March 23, 2002
TUCSON, Ariz.-- Arizona's come-from-behind rally came up short as rival Arizona State prevailed 10-6 over the Wildcats at Frank Sancet Field on Saturday afternoon. The loss drops Arizona to 19-10 for the season and 0-2 in the Pac-10. ASU improves to 18-8 with the win and 2-0 to start the conference season.
The Sun Devils jumped out to 4-0 lead through the first five and half innings before the Wildcats finally broke through. Arizona plated four in the home of the sixth to tie the game on Chris Cunningham's solo home run, a two-error, two-run ground ball by Justyn St. Clair and wild pitch. Cunningham's homer was his team-leading seventh of the season.
The tie didn't last long, as ASU answered with three, two-out runs in the top of the seventh. Friday night's hero for ASU, Andre Ethier, provided the big blow once again with a two-run home run off of Arizona starter Joe Little. Ethier finished with a game-best 4-for-5 effort at the plate, two RBIs and three runs scored.
Arizona was able to close the lead to one in the bottom of the seventh with a pair or runs on Jeff Van Houten's RBI double and Richard Mercado's run scoring single, but could get no closer as Ryan Schroyer came on to close out the game for the second straight day with two innings of work for his third save of the season.
The Wildcats, who stranded nine runners total in the game, left men in scoring position six times on Saturday.
Little (5-2) picked up the loss, giving up seven runs in the 6.2 innings. He struck out three and walked two. ASU starter Mike Esposito (5-3) earned his fifth win of the season in six innings on the mound. He gave up four runs, only one of which was earned, on seven hits. He struck out five and walked two.
Arizona will send Marc Kaiser to the mound on Sunday in an attempt to fend off a series sweep. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on 790 AM KNST.