TUCSON, Ariz. ?- A change in the batting order and nine two-out runs paid huge dividends as the ninth-ranked Arizona baseball team defeated rival Arizona State 11-5 in non-conference action at Kindall Field on Wednesday. The victory improved Arizona to 10-1 for the year, while ASU dropped to 6-9 with its sixth consecutive loss.
The Arizona coaching staff moved junior Chris Frey from the No. 8 spot in the lineup to No. 2 in the batting order for the first time this season and dropped a struggling Brad Boyer to the No 9 slot. The pair went off to go 6 for 9 with two home runs, a triple, four RBI and five runs scored in the win.
The Wildcats jumped out to a 5-0 lead after two innings and answered nearly every Sun Devil run, but it took a two-out, two-run triple off the bat of Frey in the bottom of the eighth to salt the game away.
With Arizona leading 8-5 after seven and a half innings, ASU’s Ty Marotz retired Jason Donald and Brett Scyphers to begin the bottom of the eighth. A Boyer single ended Marotz’s day and placed the ball in the hands of Sun Devil reliever Seth Garrison.
A steal by Boyer and an intentional walk to Trevor Crowe placed runners on first and second for Frey, who lined Garrison’s first pitch off the wall in right field to plate his two classmates. A throwing error by shortstop Andrew Romine on the play allowed Frey to come around to score as well for a six-run UA advantage.
UA’s Mark Melancon, who tossed a scoreless final two innings, struck out one and got a game-ending double play in the ninth for his first save of the season.
Frey hit his first collegiate home run in the second inning and added the game-clinching two-run triple in the eighth to finish 3 for 5 with three RBI and three runs scored. Boyer, who was batting just .163 entering the contest, chipped in with three hits as well, including his first homer of the year, two runs scored and a RBI.
The Arizona offense, which finished in double digit hits for the 10th time in 11 games this season, had eight of its nine starters finish with at least one hit in the contest and six different players score at least one run.
Junior Jordan Brown extended his hitting streak to 11 straight games, finishing 3 for 5 with a double, three RBI and a run scored. Classmate Trevor Crowe (1 for 4, double, two runs) and senior Jeff Van Houten (2 for 4, two doubles, run) each finished with at least one hit for their 19th and 18th straight games with a base knock, respectively.
Junior Nick Hundley tied Brown for the team lead with his fourth home run of the season, a solo shot in the fifth. He finished the night 2 for 4 with two RBI and pair of runs scored.
ASU’s Jeff Larish provided the highlights for the Sun Devils, finishing 2 for 3 with a pair of solo home runs. It was his second career game against Arizona with multiple homers.
The Arizona offensive outburst made a winner out of reliever Eric Berger (2-0), who came in for starter David Coulon in the fifth inning. ASU starter Tony Barnette was charged with the loss after surrendering five runs on six hits in just 1 2/3 innings.
The Wildcats will return to action on Friday in the opener of a three-game series against UC Riverside. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.
Arizona’s win over ASU on Wednesday was its third straight dating back to last season. The last time Arizona has beaten the Sun Devils three straight was in 1993 ... Wednesday marked the 10th time this season Arizona posted double digit hits and the seventh time in 11 games it scored 10 or more runs ... Junior Trevor Crowe led off the game with a double, the seventh time he has started Arizona with a hit to begin a game and the eighth time he has reached base to lead off (seven hits, one walk). He has four leadoff doubles and one triple this season ... Wednesday’s three homer game, marked the ninth contest this year Arizona has hit at least one home run and the sixth with two or more.