 27-3 46-4
Stanford Cardinal 19-9 38-14
UCLA Bruins 18-10 29-24
Arizona Wildcats 15-12 36-17
California Golden Bears 13-14 23-28
Washington Huskies 13-15 27-25
Utah Utes 12-15 24-24
Oregon Ducks 11-17 29-24
Washington State Cougars 10-18 24-27
Arizona State Sun Devils 8-19 23-29
USC Trojans 7-21 20-33