May 17, 2013
Arizona 10, Arizona State 7 (Box Score)
TEMPE, Ariz. - The Arizona baseball team surged to a nine-run lead, but needed a sensational diving catch from Johnny Field in the eighth inning and a crunch-time save from scheduled Sunday starter Tyler Crawford to hold off 15th-ranked Arizona State in a 10-7 victory on Friday night at Packard Stadium.
Arizona State (33-16-1, 14-11 Pac-12) dug itself out of a 9-0 hole by scoring two runs in the third and fourth innings, respectively, before tacking on three more in the eighth to cut the deficit to 10-7.
The three-run inning could have been much worse for the visiting Wildcats, who received a sterling defensive play from Field to end the eighth frame.
With the bases loaded and two outs, Nathaniel Causey drove a deep fly ball to straight-away centerfield. Field initially froze to get a read on the ball, then quickly turned and sprinted towards the outfield wall before diving head-first onto the warning track.
As Field crashed to the ground and slid towards the fence, he pulled the ball out of his glove and raised it for umpires and a crowd of 4,150 to see that he completed the game-saving play.
However, the nail-biting action was only just beginning as the Sun Devils would not go quietly in the ninth.
Closer Mathew Troupe, who walked a batter before inducing the fly out to Field in the eighth, walked the first two batters he faced in the bottom of the ninth.
With the tying run at bat, Crawford was called on to make his first relief appearance since being named the Sunday starter back in late March. A native of nearby Glendale, Ariz., the left-hander calmly entered the game to record a strike out, a foul out and, fittingly, a fly out to Field in center to end the game.
Arizona (30-20, 11-14 Pac-12) stormed out to a 9-0 lead after scoring twice in the first, six times in the second and one time in the third. A lone sixth-inning run capped the scoring, but it turned out to be enough despite the late drama.
Trent Gilbert went 3-for-5 with two runs scored to lead a 13-hit offensive attack for the Wildcats, who had five players with multiple-hit games.
Brandon Dixon broke out of a mini slump by going 2-for-4 with two runs scored and four runs batted in. He delivered a three-run double down the left field line to highlight the six-run second inning.
Trevor Williams (L, 5-6) struggled early on the mound for the Sun Devils. He eventually pitched six complete innings, but was charged with all 10 runs - only six earned - on 12 hits. He struck out four and walked one, plus hit two batters.
Konner Wade(W, 5-6) earned the victory for the Wildcats after tossing seven-plus innings. The junior righty came out in the eighth with two runners on, which ultimately scored and were tacked on to his line. He allowed six runs - four earned - on nine hits to go with five strikeouts, but also issued four walks.
Crawford, who earned his first save of the season, was the fourth Wildcat reliever to pitch in the final two innings. Augey Bill, who allowed one run in 0.2 innings, Tyger Talley and Troupe faced seven batters in the eighth.
The three-game series continues on Saturday with first pitch scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Pakcard Stadium. Arizona will send junior righty James Farris (4-5, 4.20) to the mound against freshman left-hander Ryan Kellogg (10-0, 3.36). The game will be broadcast on 1290 AM in Tucson.
GAME NOTES: Arizona snapped a three-game losing skid ... The Wildcats earned their 30th win of the season and have now won 30 or more games in seven consecutive seasons, which is the longest streak since doing so in 29-consecutive years from 1954-82. Andy Lopez has coached the Wildcats to 30-win seasons 11 times in his 12 years with the program ... Riley Moore reached base for the 22nd-consecutive game ... Kevin Newman entered the game hitting .351 in road games and went 2-for-5 with a run and an RBI ... Tyler Crawford earned his third career save, including his second at Arizona State (also May 16, 2012) ... Joseph Maggi entered play with the club's highest batting average in conference play (.333) and went 2-for-4 with two runs scored ... Brandon Dixon entered the game 0-for-6 over the last seven games with runners in scoring position, but went 2-for-3 with four RBI in such situations tonight ... Johnny Field, Trent Gilbert and Dixon were a combined 4-for-32 hitting last weekend at UCLA. The top three hitters in the lineup combined to hit 6-for-15 with five runs and five RBI tonight ... The Wildcats improved to 23-7 when scoring first this season and is now 13-0 when scoring 10-plus runs in a game.