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ASU vs. Arizona baseball recap: Wildcats fall short in 14-13 loss to Sun Devils

The pitching staff continues to lack depth

Alfonso Rivas stands at third base
Jason Bartel

In a midweek game that took four hours and 45 minutes to complete, the Arizona Wildcats’ pitching staff just couldn’t get it done against the Arizona State Sun Devils on Tuesday night.

After giving up 17 hits and 12 walks to their struggling in-state rival, Arizona dropped the game by a score of 14-13.

“We did not play a great baseball game on the pitching or defensive side of it,” UA head coach Jay Johnson said afterwards. “To have a chance right there is pretty remarkable.”

“I’m not happy with tonight but it’s not like they’re not trying,” continued Johnson. “Just gotta get better and I’m confident they can.”

Trailing 10-6 heading into the 8th, a one-out walk by Alfonso Rivas and an RBI double by JJ Matijevic brought Arizona back within three.

That brought Nick Quintana to the plate, who had been 0-for-3 on the night.

Well, he put a different kind of three up on the board with a three-run jack to right center to tie the game up at ten.

However, ASU would score four runs of their own on just two hits in the top of the ninth against Robby Medel.

Arizona was able to plate three runs in the bottom of the ninth thanks to Rivas reaching base for the sixth time on the night, but a deep Quintana fly out ended things.

“They were just hanging pitches up in the zone,” Rivas said of his productive night. “And I was just trying to take advantage of that.”

This also happened to be just the third game Rivas started in left this year.

“We just gotta find the right combination,” Johnson explained of the decision to put Rivas in left. “I liked what we did tonight. They had to earn a lot of outs and moving him into the lineup helped the rest of the lineup out. A lot of decisions with guys like that have to do with other players and trying to find the right combination.”

“I played left last year so it’s just a position that I play,” Rivas added about his limited time out there. “I feel comfortable at whatever position he puts me in so it’s just another start.”

After falling behind 4-1 early, Rivas tied things up with one swing of the bat, launching this home run just over the red line in center field.

Unfortunately for the Wildcats, ASU answered right back with a five-run inning of their own.

Six consecutive Sun Devil batters reached base in the frame including all three that Michael Flynn faced.

A two-run double by Carter Aldrete ended Flynn’s outing and put ASU up 9-4 at the time.

Rivas and the Wildcats responded a little bit with a two-out rally in the bottom of the sixth. Jared Oliva drove home Cal Stevenson with his third triple of the year.

Then Rivas picked up his fourth RBI of the game with a single up the middle.

Two out hitting was sort of the theme of the night for both teams. ASU was 7-of-13 in such situations, while Arizona was a not-so-shabby 6-for-14 themselves. Despite these numbers, the Sun Devils still stranded 14 on base. UA left ten runners on.

“Can’t finish the hitter, can’t finish the inning,” Johnson said. “Credit their team. They’ve struggled more than they’ve wanted to but there’s a lot of talented players over there.”

The Wildcats leave Tucson for South Carolina on Wednesday morning for a three-game series against College of Charleston Friday-Sunday. Game one of that series will start at 3 PM PT.

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