TEMPE, Ariz. ?- Arizona (39-15, 14-9 Pac-10) scored five runs on five hits in the top of the eighth inning to pull within one run of Arizona State (43-12, 18-4), but a pair of costly errors that led to four unearned runs earlier in the game proved to be too much for the Wildcats to overcome in an 8-7 loss on Thursday.
Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year Preston Guilmet, who entered the contest leading the conference in strikeouts with 126 and had a 5-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio for the year, mysteriously lost his ability to hit the strikezone. The right-hander, who had issued just 25 free passes in his previous 15 starts, walked a season-high five ASU batters on the night.
ASU’s Matt Hall led off the third with a base hit back up the middle before Guilmet issued a walk to Tim Smith and Brett Wallace loaded the bases with a single to right.
Eric Sogard battled Guilmet to a full count in the next at bat and pushed home Hall on the second base on balls in the frame. It marked the first time this season that the UA hurler had walked a batter with the bases loaded.
Ike Davis followed with a run-scoring ground out to tie the game at 2-2.
Guilmet appeared to be on his way out of the inning trailing by just a run when Petey Paramore hit an RBI-grounder to Colt Sedbrook at short, but the Wildcat junior fumbled the ball for an inning extending error.
Matt Spencer popped up to Brad Glenn at third for what should have been the final out in the inning, but the fielding miscue on the previous play allowed Kiel Roling to hit and the Sun Devil DH delivered. Roling lofted a 1-0 Guilmet offering over the right field fence for a three-run homer and a 6-2 ASU lead.
Spencer hit a solo home run in the fifth and ASU took advantage of a throwing error by UA catcher Dwight Childs on a wild pitch in the seventh for an 8-2 lead.
The Wildcats sent 10 hitters to the plate in the eighth and rallied for five runs on three two-out hits, including a two-run homer by C.J. Ziegler, but freshman closer Jason Jarvis finally got ASU out of the inning with a one-run lead intact.
Jarvis then worked a perfect ninth to seal the victory and pick up his 10th save of the season.
The Wildcats, who out-hit the Sun Devils 15-7 in the game, had numerous chances, but left 11 runners on base in the contest and went just 4 for 16 in RBI opportunities.
Guilmet (11-2), who allowed a season-high eight runs, only four of which were earned, was charged with his second loss of the year. He struck out seven to go along with his season-high five walks.
ASU starter Josh Satow (11-3) picked up his 11th win of the year after holding the Cats to two runs on 10 hits in seven innings of work. He struck out seven a walked only one.
The Wildcats will try to stave off their first series sweep of the year in the regular season finale with the Sun Devils on Friday. Left-hander David Coulon is the scheduled starter for