Arizona State evened the series against Arizona on Friday night with a 10-5 win in front of over 6,700 in what could be an important game for UA’s postseason chances.
Arizona (31-21, 11-15) ranked 42nd in RPI entering Friday but now sits at 49th with the loss, putting it in serious jeopardy of missing the NCAA Tournament with four games left to play.
Arizona starter Michael Flynn (6-4) struggled during his 5 1/3 innings pitched, allowing eight runs on five hits with two walks. He also hit a batter.
Flynn began his evening by allowing a first inning home-run to ASU centerfielder Gage Canning.
The next inning, Flynn allowed four more runs. He walked right fielder Carter Aldrete, hit shortstop Alika Williams, walked third baseman Gage Workman, then allowed a three-run double to Bishop Hunter. Hunter later scored in the inning on a sacrifice fly.
Flynn allowed three more runs in the sixth. It began with Canning’s second hit of the night, a triple. Aldrete singled to score Canning, Williams singled, Workman walked, and Hunter got his fourth and fifth RBI of the evening with a single to center.
Avery Weems relieved Flynn and pitched 3 2/3 innings, but allowed a home run to first baseman Spencer Torkelson in the ninth.
Arizona’s offense was terrific early, matching ASU run for run, but became non-existent after the third inning.
Alfonso Rivas doubled in the first and later scored on a wild pitch. Despite scoring Rivas, Arizona left the bases loaded after Cesar Salazar doubled, Nick Quintana singled, and Matt Frazier walked.
In the third, Rivas began the inning with his second double. Cameron Cannon walked, Salazar moved Rivas to third. Quintana singled for the second time scoring Rivas. Then Matt Frazier hit an RBI single, Donta Williams walked, and Jacob Blas tied the game with a two RBI single.
Arizona State starting pitcher Sam Romero (3-1) allowed all five Arizona runs over six hits. He only lasted 2 2/3 innings.
But ASU’s bullpen picked up the slack, pitching 6 1/3 innings while only allowing three hits and three walks.
The rubber match between the two in-state rivals is Saturday at 4:30 p.m. The winner will also claim the Territorial Cup Series, which is currently tied.