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Arizona wins Territorial Cup Series in extra-inning thriller

The Wildcats walked it off against the Sun Devils

Photo via @ArizonaBasebll on Twitter

The Arizona Wildcats outlasted the Arizona State Sun Devils 10-9 in a classic 11-inning duel on Saturday, allowing them to claim the Territorial Cup Series.

It was a must-win for the Wildcats in their quest to make the postseason. They entered the day ranked 49th in RPI, and they still might need to go undefeated in their final three games — a road series at Oregon — to reach the NCAA Tournament.

Pinch-hitter Donta Williams walked it off for the Wildcats in the 11th inning.

His base hit to shallow right field provided a joyous ending on Senior Night. ASU right fielder Trevor Hauver, who entered the game in the 10th inning, let Williams’ hit bounce off his glove, proving enough time for UA third baseman Nick Quintana to score from second standing up.

Before the 11th inning, both teams scored 18 runs on 27 hits combined. Hitters on both sides were effective and the hot desert air allowed the ball to fly out of the park.

Arizona third baseman Nick Quintana went 4-fot-4. Two of his hits were homers. Quintana hit his 13th homerun of the season in the first inning with a ball hit deep over the left field wall.

He tied the game at 2-all with his first-inning shot. Three innings later, Quintana hit his second of the day and 14th of the season with a home run to the same part of the ballpark.

Quintana then had two singles and two walks to fill out his day.

Saturday, the Devils scored first and the Wildcats were unable to answer, but Sunday, Arizona hitters came up with the runs when they needed them.

After the top of the fourth, Arizona State looked like they had wrapped up the game and were leading 7-2, thanks to two home runs and two singles, but Arizona came back with four runs to match in the bottom half of the inning.

Quintana homered, second baseman Jacob Blas and designated hitter Seve Romo singled, Matt Fraizer got hit by a pitch, and left fielder Ryan Haug doubled down the left-field line, clearing the bases.

Arizona got the tying run in the sixth, only to find themselves trailing again after Hunter Bishop’s home run in the seventh.

Then a little luck graced the Wildcats.

With two on and two out in the bottom of the seventh, catcher Cesar Salazar hit a ball deep to left center field. ASU left fielder Hunter Bishop took his eye off the ball for a split second, and the ball bounced off the side of his glove, dropping in front of him. The tying runs were able to score and Salazar got to third before being stranded.

Both schools had an opportunity to win the game in the eighth but left the bases loaded.

ASU also left the bases loaded in the top of the eleventh, when senior reliever Zach Stone struck out shortstop Alika Williams to escape the jam.

While the hitting for both teams was great, the pitchers were not as sharp.

Arizona starting pitcher Juan Aguilera struggled from the beginning. He allowed three runs through two innings before being pulled after giving up a third inning lead off single.

Another Arizona senior pitcher, Tylor Megill was crushed four runs on five hits in 1 1/3 innings. Freshman Gill Luna followed Megill by pitching well over his 3 1/3 innings but, surrendered a two-run homer.

Then Jay Johnson went with his third senior pitcher of the evening, Zach Stone. Stone won the game (3-1) by pitching 4 1/3 scoreless innings of one-hit ball. He walked five, though, and did have a couple tough outs to make.

Arizona State’s pitchers surrendered only six earned runs, and no pitcher after starter Eli Lingos allowed an earned run. Lingos went 3 1/3 innings, as did reliever Brady Corrigan. Boyd Vander Kooi (3-3) took the loss.

Arizona’s record is 32-21 overall and 12-15 in the Pac-12 entering the final weekend at Oregon.