TUCSON – Arizona State baseball gave up multiple leads Tuesday but scored four runs in the ninth inning and held on for a 14-13 win over No. 18 Arizona.
The first three ASU batters reached in the ninth on walks around Lyle Lin single then Robby Medel, UA’s eighth pitcher, hit Tyler Williams to score the lead run for Williams’ career high fourth RBI. Carter Aldrete singled in two more insurance runs, also giving him a career best four RBIs.
Lin had a career best four hits. Eder Erives (1-3) pitched the final 1 2/3 innings for his first win of a difficult senior season, helped by a stellar catch by Williams in the ninth when the Wildcats scored three runs and had the tying run on first. Nick Quintana flied out for the final out.
“Tonight if you watched that dugout, you saw a bunch of guys having fun playing the game, and it translated into the field,” ASU coach Tracy Smith said. “Multiple times we thought we had it then they’d come back then we’d have to do it again. That was fun to see.
“It just felt like baseball again. I was so happy because of the different guys contributing and guys having fun at the yard because that’s what this is supposed to be. We were fortunate to get the win, but it was good because you saw some good stuff then some not so good stuff. To overcome all that and walk out of here with a win, I’ll take that any day of the week.”
The Sun Devils improved to 21-24 with their second straight win over a nationally ranked opponent. They evened the rivalry series at 1-1 with the non-conference victory in a game that last 4 hours, 45 minutes.
The Territorial Cup Series baseball point will be decided during a Pac-12 series May 18-20 at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. The series is tied 8.5 points apiece with points also still at stake in men’s and women’s outdoor track.
Arizona, which won 11-2 over ASU at Hi Corbett on April 4, fell to 31-16.
The Sun Devils are at Washington for a series starting Friday. They need to win seven of their final 10 games to avoid their first losing season since 1985.
Quintana brought Arizona back even at 10-10 with a three-run homer to right center off Reagan Todd in the eighth.
ASU built a 9-4 lead with a five-run sixth keyed by freshmen Hunter Bishop and Aldrete with two-run extra-base hits
The Sun Devils responded with five runs in the sixth after losing a 4-1 lead in the fifth before 3,740 on a chilly night with light rain early at Hi Corbett Field.
Bishop tripled home two runs with one out and scored on a fielding error that helped to set up Aldrete’s two-run double to center.
Freshman right-hander Alec Marsh worked three innings of relief for ASU, giving up four hits and three runs and leaving with a 10-6 lead. Todd walked a batter then gave up a double to JJ Matijevic and Quintana’s sixth homer.
ASU starting pitcher Chaz Montoya carried a 4-1 lead into the bottom of the fifth when UA bats fully came to life. After Louis Boyd and Jared Oliva singles, with a strikeout in between, Montoya went 2-0 on Alfonso Rivas. Smith came to the mound and opted to stick with the freshman left-hander, who on a 3-2 pitch gave up a homer just above the 392-foot line in center.
Arizona trailed 3-0 when Rivas singled leading off the fourth. ASU left fielder Williams dropped a fly ball by Matijevic. Quintana put down a bunt that Montoya fielded to throw out Rivas at third. Ryan Haug drove in Matijevic with a single to left before Montoya limited the damage with a strikeout and ground out.
The Sun Devils got the run right back in the fifth on Gage Canning’s two-out single for a 4-1 lead.
Leading 1-0 going into the fourth, ASU caught a break when leadoff batter Jeremy McCuin reached on a bunt that first baseman Matijevic unnecessarily tried to field, leaving the base uncovered for a throw from pitcher Tylor Megill. Canning then doubled down the left-field line and, after two strikeouts, Lin took a 2-2 pitch to right for two RBI. Austin Schnabel struck out Williams, bringing ASU’s left on base to nine through the fourth.
After leaving five runners on base in the first two innings, ASU broke through with a run in the third. Bishop singled, advanced on a steal and throwing error and scored on Williams’ triple to center. Aldrete took a called third strike, stranding two more runners.
Both teams put two runners on base in the first but failed to score. UA tried a double steal with runners on first and third that ended with Rivas being thrown out at home.
ASU loaded the bases in the second on a double and two walks. Relief pitcher Megill stranded the runners when Andrew Snow grounded a 3-2 pitch to Quintana, who made a charging pick up and successful throw to first.
With catcher Sam Ferri and pitcher Jake Godrey out due to injury, ASU’s active roster is down to 24 players from 33 going into last week Ferri is having surgery for a lingering wrist injury.
Coverage of Arizona State baseball and softball for the week of May 8-14, 2017.
This week, ASU baseball visits Arizona (Tuesday) and Washington (Friday, Saturday, Sunday), while ASU softball hosts UCLA (Thursday, Friday, Saturday) to close out the regular season.
Arizona State at Arizona
When: Tuesday at 6 p.m.
Where: Hi Corbett Field, Tucson.
TV/radio: Pac-12 Network/KDUS-AM (1060).
ASU: The Sun Devils (20-24, 7-14 Pac-12) broke a three-game losing streak Sunday with a 9-6 win over No. 13 Stanford, salvaging a game in that series. To avoid its first losing season since 1985, ASU must win at least eight of its final 11 games while playing all but three on the road. This is the second non-conference meeting vs. Arizona, which won 11-2 on April 4 in Tucson. The Pac-12 rivalry series is May 18-20 at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. The Territorial Cup Series baseball point goes to the winner of the entire five-game series. Freshman Chaz Montoya (4-3, 5.98 ERA) could be Tuesday’s starting pitcher after not throwing against Stanford.
UA: The No. 18 Wildcats (31-15, 12-12) swept Washington last weekend to move up one spot in the USA TODAY coaches top 25. They won 5-4, 3-1 and 12-11 over the Huskies, bouncing back from being swept at Stanford. 1B JJ Matijevic is hitting .406 with nine home runs and 52 RBIs, followed by DH Alfonso Rivas at .380 and OF Jared Oliva at .351.
Friday – ASU at Washington, 6:05 p.m.
Saturday – ASU at Washington, 2:05 p.m.
Sunday – ASU at Washington, 1:05 p.m.
Thursday – ASU (30-17 overall, 9-12 Pac-12) vs. UCLA (39-13, 13-8), 6 p.m., Pac-12 Networks
Thursday – ASU vs. UCLA, 5 p.m., Pac-12 Networks
Thursday – ASU vs. UCLA, 2 p.m., Pac-12 Networks
Note: The NCAA Division I Softball Selection Show is Sunday on 7 p.m. (Arizona time) on ESPN2.